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Locals Only


If I’d somehow been brought blindfolded to Local Wine & Kitchen and asked to guess where I was, I’d reckon I was somewhere in Center City’s Midtown Village. Since when did Ardmore become so cool?

August 2014, to be exact. That’s when Stefan Gagliano opened this cozy restaurant and wine bar in the very storefront where his father, Domenico, ran the reliable San Pietro for 20 years. While the elder Gagliano still operates Positano Ristorante & Bar a few doors down on Lancaster Avenue, Stefan, at the age of 28, has brought a fresh vision and strong talent in the form of executive chef Matt Stebbins, a protégé of the highly regarded Townsend Wentz. 

 Local Wine & Kitchen’s candy-cane beet salad, with dill yogurt, Hakurei turnips and pesto

(From Left) At the bar, owner Stefan Gagliano lights candles for the tables; Executive chef Matt Stebbins

With its rustic-chic atmosphere and sleek bar, the Local has become a magnet for smartly dressed couples and suburban hipsters looking to graze on hearty small plates while sipping cab sav, barley wine and infused cocktails. The name isn’t just a hook. The shareable plates and larger main dishes feature award-winning artisanal cheeses from Doe Run Farm in Coatesville and clean, vibrant produce by way of Plowshare Farms in Bucks County. Meats like bresaola and pork lonzino are cured in-house; coffee beans arrive via Greenstreet Roasters in Point Breeze; and Chadds Ford’s acclaimed Penns Woods Winery takes center stage, as well.

Works by area artists are displayed in a series of rooms painted in varying shades of soothing gray. Aside from the welcoming bar, with its funky gargoyle sconces holding amber Edison bulbs, the Local’s centerpiece is its original stained-glass skylight. With its intimate side room, inviting back dining area and six-seat charcuterie bar, this place definitely recalls the better wine bars I’ve frequented in Center City’s hippest of neighborhoods.  

(From Left) Diver scallops with butternut-squash puree, sage brown butter, and macadamia nuts; 

Valrhona chocolate ganache, with sea salt, hazelnuts and a black-currant reduction

Along with the impressive array of cheeses, the Local’s friendly, laid-back staff can suggest other memorable small plates for sharing—like the red-wine-
vinegar-tanged candy-cane beet salad with dill yogurt. Another stellar opener, delicate slivers of red-wine-poached octopus came nicely beaded with a light and lemony caper-and-olive tapenade.

The winter weather obviously provides Stebbins with plenty of inspiration. His coffee-braised pulled pork shoulder was blanketed in a comforting layer of creamy polenta and Brussels sprouts. For poultry lovers, the confit chicken thigh, with cranberry chutney and port wine, was a tasty lesson in savory succulence. 

Executive chef Matt Stebbins (left) at work in the kitchen.

The apple cobbler with bourbon dulce- de-leche sauce was a sweetly successful- enough ending. So was the silken chocolate ganache—though one quenelle seemed a bit meager for $6. It left us wanting more.

The Skinny: With its urban feel, chef on the rise, and menu tailored to shareable eats, it’s no wonder that Local Wine & Kitchen has been quickly embraced by discerning Main Line diners. It’s an authentic taste of Philly hipster dining, without the traffic or parking hassles.

Details: Local Wine & Kitchen 39 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 896-4740.

Cuisine: Locally sourced, globally inspired fare. 

Cost: Small plates $6-$14, main plates $18-$24; cheeses $6.50 for one serving, $16 for three, $25 for five. 

Attire: Stylishly relaxed. 

Atmosphere: Intimate and moody, casual yet sophisticated. 

Hours: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; bar opens at 4 p.m. 

Extras: Happy hour 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; wine events and flight programs to come. 

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