Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >
Oct 28, 2011 12:54 PM

Chiarella's and Zocalo on Kitchen Nightmares

From I'm kind of surprised about Chiarella's, athough it was usually pretty empty when I was there. The food was always very good though.

Two local down-on-their-luck restaurants are getting a Gordon Ramsay reno next month when his show Kitchen Nightmares comes to town to film. First up: red-sauce BYOB Chiarella's (1603 E. Passyunk), which will shoot from Nov. 8 to 11. After, Ramsay and crew will head to West Philly to reinvigorate the Mexi menu at Zocalo (3600 Lancaster Ave.) from Nov. 12 to 15. If you want to be among the breathless, relaunch-night diners, the producers are currently accepting reservations. Don’t call the restaurants: Email the show at with “Chiarella’s" or "Zocalo" in the subject line. Include your name, party size and the best number to reach you. And don't try double-dipping; you can only dine at one restaurant or the other. Producers will begin making calls next week.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thanks for the tip. Ramsey seems like a bit of a doink but I'll watch for the Philly aspect...

    1. Apparently the "fix" didn't work. Supposedly Chiarella's is done at the end of the month.

      Should be interesting to see what happens to the spot, prime location.

      6 Replies
        1. re: cwdonald

          I do recall a few good dinners at Zocallo with some colleagues and friends from UofP. Wow, that must have been 5 or more years ago. Thought it was great then. Time, tastes and restaurants do change. So even Gordon the Great could not yell enough Fs to straighten them out!

          1. re: Bacchus101

            Here is a story on Zocalo closing. I remember it as one of the first good Mexican restaurants in the area pre Starr in the late 90s.


            1. re: cwdonald

              Thanks for the link. One of the more sensitive Nightmares I have seen. Sorry to hear that they did not make it. One more example of how difficult the restaurant business can be. I hope they land on their feet.

              1. re: Bacchus101

                I never dined at Chiarella's, but the comment section on this post about it closing is over the top:

                Though, I am more interested to know what goes into that prime location.

                1. re: SP1

                  Wow. That was entertaining and disturbing reading.