Joe Cicala Is Out at East Passyunk’s Le Virtù and Brigantessa

Joe Cicala at La Panarda | Photo by Alex Tewfik

The announcement was made last night: After 7 years, award-winning chef Joe Cicala was no longer the man in the kitchen at Le Virtù and Brigantessa. This follows an announcement on Tuesday by Angela Ranalli-Cicala that she was leaving her position “with a semi-heavy heart” and months of rumors and speculation about troubles behind the scenes at both restaurants.

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Local Chefs Star in Redo of Terminal B at PHL

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This is how you do an announcement. Roll in the jet, roll out the red carpet. Nick Elmi at PHL.

Yesterday afternoon, American Airlines, Philadelphia International Airport and airport hospitality firm, OTG put on an impressive show to announce a $30 million overhaul of PHL’s Terminal B. That overhaul will include eateries from eight well known local chefs and restaurateurs.

The event took place at American Airlines huge hanger at the southern end of the airport. The chefs and restaurateurs, including Top Chef winners Nick Elmi and Kevin Sbraga descended the steps of a sparkling American Airlines plane to take their places along with PHL’s CEO Rochelle Cameron, Cedric Rockamore of American Airlines and OTG’s founder Rick Blatstein. After a highly-polished video about the transformation of Terminal B, samples of each restaurant’s food, plus wine and beer were brought out.

The project has been in the pipeline for a number of years old and several of the chefs involved admitted, that they thought their involvement was dead. When complete, the overhauled terminal will have eight new eateries and thousands of iPads from which to order food right to the gate.

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Brigantessa Is Now Open for Weekend Lunch

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Bell Prosciutto Pizza is on the lunch menu at Brigantessa.

East Passyunk’s Brigantessa is now open for lunch from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Executive chef and partner Joe Cicala and chef de cuisine Julia Robinson are serving up his pizzas plus antipasti, panini and Contorni (sides).

It’s a perfect break to your holiday shopping on the Avenue.

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Brigantessa’s New Tasting Menu Offers A Tour of Sicily

BrigantessaThis week, Brigantessa premiered their new series of Southern Italian Tasting Menus, “Cucina Tipica,” created by chef and co-owner Joe Cicala.

Each month, he plans to focus on traditional flavors from a different region of Italy including, Sicilia, Sardinia, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.

Cicala’s first tasting menu will offer a four-course culinary tour of Sicilia for $45 a person with an optional $20 beverage pairing including selections from the restaurants cellar full of regional Italian wine, beer, grappa and amari.

We’ve got some details on the menu below.

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Brigantessa Introduces New Chef de Cuisine

Julia Robinson, chef de cuisine at Brigantessa

Julia Robinson, chef de cuisine at Brigantessa

Chef/Owner Joe Cicala and Brigantessa are officially welcoming Julia Robinson as chef de cuisine to the East Passyunk restaurant with a  wine dinner. Robinson started at Brigantessa in June after two years as chef de cuisine at the White Dog Cafe in University City and a six-year run at Vivere, a third-generation family-owned Italian restaurant in Chicago.

The Delaware native is showing off her work with a chef’s tasting menu with unusual Italian wine pairings on Wednesday, September 16th. The four-course, three wine and one digestivo dinner is $75 per person.

Summer additions and wine dinner menu »

Summer Movie Nights At Le Virtu

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New movie screen at Le Virtu

 

Le Virtu has always been a kind of physical love letter to Abruzzo. From the food (natch) to the overall aesthetic of the place, it’s always been about transporting diners from here to somewhere else in a way that few other restaurants can really pull off.

And now, they’re taking things a step further with the re-launch of summer movie nights in the garden.

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6ABC’s Alicia Vitarelli to Spotlight 3 Philly Restaurants on The Chew

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Alicia Vitarelli with Le Virtu with a cameraman and Brigantessa chef Joe Cicala (far right)

Set your DVR: At 1 pm this afternoon, 6ABC Action News anchor Alicia Vitarelli will appear on The Chew, where she’ll take the show’s crew to three local restaurants with family-influenced recipes on the menu. The segment will find her visiting South Street West dessert queen Holly Ricciardi of Magpie, a Jose Garces spot and Joe Cicala of East Passyunk’s Le Virtu and Brigantessa.

Foobooz has more on the actual food they’ll be preparing here.

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Vitarelli with Magpie owner Holly Ricciardi (center).

 

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