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Philly Restaurants Team Up for a Fundraiser Supporting Immigrants

Dine at one of the restaurants on September 15 to raise money for Puentes de Salud

several plates of pasta on a table
Le Virtu on East Passyunk is organizing Building Bridges, a fundraiser for Puentes de Salud
Le Virtu [official photo]

The owners of six Philly restaurants are joining forces to raise money for Puentes de Salud, a local nonprofit that supports immigrants in Philadelphia. The restaurants, along with several others they’ve recruited to the cause, will each serve a dish on September 15 that’s a tribute to immigrants, with all proceeds from the dishes going directly to the nonprofit.

Leading the effort are Francis Cratil-Cretarola and Cathy Lee of Le Virtu and Brigantessa on East Passyunk Avenue, in collaboration with David Suro of Tequilas and Casey Parker, Joe Gunn, and Adan Trinidad of Jose Pistola’s, Sancho Pistola’s, and Pistola’s del Sur. Puentes de Salud’s executive director Steven Larson is also involved in putting together the fundraiser, which they’re calling Building Bridges — Puentes de Salud means Bridges of Health. The organization, which is funded entirely by private contributions, works to provide healthcare, English language instruction, and other services to Philly’s immigrant community.

About 10 other Philly restaurants are already signed on to participate, and the organizers are hoping to keep adding to the list. Restaurants and bars who want to be part of Building Bridges should email Le Virtu’s Francis Cratil-Cretarola at

Le Virtu’s dish for Building Bridges is canederli, a bread and cheese dumpling from northern Italy, where chef Damon Menapace’s family has roots. Sales of the restaurant’s Forte e Gentile difestif will also go towards the cause.

Sister spot Brigantessa is going with wood oven-roasted squid stuffed with breadcrumbs, egg, and pecorino, and the Brigantessa cocktail, a mix of limocello, Aperol, lemon, and Calabrese chili. The dish is a nod to manager Mara Picca’s roots in Puglia.

Bing Bing Dim Sum’s Building Bridges dish is bing bread with smoked whitefish
Bing Bing [official photo]

Just down the street, Bing Bing Dim Sum is donating proceeds from its everything bing bread to Puentes de Salud. “Bing” means stuffed bread or dough in Cantonese, chef Ben Puchowitz says — here it’s similar to a scallion pancake, filled with smoked whitefish and dill. It’s a nod to both the chef’s Eastern European roots and the Chinese cuisine that inspires Bing Bing’s menu.

Over at Sate Kampar, also on East Passyunk Avenue, Ange Branca is participating in Building Bridges with nasi lemak. The dish, from Branca’s home country of Malaysia, combines coconut cream-soaked rice with sambal, roasted peanuts, crispy anchovies, and hard-boiled egg, all wrapped together in banana leaf. (Fortunately, the nasi lemak is always on the menu, not just on September 15.)

Tequilas in Center City is dedicating its mole poblano and margarita roja to Building Bridges. The two Tria Cafes, in Rittenhouse and Washington Square West, and Tria Taproom in Rittenhouse are participating with their Oaxaca Old Fashioned. Head to the Pistola’s locations for salmon a la talla tacos and cucumber margaritas.

Sate Kampar is donating the proceeds from sales of nasi lemak to Puentes de Salud on September 15

Here’s the full list of restaurants on board for Building Bridges, so far:

To get the word out about the September 15 fundraising effort, Le Virtu is also hosting a dinner on August 29. Chef Damon Menapace is planning a four-course feast at the Arbuzzese restaurant, including Le Virtu’s signature mugnaia pasta, plus ricotta raviolo with spicy tomato sauce, lamb ragu over polenta, striped bass with corn and black truffle, and more. It’s $85 a head, including wine but not tax or tip, with all proceeds going to Puentes de Salud.

Proceeds from Le Virtu’s August 29 dinner will also go to Puentes de Salud. The menu includes maccheroni alla mugnaia with peppers, chilis, garlic and olive oil
Kateri Likoudis


1520 East Passyunk Avenue, , PA 19147 (267) 318-7341 Visit Website

Pistola's Del Sur

, , PA 19148 (267) 928-4339 Visit Website


1602 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 546-0181 Visit Website

José Pistola's

263 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215) 545-4101 Visit Website

Sancho Pistola's

19 West Girard Avenue, , PA 19125 (267) 324-3530 Visit Website

Le Virtù

1927 East Passyunk Avenue, , PA 19148 (215) 271-5626 Visit Website