As indoor dining begins to return to Philadelphia, a pair of chefs has opened a new restaurant in Passyunk Square.
Ember & Ash, the creation of chefs Scott Calhoun and David Feola, started serving customers via takeout at the beginning of the year and it has started taking on indoor dining as restrictions have allowed. It was originally planned to open last spring.
The restaurant prides itself on being a farm-to-table service, minimizing its carbon footprint. The establishment uses a custom-built, all wood-burning hearth to bring together modern ingredients and techniques with old-world cooking. It is located at 1520 E. Passyunk Ave., near Greenwich Street.
It replaces the former Brigantessa space and features a full bar and bi-level seating, and can serve about 90 patrons when the restaurant is able to operate at full capacity.
“We’re so excited to finally be opening after some delays in what was a very tough year for restaurants,” said general manager and partner Gianna Spatoulas. “Opening up during a pandemic is a challenge, but we have an incredible team here and we’re opening in a great location, so we’re very confident that the future is bright for us.”
Chefs Calhoun and Feola met at Jean-Georges in New York 10 years ago and worked in the kitchen together for two years.
Calhoun began working at a local sandwich shop in Lancaster before studying at the Culinary Institute of America. After working at Jean-Georges, he moved to Philadelphia to work for Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud at Osteria on North Broad Street. He remained with the Vetri group, helping open Lo Spiedo (now Bar Amis) as the head chef at the Navy Yard restaurant.
He later worked as Chef De Cuisine for Stephen Starr’s Parc on Rittenhouse Square and eventually took over as the executive chef at Spice Finch in the Warwick Hotel.
Feola began his career in central New York before moving to New York City to work in a small sushi and izakaya restaurant prior to working at Mesa Grill, Toqueville and Jean-Georges. He migrated to Philadelphia to assist Greg Vernick with the opening of Vernick Food and Drink before becoming the executive chef at South Gate, a Korean street food favorite in Rittenhouse. He worked at Stephen Starr’s Barclay Prime in Rittenhouse before accepting an offer to open Ember & Ash.
Together, Calhoun and Feola have a combined 40 years of experience.
The menu ranges from whole-roasted chicken to smoked octopus with kumquats, to Lamb Belly Loco Moco with jasmine rice to swordfish pastrami and rye. An ever-changing selection of breakfast sandwiches — including one featuring scrapple from Elizabeth Farms — is served Saturday and Sunday mornings until they sell out. The restaurant also features an extensive bar program, which includes non-alcoholic cocktails and drinks to go.
Ember & Ash is open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. The restaurant is also open for breakfast Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but remains open throughout the day Saturday for beverage service.