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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
Here’s the full list of restaurants on board for Building Bridges, so far:
- Brigantessa (1520 E. Passyunk Avenue)
- Le Virtu (1927 E. Passyunk Avenue)
- Tequilas (1602 Locust Street)
- Saté Kampar (1837 E. Passyunk Avenue)
- Bing Bing Dim Sum (1648 E. Passyunk Avenue)
- Stargazy (1838 E. Passyunk Avenue)
- Pistola’s Del Sur (1934 E. Passyunk Avenue)
- Jose Pistola’s (263 S. 15th Street)
- Sancho Pistola’s (19 W. Girard Avenue)
- El Compadre (1149 S. 9th Street)
- Tria Cafe Rittenhouse (123 S. 18th Street)
- Tria Cafe Wash West (1137 Spruce Street)
- Tria Taproom (2005 Walnut Street)
- The Franklin (112 S. 18th Street)
- El Rey (2013 Chestnut Street)
- Bistrot La Minette (623 S. 6th Street)
- Rosy’s Taco Bar (2220 Walnut Street)
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.