In November of 2011, chefs Jason Cichonski and Chip Roman partnered to open Ela, an inventive new American bar and restaurant in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood. Ela showcases 27-year-old Cichonski, who Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig LaBan called “one of our most exciting young chefs,” is combining an approachable menu of innovative dishes with an extensive wine and craft beer program and inspired cocktail list in a rustic-modern setting.
“Creatively, it’s wonderfully freeing to prepare food that doesn’t fit into any one genre or style; this is seasonal food, using exceptional ingredients, prepared perfectly,” says Chef Cichonski. Ela is a serious-yet-comfortable restaurant with a menu that that changes frequently throughout the year, to reflect the latest offerings.
Chef Jason Cichonski is one of Philadelphia’s brightest rising star chefs. His artful American restaurant, Ela (627 South 3rd Street, 267-687-8512) is located in Queen Village. Ela’s menu changes frequently throughout the year, to reflect the season’s finest ingredients and Chef Cichonski’s creative, boundary-pushing presentations. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig LaBan wrote in his glowing “Three Bells: Excellent” review that “few kitchens in town can match Ela’s food value-wise for pure excitement…from the first course to the last, the chef at Ela is hottest where it matters most,” while Philadelphia Magazine’s Trey Popp called the restaurant “deliciously off-the-wall…completely worth it…a transporting peek inside this rising young chef’s head.”
One of the city’s acclaimed chefs and co-owner of Ela, Chip Roman, first partnered with Chef Cichonski to open Chip’s Chestnut Hill restaurant Mica, another of the best-reviewed restaurants in the region. Prior to joining Chef Roman at Mica, Jason Cichonski served as executive chef of Lacroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel when he was just 24 years old. Lacroix was one of the city’s only “Four Bells: Superior” fine dining restaurants at the time. Jason’s cooking quickly impressed Chef Roman – and countless others. Before his success at Lacroix, Chef Cichonski worked in other highly praised kitchens, including the Pluckemin Inn, a fine dining Italian restaurant in Bedminster, NJ and Moonlight, a progressive American restaurant in New Hope, PA.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, Chef Cichonski is a graduate of University City’s The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College.
Today, he resides in Philadelphia & can nearly always be found in the kitchen at Ela.
Chef Roman is one of Philadelphia’s most exciting and talented young chefs. He is the proprietor of Charles Roman Catering, which he began running out of his home in 2004. As his catering business grew, Chef Roman seized the opportunity to open Blackfish in 2006 in downtown Conshohocken, earning a coveted “Three Bells: Excellent” review from The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as a mention in reviewer Craig LaBan’s recent opus on the state of Philadelphia dining as among the city’s five best New American BYOBs. Named on a whim as Chef Roman was reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to his children, the restaurant has earned tremendous critical acclaim, including being named “Best Restaurant” in Philadelphia magazine’s 2011 “50 Best Restaurants” issue. The restaurant serves seafood-centric progressive American cuisine with French influences, and is a showcase for Chef Roman’s inventive, modern interpretations of classic fare.
His second restaurant, Mica, offers a daily changing a la carte menu, exquisite tasting menus, creative cocktails and a thoughtfully crafted wine list. The restaurant opened in March 2011 to immediate critical acclaim,including Chef Roman’s second “Three Bells: Excellent” review from LaBan, in which he gushed that Mica, “could potentially become one of the region’s best [meals]…This was some of the most polished cooking I’ve eaten all year, with satisfying compositions that were clever, intricate, and modern without being overwrought.” Most recently, Mica was named by GQ magazine in their March issue as one of the “10 Best New Restaurants 2012.” The restaurant is located on the cobblestoned, tree-lined main street of Chestnut Hill and is housed in a quaint townhouse. The interior’s intimate atmosphere with sage-colored walls, reclaimed walnut floors and table tops, large fireplace and marble bar top, make guests feel as though they are dining in a friend’s home.
For Chef Roman’s third restaurant, he partnered with Chef Jason Cichonski to open Ela. The restaurant is the showcase for 27-year-old Chef Cichonski, who LaBan has called “one of our most exciting young chefs,” where he combines an approachable menu of innovative dishes with an extensive wine and craft beer program and inspired cocktail list in a rustic-modern setting. Ela is a serious yet comfortable restaurant with a menu that changes frequently throughout the year, to reflect the latest offerings. LaBan wrote that “few kitchens in town can match Ela’s food value-wise for pure excitement…from the first course to the last, the chef at Ela is hottest where it matters most,” in his glowing “Three Bells: Excellent” review.
Chef Roman and his wife Amanda reside just outside of Philadelphia in Conshohocken with their four children.