Three years ago, Joe Scarpone reluctantly closed Sovalo, arguably the swankiest restaurant in Northern Liberties. Sovalo may have been a three-beller, but the neighborhood just wasn't filling the seats.
Scarpone next headed to Manayunk to set up Agiato; he left shortly after its opening after a falling out with the developers.
Now Scarpone is back downtown. He signed a lease for the triangle-shape spot at Passyunk Avenue and Catharine Street, across from Cochon, that last housed Trattoria Alla Costiera.
Ulivo, a form of the Italian word for olive, will be neighborhood-friendly, a collection of mainly pasta, pizza, salads and panini with top entree prices in the low $20s. "It will be Sovaloesque. I'm not shooting to be a destination restaurant," he told me, "but I hope it happens."