February 20-24, 2019 Miami Beach
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Turney

Marcie Turney

As one of Philadelphia’s most prominent and ambitious entrepreneurs, Chef Marcie Turney has worked for more than a decade alongside her business partner Valerie Safran to transform the once-desolate 13th Street neighborhood into what has become known as the trendy Midtown Village. Today, Chef Turney and Safran’s wildly popular restaurants in the neighborhood, Lolita (106 South 13th Street, 215-546-7100), a modern Mexican bar and restaurant, Barbuzzo (110 South 13th Street, 215-546-9300), a Mediterranean kitchen and bar, Jamonera (105 South 13th Street, 215-922-6061), an Andalusian tapas bar, and Little Nonna’s (1238 Locust Street, 215-546-2100), an... READ MORE

As one of Philadelphia’s most prominent and ambitious entrepreneurs, Chef Marcie Turney has worked for more than a decade alongside her business partner Valerie Safran to transform the once-desolate 13th Street neighborhood into what has become known as the trendy Midtown Village. Today, Chef Turney and Safran’s wildly popular restaurants in the neighborhood, Lolita (106 South 13th Street, 215-546-7100), a modern Mexican bar and restaurant, Barbuzzo (110 South 13th Street, 215-546-9300), a Mediterranean kitchen and bar, Jamonera (105 South 13th Street, 215-922-6061), an Andalusian tapas bar, and Little Nonna’s (1238 Locust Street, 215-546-2100), an Italian-American eatery, as well as their gourmet prepared food market, Grocery (101 South 13th Street, 215-922-5252), and two lifestyle boutiques, Open House (107 South 13th Street, 215-922-1415) and Verde (108 South 13th Street, 215-546-8700), are thriving. In August 2015, the pair opened their fifth restaurant, Bud & Marilyn’s (1234 Locust Street, 215-546-2220), a classic American restaurant named after Chef Turney’s grandparents, Bud and Marilyn Briese, who in 1950 opened a restaurant called The Spot in Ripon, Wisconsin. 

“Ever since we opened our first restaurant in this neighborhood in 2002, we’ve dreamed of building 13th Street into a lively corridor of restaurants, shops and cafes,” says Chef Turney. “I couldn’t be more proud to have had a hand in creating the vibrant culture that exists here today.”

Chef Turney’s globe-trotting culinary style modernizes and elevates traditional ethnic fare from Mexican at Lolita to Spanish at Jamonera to Mediterranean at Barbuzzo and red gravy Italian at Little Nonna’s. She focuses on full-flavored dishes that allow the often-unusual ingredients of foreign culinary styles to shine. Her menus bring regional specialties to the forefront, incorporating artisanal local ingredients into both classic and innovative preparations, with results that have critics across Philadelphia and the country taking note.

Recognition and praise for Chef Turney’s cooking – and entrepreneurship – has been universal, including being named a 2014 semi-finalist for ‘Outstanding Restaurateur’ by the James Beard Foundation. In 2013, The New York Times put the pair front and center in their piece profiling the neighborhood: “These days, however, check-cashing joints and adult bookshops have been replaced by ‘reservations a must’ restaurants and high-end gelato shops, thanks largely to the efforts of Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney.” Philadelphia magazine named her and Safran among the “10 Best Philadelphians” of 2012, calling them “the empresses of the Gayborhood” and praising their ambitious make-over of the once-desolate neighborhood now known as trendy Midtown Village: “In a city where what has been usually dictates what will be, in a neighborhood that nobody else wanted or cared about, two women came in and breathed change all over everything…they had ideas.” 

In addition to her work as executive chef at each of their five acclaimed restaurants, Chef Turney has also created her own signature line of chocolates, Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates, which are sold online and at their lifestyle boutique, Verde. The chocolates have even garnered national recognition, including from Oprah Magazine, praising the “surprisingly delicious” combinations that “are inspired by global cuisine.” 

In October of 2014, due to the demand of loyal guests often asking for them to host private parties, Turney and Safran purchased the space above Barbuzzo, turning it into a beautiful, warm room with an open kitchen and small bar. They have hosted all types of gatherings, ranging from corporate luncheons to weddings, and can cater the room setup and menu to the guests’ desires.

Not content simply to create and execute the menus in their popular restaurants, Chef Turney and Safran work collaboratively on the look and feel of each of their businesses, hand-selecting all the finishes to create complete, transportive environments. As a team, they are hands-on, taking genuine ownership of every aspect of their businesses, from the look and feel of the spaces to the products and menus that they offer to the service standards of the staff.

Prior to opening the first of her own restaurants, Chef Turney served as executive chef at Philadelphia’s Valanni, Twenty Manning and Audrey Claire. Born in Wisconsin, she moved to the Poconos at age seven and eventually attended Temple University’s Tyler School of Art on a full field hockey scholarship, studying graphic design. As graphic design became more computer-driven, Chef Turney sought out a new career and settled on cooking, attending The Restaurant School at Walnut College.

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