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Homegrown Restaurant Profile: Zeppoli

The perfect way to begin any meal at Zeppoli is with their expertly curated antipasto plate which come with delectable vegetable variations and a selection of cured meats and cheese. (Photo courtesy: Nascati Photography for Zeppoli)

If you haven’t yet ventured over to the quaint town of Collingswood, NJ you are not only missing a slice of Americana (more on Collingswood soon!), you’re missing some of the most exciting Italian food this side of Vetri.

Tucked into what’s technically West Collingswood, Zeppoli serves up delightful food by a knowledgeable staff and just may be one of this region’s most exciting BYOs. Chef/owner Joey Baldino opened Zeppoli this past summer to much acclaim and has been enticing Philadelphians across the Delaware in search of expertly roasted chicken, handcrafted pasta, perfectly cooked whole-fish and it’s namesake zeppoli (aka Italian donuts).

“I really wanted to create a place where guests can enjoy a great meal and feel like it’s extension of their own home,” says Chef Baldino whose love for Italian food is a direct result of his close relationship with mentor, Marc Vetri, who he had worked with since 2000. As a young cook, Baldino also apprenticed with the godmother of local food, Alice Waters at her legendary California restaurant Chez Panisse.

Zeppoli’s menu is a reflection of Baldino’s training and intense study of traditional Sicilian food. We highly encourage you to begin with the antipasta plate, a thoughtful combination of seasonal vegetables cooked in a variety of preparations as well as a deliciously curated selection of cured meats and cheeses. Also recommended is the housemade fennel sausage served over a bed of crisp-tender broccoli rabe.

The handmade pasta is also a must. Don’t miss the opportunity to order the spinach gnocchi – a traditional dish found on many Italian menus, but Zeppoli’s go above and beyond and are all at once light, rich and incredibly seductive. For entrees, the whole roasted fish of the day will lead you down a tasty path as will the Pollo di Sicani, a free range (locally sourced) half chicken roasted with rosemary, garlic, lemon and cippolini onions.

And finally, any visit to Zeppoli would not be complete without ordering the namesake dessert, which are, by the way, completely worth the calories as are any of the housemade gelatos.

Collingswood is a short 15 minute drive from center city and takes about as long to get to as driving from Northern Liberties to Citizens Bank Park. Once in Collingswood, you should note that the town is dry, meaning you best bring a bottle of wine with you or make a pit stop at nearby Moore Brothers along the way.

We would encourage you to make a reservation quick, Zeppoli was also just named as a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and we couldn’t agree more!

Zeppoli
Location: 618 Collings Avenue
Hours: Wednesday – Monday for dinner, 5:30PM – 10PM; closed Tuesday
More Information: www.zeppolirestaurant.com

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