By moving across town, Matt Pagano has moved up in the world.
Pagano had pretty much been an underground guy with his previous locations in Suburban Station's concourse and in the concourse below what was the old Lit Bros. at Eighth and Market Streets, where he fed chicken cutlets and flank steak to lawyers, judges and defendants from the federal courthouse.
He sold his last spot to open
in Two Commerce Square (Market Street between 20th and 21st Streets, 215-523-6200), which replaced the Marathon Grill in the corner. A Du Jour Market and a still-named pan-Asian restaurant from Martin Grims are planned for the office complex.
Pagano's is no underground operation. It's designed by Philly's DAS Architects (Le Bec-Fin, Rae), mixing contemporary and classic elements to evoke a New York-style deli/butcher shop, with lime, olive, burnt orange, neutral browns and grays, and metal accents. There's a deli and a hot and cold salad bar. The other day, hot items included chicken marsala, stuffed shells and sauteed greens.
One striking design element is the lighting fixtures/chandeliers, created by his cousin Joseph Pagano, a Brooklyn glassblower.
Talk to Matt Pagano long enough, and the equipment junkie in him will come out. He has a Hussman deli case - "nobody uses them for mom-and-pop deli," Pagano says - and a Garland Airdeck pizza oven. (He imported a pizza maker from Naples to run it.) He also sells Ciao Bello gelato, brought down from New York.
It's open from 6 a.m. for breakfast to 6 p.m. weekdays.
Veteran bartender Laurentiu Muras hopes to open
, a gastropub in the former Cafe Habana space at 102 S. 21st St., by New Year's or right after. Muras hired Eric Paraskevas, a former sous chef at Lolita, to run the kitchen.
The guys from Mad River (Old City and Manayunk) are penciling in late February for their next project,
, in a historic firehouse at 1528 Sansom St. Menu will be designed by Mike Stollenwerk of Little Fish.
Di Bruno Bros. plans to ramp up its
outlet (920 S. Ninth St.) by turning it into a small wine cafe with a casual menu including antipasto, charcuterie and cheeses. Bill Mignucci, who says he's aiming for the second quarter of 2009, says he wants Pronto to help propel a rejuvenation of the Italian Market.
Bella Luna Pizza Kitchen
in West Conshohocken is getting a 50-seat addition. In addition to offering BYOB, the menu will expand to offer traditional Italian comfort food. Expect a mid-February opening.
After 25 years, the Four Seasons'
will stop lunch; last day will be Dec. 30. The hotel says it wants to accommodate requests for private breakfast and lunchtime functions. The Swann will remain open for tea (3 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays), nighttime drinks and bar fare, and Sunday brunch. The Swann Cafe, the area between the lounge and the swankier Fountain restaurant, will continue to be open for lunch and dinner; its lunch will feature a three-course tasting plate for $28. The Fountain continues to serve from breakfast through dinner.
Michael O'Halloran, chef-owner of Old City's
, is aiming to take over the Northern Liberties space that was Sovalo and before that Pigalle. O'Halloran's plans for a second spot in Washington Square West - called Waverly - fell apart earlier this year.
Haddonfield restaurateurs are launching a townwide Power Lunch Campaign on Wednesdays starting Jan. 7; it'll be $15 person for two courses. Participants include
Casa Bella Trattoria