What was originally supposed to be an extension of Laurel, will soon be its own entity come Fourth of July weekend: a wine bar named ITV — Top Chef winner Nick Elmi's newest addition to the East Passyunk scene.
"We thought Laurel is fine the way it is," said Elmi, "It's got a small bottle list we started six months ago—it works as a BYOB, or guests can order bottles and opt for the wine pairing. So why mess with it? Now I can say I own two restaurants, even though they're right next to each other."
Eimer Design built out a sleek space for Elmi and company, the walls a deep gray, accented with a gold-piped shelving, a marble bar, and rolled-wood wallpaper etched with floral patterns. "We wanted it to be dark. Quiet and sexy."
It being a wine bar, expect an impressive bottle and by-the-glass list put together by Laurel's Level II certified sommelier, Heather Sharp. The list will lean heavily French with a good helping of Austrian varieties—primarily old-world with a focus on bio-dynamic and organic options. The wine will, of course, match whatever Elmi and his crew are cooking in the back. Bottles will range from $50-$250, with seven specialty cocktails, six beer taps (one dedicated to cider) and a craft bottle and can list for the beer drinkers. Laurel's general manager, Melody Lauletta, will be pulling double duty, managing both restaurants' front-of-house. The third prong of Elmi's managing staff is Jordan Stalsworth, the bar manager, who's been with the team for the past year.
Food will be small plates only, ranging from $6-$22 — the same outstanding French-American food Elmi's built his career upon. The chef is especially excited about his kitchen team, "It's the best crew I've had in a long time."
ITV won't be taking reservations, and tasting menus are reserved for next door only (Laurel's $85 prix fixe). The kitchen will stay open till 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with the bar open till 2 a.m.
The name, by the way, comes from the Lenape translation of "Passyunk", meaning "in the valley."
Stay tuned for updates‚ and keep in mind, Elmi's got a third project coming soon to the PHL International Airport.