Effective next week, the short-lived Di Vino Wine Bar just off Rittenhouse Square gives way to
(267 S. 19th St., 215-545-0441), a Venetian-inspired small-plater.
New partner/executive chef Andrea Luca Rossi, a onetime gondolier in Venice and previously manager at the nearby Girasole, has retained sous chef Shiah Blau.
The cozy atmosphere is aimed at the neighborhood, and the plan is to obtain local and organic ingredients. Most dishes, intended to be paired with 2.5-ounce wine samplings or cocktails, are $8 or $9, while pizzas are in the mid-teens; see menu at http://go.philly.com/cichetteria.
Brunch and lunch are on the way, as well.
Zoning permitting, Stephen Starr wants to open a beer garden at Frankford and Girard Avenues in Fishtown. It would be an outdoor-only operation this summer/fall and would move partly under roof for next year, according to plans.
Dave Magrogan of Kildare's and business partner John Caulfield are converting the former Coyote Crossing at 102 E. Market St., West Chester, into a multilevel California-style Mexican cantina called Más. Opening is set for Feb. 18.
Le Viet (1019 S. 11th St.) hopes to join the parade of Vietnamese restaurants around 11th and Washington in South Philly next month. Owner Bruce Cao and family are outfitting their space with modern features (wood panels, stone walls, faux metallic tiles) and plain old-fashioned Vietnamese cooking.
Black Angus, positioning itself as a modest-priced steak house-cum-jazz club, is awaiting its liquor license to open at 117-119 South St., the ornately high-ceilinged former home of Tori's Brickhouse and Mallorca.
Toto Schiavone of Fox Chase's Moonstruck now says "late March" for Beccofino, his Italian concept at 722 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell. Apparently, the plan to position a stove in the middle of the dining room created delays.
Chef Jim LoCascio has given notice at
(last night will be Feb. 9), and he's planning to take the summer off before resurfacing. He said he wanted to coach spring baseball and spend time with his wife and sons (ages 7 and 5) and baby daughter (19 months).
Jim Burke, who with his wife, Kristina, owns James in South Philly, will be in Hyde Park, N.Y., on the weekend of Feb. 5-6 to compete for a spot on the U.S. Bocuse d'Or team, which will compete next year in the world biennial culinary championship. Burke will be one of 12 competitors, and is the only local. At his side will be Culinary Institute of America student Simon Solis-Cohen of South Philly, who has been commuting from CIA's Hyde Park campus to work with Burke on salmon and lamb recipes. Kevin Sbraga, formerly culinary director for Jose Garces and now chef at Rat's in Hamilton Township, N.J., represented the United States in 2008.
Verdad in Bryn Mawr is expanding upstairs next month with the Agave Room, providing 30 seats for additional and private dining and a garden deck, weather permitting.