Friday Arts

We Heart 13th Street




Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski

This summer, entrepreneurs Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, will add to their culinary portfolio in Center City’s bustling Midtown Village when they open Little Nonna’s a causal Italian eatery. The cozy 37-seat restaurant will be evocative of an Italian grandmother’s living room, circa 1950 featuring vintage lace in the windows, hanging antique copper pots and playful accents, including faux flowers.

Chef Turney and Safran have been working since 2002 to help reinvent 13th Street. The pioneering duo’s six restaurants and boutiques between Chestnut and Sansom Streets have helped transform the once-desolate neighborhood into trendy Midtown Village. Safran is the buyer for all products carried in both boutiques and also serves as general manager for the restaurants. As a team, she and Chef Turney are hands-on entrepreneurs who take genuine ownership of every aspect of their businesses, from the look and feel of the spaces to the products and menus that they offer to the service standards of the staff.

In October of 2002, the pair opened their first business on South 13th Street, a house wares boutique called Open House, and set the ball rolling for what eventually became a full-scale revitalization of the block between Chestnut and Sansom Streets. The pair’s wildly popular restaurants include: Jamonera, a cozy Spanish tapas and wine bar, Barbuzzo, a Mediterranean kitchen and bar that has twice earned Chef Turney James Beard semi-finalist nominations for “Best New Restaurant” and “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” and Lolita, a Mexican BYOB, frequently counted among Philadelphia magazine’s “Top 50 Restaurants.” They also own a gourmet prepared food market, Grocery and two lifestyle boutiques, Open House and Verde.

On this month’s Art of Food we’ll hear how this power-duo succeeded to transform a once-desolate area into the most sought after blocks in town.


Little Nonna’s, a video by Jason Varney

Entrepreneurs Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran new restaurant Little Nonna’s (1234 Locust Street, 215-546-2100) is an Italian-American eatery in Center City’s bustling Midtown Village. Inspired by the “red sauce” family-owned ristorantes of Italian immigrants, Chef Turney will offer thoughtful interpretations of home-style Italian-American dishes with an all-Italian wine list and handcrafted cocktails. The cozy 37-seat restaurant will be evocative of an Italian grandmother’s living room, circa 1950, featuring vintage lace in the windows, hanging antique copper pots and playful accents, including faux flowers. Below is a video preview of Little Nonna’s in the making:



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  • Edward Bottone

    Superb, handsomely produced piece on a small, vital, fun part of the city.

    Vision, skill, knowledge, style, talent and lots of hard work … the ladies deserve every bit of their success. Impressive does not begin to describe their achievements.

    Buona fortuna!