Bit of a traffic snarl this morning on East Passyunk Avenue by the Singing Fountain.
Brigantessa, the forthcoming Southern Italian restaurant from the crew at Le Virtu down the street, was receiving its wood-fired oven, a 6,500-pound monster fresh off the boat.
Gianni Acunto makes all of its ovens by hand outside of Naples but finishes them with mortar made from ash taken from Vesuvio, explained chef/owner Joe Cicala. His partners in Brigantessa are Le Virtu owners Francis Cratil Cretarola and Cathy Lee.
Cicala explained that Acunto ovens are one of only a couple of brands recognized by AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) for certification. He visited the factory and met the artisans who made the oven - part of a trip that included Vera Pizza Napoletana training in Naples and a stage at La Figlia del Presidente.
When Brigantessa's oven is set up, reps of AVPN will stop in to certify it. If it passes muster, Brigantessa will be the first Philly restaurant to carry the designation.
Brigantessa - which will combine the pizzeria Napoletana, enoteca (wine bar with small Italian tapas-like dishes) and birreria (tap room with accompanying food) concepts - is up for a mid- to late-August opening at 1520 E. Passyunk Ave.