Marc Vetri plans to open a casual pasta bar in an old butcher shop near the Italian Market, modeled off the pop-up noodle events that brought throngs to the second-floor demo space at his Vetri Cucina.
Vetri said he will call it Fiorella, after the family that sold him the building at 817 Christian St. For more than a century, it housed Fiorella Sausage.
Fiorella, which he hopes to open in the fall, will include one long counter seating 11 to 13 people, who will be served by the cooks, he said. The menu will include six different pastas, three or four salads and appetizers, and a dessert of the day.
“That’s it,” he told me. “You get a noodle, a salad, and leave.”
Dishes will be priced a la carte and no reservations will be accepted. Customers can join the waiting list, leave their cell number, and “go take a walk on Ninth Street,” he said.
It will be open five night a week for dinner, leaving the other nights available for chef takeovers and private events.
Vetri said he would maintain much of the interior, adding an antique Venetian chandelier to spruce it up, and an antique espresso machine to satisfy his obsession for coffee. The walk-in refrigerator and elevator will be incorporated in the design.
“I was looking for somewhere to do the pasta bar after we had a couple of them pop up upstairs at Vetri,” said Vetri, adding that he almost bought a building in Fishtown but then put it on hold because of the Vetri Cucina opening in Las Vegas.
“Then I heard about Fiorella and thought it was perfect,” he told me. “I liked the real estate investment and I loved the shop. It had so much character. Meeting Dan and Trisha [Fiorella] sealed the deal.”
After considering various names for the pasta bar, Vetri had an a-ha moment, “This was Fiorella for a hundred years,” he said. “How could I name it anything else?”
Vetri said Fiorella would not only use the Fiorella sausage recipe but Dan Fiorella himself would make the ragu.
A bit of drama unfolded at Fiorella over the weekend. When Dan Fiorella stopped at the shop to meet with Vetri on Friday, he noticed that the brass, circa-1901 cash register, purchased by his great-grandfather Luigi, was missing. Many workers had access to the shop.
After Vetri sounded the alarm on social media, two men noticed it Saturday at an antiques shop in Northeast Philadelphia, Vetri said.
The register is back, but has been stashed in a safer location, he said.