Marcie Turney & Valerie Safran

Chefs, Restauranteurs

As two of Philadelphia’s most prominent and ambitious businesswomen, Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have worked tirelessly over more than a decade to transform the once-desolate strip of 13th Street into a trendy neighborhood now known as “Midtown Village.” Today, Chef Turney and Safran’s Safran Turney Hospitality group, owns and operates five 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; Little Nonna’s (1238 Locust Street, 215-546-2100), an Italian-American eatery; and Bud & Marilyn’s (1234 Locust Street, 215-546-2220), a classic American restaurant named after Chef Turney’s grandparents, Bud and Marilyn Briese, opened a restaurant called The Spot in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1950. Neighboring these businesses are their prepared food market, Grocery (101 South 13th Street, 215-922-5252), two lifestyle boutiques, Open House (107 South 13th Street, 215-922-1415) and Verde (108 South 13th Street, 215-546-8700), and private event space with open kitchen and bar, located above Barbuzzo. Additionally, in summer 2019 they opened a Bud & Marilyn’s outpost in the Philadelphia International Airport between Terminal B and C. Currently, the pair are partnering with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation on a full-scale renovation of the former Love Park Welcome Center. Lovingly known as “the spaceship” for its iconic circular shape, it will become “Loveluck,” a full-service restaurant open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, welcoming the millions of tourists that visit the park each year.

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

Chef Turney’s globe-trotting culinary style puts a chef’s spin on traditional casual fare from Mexican at Lolita to Spanish at Jamonera to Mediterranean at Barbuzzo and red gravy Italian at Little Nonna’s. At Bud & Marilyn’s her focus is regional American cuisine. Her menus bring crowd-pleasing specialties to the forefront, incorporating artisanal local ingredients into both classic and innovative preparations, earning recognition and praise from critics across Philadelphia and the country.

Acclaim for Chef Turney’s cooking – and the duo’s entrepreneurship – has been universal, including a 2014 semi-finalist nod for ‘Outstanding Restaurateur’ by the James Beard Foundation. In 2013, The New York Times featured the pair 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, praising their ambitious make-over of the once-desolate neighborhood: “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 2019, Chef Turney won the “Trailblazer Award,” given out annually by Philadelphia Magazine to a woman in the Philadelphia region who is considered a pioneer in her field, has proven to be a successful leader, and has made considerable contributions to her respective peers and community.

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.”

Not content simply to create and execute the menus in their popular restaurants, Chef Turney and Safran work collaboratively on the design and atmosphere of each of their businesses, selecting all the finishes to create energetic and 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 practiced by staff.

Prior to opening her first restaurant, Chef Turney served as executive chef at Philadelphia’s 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. Safran, from upstate New York, met Turney while working at a restaurant. By day, she was a middle school Spanish teacher. The two shared dreams of running their own businesses, and eventually set out to make it happen together. In 2019, they not only were thriving entrepreneurs, but they became moms through adoption and welcomed their daughter Harlow to their family.


Twitter: @MarcieTurney

Instagram: @MarcieTurney


Twitter: @ValerieSafran

Instagram: @ValerieSafran 

We use cookies to analyze the side usage and to impore our users' experience