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Wm. Mulherin's Sons: Italian in Fishtown

Chris Painter (Il Pittore), sous chef John Taus, and Jonah Fliegelman and Nathan Winkler-Rhoades of the Pitruco Pizza truck and Enjay's Pizza are on board.

How do you name an Italian restaurant "Wm. Mulherin's Sons"?

It's actually a chicken-and-egg issue.

Randy Cook and David Grasso of Method Hospitality fell in love with a three-story, former 19th-century whiskey bottling factory at Front and Master Streets in Fishtown. "Wm. Mulherin's Sons" was carved into the facade. They imagined it for a restaurant, with a four-room boutique hotel on top.

They decided to use the building name, after one of the region's premier Italian chefs - Chris Painter (Il Pittore) - joined the project with his longtime sous chef, John Taus, as did Jonah Fliegelman and Nathan Winkler-Rhoades of the Pitruco Pizza truck and Enjay's Pizza.

Wm. Mulherin's Sons' opening is March 31 (1355 N. Front St., 215-989-4317). In the early going, it opens at 5 p.m. and serves late (midnight/1 a.m.)

Rich, wood-paneled atmosphere, brimming with history, includes a repurposed safe, terra-cotta arched windows, and the original vestibule. It's three distinct rooms - a bar, a dining room with a fireplace, and a rear dining room facing the wood-fired oven and grill.

Menu includes small plates, such as veal tartare toast, hamachi crudo, octopus, pork ribs, and asparus salad. The Pitruco guys are turning out eight pizzas. Eight pastas. Mains include hanger steak, half brick chicken, 24-ounce grilled porterhouse for two, and 32-ounce tomahawk pork chop for two, plus fluke, swordfish, braised lamb neck, and veal cheek.

Drink list includes 10 cocktails, five draft beers and assorted bottles, and 10 wines by the glass.

Mulherin's also has a parking lot, a plus for the neighborhood.