Il Cantuccio is one of those neighborhood stalwarts, a shoebox of a BYOB holding down the corner of Third Street and Fairmount Avenue in Northern Liberties since 1999.
About a year after its opening, owner Giuseppe Rosselli, who opened Trattoria Dell'Artista (which burned down in 1994) and then La Locanda del Ghiottone in Old City, died suddenly of a heart attack. Rosselli's widow has kept it going.
Spyro Tsibogos, a restaurant consultant and old friend and business partner of Giuseppe's, has redone the place with GM Candice Wetzel and executive chef David Levecchia.
On Friday, Feb. 14 - "yeah, Valentine's Day," Tsibogos said, with mock disbelief - Il Cantuccio reopens with a new menu and even cozier decor.
The traditional Italian menu has been infused with a little Spanish, a little Moroccan, some French and a touch of Greek here and there. The plan, said Tsibogos, is to keep the menu fresh and priced fairly.
Tsibogos said he was trying to imagine Giuseppe working with him on the renovation. He said they were able to retain the earthiness and warmth, "while pushing toward something just a little bit out of the norm."
As for keeping the name, Tsibogos said there was no discussion otherwise.
It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday.
Lunch menu is here.
Dinner menu is here.