After Two Years of Pop-Ups, Paffuto is Set to Open a Brick and Mortar in Bella Vista - Wooder Ice
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After Two Years of Pop-Ups, Paffuto is Set to Open a Brick and Mortar in Bella Vista


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After Two Years of Pop-Ups, Paffuto is Set to Open a Brick and Mortar in Bella Vista

Feature Image via Mike Prince

After Two Years of Pop-Ups, Paffuto is Set to Open a Brick and Mortar in Bella Vista

If you’ve a fan of pop-up restaurants then chances are you’ve been to a Paffuto pop-up. Since 2001, the trio of chefs and partners Jake Loeffler, Daniel Griffiths, and Sam Kalkut have been showcasing their twist on Italian fare and now they’ve finally found a place to call home.

The Paffuto brick & mortar café is set to open on Wednesday, December 6th at 8:30 a.m. inside the former Bibou space at 1009 S. 8th Street in Philadelphia’s Bella Vista neighborhood.

The 1,400 square-foot, 22-seat restaurant will open as a daytime café, offering breakfast and lunch from Wednesdays through Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner service will follow soon after, with nighttime hours running Thursdays and Fridays. The space will open as a BYOB, but changes will eventually come, as Paffuto is partnering with Mural City Cellars.

“We are confident enough to know that we are ready to open thanks to a collective of people who we’ve learned from,” said Loeffler. “We will be welcoming in industry friends and doing a ton of collaborations, as we are very aware that we wouldn’t be here without the local support we received from all of the collaborations we were fortunate enough to be involved in over the past two years. Through incredible connections, experience, and guidance, the three of us are ready to do this.”

Paffuto, which means “plump” in Italian, will see the three chef/partners splitting all of the work in and out of the kitchen. Loeffler, a 31-year-old from Union County, NJ, is a 2018 Culinary Institute of America (CIA) graduate with a resume that includes working in top kitchens such as Vernick Fish, Tabachoy, Rouge, Kensington Quarters, and Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel. Griffiths, 30, is a 2013 CIA graduate who grew up in Rhinebeck, NY. Following culinary school, he worked at Philly standouts Laurel, Talula’s Garden, BBQ Smokehouse in the Bok Building, Jean-Georges Philadelphia, and Tabachoy over the past 3.5 years. Kalkut, a 31-year-old from New York, attended CIA with Loeffler, and worked at Jean-Georges with Griffiths, as well as Boka in Chicago, and Kensington Quarters in Fishtown.

“All three of us grew up with Italian culture, so it was obvious for us to make Paffuto an Italian-focused concept,” said Griffiths. “Both Jake and myself have families from Southern Italy, which was a common thread for us, and Sam’s dad grew up in the Bronx, so all three of our lives featured a ton of Italian food growing up and to this day.” Loeffler recently spent some time in Italy doing research and development for the launch.

Paffuto’s interior was designed by Kate Borkowski, who also designed Gilda. Ryan Evans is responsible for all of the Paffuto branding, and Jeremy Trogstar and Helen Steggall of Wheremyyy did all of the exterior painting and the area behind the bar. The partners plan on adding outdoor seating in the springtime, and interior renovations also feature a walnut butcher’s block affixed under the 8th Street window, where a six-stool window counter will be available for dining.

The menu will feature five sandwiches, including four regular, breakfast and lunch options, and one weekly special. There will be a panzerotti section on the menu, featuring three regular, one being breakfast styled, plus weekly specials. A panzerotto is a savory turnover that originated in Central and Southern Italian cuisine, resembling a small calzone. The menu will also include sides such as broccoli Caesar, white bean salad, house-made focaccia, meatballs with burrata, and a variety of grab-and-go options. Rotating pastries will be offered daily, including cannoli, tiramisu, biscotti, cookies, maritozzi, and more. Coffee beans will be source from Elixr Coffee Roasters, and bread (including hoagie rolls and kaiser rolls) will be provided by Sarcone’s Bakery. Local provisions will also be available, including selections from Fishtown Pickle Project, Mural City Cellars, and more. There will be a limited breakfast menu from 8:30 to 11 a.m. which will include breakfast panzerotti, egg and cheese sandwiches, coffee, and pastries. To start, ordering will only be available by phone or in person.

“We’ve put a lot of careful thought and time into our menu and into the purveyors and makers we will be working with,” said Kalkut. “We’re fully committed to be hyperlocal and supporting as many Philly businesses as possible, since that’s how we got here.”

In addition to the café opening, Paffuto has some events in the works, including a swanky NYE dinner at Paffuto, with more details to follow later.


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