"Another Italian restaurant?"
Restaurateurs looking for a concept tend to go with what they know people want. You can’t get more popular than Italian food.
That all makes sense, but it’s hard to explain what’s happening right now in Rittenhouse Square/Fitler Square area.
You have the stalwart D’Angelo’s at 20th and Rittenhouse, of course, and Scarpetta at the Rittenhouse Hotel. You have established BYOBs: Res Ipsa at 2218 Walnut, Casta Diva at 227 S. 20th, Melograno at 2012 Sansom, and the little sleeper Sotto at 151 S. 24th. under the Walnut Street overpass.
More recent comers include the weeks-old Ambrosia, another BYO, in the former Sandy’s luncheonette at 24th and Locust, and Trattoria Carina at 22nd and Spruce. Also, the long-running Mama Palma’s at 23rd and Spruce Streets will reopen in several weeks as Palma’s Cucina, with an upgraded menu that’s lighter on the pizza.
Open this week is Cotoletta Fitler Square at 23rd and Pine Streets, which last was Tria and awhile back was a Dmitri’s.
It’s the downtown debut of Beth and Lou Amadio’s popular Belmont Hills BYOB, whose cutlets send fans into fits of drooling.
In the sunny space dressed in splashes of bold colors, the Amadios have picked up a bar stocked with the requisite spirits (six specialty cocktails named after their kids and daughters-in-law), eight beers on tap, and a red wine on tap, served in carafes.
Menu is similar to the original, with pastas (rigatoni and meatballs, cheese ravioli, and ziti & asparagus) for $18, and most seafood dishes and cutlet prices in the mid-$20s. The signature Cotoletta Stack, with chicken cutlet, eggplant, stuffed long hots, marinara, and Provolone is $34.
Before opening Cotoletta (“cutlet”) at the former Mel’s Italian on the Hill in early 2016, the Amadios ran a small restaurant in Narberth called Homemade from 2010 to 2014. Beth Amadio got into the restaurant game after hearing raves for her home cooking. (She and Lou raised four kids.) Meanwhile, Lou Amadio works for Otis, the elevator company, so they’re used to businesses that see their ups and downs.
For the first few weeks, Cotoletta Fitler Square will handle walk-ins only. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Weekend brunch is about a month away.