Michael Joyce, the stellar chef at Molinari’s who has guided them since their 2011 opening, is packing up and heading to Philly. At the end of April he’ll be taking the helm at the esteemed Monk’s Café beer bar in Center City according to a recent Zagat article.
Joyce, a Bethlehem native, has worked under Chef Christopher Lee at the widely acclaimed and now defunct Striped Bass in Philly, and eventually went on to work in the Lehigh Valley’s premiere kitchen at Bolete. His stint at Molinari’s has been memorable, bringing an unheard of level of authentic Italian cuisine to the area paired with a passion for local and fresh food.
Monk’s, renowned for their beer selection, mussels, and Belgian frites, will retain its staple dishes while Joyce adds house-made meats, seasonal dishes, and more local produce to the menu.
Replacing Joyce at Molinari’s will be their current sous chef, Mark Romanowski. A former chef at several Lehigh Valley spots including Molly’s, Tally Ho, and Allentown Brew Works, he has been under Joyce at Molinari’s for nearly three years. In an email, Anna Molinsaid confirmed that their menu will remain the same, adding, “We believe the integrity of the food we create and Chef Mark will bring that same level and maintain what pride we take in our food.
Stripped Bass, Bolete and Monks vs. Molly’s, Tally Ho & ABW? Hmmm….
I can understand your concern. Mark’s resume is not as impressive BUT he is just as passionate as Mike. AND he has run the kitchen many times when Mike was off or on vacation. Everyone starts somewhere. It is where they finish that is most important. At the end of the day food is about passion and Italian food [in my opinion] is the ultimate passion. Mark has that and I have complete confidence in him.
Lastly, we have just scratched the surface of presenting authentic Italian food and we are committed to exploring that more and more as time passes. Buon Appetito!