Birra, and when he heard Rob LaScala (LaScala’s) was looking for something new at his Third and Chestnut space, the pizza concept seemed a perfect fit. The partnership took off, and Barra is now open for business where Rocchino’s briefly stood. Dinerman is bringing the fun pies from South Philly (mac 'n’ cheese pizza, anyone?), and chef Andrew Fox will also oversee a wide variety of Italian specialties like whole scampi prawns and housemade pastas. The drinks focus here will be cocktails, with several dozen options. On the weekends, the dual-sided space will morph into a late-night lounge, with food served through 1 AM and DJs spinning until close (239-241 Chestnut St.; 215-238-9983).
Back on East Passyunk, retro lounge Noir has soft-opened as a BYO in the space that for a short time was home to Sticks and Stones. The restaurant is a family venture, run by Billie and Donna Marie Motto and chef Marcos Decotiis, and features a 40s and ‘50s theme with old-timey photos and a soon-to-arrive projector showing black-and-white films. A menu full of Italian favorites will provide “something for everyone,” Billie tells us, from gnocchi to pork shank to bar bites. When the liquor license is obtained, a dozen taps will pour beer, along with 50 more in bottles, and classic mixed drinks will come from the fully stocked bar. A feel-good bonus: the proprietors have partnered with Face to Face, a Germantown non-profit that provides food and other essentials to families in need, so a percentage of all Noir proceeds will benefit the hungry (1909 E. Passyunk; 267-319-1678).
A BYO in earnest will open next week in Lansdowne, as Sycamore chef Sam Jacobson and partner Stephen Wagner launch their second venture. NoBL (short for north of Baltimore Avenue) will serve Mediterranean small plates, designed for sharing and brought to the table in tapas fashion (i.e. in no particular order). The menu is split into sections of vegetable, meat, seafood and pizza, with offerings that range from fried cauliflower to braised duck leg to grilled octopus to a burrata and guanciale pie. Reservations are currently being accepted from June 26 onward, and eventually the space will open each day at noon for grocery and prepared takeout items prior to dinner service (24 N. Landsdowne Ave.; 484-461-2689).