Italian BYOB Burrata opens its doors on the corner of 13th and Wharton streets on Tuesday, May 1. The small, window-lined restaurant replaces August, another Italian BYOB in a neighborhood known for them. But Burrata’s owners, who live within a few blocks, think their menu will make the new restaurant stand out.
“We wanted to be different, that’s why we have infusions with the pasta, the different ragus. That way we set ourselves apart from what everyone else is doing,” says Dejvi Furxhi, 25, who’s opening Burrata (1247 S. 13th Street) with his cousin, Albi Furxhiu, 27.
“Every Italian restaurant that you walk into most likely has almost the same thing on the menu — we wanted to do different stuff,” adds Furxhiu, “so there’s not a lot of risk.” Furxhi cuts in: “There’s a lot of risk!”
But the cousins seem confident in their choices, and they’ve brought on board people they’ve known a long time from years working in various Philly restaurants. Burrata’s chef is Amarildo Bojko, who brings Italian cooking experience from La Veranda on the Delaware River and Aroma at 11th and Pine. Sous chef Paolo Mangia is coming from another Italian spot, L’Angolo in deep South Philly (1415 W. Porter Street).
Furxhi’s background is in the front of the house. He was most recently a manager at Fraschetta in Bryn Mawr (Fraschetta’s owners, who also have Melograno, are about to open Italian BYOB L’Anima in Grad Hospital). Furxhiu’s résumé includes Caffe Aldo Lamberti in Cherry Hill and La Viola and Table 31 in Philly.
The menu at Burrata is short, with just six appetizers, five pastas, and one dish each of lamb, chicken and fish. The tight selection was a practical decision: The restaurant doesn’t have the storage space for more.
“We wanted to keep the menu simple, have everything fresh,” Albi says. “We’ll shop every two or three days, and pick everything up ourselves. We shop at the Italian Market — Giordano for produce, Esposito’s for meat. And Samuels & Son for fish.”
The dishes will change out seasonally, but expect the burrata appetizer — tomatoes slices, prosciutto, the creamiest ball of cheese — to stay. A few notables on the opening menu include artichokes with white wine and anchovies, mint fettuccine with a pulled rabbit ragu, bucatini with arugula pesto and shaved asparagus, and grilled branzino with parsnip puree and a pomegranate reduction.
Furxhi says he and Furxhiu plan to be in the restaurant early every day to make the pastas, but come dinnertime they’ll be up front greeting customers.
“We want to be part of the experience for the guests,” Fuxhi says. “This is a family-owned restaurant in a family neighborhood.”
Originally from Albania, the cousins grew up in South Philly, where they and their families still live — which came in handy for putting the restaurant together. Furxhiu’s father, a carpenter, built Burrata’s banquets. His brother’s father-in-law made the upholstery. Their mothers made the window curtains.
The restaurant seats 38 inside. Sidewalk tables will be added later. For now, Burrata will be open Tuesday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 3 or 4 p.m. (they’re still deciding on that) until 9 p.m. In September they’ll add lunch, if all goes according to plan.