In August of 2019 the University announced that a full service restaurant would open on-campus in The Commons. The original restaurant opened in conjunction with Greg Dodge of Zavino Hospitality Group (ZHG), the former team behind the now closed, Enoteca Tredici in Bryn Mawr.
The Refectory opened in the Fall semester of 2019 and had to shut down temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, the operating team within the restaurant faced challenges and therefore a new group partnered to re-open the establishment.
The new operating group being welcomed into the restaurant includes local business owners Ken Kearns ‘92 VSB (of 118 North), and Chris Perella (of Ardmore Music Hall and 118 North) with award-winning Executive Chef Biff Gottehrer (of Ripplewood, 118 North, and Ardmore Music Hall) and General Manager Steve Khuu (formerly of Enoteca Tredici). The team is excited to re-open in October 2021.
“We are extremely excited to bring our amazing team and their culinary and management expertise to The Refectory,” said Ken Kearns. “As an alumnus, it is an honor to be able to play an important part in the Villanova experience. We look forward to delivering a world-class dining experience to the Villanova campus and to the Main Line community.”
The full menu has not been released yet, but an upscale spin on comfort classics such as homemade pastas, wood-fired flatbreads, a raw bar, craft cocktails and specialty desserts has been teased. Chef Gottehrer has received a three-bell review in The Philadelphia Inquirer, for his work at Ardmore’s Ripplewood. A well-known food critic, Craig Laban, praised the chef for his “inventive homemade touch.” When the menu is released in coming weeks, all potential customers will be guaranteed a great meal and top of the line cooking.
The design of the establishment will remain the same, which includes a central horseshoe-shaped bar that seats 18 guests and a casually elegant dining room that comfortably seats more than 150 guests. The dining room includes wood-finished banquettes and cedar-stained floors, as well as comfortable booths perfect for sharing a meal with friends and family. The Refectory also has a vault room for private parties and special chef’s tastings.
The restaurant will be open to community members of the University and the public. Guests can come to enjoy lunch, happy hour, dinner, weekend brunch and private events.
“I am delighted that The Refectory is reopening this fall for Villanovans and surrounding communities to enjoy,” said University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. “I have no doubt it will once again be a popular gathering spot for students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and neighbors to experience exceptional service and delicious food and drinks.”
Students are also excited for the establishment to re-open and be another option for a delicious meal to share with friends.
Former Refectory employee and senior James Hughes shared his enthusiasm for the re-opening. “I am extremely excited for the re-opening of the Refectory. It had an amazing staff and was a great spot to visit with my friends and family,” Hughes said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the community back together again.”
Customers can find The Refectory within The Commons, located at the corner of Lancaster and Ithan Avenues.