Brigantessa Ends Its Five-Year Run on East Passyunk Avenue

A new restaurant called Ember & Ash is already planned for the space.

Brigantessa | Facebook

Brigantessa, the Neapolitan pizzeria on East Passyunk Avenue and sister restaurant of Le Virtù, has been sold to new owners. Its last day will be New Year’s Eve.

The owners, Francis Cratil Cretarola and Cathy Lee, issued this statement:

After five years on East Passyunk, we’re turning the business over to others who want to make their own positive imprint on the Avenue. We wish them the best and will offer any help we can provide. Thank you to all our guests, especially the many who became devoted regulars. It was our pleasure to meet and serve you. Thanks to all our employees who gave their heart and soul to the business. We are in your debt. Thank you to all who helped us support good causes like Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, immigrant healthcare (Puentes de Salud) and rights, and Andrew Jackson Middle School’s music programs. We will concentrate on Le Virtu, continue to celebrate Abruzzese culture back in the neighborhood that provided a landing spot for many of the region’s immigrants, and double down on our advocacy for all immigrants. All outstanding Brigantessa gift cards will be honored at Le Virtu. Our last day of service will be New Year’s Eve.

Cratil Cretarola and Lee opened their Neapolitan pizzeria and southern Italian restaurant in 2014 in partnership with Joe and Angela Cicala, Le Virtu’s chefs at the time. Critics loved it for its commitment to providing an authentic, convivial southern Italian dining experience (even the wood burning pizza oven was imported from Italy), diners loved it because Brigantessa did two things very well: pizza and beer.

It had some troubles. There was the nasty split from the Cicalas. And then there was that whole chef-de-cuisine-making-anti-semetic-comments-and-Instagram-posts thing.

And now, under new ownership, it will become an entirely different concept this spring: Ember & Ash.

Chefs Scott Calhoun and David Feola (both previously from Jean-Georges) are planning a nose-to-tail restaurant celebrating the peasant foods of the world in the same space, according to the Inquirer. “Open fire cooking on a custom made grill,” Calhoun tells me.