By invitation, last week we visited the casual spot Ventuno, which recently opened just 8 weeks ago, at 21st and Chestnut Streets, next to Mix and Victor’s Bar. It is located on the ground-level of the Riverwest Condominiums.
The concept is a quick serve establishment specializing in handcrafted sandwiches, homemade soups, made to order salads, as well as offering ice cream from the Berkey Creamery at Penn State University. As far as we know, they are the only place in Philadelphia that carries it; Gabriel informed me that they do not deliver to Philly. He must make regular trips to University Park to pick it up himself.
When you first walk in you are greeted by a large sandwich display case. It was closer to 7PM by the time we got there so the case was not particularly well-stocked.
There isn’t a full menu board, however, there is a chalkboard hanging from the ceiling with the Daily Specials listed on them. On this day the soup specials were turkey chili, pumpkin bisque and lentil soup. The sandwich specials were a veggie-friendly Ratatouille wrap, chicken Waldorf wrap, and fig, arugula and provolone on ciabatta.
Upon our arrival and introducing ourselves, Gabriel gave us the lay of the land. This fast-serve eatery isn’t very big so don’t expect a lot of seating inside. However there is a nice bar area facing Chestnut Street.
Gabriel introduced us to Chef Ricardo who makes all of the soups and prepares all of the sandwiches in-house daily. There’s usually 6-7 soups and at least 10 sandwiches available daily. Soups come in large or small sizes, for $4 and $6 respectively. Sandwiches usually range from $7-$9 depending on the ingredients, but are never over $9. Salads range from $7-$9, but could be more depending on how many extra ingredients a customer would like.
They offer a combination deal where you can pick any 2 — half a sandwich, small soup, or small salad — for $8 plus tax. Generally, people shouldn’t expect to pay over $10 for their meal.
There is a hanging basket with Free Fruit (1 per customer) next to the cash register. That’s a nice touch. There were only green apples left when we visited, but I imagine they stock bananas and oranges in there as well.
OK, how about those sandwiches? We didn’t take a picture of all of them, but a few of the standouts included…
The Ratatouille Wrap
The Buffalo Chicken Wrap
The Chicken Caesar Wrap
The Ventuno Italian Wrap
The Fig, Arugula, and Provolone on Ciabatta
With so many wonderful and delicious choices available, it was hard to choose. But choose we did! Hubby chose the Turkey Club Sandwich with a small cup of Lentil Soup.
He really enjoyed the soup and said it reminded him of how he makes lentil soup. The sandwich is your typical turkey club with bacon, lettuce and tomato.
For me, it was between the Fig, Arugula and Provolone or the Sriracha Chicken Waldorf Salad wrap. The chicken salad with Sriracha won. I mean — if someone has the balls to put sriracha in a chicken Waldorf salad, I’ve got to try that! I paired it with good old veggie soup.
The verdict? Very good! The sriracha flavor wasn’t overpowering. It was basically a mild sriracha mayo. It was quite tasty! Here is the ingredient list close up:
We didn’t have any room for the Penn State ice cream. Not to mention I’m lactose-intolerant anyway. Such a shame as it all looked divine.
Ventuno’s hours are 11AM-9PM for soups, sandwiches and salads. They stay open until 10PM if you want your late night ice cream fix.
If you’re in the area just west of Rittenhouse, we recommend swinging by and giving them a try especially if you’re looking for a quick bite.
Tell Gabriel that Philly Grub sent you.
2101 Chestnut Street
(1st floor Riverwest Condominiums)
Philadelphia, PA 19103