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Former Felipe Rodriguez Space to Take On a Northeastern Feel

Written By Scott Joseph On October 29, 2019

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Despite what you may have read [cough, here], the new owners taking over the just closed Felipe Rodriguez space are not going to be doing a Philly cheesesteak concept. But it is going to be based on a Philadelphia restaurant, Old Nick’s Famous Roast Beef, a family-operated sandwich spot.

Cavo’s Bar and Kitchen will feature “a simple menu with a northeast twist,” said Johnny Markaj, who will open the restaurant with partners John Cavallini and Mark Cavallini. “Northeast comfort food,” with house roasted and hand-carved beef, pork and other meats.

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The partners are planning an opening the first week in December.

Markaj is the former owner of the Anthony’s Pizza down the block at the corner of Washington Street and Summerlin Avenue – “Anthony was my uncle” – which he sold to his business partner a year ago after 20 years.

John Cavallini, who will be developing the menu for Cavo’s – the name is shorthand for Cavallini – was the chef at Anthony’s; Mark, a former bartender at Casey’s, will handle front of the house operations.

Markaj said that they’re not planning a lot of changes to the place, “Just cleaning up and getting rid of that tequila feel,” making some color changes and taking the tint off the windows to lighten it up a bit.
Felipe Rodriguez Tequila House closed earlier in the month after barely six months. The space has been a longtime Thornton Park restaurant with many different owners and concepts, including the original location for Graffiti Junktion, Midnight Blue, La Fontanella, and Thornton Park Cafe.

Markaj said he was excited about what’s going on in the neighborhood, including with the recent purchase of Dexter’s by Brian Minkel and that restaurant’s coming concept change, and wants to make Cavo’s a neighborhood destination. “We’re all Thornton Park guys,” he said.

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