Having conquered the markets for Spanish, Mediterranean, and Mexican—not to mention chocolate and groceries—it seemed only natural that Italian was next on the list for restaurateurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. “On those nights when we’re both off, Valerie and I have always loved heading down to South Philly for a bite at the legendary ‘red gravy’ spots, like Mr. Martino’s Trattoria or Ralph’s Italian Restaurant,” says chef-owner Turney about the inspiration behind the recently debuted Little Nonna’s. “It’s the food we love to eat, and we wanted to create something similar.
The quaint restaurant, whose homey décor makes you feel as though you’ve “stepped into an Italian grandmother’s living room circa 1950,” says Turney, has already become quite a hit. Crowd favorites include the spaghetti with fontina-stuffed meatballs as well as Turney’s top pick: Nonni’s Stuffed Shell. “As I was developing the menu, I asked friends, fellow cooks, and people on my staff what was on their tables growing up,” she says. “The result is a menu full of the unpretentious, straightforward Italian classics that you know and love.” 1234 Locust St., 215-546-2100.