With more than a decade as a resident of the 1900 block of Porter Street, Stacey DiPlacido obviously adores enlisting Girard Estate as her home turf, but her affinity for Bella Vista does not lag far behind. Since 2011, the affable individual has served as the executive chef at The Fitzwater Cafe, 728 S. Seventh St., helping the location to generate considerable renown as an offerer of pleasing plates.
“This neighborhood and the characters it has really interest me,” the 40-year-old said from her place of employment. “I love that we’re able to create so many connections with our customers and that people are receptive to the feel that we’re going for here.”
The South Philly native credits her Italian upbringing for her being “obsessed with food.” Thanks to her patriarch’s culinary acumen and sessions with female relatives, she knew food preparation would become her calling, though time at Peirce College halted the actualization.
“I’m glad that I found my way into this world,” the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College alumnus divulged. “I think it’s super cool to be a female in this business, too, and I just want to be the best that I can because I respect food and the ingredients and how they mesh.”
Having acquired admirable experience at locations such as Caribou Cafe and the since-shuttered Pigalle, DiPlacido came to The Fitzwater Cafe, under the ownership of Richard Santore, also the proprietor of The Saloon Restaurant, 750 S. Seventh St., to further her focus on establishing camaraderie and engendering longevity on the part of the location’s patrons. With ample praise from diners and industry behemoths, the space continually captivates the executive chef, who decided to shares its Crème Brûlée French Toast recipe.
“It’s easily our top item,” DiPlacido beamed of the delight, which America’s Best Bites profiled through a Dec. ’11 television segment. “We definitely fetch compliments on it, and that’s a huge plus since French toast is a favorite for so many people.”
The cafe handles 25 orders for the gem on weekdays and twice that many come Saturday and Sunday. Because of its breakfast identity and dessert qualities on account of the whipped cream and the sauce, she suggests that guests ask for a meat option to forge a balance of salty and sweet elements.
“If you stick with just the French toast, though, we think you’ll be pleased,” DiPlacido said. “Either way, we’ll be happy to serve you.”
3 pieces of brioche French toast
French toast batter
Creme anglaise sauce
Strawberries and blueberries
After coating the toast in the batter, place on the griddle for five minutes on each side. Top with the whipped cream, the sauce, and the fruit. ■
The Fitzwater Cafe
Owner: Richard Santore
728 S. Seventh St.
Photo by Tina Garceau
Executive Chef Stacey DiPlacido