Singing for your supper, ’40s style | PBJ
A longtime restaurateur is making a comeback by looking back.
Ralph Beraducci, who for 38 years ran Portofino (1227 Walnut St.), has converted the space to a 1940s supper club.
The Walnut Street Supper Club features a newly renovated dining room and bar, seating for 175 and a “cast” of 30 employees who double as the club’s entertainment.
“Everyone sings — the waiters, the bartender, the person in coat check. Everyone sings,” said James McManaman, general manager.
McManaman, who worked in the hotel industry before moving here in 2005, met Beraducci in his role as head of the Midtown Village Association.
After flooding from Hurricane Irene last summer damaged the former Portofino, Beraducci “was ready for a change,” McManaman said. And McManaman seemed born to the part of GM in a supper club. On a recent afternoon, he was dressed in a suit and bowtie, and seemed only too willing to jump on the club’s stage for a photo op.
“One of my first jobs was in Jed Nolan’s Music Hall in Scottsdale, Ariz.,” he recalled.
Finding wait staff was no problem.
“We put out an open audition and had 150 auditions,” he said. “We picked 30 from that group.”
- Peter Van Allen
- Reporter – Philadelphia Business Journal