Sunday, August 31, 2008

Malone's Back Room Cafe

I retain all my copyrights. Text and Photos Copyright Maria Merlino 2008. Do not publish to any other site.

Owner Joe Malone with his good friens, Teddy Blue Eyes, Sammy Smiles, and Joe Fab

Patrons Debbie Greger and Lindsay Minayruk

Long time patron, Joe Lewis

Chef Felix Huitzel and waitress Stacy Scherr

Joe Malone with Bartender Jimmy Mangano,

and dear friends Frankie Griz, Rich Bellezzi

It’s the best kept dining secret in South Philadelphia but it’s only a matter of time before word hits the street. I’m talking about Malone’s Back Room Café at 18th and Ritner.

The dishes can be inventive and delicate: Penne Malone , a mound pasta tubes topped with black olives, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Or simultaneously luxurious and earthy: Gnocchi Rosa, puffs of ricotta paste in a blush sauce paired with green peas, and prosciutto. It can be fiery and populist: Orecchiette Brocolette, little ears with broccoli rabe, crushed red chili flakes and toasted almonds. Or nostalgic and obscure: Linguini with Tripe, flat tongues of spaghetti with chewy and delicate strands of honeycomb.

Move on to the main courses and you’ll find an indulgent array of meats and fish. Try the Veal Cutlet Moscatelli, a breaded portion topped with fresh sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh spinach and eggplant or, the Seafood Extravaganza a regal meal of shrimps, clams, scallops, mussels and calamari over pasta.

Chef Felix Huitzel , originally from the Bronx, cut his teeth at Union Square and is indulgent us with his style of cooking, from the overstuffed Clams Casino to the Chicken Savannah, a combo of chicken and sausage in a lemon wine sauce.

The atmosphere is very homey and the customers loyal. But even the first timers are impressed with their meals. Debbie Greger and Lindsay Minayruk pronounced the Crab Ravioli “absolutely luscious” and the Chicken Marsala “excellent”. Regular Joe Lewis, told me he “ comes in every Thursday for either chicken or veal”.

My waitress, Stacy Scherr, told me that Carangi Bakery supplies all the bread that is served with the complimentary dish of roasted peppers and tomato pesto. All the desserts are home made.

Owner Joe Malone is a sweetheart of a guy. “We do in-house catering for parties up to 25 people. We have funeral luncheons, anniversary partys, and any other celebration you can think of. And if there is anything you want that is not on the menu, please ask for it!”

The prices here are quite affordable. You can spend $2.95 or $19.95, but no matter what, you will still get over and above what you pay for.

Malone’s Back Room Café

18th and Ritner Street

Philadelphia Pa 19145


CLICK HERE for My YouTube Video of Malone’s