You can’t hit the Philly food scene without savoring an Italian venue—it’s a staple cuisine in the City of Brotherly Love that most enjoy. There is no lack of choices when it comes to the carb-filled category, but there is one new spot that is looking to put their own spin on the classic dishes and drinks.
Glu Hospitality—who recently cemented their group as culinary giants in Philly, going from 4 concepts to 13 in less than 16 months—have recently opened up a new spot in the Northern Liberties area of the city. Figo Ristorante and Figo Pizzeria officially open this weekend in the former home of Darling’s Diner and Wahlburgers. When opened, Figo will become the largest restaurant along the Northern Liberties Restaurant Row with 250+ seats and just under 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space.
As the release states, Figo Ristorante is a full service restaurant, kitchen, bar and outdoor patio offering Italian cuisine by Chef Hee “Chino” Chang, with craft cocktails, espresso martini flights, Italian soda flights, two dozen taps, and over two dozen wines by the glass, bottle and flight. Opening services will include dinner, indoor dining, outdoor dining, delivery and take-out, with late night, happy hour and brunch service to be launched later in the fall. However next door at the North end of the property, Figo Pizzeria will offer pizza pies and stuffed hoagies with lunch, mid-day and dinner service, with cafe seating outside and take-out/pick-up and delivery. A smaller artisanal version of the Figo pizzas will be offered in 12 inch size on the dine-in menu next door at Figo Ristorante.
There’s also an incentive opening weekend to check out the pizzeria—this Friday, Oct. 15, there will be free pizza for all and those interested can grab a slice on the house until 1:30 p.m., with extra slices and drinks for only $2 during this time.
The vision for all of Figo though comes down to a few ideas: Fresh ingredients (a must-have), fresh atmosphere (note the dichotomy of the inside and outside, while paired in vibe, each offers its own experience), and of course, moments in time to capture (get your cameras ready.)
As the release states, Figo is an attempt to infuse Old World Italian dining tradition with a modern aesthetic. Taking the time to be guided by the service staff, Figo’s mission is to curate a dining truly harnessing what it means to be “cool” (the meaning of Figo in Italian). Originally operating out of the giant oversized kitchen at Germantown Garden and Vesper Dayclub, Figo was first a pizzeria serving the immediate neighborhoods of Northern Liberties, Fishtown and Kensington. As Figo Pizzeria grew in popularity, Glu continued to expand its food-focused offerings and expand the menus at existing properties.
“Taking inspiration from our Italian namesake Figo we encourage our guests to slow down while we unite the tradition of Italian dining with the social scene of the area,” said Gibbons in a statement. “Join us for distinctive features such as a customizable Italian soda platter and sophisticated craft cocktails. After indulging in our libations, guests are invited to explore our food menu rich with complex flavors that harness the sensation of a home cooked meal.”
The menu keeps the namesake and reputation it has built over a short time as well—out of the box, but comforting. Chef Chino brings the familiarity and tradition of Italian cuisine to Northern Liberties. As the release states, everything will be made and prepped in house from the sides, to some pastas and the desserts (with the exception of breads from Liscio’s). The menu features vegan options as well, and several dishes can be made gluten-free. For vegetarian options, guests can enjoy Seasonal Bruschetta, Zucchini Fries, Burrata, Shoestring Fries, Caprese, Figo Salad, Caesar Salad, Amorini & Mushroom Gorgonzola, Angel Hair Pomodoro and more.
The bar also follows suit with the direction of the menu. Glu Director of Beverages Ryan Fenton has designed a menu that features 24 wine variants that range from white to sparkling to red, by the glass, bottle and flight. Fenton and his team also will offer 16 beers on draft, espresso cocktail flights, soda flights, mocktails and craft signature cocktails. Plus, the wine program has made its way through the menu and into the staff with the knowledge and variety it provides. Plus there are flights—from wine to espresso—there are many flights.
At Figo, everything is meant to have a place and meaning. Gibbons continues, “All of our design elements have a sophistication to them that elevates the guests’ experience. Everything from our china, to the flatware, glassware and other accoutrements have been hand picked to facilitate a clear energy for our guests and staff. Chef Chino prepares the food in a way that is not only delicious to eat but decadent on the eyes.
“The aesthetics of our restaurant are clear and present in every aspect, people will have no problem snapping beautiful photos of our offerings and sharing them with friends, family, and social media alike. The mahogany wood elements throughout our dining room combined with our copper details creates a warm environment and an essentially blank canvas that allows the colors of the fresh food and cocktails to pop.”
As the release states, the starting menu will feature a half dozen pies to start, with additional pies to be added later in the fall. Additionally, Figo Pizzeria will offer pizza and hoagie specials weekly and monthly, that will be shared and announced on social media. Figo Pizzeria will launch with lunch, mid-day and dinner service, with take-out, delivery and self-serve cafe seating outside. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday, from noon to 10 p.m.
To find more information, visit figoitalian.com