Chris D'Ambro and Marina De Oliveira's Southwark project has been over a year in-the-making, and now, its just about a month from opening. Yesterday, we saw this go up on D'Ambro's Facebook page:
D'Ambro's story is an impressive one: the CIA-trained chef met De Oliveira in a "classic restaurant love story" sort of way: he was the opening chef at Talula's Garden, while his wife worked the front-of-house. Amy Olexy saw D'Ambro's talent and moved him to Kennet Square's four-bell Talula's Table before the two took off for Cabo, Mexico's highly-acclaimed Flora Farms, a nose-to-tail, protein-on-premises destination restaurant.
When the two heard Southwark was on the market, they bit hard, came back to Philly, and after over a year of back-and-forth with Kip and Sheri Waide (the previous owners of the restaurant), the sale finalized last week.
There will be some slight cosmetic changes to the restaurant, but D'Ambro promises the new Southwark will be in keeping with the soul of the restaurant: a farm-driven menu alongside classic cocktails — a neighborhood place for any day of the week, with a menu that will accommodate a few bites at the bar, or a full dinner experience in the dining room. Industry workers rejoice, D'Ambro will keep the restaurant open on Mondays (a rarity in South Philly), and the kitchen open until 1:00 a.m. Let it be known, Wednesday nights will be BYOB in the dining room.
But don't forget its sister restaurant, Ambra, still four to six months away from opening at 705 S. 4th Street. The boutique Italian restaurant is named after the original D'Ambro family name, Ambra, before his grandfather changed it to disassociate himself from his lawless brothers. Ambra will seat 18 people — D'Ambro fully expects it to be a "special occasion restaurant" with a prix fixe menu and wine-focused bar.