It was finally the proper time to gracefully open the doors.
After eight long years of planning, renovating and decorating, Chris Fetfatzes and Heather Annechiarico have officially opened a new “Eurobar” and restaurant at the corner of 8th and Carpenter streets in the Italian Market. Properly named “Grace and Proper,” the new establishment breathes new life into a historic corner building that served previous stints as a pharmacy and a delicatessen.
The building was purchased eight years ago by married couple Fetfatzes and Annechiarico, who teamed up with longtime operations director Susan Freeman for Hawthornes Restaurant Group’s newest venture. The group also operates South Philly mainstays Hawthornes and Quick Sip in East Passyunk as well as South Street hubs WineDive, Sonny’s Cocktail Joint, The Rabbit and Tio Flores.
Grace and Proper is the couple’s first location in the Italian Market/Bella Vista neighborhoods.
“We are very proud of the space,” Annechiarico said. “We are so happy to bring a dilapidated old building into the new world. It has been a true labor of love to bring it all to life, and the results keep getting better and better the closer we get to open.”
The building was originally G.T. Manlio’s pharmacy, owned by Italian immigrant Gennaro Manlio in the 1920s. It later became Sam Grasso’s grocery store and delicatessen, owned by another Italian immigrant Salvatore Grasso.
The building was restored by the new owners, who celebrate the vintage charms of the space, highlighting the vibrant essence of Portuguese and European bar culture. It will showcase Portuguese-style food with an emphasis on unique cocktails and wine.
“Grace and Proper will be Hawthorne’s first foray into European-inspired cuisine and beverages,” said Fetfatzes. “This is our ‘pretty album,’ we are using this medium to display the wide range of capabilities and creative ideas our group has. This is an opportunity to show our sincere dedication to hospitality with attention to detail in an elegant space. This is also our chance to celebrate the talents of one of our longtime partners in crime.”
The married couple said they have had a close relationship with Freeman for 14 years and brought her into the fray as a partner and a major contributor to the new venture.
“We are thrilled to not just introduce a brand-new addition to Philadelphia’s diverse bar scene, but we are honored and thankful to introduce Susan as a co-owner and partner on this project,” Fetfatzes said. “Susan has been with us and by our side for around 14 years, and we wanted to celebrate and reward her loyalty, dedication and many years of hard work. We couldn’t have done many of our other projects without her and we are thrilled to start a new journey with Grace and Proper.”
The 660-square-foot space has a combined indoor/outdoor seating capacity of 70 guests, including bar and high-tops seating. The interior features high tin ceilings, original hardwood floors, exposed brick and hexagonal mosaic tile. Its shaded outdoor seating area mirrors the alfresco charm and aims to replicate the Italian Market and the cobblestone side streets of Europe.
“We have done everything we could to keep the original charm of the space,” Annechiarico said. “We only wanted to accentuate, not take away from the imperfect plaster, patina and natural light. We put a lot of thought into accenting the space with different art pieces and design elements that we believe highlight the space’s charm rather than distract from it.”
The goal of Grace and Proper is to be a meeting place for friends, neighbors and visitors to gather and enjoy bottles of great wine, crusty bread and butter, cold beers, bifanas and technique-driven cocktails.
“The flow of the space is based on Portuguese and European corner bars,” said Fetfatzes. “We aim to provide comfortable, casual service that’s graceful and proper. The concept is our love letter to Portugal, postmarked from the Italian Market. We can’t wait for everyone to read and experience it.”
The kitchen will serve olde-world European fare, with inspiration from the owners’ favorite corner cafes found in Lisbon, San Sebastián, Naples and Marais.
“We have a passion for salt-of-the-earth food traditions, and there are few places quite like the Italian Market that allow for a space for such things to be celebrated,” said Freeman. “We believe we nod to the Italian Market with our space, but we add to the options that are already available with unique takes on Iberian classics.”
Grace and Proper will be open six days a week with the exception of Tuesdays. However the space will be available for private event bookings on Tuesdays. It created about a dozen new jobs with opportunity for more in the near future.
European soccer matches will dominate the television during the day while the speakers will cast an exclusive eclectic mix of tunes nightly.
Grace and Proper will be pouring wines from Spain, Italy and France, but also include Californian Co-ferment that has a Mortadella Sandwich on the label. The spirits and cocktail program is a well-cultivated back bar, empowering the staff to craft a vast array of classic, vintage, bespoke and modern cocktails.
The signature cocktail list marries exceptionally well-crafted, yet underutilized Portuguese ingredients with the singularly American culinary tradition of mixology. Additionally, the bar will offer selections that you would see in any great neighborhood corner bar.
“Our approach to hospitality is something we are really proud of,” Freeman said. “We have taken our industry experience and thought outside the box to create something truly unique for Grace and Proper. We can’t wait to introduce our concept and vision to the community.”