Opened Yesterday: The Wishing Well


New Bella Vista pub The Wishing Well opened yesterday (just in time for baseball). It marks the emotional homecoming of peripatetic local chef Carmen Cappello. We caught up with him just before opening day.

On his roots: Small places. I was a dishwasher at Michael’s in Ambler. I put in time at a Friendly’s and Olive Garden. Nothing fancy. I worked at kitchens in Atlanta for a time, then kitchens in Tallahassee. Then I was at Brasserie Perrier and The Ritz Carlton. My first solo restaurant was The Lamp Lighter, in Atlanta.

On why he came back to Philly: Chris, my partner at The Wishing Well, has been my best friend for 25 years. Our fathers were best friends for 50 years before that. Recently, both of our fathers passed. This restaurant is a tribute to them.

On his hopes for The Wishing Well: A neighborhood spot with five-star service and food. The kind of place friends can go and chat, the kind of place fathers and sons can go and be comfortable.

On the menu: Creative, comfortable bar food. Everything will be made on site. For instance, we have mozzarella sticks, but we bread them ourselves. A lot of the stuff is Southern influenced crossed with the Italian Market. The highlight is the SHAME burger, which is a burger topped with scrapple and a fried egg.

On the libations: Six local beers on a rotating tap, six microbrews on a rotating tap. 30-plus beers by the bottle, 40 wines by the bottle.

The Wishing Well, 767 South 9th Street; 215-238-6555;