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Crow & the Pitcher setting up in Rittenhouse

The bar-restaurant, named after an Aesop's fable, will have a historic cheese cart to match with an ambitious cheese program.

When Michael Franco and chef Alex Capasso were cooking up plans for Crow & the Pitcher - their bar-restaurant just off Rittenhouse Square - they reached out to their old boss.

Franco was a general manager of Le Bec-Fin (he was last at Per Se in New York), and Capasso cooked on the line at Brasserie Perrier (he owned Blackbird Dining Establishment, West Side Gravy and Benny's Burger Joint  in Collingswood).

And the old boss - Georges Perrier (who, by the way, is working on a new restaurant) - was eager to help.

Told that Crow & the Pitcher would have a temperature-controled cheese room right off the bar, Perrier offered Capasso and Franco something historic: one of the cheese carts from the late Le Bec-Fin. Though the carts had fallen on hard times at the end of Perrier's tenure on Walnut Street, Franco and Capasso fixed up theirs. It gleams.

The new cheese room sits above a new temperature-controlled wine cellar at Crow & the Pitcher, opening in the next two weeks at 267 S. 19th St., last an Italian restaurant known as C19.

It's rustic. The guys covered walls in reclaimed barn wood or simply exposed the brick, and installed a wood-clad bar counter made of granite (there will be eight beers on tap, plus your requisite craft cocktails and wines). Pendant lights suspended over the tables are lit by old-time Edison bulbs.

Capasso's menu is not ready, but he says it will be American with French techniques. It will be open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday.