La Locanda del Ghiottone, the granddaddy of Old City's BYOBs at Third and Cherry Streets, is down after a middle-of-the-night fire that the Philadelphia Fire Department says started in the kitchen.
The first alarm was reported at 3:31 a.m. and firefighters arrived three minutes later, according to a city report. Residents of the apartment building next door were routed. No injuries were reported.
Ghiottone owner Giuseppe Messina, who also owns Il Cantuccio nearby in Northern Liberties, told me this morning that he is awaiting the Health Department to assess the damage, and as such, to determine how long Ghiottone will be out of commission.
Founder Giuseppe Rosselli, who died suddenly in 2000. received acclaim in the early 1990s with Trattoria Dell'Artista, a 35-seater in a converted luncheonette down the block. He and his family lived above it.
In 1993, Rosselli opened the larger Ristorante der Ghiottone ("the glutton"), on the corner of Third and Cherry. One night in 1994, the Rossellis were rousted from bed by a fire at Trattoria Dell'Artista and it never reopened. Ghiottone itself was closed for five months in 1997 after a fire. It reopened as La Locanda del Ghiottone.