South Philly neighbors mourning August, the Italian BYOB that sat in the cozy corner spot at 13th and Wharton from 2003 to 2017, might be in luck. The building is getting a new tenant and it’s another Italian BYOB, this one named Burrata.
Co-owner Albi Furxhiu, 27, is hesitant to share too many details about the restaurant because he’s still awaiting permits from the city. But he will say he’s planning it as “a more modern Italian,” not the classic South Philly red sauce joint.
He’s opening Buratta with his cousin, Dejvi Furxhi, 26, a manager at Fraschetta in Bryn Mawr. “We’re the young kids getting in the game,” Furxhiu says. “It was always our dream to not only open up a restaurant, but open it together.”
As for Furxhiu’s experience, he’s been learning the ropes waiting tables at Italian restaurants for several years. He’s coming from Caffe Aldo Lamberti in Cherry Hill. Before that he worked at a few Italian BYOBs in Philly, including La Viola, and for Chris Scarduzio at Table 31.
“I’m doing an Italian restaurant because I’ve always worked in Italian restaurants,” says Furxhiu, who moved to the U.S. from Albania with his family in 2000. “Albania is right across the sea from Italy, and it’s heavily influenced by Italy.”
The cousins hope to be able to start work on Burrata early next month. The plan is to spruce up the space — which is just a few blocks from the East Passyunk restaurant strip — but not overhaul it, and keep the open kitchen. They want to have seats for about 40 inside, plus another 10 outside.
Restaurants run in the family. Furxhiu’s older brother, Florian, is taking some heat for his upcoming taco shop, opening at Broad and Lombard on January 20. People aren’t happy with the name he chose: Illegal Tacos.
“It’s a coincidence we’re doing this at the same time,” the younger Furxhiu says. “We’re just both always looking for the next opportunity, and it happened to come at the same time.”