4/22/2013 03:52:00 PM

Branzino Reels in Chef Mike Stollenwerk

Former Fish cook Sara Flannigan is following Stollenwerk to his new home
Seafood pro Mike Stollenwerk finally has a place to play with fish again. He’s landed at Branzino, the unassuming but solid Rittenhouse BYO on 17th Street. Owner Luan Tota is so excited about his catch that he’s renovating to add a 2,500-sq.-ft. kitchen. The new space will have separate fish, meat, pasta and veggie stations, plus a dedicated place for Stollenwerk to create housemade charcuterie.

Stollenwerk has been without a kitchen since the abrupt closing of Fish and Rhino Bar on 13th and Locust, due to misunderstandings or differences with investors. He first gained acclaim for Little Fish in Bella Vista, which is now owned by his former sous chef Chad Jenkins and is regularly busy.

Branzino, which has been getting minor upgrades each year since its 2003 opening, now looks like it has a chance to make a big splash. Stollenwerk is rebuilding the menu, incorporating the restaurant’s European style with his own creations. Also new, the BYO will offer brunch, starting on Mother’s Day and continuing every Sunday thereafter.

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