NoLibs is getting a new Italian restaurant with 200 seats and an attached pizzeria

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Milkboy also has a new chef, Art in the Age is making coffee, and we’re saying goodbye to Vickers in Chester County for good.


Figo Restaurant | Photo by Society Hill Films

Hello buckaroos! And welcome back to the Monday Round-Up. We’re a little bit informed about the restaurant news this week, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have something for pizza lovers, coffee fans, the main line crowd and all the crazy cats at NoLibs.

So let’s get down to business, okay? I start with …

200 new places in NoLibs

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the two new projects GLU had while working on Northern Liberties Restaurant Row. At the time, these places were just a twinkle on the distant horizon, their terraces being used to hold pop-ups in the summer in hopes of creating a little buzz.

But the carefree summer days are now behind us. October is really here and the change of seasons marks the end of the hot afternoon cocktail hours. And even if the 60-seat Leda and the Swan pop-up that GLU Hospitality operated on the patio rooms that were once commanded by Wahlburgers and Darling’s Diner is now gone, the over 200 seats, the GLU, are gone now away in the neighborhood this week with the adjacent openings of Figo Ristorante and Figo Pizzeria at 1033 North 2nd Street.

Figo Ristorante does fancy Italian with handmade pasta and craft cocktails, with seating in the bar, lounge, dining room or on the covered terrace that extends around three sides of the room. There’s chicken parm and cannoli dip, bucatini with homemade meatballs, and roasted garlic ricotta. The pizzeria next door is GLU’s former ghost kitchen concept, which has become out of the brick and mortar and offers quick, casual Italian sandwiches and freshly prepared pizzas (which can also be ordered next door).

It’s a big push for GLU (which now has 13 concepts in operation) and a great addition to the NoLibs restaurant scene. The Figo Pizzeria is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday from 12 noon to 10 p.m. The Figo Ristorante is only open for dinner and is served on the same days from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Both will open to the public this Friday, October 15, and Figo Pizzeria will be celebrating with a ribbon cutting and a free raffle of slices (one per person, do not grab) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. If you are in the area this week, check out yourself.

Go on…


Farewell to a landmark

As the saying goes, when God opens a modern Italian restaurant with 200 seats and an attached fast-casual pizzeria, he closes a 50-year-old gourmet bistro.

Wait. Have I understood that correctly? However. Close enough.

If you have fond memories of the food at Vickers Restaurant in Exton and want to relive it one last time, I would do it quickly because after nearly five decades of operation, the restaurant that houses both Richard Nixon and Hall & Hafer is closing .

This is what the long-time owner Arturo Burigatto said:

“I would like to thank you for your patronage and friendship not only over the past year, but also for almost half a century since Vickers opened. Your support of our restaurant has encouraged us to continually strive to bring you the best atmosphere, the most delicious food and an unforgettable experience every time you step in our doors.

Together with my staff and family, we especially thank you for making this restaurant a success and a familiar place to share your life. From weddings to anniversaries, Ferragosto and Bastille Day celebrations to all the wonderful events in between, you have enabled us to take the rich history of this wonderful place and write our own story: one we are proud of , filled with good friends, goals and so many great memories.

I am very excited to announce that we will be closing the doors of the Vickers Restaurant after almost 50 years since it opened. It is time to pass the torch on and make room for a new experience in this historic space. “

The last service evening is October 30th. We here at Foobooz HQ will be pouring a terrine of lobster bisque in honor.


In other news …

Milkboy announced a big hiring this week. They now have Chef Yun Fuentes as the new culinary director. You may know Fuentes from restaurants like … pretty much everyone. Dude has a resume like I don’t even know what, after working under chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten (in NYC) and Roberto Trevino (in San Juan, Puerto Rico), then coming to Philly and making his way through the kitchens of Tinto turns, Village Whiskey, Double Knot, Alma de Cuba and more.

Fuentes knows his way around, I say. And he is called in to polish up the existing menus at both Milkboy locations (on Chestnut Street and South Street) and to “monitor upcoming projects for the Milkboy brand”. Since I suspect they don’t want a seasoned chef to check levels in a new recording studio, it sounds to me like the Milkboy team has some more restaurant concepts in the works.

For those of you in search of carefully crafted locally sourced coffee, the Art in the Age tasting room at 116 North 3rd Street in Old City is (temporarily) transforming in collaboration with Kensington’s very own Moonraker Coffee Roasters in a cafe.

From this week and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through December, the café at Art in the Age is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and serves fair-trade coffee, espresso drinks, pour-overs and everything else you need with your coffee need nerds are there. And while everything is available to take away (for those of you in a hurry), Art in the Age really hopes you will take some time to relax and just hang out in their outdoor cocktail garden. At least until noon, when coffee time blurs into schnapps time and Art in the Age begins to fling its cocktail specialties.

Speaking of drunk, last week we had all the news on Stephen Starr’s new Mexican restaurant in Fishtown, LMNO. This week we can announce that Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co. has stepped in with an exclusive collaboration beer that is only served at LMNO.

It’s a Mexican-style lager that goes with the restaurant’s Mexican Baja cuisine (and is used in the house’s Michelada menu), but my favorite is the name.

They call it El Emeno.



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