This Middle Child and Villa Di Roma Collaboration Is Giving Me Much-Needed Pre-COVID Vibes

As restaurants return, one of the best parts of Philly's food scene returns with it: chef collaborations and spur-of-the-moment pop-ups.

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On the list of things I miss most from B.C. (before coronavirus), the seemingly random, collaboration-driven pop-ups from Philly’s millennial chefs ranks pretty high, which is why the announcement of Middle Child’s collaboration with Villa Di Roma this weekend is making me so happy.

For $80, you get two crabcake meatball sandwiches with Villa di Roma’s crab gravy, salad, scampied potato salad with roe, plus drinks and toffee coffee cookies for dessert. Order here. It’s not quite the same as the crowded, in-person pop-ups of yore, since you’ll have to preorder, pick it up and eat it on your own time, but it still feels like a small piece of that sweet pre-COVID life.

This Middle Child and Villa Di Roma pop-up is one of several that have happened across the city recently. Malik Ali, one of the chefs behind Cooking For the Culture, Ange Branca, and several other chefs are raising money for Everybody Eats at a pop-up at Musi today, June 25th. James Beard nominated Kalaya has popped up at Southwark in Queen Village and Fiore Fine Foods in the last week. Last weekend, Little Fish’s seafood shack-style pop-up sold out in just a couple of hours. As someone who misses the joy of trying new foods in restaurants, these collaborations and one-night-only menus are giving me a much-needed dose of normalcy, and I hope they continue.