George Sabatino's rise in Philly has been nothing short of stellar, as the chef worked in the trenches at Fork, Monk's Cafe and Ansill before joining the Marcie Turney/Valerie Safran partnership on 13th Street at Lolita, Bindi and Barbuzzo, and then winding up in his first executive chef's role, at Stateside.
That gig landed him a Best of Philly in 2012.
Now cheffing at Waterfront Winterfest at Penn's Landing after a summer at Morgan's Pier, he is poised to make the big next step:
He will open his own restaurant.
Sabatino and his wife, Jennifer, have struck a deal with his current boss, Avram Hornik, to take over Noche, the bar-lounge on the second floor of 1901 Chestnut St. (It's above Burger.Org.)
Noche's finale will be New Year's Eve, after which BoxWood Architects will convert it extensively into Aldine Restaurant, which will exploit the open windows overlooking the intersection and have an open kitchen in the back.
Aldine? George tells me that Jennifer, a bar manager by trade, found that the Aldine Theatre once stood on the opposite corner; it was last the Sam's Place and is now the CVS store. There also once was an Aldine Hotel across the street.
He says he'll avoid pretentiousness.
Food will be value-driven and chef-driven, he says, mentioning "herbivore menus and omnivore menus" as well as an a la carte menu.
Full bar. They will do everything from scratch, including sodas.