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April 12, 2023

P'unk Burger, Slice owners to open throwback sandwich shop and deli in South Philly

The new concept, Nipotina, draws inspiration from Marlo Dilks' Italian family's recipes. The menu features chicken cutlets, cheesesteaks and more

Food & Drink Restaurants
Nipotina Italian Restaurant Provided Image/Cody Aldrich Photography

Nipotina is a new Italian sandwich shop from husband-and-wife team Jason and Marlo Dilks, who also own SliCE and P'unk Burger. The storefront is at 2238 S. 21st St.

The husband-and-wife duo behind local favorites Slice and P'unk Burger are ready to debut their latest project in South Philly.

Nipotina, an old-fashioned Italian sandwich shop and deli, opens Thursday morning in a cozy storefront at 2238 S. 21st St. The business will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu offering a variety of chicken cutlets, meatball sandwiches, cheesesteaks, hoagies, salads and other Italian specialities.

Marlo and Jason Dilks began developing plans for Nipotina during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marlo envisioned a casual eatery that pays homage to her Italian grandmothers and her dad's luncheonette and butcher shop, Marlo's Kitchen, that once operated in the neighborhood.

"I wanted to share my family's story and present a menu inspired by the cooking from my Italian grandmothers," said Marlo, who grew up two blocks away from Nipotina. "The smell, the flavor, the memories, the love in the kitchen each and every day. I wanted to return to those days with a menu and a vibe that everyone who comes in the door can feel like family."

Breakfast sandwiches, served daily until 11 a.m., include simple pleasures like bacon, Italian sausage or mushroom and eggs with Cooper Sharp American cheese. There will also be tater tots and fried red peppers to accompany the breakfast entries.

The chicken cutlet sandwiches come in several configurations, including the Nipotina with fried red peppers, fried salami and chipotle mayonnaise. The Fugazi, one of two vegan options, has portobello mushrooms, fried onions, fried long hots, vegan cheese and vegan horseradish mayo.

All of the sandwiches use bread from Liscio's Italian Bakery.

Nipotina ExteriorProvided Image/Cody Aldrich Photography

Nipotina is at 2238 S. 21st St. in South Philly, just off Passyunk Avenue at the corner of Wolf Street.

The cheesesteak menu features highlights like the Hangover Cure, which comes with ribeye steak, Cooper Sharp American cheese, smashed tater tots, over easy egg and sriracha. Another standout, Everyday I'm Truffling, has ribeye steak, black truffle burrata, truffle oil and truffle honey. There are also chicken cheesesteak and vegan steak options.

Beverages include coffee from Minor Figures and Crosscut, along with sodas and seltzers from brands that focus on all natural sugars. Fresh juices will be introduced some time after the business opens. Sweets and desserts, local business collaborations and menu specials will be available in the months ahead.

Nipotina also will serve as a deli market offering meats, cheese and other items sold by the pound. Catering with delivery and set-up will be available along with trays, platters and boxed meals to-go for private parties and events.

The 1,000-square-foot space includes seating for about 28 people indoors and outdoors. A vintage Marlo's Kitchen sign will be proudly displayed inside along with original signage from Club Little Louie, another business Marlo's father once ran in the neighborhood.

Nipotina InteriorProvided Image/Cody Aldrich Photography

A look at the interior of Nipotina in South Philly.

The Dilks own two Slice pizza shop locations, one in the Italian Market and another in Washington Township, New Jersey. P'unk Burger has been a standout on East Passyunk Avenue since it opened in 2015.

Nipotina has been the couple's pet project for a few years.

"I wanted to focus on cutlets and sandwiches the way I grew up eating them. Plus add some with a unique twist that I think are lacking in the area," Marlo said. "This also let us share our family's story in an even greater, more in-depth way than P'unk and Slice and also let us get indulgent with these unique offerings — my own twist on some of the city's most well known sandwiches — done our way."

Nipotina's hours to start will be Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On Thursday morning, the first 50 patrons will enjoy a free breakfast sandwich giveaway from 9-11 a.m. On Friday, Nipotina will offer free fries with the first 50 lunch and dinner orders. And on Saturday and Sunday, the business will provide free drinks, excluding coffee, with any sandwich purchase.