Last we checked in with Joey Baldino, who could possibly be the most qualified chef currently living in Philly, he had just assumed the chef de cuisine position under his mentor Marc Vetri at his eponymous Center City restaurant. That stint, which is just one of the many positions he’s held in some of the country’s most distinguished restaurants, didn’t last very long, because Baldino was working on getting his own operation off the ground. That restaurant, Zeppoli, is on track to open later this month. “I had been looking for a place for three years when I found this small, intimate spot in Collingswood, NJ,” Baldino told Grub Street. “It was the right situation at the right time and I simply couldn’t pass on it.”
The new place, a cozy 35-seat BYOB located just off Collingswood’s flourishing restaurant row, will feature what Baldino describes as classic Italian dishes with an emphasis on Sicilian flavors. The menu will be separated into three sections: antipasti, housemade pasta and entrees, with price points ranging from $8 to $29. “As of right now I’m starting off with a pretty basic Sicilian menu,” Baldino said. “And as the seasons change, it will change with what’s available.” He added that further along he may explore the possibilities of offering “some sort of prix fixe or tasting menu.”
In between stints at Vetri and later Osteria, where he served as the restaurant’s opening sous chef, Baldino spent time working alongside some of Philly’s premier restaurateurs, including Georges Perrier, Michael Solomonov and Jose Garces. Outside of Philly, Baldino worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel in New York.
Zeppoli, 618 Collings Avenue, Collingswood, NJ, (856) 854-2670