An Italian cafe/restaurant called Fiore is on the way to the former Kanella South space in Queen Village.
Ed Crochet and Justine MacNeil, two pedigreed chefs last in New York, have signed a lease for 757 S. Front St., which last was Kanella South after a brief spell as Village Belle, which followed a decades-long run as Frederick's. (Kanella's Konstantinos Pitsillides has since decamped to his original BYOB location at 10th and Spruce.)
Crochet describes Fiore as "casual-ish, but not overly casual — professional at the same time." As an example, he suggested somewhere between the earthy airs of the nearby Hungry Pigeon and the polish of, say, Vernick in Rittenhouse.
MacNeil's forte is pastry, and her resume includes Del Posto, Craft, and the Dutch. Crochet was a chef at Craft before joining Starr Restaurants, which led to a spell as executive chef with Starr Catering. That pointed them toward Philadelphia as a city to open their first restaurant.
"We're not here to score big-time cash or move in on a market," Crochet told me. "We like Queen Village and we want to be a part of the restaurant scene here — not 'apart' from the scene."
The days will start with pastry-focused breakfast including zeppole or bombolini maritozzi, sweet and savory schiacciate, marinated vegetable salads, focaccia sandwiches, and the like. They want to feel out the opening times — aiming for 10 a.m., unless there's a call for earlier. "We want to be make sure that we are in line with what the neighborhood is looking for and we are happy to be flexible to do so," MacNeil said.
It will shut down in midafternoon and start again for dinner. The menu will be focused on pasta and vegetable-forward dishes. MacNeil is particularly proud of her gelato. They won't have a display case — rather just a few flavors at a time, including classics such as the Tuscan favorite crema, cioccolato fondente, and also "mix-in" heavy flavors such as rocky road and s'mores. All nut pastes and mix-ins will be made in-house.
Wines will be Italians and Americans, with bottle prices between $35 and $60. They'll offer five reds and whites by the glass. Pennsylvania liquors will be featured, though they'll go Italian for after-dinner drinks.
They'll do only light redecoration (there's a killer open grill in the dining room and a lovely separate barroom); the opening timeline is dependent on the liquor-license transfer, which can be 60 to 120 days.
They intend to book private parties in December and by January open the cafe portion, running that way until they're licensed.