Italian chef Painter returns to kitchen with new Il Pittore

About a decade ago, chef Chris Painter began dabbling in the art of handmade pasta, spinning his strands for boss Stephen Starr at Chestnut Street’s ultimately ill-fated Angelina. Today, Painter opens Il Pittore (Italian for “the painter”) as head chef and partner with Starr.

As Starr Restaurant Organization’s culinary director, Painter has led menu development and captained the openings of eight restaurants in the past three years. The opening of his own 85-seat, two-story space marks his departure from that role — now to be filled by Martin Heierling — and his transition into life as a full-time executive chef once again.

“This is my job now,” he said. “I’m excited about my time as culinary director. I learned a lot, but now it’s time to have a home.”

The chef’s unfussy aesthetic is reflected both in decor — an assemblage of warm woods and rustic earth tones designed by architect Rich Stokes — and on the plates, which Painter says are not exactly classic Italian dishes, but “that same soul-satisfying cooking with modern twists.”

“There’s no reservations required for the communal table or counter bar,” says spokesman Randi Sirkin. “Chef just wanted people to be able to pop in any time for a plate of pasta.”

On the menu

A 200-bottle wine list, Italian beers and classic cocktails like the Aperol Sour and Negroni are available to accompany the menu of antipasti, pasta and entrees like suckling pig with pear mostarda, roasted baby carrots and cavolo nero (black kale).

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