Just over the bridge in Collingswood is an Italian restaurant with strong ties to South Philly’s more, ahem, colorful characters. The Kitchen Consigliere is owned and operated by the infamous Angelo Lutz, who, in 2001, was sentenced to nine years in the pen for racketeering, gambling and extortion. (It seems the courts weren’t too pleased with his mob connections.) Lutz has used his public image as a cheeky theme for his former YouTube cooking show and then his crowdfunded restaurant, which opened in 2010 and more recently moved to a much bigger space. We caught up with Lutz to learn more about the business.
How are things going at Kitchen Consigliere?
We’ve been successful. We were in a small location, but then an opportunity to move to a bigger venue came up, just around the corner from where we started. It was a big undertaking and financially, we were in no position to do it. But I thought the risk would be worth the return. It’s a roller coaster of good and bad days, but we kept a good client base.
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Where did you learn to cook?
I’m a self-taught cook, no training. My mother and her mother were great cooks. It comes naturally, like someone who can sing a tune.
Where do you like to go on your day off?
I’m married to this business – seven days a week, 20 hours a day. So when I go out, I usually want anything that isn’t Italian. I will go to [Ristorante] Pesto on South Broad though. My friend Giovanni [Varallo] owns it. He’s a mentor to me.
You had a cooking show on YouTube with former Philly.com writer Marnie Hall. Any thoughts on offering cooking classes one day?
I liked working in front of a camera. I have a good personality and I like to exploit it. So if I ever did a class, there has to be some entertaining factor to it. It has to be a show, but you still walk away learning.