The success of a spontaneous “pasta pop-up” announced via social media spurred Marc Vetri to open Fiorella, so it’s no surprise the chef wanted to create the same vibe for the restaurant’s debut. He announced this morning on Instagram and Facebook that Fiorella opens tonight, Thursday, February 13. It does not take reservations. It only seats about 15 diners. Good luck.
It’s Italian too, but Fiorella, set in a 125-year-old South Philly sausage shop just off the Italian Market, is the opposite of Vetri’s landmark restaurant Vetri Cucina, where the only option is a tasting menu and a meal spans at least a couple of hours. At Fiorella (817 Christian Street), diners sit at a counter — the old butcher’s counter, refurbished — and order off a short menu of pastas. In and out in 30 minutes or so, Vetri expects.
There’s going to be a liquor license, though it may not come through by tonight — “if we do we will have some drinks with a great wine/cocktail program. ... If not we will have complimentary beer and a spritz,” Vetri writes on Instagram. BYOB-ing works too, for now.
If you need to kill some time while you wait for a seat, dive bar 12 Steps Down is on the corner (smoking allowed). For a casual pub, Bar One, from the Ralph’s family, is also close. Old school Italian spot Villa di Roma has a bar that’s separate from the dining room. If you don’t mind speaking loudly over a lively crowd, the always popular, recently refreshed Royal Tavern is a five-minute walk. In the other direction, Saloon has an retro charm. Keep going another couple blocks north and you’ll hit Good King Tavern, a French bistro with a bar and a solid wine list, and, upstairs from Good King, wine bar Le Caveau.