First Look: Apollinare
Despite owning three restaurants and a catering service in his native Italy, Fabio Auguadro didn’t know if he was ready for Philadelphia. “American diners expect different things than European diners,” he says. “They like things faster, but they still want quality.”
Having overcome his early nerves, Auguadro feels his NoLibs spot Apollinare has found its niche. While the chic dining room is decidedly urban, Auguadro and his staff maintain the heart of Apollinare is its rustic Italian attitude: “Eating is about relationships. You don’t rush through a meal. You come together with friends, talk for hours, and when you finish, you can’t wait to come back.”
Auguadro admits it has been a struggle to convince us on-the-go Philadelphians to slow down and savor a meal. The kitchen, which hand-makes all its pasta, has worked on speed in the restaurant’s first weeks of being open. And the restaurant’s first batch of servers weren’t conveying the right message. “Serving in Italy is a profession, like an art,” Auguadro says. “If you have a passion for providing each customer with good service, that is how you cultivate relationships.” His new servers, he insists, share his passion for fostering a sense of community: “You will never be kicked out of here. You can stay all night if you want, drinking wine and coffee.”
See our slideshow of the interior and select dishes.
Apollinare, 1001 North 2nd Street, 215-923-2014; apollinarerestaurant.com.