Res Ipsa, opening this Friday, December 9, at 2218 Walnut Street, is the new Rittenhouse partner-project by two highly-accomplished Fishtown business owners, Mark Corpus and Mark Capriotti of ReAnimator Coffee and Tyler Akin of Stock.
In the mornings and afternoons, Res Ipsa will be all coffee and cafe. Drinks will be made from, of course, locally-roasted ReAnimator coffee, and breakfast will be a simple occasion of house-made english muffin breakfast sandwiches, parfaits, and focaccia (sweet and savory). While Hungry Pigeon — similar in concept to Res Ipsa, but different in execution — goes after a more traditional, McMuffin-like breakfast sandwich, Akin and his executive chef Michael Vincent Ferreri (previously of Aldine, Zeppoli, and Zahav) are shooting for something more intensive, yet still fast-and-easy just the same. Prices are below Rittenhouse standards, too: a homemade english muffin stuffed with custardy frittata, asiago fresco, and long hot salsa verde only goes for $4.50 — $2 more if you want meat on it. Lunchtime gets the addition of Italian cafe sandwiches built on house-baked bread (Antoine Hopkins, previously of Barbuzzo, and Michelle Capparell, previously of Le Cheri, make up Res Ipsa’s pastry team) plus a few seasonal salads, which includes a “proper caesar salad.” Zahav-alum Adam Sosnowick is leading the Res Ipsa brigade as sous chef.
Dinner is where Ferreri really gets to flex his chef-muscles. Inspired by his own Sicilian heritage and the time he spent training under Joey Baldino at Zeppoli, the chef will turn Res Ipsa’s cafe into a southern Italian/Sicilian BYOB. The menu is coursed-out in typical Italian fashion: seafood and vegetable-driven antipasti (think: Sicilian “baby fish” tossed in Calabrian chile oil and salsa verde; grilled, anchovy-studded cauliflower), lots of homemade pasta, plus a few entrees geared to share (grilled whole fish and agrodolce chicken with all the accoutrements). Cap your meal with ReAnimator coffee and make sure to gussy up your espresso by ordering it shaken or topped with a light Italian custard. “Every part of the meal is important to me,” said Ferreri, who, for years, helped run the show at Zahav’s chef counter with Michael Solomonov. “A cup of coffee is just as important as the pasta.”
As for the physical space, they hired Paul Maiello, who, in addition to being a construction coordinator for major Philly movie sets, apparently builds restaurants, too. Ambit Architecture, the same firm that designed Stock, went with a similarly minimalist approach inside Res Ipsa: soft woods, white walls, simple lighting.
Res Ipsa will start with just cafe service on its first day, and on Saturday, December 10, they'll introduce the dinner component. Moving forward, cafe hours will run seven days a week starting at 7 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends. Dinner service is Wednesday to Sunday starting at 5:30 p.m.