Looking for farm-fresh ingredients to top your pizza

April 2, 2013 3:45:36 AM PDT
It looks like a pizza and wine bar, and it is. It isn't even the only gourmet pizza operation on the block. But Zavino at 13th and Sansom is working hard to be unique.

Chef Carlos Aparicio shops daily, looking for farm-fresh ingredients to top his pizza.

He also crafts daily platters based on what he finds at the market. He strives to serve food that's affordable, seasonal, and unpredictable. It sounds like a great program,. but it means work for his boss.

General Manager Jason Brooke is also in charge of the beverage program...a labor of love, he insists. Brooke is constantly on the lookout for wines not usually found on a restaurant list. With that, he looks for deals on unusual labels.

His goal is to have a selection of exclusive wines enthusiasts will recognize, sold over the bar at prices rare in the hospitality industry.

Zavino stocks a complement of popularly-priced wines most customers will favor. But, like the chef's daily specials, wine enthusiasts never know from day to day what "find" will show up on the "premium pours" list.

These may seem expensive to most patrons, but wine lovers will see them as relative bargains...a chance to experience varieties that would be out of reach otherwise. Brooke's dedication to the cause is extreme.

He recently drove all the way to Pittsburgh to secure three bottles of prized French white Chateau D'Yquem...a cousin of Sauternes.

It was sold across the bar by the ounce, so even an oenophile on a budget could afford a sip. Zavino's formula for success is simple

The top management is enthusiastic. That spreads to the staff, and, hopefully, to the dining public. The goal is to create an experience so compelling that Philly's foodies will have no choice but to become regulars.

Zavino's address is 112 S. 13th Street, on the corner of Sansom. It's open daily for lunch and dinner.

For more information, phone 215-732-2400, or visit Zavino's website.