Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney are still a couple of weeks away from opening the re-vamp of their first restaurant, modern Mexican Lolita, but the place already has polish to spare and we were lucky to get an early glimpse.
Safran and Turney have transformed Lolita–once a narrow, rectangular, rosy-hued room with an open kitchen smushed in to the middle of the space–to a layout that feels much more open. While it is, of course, still narrow, the kitchen and bar now run along one side of the room, creating ample bar seating that affords a primo view of cocktails being shaken, tortillas being rolled (on a Mexican machine complete with menacing safety illustrations), and meat sizzling shawarma-style on a vertical roaster.
The food, the drinks and lots of photos, right this way
Photo by Jason Varney
Tonight is Women Against Abuse’s Dish It Up 2014 event. The night features food, fashion and fun as it features food from premier female restaurateurs and chefs in the city.
Dish It Up 2014 will also feature the brand new Woman of the Year Award to honor women leaders who have shown “extraordinary support of the movement to end domestic violence in Philadelphia.” The first honorees are chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran – whose seven restaurants and boutiques on 13th Street in Philadelphia have helped transform the Midtown Village neighborhood into what it is today.
Tickets for the event are now sold out but join us in congratulating Turney and Safran.
Well there’s finally word on what’s going on with Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s Lolita in the Gayborhood. The 10-year-old Mexican restaurant closed for renovations last August, and is expected to re-open this spring “with a fresh look, a new Mexican street food-inspired menu and a full liquor license.” Here’s more on the food, drinks and the new look from a press release:
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The 2014 James Beard Foundation Semifinalists have been announced. Local chefs and restaurateurs and restaurants made it to the semifinals in ten categories including Outstanding Restaurant, Fork, and three nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year, Chris Kearse, Will, Ben Puchowitz, Cheu Noodle Bar and Ben Nerenhausen, Mistral (Princeton, NJ).
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Spaghetti and meatballs at Little Nonna’s | Photo by Jason Varney
Trey Popp finds that Marcie Turney has breathed new life into red-gravy Italian at Little Nonna’s.
Just to be safe, though, order the polenta and meatballs to share; Turney packs her cornmeal with enough cream, taleggio, fontina and parmesan to put the most shameless cheese grits to shame. And you’ll want to have room at dinner’s far end for pastry chef Sara May’s spumoni, which ditches the usual neon palette in favor of a moody sundae richly muddled with roasted cherries, chocolate pizzelles and pistachio-olive oil.
Three Stars – Excellent
Restaurant Review: Next-Level Comfort Food at Little Nonna’s [Philadelphia Magazine]
Little Nonna’s [Foobooz]
Little Nonna’s is now serving lunch Monday through Saturday. Enjoy Marcie Turney’s take on Italian-American cuisine. Check out the menu of salads, sandwiches, macaroni dishes and more.
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Little Nonna’s, the red-gravy restaurant from Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran opens to the public tonight and we’ve got the menus. So check out what you’ll be eating, from “Big Mama’s Meatballs” to Grilled Swordfish Oreganata.
Reservations are available by calling 215-546-2100.
Little Nonna’s Dinner Menu (PDF)
Little Nonna’s Drinks and Wine Menu (PDF)
Little Nonna’s Dessert Menu (PDF)
Little Nonna’s [Official Site]
Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have set September 4th as the opening date for their “red-sauce” inspired Little Nonna’s. This is the fourth restaurant and seventh business along 13th Street for the pair. Little Nonna’s will seat 37, forty more seats will be available in the outdoor courtyard and will focus on the strong traditions of Italian-American cooking. Look for satisfying staples of “Sunday gravy” and homemade meatballs. Chef Turney even plans to add to her menu by inviting guests to share their own signature dishes via recipe cards on each table. Turney will choose her favorites to feature on the menu.
In addition to the traditional Italian-American classics, look for an all Italian wine list and Italian cocktails including the iconic Negroni. Little Nonna’s version will be served in a mason jar with one big block of ice. We’ll have the full menu early next week.
More photos and details »
Lolita is now officially closed for renovations and the restaurant is selling its chairs, glasses and plates. In addition to the bargain furnishings and tableware from Lolita, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran will also be offering 50% off items from Verde and Open House.
The sale starts at noon and runs till 6:30 p.m.
The details »
Lolita will be open through Saturday, August 24th before closing for major renovations.
The Mexican restaurant from Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran has been a mainstay on 13th for ten years. Now as the restaurant enters its second decade, it will reopen with a new direction.
A new menu will be inspired by Mexican street food. Think tacos, tortas, tamales and even items that don’t begin with the letter “T.” And before everyone freaks out, the carne asada will stay on the menu.
The new Lolita will also include a liquor license and small bar. As you might guess, margaritas will be a major part of the new drink menu.