Chef Christina Wilson joins the Mercato team now headed up by Varga Bar’s Chef Evan Turney

Philadelphia Restaurant Week Restaurant in the Spotlight:

Christina Wilson joined the Mercato team as the Chef de Cuisine in the fall of 2011. Christina joined the kitchen from Mercato’s neighbor, Lolita, where she served as the Chef de Cuisine for over two years.

Evan Turney is now serving as Executive Chef in both Mercato and Varga Bar, where he is partial owner. Evan served as Exec. Chef when the restaurant opened in 2005, and now he is back again. Some of the dishes are still on the menu due to their popularity, like the lobster and shrimp pyramid pasta. Christina and Evan are tweaking a couple dishes, including adding a little bit of spice as you will see.
The restaurant’s space, formerly a dilapidated local market, where I bought my newspaper ever day when I lived at 13th & Spruce, was transformed in the early 2000s when owner George Anni had a vision for a fresh market Italian BYOB. It became Mercato in 2005.

Mercato doesn’t take reservations, so get there early and expect lines on the weekend. My friends usually put their names in then head over to Valanni for a cocktail. Mercato is a BYOB & takes cash only, but that’s not a deterrent as the food is well worth it.

This week, Mercato will debut its new Winter menu as well as participate in Restaurant Week —grab a bottle of wine and come in to try the items yourself! Look I found Ryan from 10 Arts there too. Lot’s of fun stuff going on in the kitchen at Mercato.

On 2/5/11 watch Super Bowl XLVI at Varga Bar (941 Spruce St.), which will again host a chicken wing competition lovingly dubbed Super Fowl Sunday II.