Capogiro, the gelateria, is on a path to slow but steady growth, says cofounder John Reitano.
Less than a week after he and his wife, Stephanie, opened their third location at 1625 E. Passyunk Ave. in South Philadelphia, they unlocked the doors to their fourth spot last week. It is in the new Radian building at 3925 Walnut St. in University City.
They're not done. Reitano says their new production kitchen at the former Medical College of Pennsylvania in East Falls should be running this week. A fifth cafe, offering breakfast and lunch at the MCP site, is awaiting financing, he said.
Reitano, a psychiatrist, and his wife opened their first spot in December 2002 at 13th and Sansom Streets, introducing exotic flavors to a plain-vanilla town. A second location, at 20th and Sansom Streets, followed in 2005.
The couple - he's 45 now, she's 39 - came up with the idea for gelato during a trip to Capri without their three kids. Stephanie Reitano came up with the recipes, using seasonal produce and Lancaster County milk. "We didn't want to do this the quick and easy way," he explained.
The business is expanding so rapidly - sales are increasing 30 percent a year - Reitano is unsure how many employees he has but guesses it's 50 to 60 full and part time.
The small Passyunk Avenue location - which has an old photo of his grandparents in their Rochester, N.Y., grocery - has an old-time look.
When the Reitanos open Capogiros in other cities, the University City location will be the model. It has a wider food menu (panini, finger sandwiches), a yogurt bar, and a liquor license.
At that West Philly store, Reitano said they would soon start pouring 10 wines (mostly Italians, including Prosecco) by the glass and bottle and two American artisanal beers on tap, and produce cocktails made with sorbet, as in lime sorbet in a margarita.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. weekdays, till 1 a.m. on weekends.
Pups Cafe, Bill Ryan's new four-seat counter in the Wynnewood train station, is to expand hours to evenings and Saturdays next month.
Zesty's, the Greco-Roman spot in Manayunk, has renovated top to bottom, and a menu overhaul includes more Italian small plates.
Smokin' Betty's, a casual grill, is finally nearing completion at 11th and Sansom Streets, many months behind schedule. Susan Schlisman, owner of Devil's Alley at 19th and Chestnut as well as two Sam's Grills in the suburbs, ran afoul of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, which picketed. Schlisman says the attention had a positive effect on business, drawing the curious in to eat and drink.