Coming Soon

Colicchio and Carmellini Sign on to Philly Casino

By Danya Henninger  |  January 15, 2014
Credit: Danya Henninger (of Carmellini)

If The Provence becomes Philadelphia’s second casino, it will include restaurants from celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio and Andrew Carmellini, developer Bart Blatstein announced during a press conference today. If built, the casino - which will take over the former Philadelphia Inquirer building on North Broad - will supposedly house 75 different restaurants, shops and bars. Blatstein says that in the coming weeks he will release names of several local chefs who have also signed on to the project.

Colicchio, who is a judge on Top Chef and owns restaurants in several cities, including NYC, under the names Craft, ‘wichcraft and Colicchio & Sons, calls Philadelphia a “blossoming dining mecca.” Carmellini is also a New York-based restaurateur (The Dutch, Locanda Verde, Lafayette), and he says Philly is “known for having some of the most adventurous and ambitious diners in the country.”

Neither Colicchio nor Carmellini have previously stated interest in Philadelphia, and their Provence openings are by no means a done deal. Blatstein’s proposed casino is one of five different projects vying for the final city gambling license, and a final decision on who gets the go-ahead is not expected until later this year.

Then there’s the matter of Philly’s own star chef, Marc Vetri, who is friends with both Colicchio and Carmellini - both of them are regular participants in the annual Vetri Great Chefs Event fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade. Vetri is not a fan casinos and is especially opposed to placing one right in the center of Philadelphia.

On hearing the news, he immediately promised to try to talk his pals out of participating. However, it’s all speculation until the casino license hearings begin on January 28 in Ballroom A of the PA Convention Center. The public is invited to attend.