Dino’s Backstage Brings Glitz and Glamour to Glenside

The American eatery is located next to the Keswick Theatre.



Dino's Big Island Poke

Dino's Big Island Poke, with sushi-grade salmon, sweet soy syrup, scallions, sesame seeds, dashi and cucumber//All photos by Steve Legato

Striding gracefully across plush zebra-striped carpeting, tuxedo-clad waiters balance serving trays filled with champagne, martini glasses and snifters. On a nearby stage, the suave bandleader snaps his fingers as his trio launches into “Fly Me to the Moon.” 

This isn’t a flashback to the Copacabana or the Latin Casino—it’s here and now at Dino’s Backstage, the stunningly glamorous restaurant, bar and cabaret located next door to the Keswick Theatre in Glenside. 

From Left: Dino’s Bee’s Knees cocktail; Tuna khatsu, layered atop forbidden rice and Thai sauce

The six-month-old hot spot’s namesake is Dino J. Kelly-Cataldi, who came to initial prominence 20 years ago in Philadelphia with the Franco-centric Napoleon Café.Café. Today, his collaborator is his husband, Michael Richard Kelly-Cataldi, a notable antiques purveyor and a polished singer in his own right, who serves as entertainment director at Dino’s. The dapper duo play consummate hosts to a spectrum of patrons, ranging from members of the Greatest Generation to gussied-up 20-somethings. Everyone is happily reveling in this authentic throwback to celebration and civility.

Veteran chef Scott Howlett orchestrates a classic American menu that’s creatively embued with modern touches. A standout among Act I’s appetizers, the soy-infused Big Island Poke arrived laden with sushi-grade tuna. Also memorable was the White Bisque, its velvety, sherry laced coconut-milk full of sweet crab and spinach. 

From Left: Beef tartare topped with a quail egg; Apple crisp with vanilla-bean ice cream.

Act II entrée highlights included the tender rioja-braised short ribs, glossy diver scallops, and a superb filet mignon. And for the finale: six hand-rolled chocolate truffles with a liqueur surprise—either espresso stout or dark rum. 

At Dino’s, three enclaves greet visitors. To the left: a dining room with a shimmery halo-shaped chandelier and a wall of black-and-white photos of the owners’ family members supper-clubbing it at the old Palumbo’s in South Philly, circa 1950. Just ahead, a 12-seat bar serves classic cocktails with a fresh twist. The final space is the aptly named Celebrity Room—a retro-style supper club offering a sophisticated monochromatic élan. The attention to period detail astounds, from the smooth-as-sealskin leather chairs to the backlit menus done in a vintage font.

With an endowment of classic cuisine and fine cocktails to go with its weekly lineup of great live entertainment, this swinging place is a boon for Glenside. 

The retro-inspired dining room

DETAILS

Dino’s Backstage 
287 Keswick Ave., Glenside, (215) 884-2000.
Cuisine:Enduring American cuisine with a modern touch.
Cost: Appetizers $10-$18, entrées $21-$32; cover charge for shows held Wednesday-Sunday.
Attire: Ranges from nice casual to all decked out.
Atmosphere: Chic and sophisticated.
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4-10 p.m. Sunday. Sunday brunch: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Extras: Outdoor seating, 30-seat private room downstairs. 

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