The spot in East Falls that's been home to Verge and Franco's Trattoria is being revived this week as In Riva, a Southern Italian (wood-fired pizzas, antipasti, specialty cocktails, modest prices, you know the drill) in industrial surroundings from chef Arthur Cavaliere. Official opening will be Dec. 12.
The well-traveled Philly-born Cavaliere, 31, points out that he's never cooked Italian on a commercial basis, "but this is my food." He started in the biz as a teenager working as a line cook for Derek Davis up the way in Manayunk. He went on to work for and with Stephen Starr and Jose Garces at the opening of El Vez and eventually Amada. Cavaliere came back to Starr in 2006 as executive chef at El Vez and then landed as executive chef of Parc. Then he skipped town for D.C. to work for Michel Richard as executive chef of Central Michel Richard. He then opened Mani Osteria & Bar in Ann Arbor, Mich., with fellow Starr/Garces alum Adam Baru.
In Riva (4116 Ridge Ave., 215-438-4848, www.in-riva.com) is a partnership with developer Mark Sherman, who owns the bricks. Cavaliere said he got a call from Sherman, a family friend, in the last days of Franco's Trattoria.
The name means "along the banks of the river."
Interior designer Shannon Willis has done a smashing job with the first floor, which has a high ceiling, cinderblock walls, and concrete floor. Beneath a wooden communal table fashioned from old doors found at Sherman's Sherman Mills, Willis installed a wooden chandelier that runs the length. It's topped with old table lamps. The cozy bar area has elevated banquettes, allowing you to stretch out and dangle your toes.
In the spring, patio dining - which offer great views of the Schuylkill- will include fire pits.