1731 Italian Restaurant serving vintage victuals

Robin Novelli has made her Packer Park spot a haven for nostalgic dishes.

“It’s What Your Grandmother Cooks!” declares the website for 1731 Italian Restaurant and Brick Oven Pizzeria. Since opening in August, owner Robin Novelli has proudly offered pizzas, pasta dishes, and entrees like “your grandmother made, but with an elevated and modern twist.’

Spaghetti and clams. Photo by Fred Scevoli for 1731 Restaurant.

Novelli, a New York native with a background in fashion, switched from haute couture to haute cuisine when she opened the cash-only BYOB at 1731 Packer Ave. She aims to plate simple food in a space that seats 120 and is awash in sunshine.

The sun-splashed interior at lunch. Photo by Fred Scevoli for 1731 Restaurant.

“I’m very big on paying tribute to the past,” Novelli said.  “I think that many other people are like that, too…they want to go somewhere, especially if they’re Italian, that has food that’s comparable to what their grandmothers made them.” 

To meet that challenge, the food at 1731 is made from scratch daily, including dough for the pizzas. Sauces are crafted from family recipes. And “everything is the epitome of fresh,” Novelli stressed.

The brick oven, imported from Italy, is the centerpiece of the kitchen—turning out thin, crispy crust, with “just the right amount of char and layers of melty mozzarella cheese.”

Pizza in the brick oven. Photo by Fred Scevoli for 1731 Restaurant.

Asked for menu highlights, Novelli noted the margarita arugula and prosciutto pizza—“my poppy’s favorite,” the eggplant rollatini, stuffed Italian long hots, and an antipasto with “a grandma feel.”

Margarita arugula and prosciutto pizza. Photo by Fred Scevoli for 1731 Restaurant.

Among the pasta and entrees, Novelli called-out the cavatelli pomodoro, pork cutlet milanese, and bronzino,

Grilled bronzino. Photo by Fred Scevoli for 1731 Restaurant.

“Oh, and you can’t forget dessert,” she said with a smile in giving a nod to cannoli with flavoring from New York, cheesecake, a homemade tiramisu, and a limoncello cake with mascarpone frosting. 

Novelli is proud to showcase the recipes inspired by her family’s roots in Naples.

“You have to know where you came from,” she noted, adding that she is looking forward to a bright future for the restaurant in stating, “What we have here is an experience you don’t often get anymore.”

1731 Restaurant

1731 Packer Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
215 372-7269

Winter Hours:

Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday & Thursday: 11:00am-9:00pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00am-10:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm-8:00pm