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Italian eats and treats at Paffuto

Photos by Mike Prince

A popular pop-up has found a place to stay put.

The trio of co-chef/partners Jake Loeffler, Daniel Griffiths and Sam Kalkut will open Paffuto on Dec. 6 at the former Bibou Space in South Philly’s Bella Vista neighborhood at 1009 S. 8th St.

For the last two years, the group has showcased its twist on Italian fare by popping up and collaborating at various locations with some of the city’s most popular restaurants, chefs and food and beverage brands.

The new brick and mortar location covers 1,400 square feet with a 22-seat restaurant, opening as a daytime café, offering breakfast and lunch from Wednesdays through Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner service will follow soon after, with nighttime hours running Thursdays and Fridays. The space will open as a BYOB, but changes will eventually come, as Paffuto is partnering with Mural City Cellars.

“We are confident enough to know that we are ready to open thanks to a collective of people who we’ve learned from,” said Loeffler. “We will be welcoming in industry friends and doing a ton of collaborations, as we are very aware that we wouldn’t be here without the local support we received from all of the collaborations we were fortunate enough to be involved in over the past two years. Through incredible connections, experience and guidance, the three of us are ready to do this.”

The three partners, who hail from New York and New Jersey, will split the work in and out of the kitchen. Each member has previous working experience in Philadelphia.

Loeffler, a 31-year-old from Union County, New Jersey, is a 2018 Culinary Institute of America graduate with a resume that includes Vernick Fish, Tabachoy, Rouge, Kensington Quarters and Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel. 

Griffiths, 30, is a 2013 CIA graduate who grew up in Rhinebeck and worked at Philly standouts Laurel, Talula’s Garden, BBQ Smokehouse in the Bok Building, Jean-Georges Philadelphia and Tabachoy.

Kalkut, a 31-year-old from New York, attended CIA with Loeffler, and worked at Jean-Georges with Griffiths, as well as Boka in Chicago and Kensington Quarters in Fishtown.

“All three of us grew up with Italian culture, so it was obvious for us to make Paffuto an Italian-focused concept,” said Griffiths. “Both Jake and myself have families from Southern Italy, which was a common thread for us, and Sam’s dad grew up in the Bronx, so all three of our lives featured a ton of Italian food growing up and to this day.”

Loeffler recently spent some time in Italy doing research and development for the launch.

The menu will feature five sandwiches, including four regular, breakfast and lunch options, and one weekly special. There will be a panzerotti section on the menu, featuring three regular, one being breakfast styled, plus weekly specials. A panzerotto is a savory turnover that originated in Central and Southern Italian cuisine, resembling a small calzone. The menu will also include sides such as broccoli Caesar, white bean salad, house-made focaccia, meatballs with burrata and a variety of grab-and-go options. Rotating pastries will be offered daily, including cannoli, tiramisu, biscotti, cookies and maritozzi.

“We’ve put a lot of careful thought and time into our menu and into the purveyors and makers we will be working with,” said Kalkut. “We’re fully committed to be hyperlocal and supporting as many Philly businesses as possible, since that’s how we got here.”

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