Palladino's on Passyunk is closed for renovations, as chef-owner Luke Palladino wants to - in his words - "evolve" the sleek Italian chop specialist into less of a special-occasion destination and more of a community gathering place.
Palladino's (1934 E. Passyunk) is due to reopen Friday, Sept. 9, just before the Eagles' home opener.
"It'll be serious - but only in terms of food and our approach to service," Palladino said, adding that he is still bullish on the South Philadelphia neighborhood, which boasts an enviable strip of restaurants.
He says the location, just off Broad, is ideally suited for gatherings before and after sports and concerts at the sports complex as well as in Center City.
Italian American classics will be on the menu, live music will be added, the overall atmosphere will be brightened (he has rock-and-roll-theme photos), and takeout options will be offered, especially to those headed toward games.
He also wants to partner with transportation companies to bring customers from Center City and the suburbs to South Philadelphia and back again.
Palladino's opened in late 2014 and won three bells from The Inquirer's Craig LaBan.
Palladino now helps operate LP Steak and the pop-up Italian restaurant Fianco at Valley Forge Casino, and runs Luke Palladino Seasonal Italian Cooking at the Jersey Shore in Linwood.
Meanwhile, Palladino's company is facing litigation. A corporation that lent him money to open the restaurant filed a claim in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in June, seeking a judgment of about $347,000. Palladino's company also is facing a complaint in Municipal Court from the landlord, Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corp., over three months' back rent (at $8,500 a month) plus utilities for the restaurant. Palladino said his attorneys were working on it and declined to elaborate.