Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Klein
Davio’s owner Steve DiFillippo is in town this week from the Boston area, fully prepared to gain 10 pounds, maybe more, as he opens the location at the King of Prussia Town Center on Friday. Oct. 21.
“I have this thing,” he said the other night. “We do our mock services, and I will try everything on the menu. Literally.” The upscale-Italian menu at Davio’s is extensive – pastas, seafood, steaks, the signature spring rolls.
Over the course of several hours on this night, DiFillippo rushed from table to table in the high-ceilinged room, an annotated menu in hand. He’d go from expediting food from the open kitchen to listening to a waiter’s spiel about the dessert cart, to stabbing a knife and fork into a dish, sampling, and taking notes. Gauche? Hardly.
Tuesday’s “customers” were entirely Davio’s staffers, who were waited on and cooked for by other employees.
Unlike every other restaurant out there, Davio’s – which has locations all over greater Boston, and in New York, Atlanta, and Center City Philadelphia – does not host “friends and family” meals before the official opening. No need to kiss cheeks and squeeze a fifth person into a four-top. These staff-on-staff service tests are all business.
Why? “People talk,” DiFillippo said, brushing off the idea that friends and family members would actually be generous with praise and might be good for word-of-mouth. “I want to work out anything before the public sees us.”
DiFillippo has a local crew in King of Prussia (200 Main St., 610-337-4810), where Davio’s joins a collection of restaurants, including Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar and Fogo de Chao. (More are on the way; the development is still under construction.) Executive chef Ted Iwachiw previously was chef at ACE Conference Center and formerly chef/owner of Ted’s on Main in Medford. General manager Tumoor Haye is a veteran of Union Trust and Del Frisco’s. One of the young managers is Michael DiFillippo, Steve’s son, who is working his way through the ranks.
It’s a 250-seater, done in cream with occasional splashes of color from the artwork on the walls, generally has the look and feel of the Davio’s at 17th and Chestnut Streets.
The 28-seat bar is surrounded by a lounge whose windows overlook the front of the property. Three private dining rooms include an 80-seat private room, a 24-seat wine room (whose wine collection can also be viewed from the dining room), and a 75-seat patio. There’s also an 11-seat counter facing the kitchen.
It will serve lunch and dinner daily, and Sunday brunch.
Davio’s also plans to open an eatery across the street, serving coffee and pastries in the morning, seguing into Italian sandwiches for the rest of the day, and wrapping later with house-made gelato.