What are some things you’ve talked about doing with the new menu?
Tacos. They do them at North Bowl. I said to both Mark and Todd, if we do tacos, we’re in South Philly and there are plenty of places to get [good] tacos cheap. If we do tacos, we have to do them right. We can’t do tacos and have people being like these gringos doing tacos….If we have a tortilleria nearby, why not get it from there. Like, if we’re going to do something Italian, we have to make sure it’s authentic. You have to pay attention to the neighborhood. Especially when they can just go down the street.
Do you have any set dishes or is it still too early?
There will be things carried over from the menu at North Bowl. The tots menu will be carried over. I know the salmon burger is going to come. Possibly the tacos, but this is all stuff we’re talking about in the next couple of days.
What about initial ideas for your pizza menu?
It still has to get costed out and approved, but it’s finished. If I had to pick two, my vegan caponata [roasted eggplant,tomato and butternut squash, golden raisins, capers, olives, shaved fennel, fresh herbs] and the pork roll one [creme fraiche, American and Mozzarella cheese,Taylor pork roll, fried egg, maple syrup drizzle, fresh herbs] are my favorites.
You’ve opened a lot of places. How does it feel to be doing it again? And how does it look going forward with South Bowl?
Yeah, I helped open Bistro La Minette. That was really cool. That was from the ground up. Even though the menu wasn’t mine there, I got to see how much team effort it takes to open a place. With Taproom, it was go and pick out plates and getting to see how to design a menu [completely from scratch] and cost everything out. Ordering everything. And building a team–that’s what I’m really excited about here. Building a team with the best possible people. There’s that and of course all the shiny new equipment, like the beautiful new pizza oven. The brand new Hobart mixer. There’s all the work we have to do, like getting in there and setting up the kitchen in the most efficient way. And just like, really taking ownership of it.
What are your personal feelings on coming back to South Philly?
I feel like South Philly is my culinary home. I live here. All my friends are here like Joe [Cicala], the people at The P.O.P.E., Brigantesa , Watkins, Townsend. All those places and places like Los Gallos and Veracruzana that I go to–they’re my culinary family. There’s nothing more that I wanted than to be back in South Philly cooking. South Philly people are my favorites.