Paradiso, one of the earlier destination restaurants on the East Passyunk Avenue strip in South Philadelphia, will close June 1 after nearly 15 years, chef-owner Lynn Rinaldi told me Saturday.
A deal is in place with a restaurateur she declined to identify to purchase the assets, including the building at 1627 E. Passyunk Ave.
This will mark a new beginning for Rinaldi, who said she did some soul-searching about her future after severely breaking an ankle late last year, which took her off her feet for three months.
She and her former husband, Corey Baver, recently closed Izumi, their Japanese restaurant up the block at Tasker Street. It will become a BYOB called River Twice later this summer.
Rinaldi, who grew up at 12th and Tasker Streets, went to the Restaurant School, and operated a cafe for nine years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, was 40 in 2004 when she took the leap to open an upscale restaurant on a commercial strip studded with mom-and-pops such as Marra’s and Tre Scalini.
Her father shook his head at his first peek at the shell of Bob’s Arcade, a longtime furniture and appliance store. She proceeded anyway. With its elegant appointments, including a polished granite bar, Paradiso (in critic Craig LaBan’s words) “exudes modern elegance.”
Rinaldi — sounding a lot like Terry Berch McNally, a contemporary who recently closed London Grill in Fairmount — said she would turn up again in the restaurant business, just not on her feet for 10 or 11 hours a day.
Here’s a backgrounder on Rinaldi from 2015.