Joe Polutro, who recently closed Mio Sogno, is resurfacing near the Auto Mall with Rare Italian Steakhouse
. It will open in early May inside the soon-to-open Christine's Cabaret, a strip club, at 6130 W. Passyunk Ave. Restaurant applicants can e-mail resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org
Developer Bart Blatstein has signed two of the four dining operators at his latest project in Northern Liberties. It's a mixed-use development near the former Schmidt's site, including four buildings bounded on three sides by Second Street, Germantown Avenue, and Hancock Street. The centerpiece is a courtyard called the Piazza, which now sports a concert stage topped by a 26-by-16-foot HD screen. Opening this spring will be Darling's (a diner from the people behind Darling's Cheesecakes, due in the egg-shaped building across from Bar Ferdinand and El Camino Real at Second and Germantown) and Vino Restaurant Lounge (a wine bar serving "aperitivo"-style small plates from owner Michael Maglio). A pub and lounge are in the works nearby.
Philadelphia Fish & Co. at 207 Chestnut St. has closed after 26 years, and owners Kevin and Janet Meeker are transforming the Old City landmark into Q BBQ & Tequila Bar. Opening is on tap for Monday. The Meekers will partner with their friend, pit master Tom Stewart, on a reasonably priced down-home comfort-food menu. The bar, which will have a 22-foot mahogany communal table, will serve 60-plus tequilas. Hours will be 11:30 a.m. to midnight daily, although the kitchen will be open until 2 a.m. on weekends.
John Mims has opened Johnny's New Orleans Pizza Kitchen
next to his Daddy Mims' Creole BYOB at 150 Bridge St. in Phoenixville, which he opened several weeks ago. The pizzeria revives a concept he created in the mid-1980s while in New Orleans, with individual, crispy brick-oven-style pizzas; he puts flavor-infused oils out on the tables and uses Asiago cheese in lieu of Parmesan. The menu - prices range from $7 to $14 - includes four salads and two pastas. In addition to New Orleans-style savory toppings, he serves dessert pizzas including ricotta infused with vanilla, brown sugar, and candied pecans and finished off with white and dark chocolate.
Michael's Cafe, a casual BYOB, has replaced half of South Philly's RoseLena's Cafe (1623 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-389-9915), maintaining the kitschy atmosphere. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (comfort food; no entrees over $18; cash only for now) Wednesdays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Next door will be a Capogiro gelateria.
Pottstown's Funky Lil' Kitchen
starts Saturday lunch this week.
Qdoba Mexican Grill has booked a unit at the new Horsham Gate on Welsh Road in Horsham, giving the Chipotle Mexican Grill a competitor only one shopping center away. Qdoba is up for August.
Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or email@example.com. See real-time restaurant news at http://go.philly.com/insider.