If chatter within the Rittenhouse Hotel and real estate circles is accurate, Scarpetta - a three-star New York Times-rated, celeb-favored Italian based in the Meatpacking District - will set up next spring within the hotel's vacant Smith & Wollensky space.

A rep for Scarpetta declined to comment, saying there was no info to share at the present. A hotel rep did not reply.

Scarpetta's founder, chef Scott Conant, yielded the operation last fall to LDV Hospitality, which operated three restaurants at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City (American Cut with Iron Chef Marc Forgione, Azure with chef Alain Allegretti, and Lugo Italian) before the casino went bust and shut them out. The same fate befell other Revel restaurants, including Jose Garces' Amada, Yuboka, Village Whiskey, and Distrito Cantina.

LDV operates Scarpetta locations in Miami, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, and seasonally in the Hamptons.

Its website traces the name to an Italian expression "fare la scarpetta," as in the gesture of taking the little boot-shaped piece of bread to soak up the remaining sauce left on the plate.