>> WAITING LIST
Slated for a sometime-in-March opening at the corner of 40th and Ludlow, Lovers and Madmen is a 25-seat community-first café space that'll serve coffee and espresso from North Carolina-based Counter Culture, the renowned sustainable roaster that also supplies Spruce Street Espresso. Food-wise, they'll offer baked goods from West Philly neighbor Four Worlds Bakery and a small selection of sandwiches and other eats. The name, which was settled upon by manager Megan Powers and owner Mark Mills (bibliophiles both), is taken from Act V of the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
March 23 will see the grand opening of Seasons 52 on the cheekily dubbed "Bistro Row" of the Cherry Hill Mall. The chain concept focuses on seasonal eats (hence the name's weeks-per-year nod) with lots of wines by the glass. Eats at the Cherry Hill location will include a spicy chicken chili relleno with goat cheese and spinach; toasted almond tabbouleh with mint, lemon, cucumber, tomato and sun-dried cranberries; and a grilled lemongrass salmon salad with grilled pineapple, wasabi peas and sesame dressing. For the full menu and wine list, check out Meal Ticket.
Ralph Berarducci, owner of Portofino (1227 Walnut St., 215-923-8208), is thanking the customers who've kept him in business for the past 35 years by offering a four-course prix-fixe menu for $39 per person. Options for the deal, which also includes a beer or a glass of wine (not to mention coffee or tea with your final course dessert), include red or white mussels, pan-fried goat cheese, Tuscany pecan salmon, chicken saltimbocca, veal gamberetti and more. The prix-fixe is available Sunday through Thursday.
>> In other Italiano news, La Fourno (636 South St., 215-627-9000, lafourno.com) has instituted a deal for those who've recently been laid off — bring in documentation from your former employer and you'll receive a $25 gift certificate. Collecting unemployment? Show them proof of that and they'll knock 20 percent to 30 percent off your bill.