Restauranteurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have transformed 13th Street in Philadelphia, between Chestnut and Locust, into a sought out destination to enjoy local and global cuisine and culture. They have helped reinvigorate a once desolate neighborhood into trendy Midtown Village. They are true agents of change in their community. Turning Points for Children is pleased to name them as “Champions of Change” and honor them at this year's 20th Annual Kids at Heart Gala.
Like other pioneering entrepreneurs, Chef Marcie made the decision to change careers in order to pursue her passion. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she came to Philadelphia to attend Temple University's Tyler School of Art on a field-hockey scholarship. Marcie thought she would be a graphic designer but returned to Temple her sophomore year with a change of heart. Valerie was a school teacher and although a noble profession, she wasn’t completely fulfilled, so she left teaching in pursuit of a dream. The duo put in all they had to open their first restaurant in 2002. Hard work, determination, and personal sacrifice transformed their spark of an idea into and a transformative vision that now lights up this thriving community.
CEO of Turning Points for Children, Dawn Holden Woods knows something about vision and growth, as Turning Points has doubled in size and services under her leadership. Holden says, “As a woman and as a professional who cares deeply about the children and families in Philadelphia, I salute Marcie and Val on their success and I am proud to have their support of our mission to build Stronger Families and Brighter Futures throughout Philadelphia.”
The newly named Safran Turney Hospitality consists of nine restaurants and boutiques including Lolita, Barbuzzo, Jamonera, Little Nonna’s, Bud & Marilyn’s, their gourmet prepared food market, Grocery, and two lifestyle boutiques, Open House and Verde. As if that weren’t enough, they recently announced an outpost of their Bud & Marilyn’s restaurant at the Philadelphia Airport, multiple projects in the works along East Passyunk Avenue and they are working on Loveluck, an indoor/outdoor eatery in LOVE Park!
Recognition and praise for Chef Marcie’s cooking – and the duo’s entrepreneurship – has been overwhelmingly positive. In 2013, The New York Times put Marcie and Valerie front and center in their piece profiling the resurging 13th Street neighborhood for their part in the turnaround. And in 2014, they were named semi-finalists for Outstanding Restaurateurs by the James Beard Foundation. Just this year, Philly Magazine named Chef Marcie as their 2019 Trailblazer of the Year.
Marcie and Valerie both embody passion for what they do, for giving someone a new experience, and for making everyone feel welcomed. Turning Points for Children participants at The Bridge had the opportunity to experience that passion when they were mentored directly by Chef Marcie when she came to “cook with the kids.”
Marcie and Valerie are true innovators and genuine “Champions of Change.” Join us for an evening of celebration and inspiration at the Kids at Heart Gala, Thursday, May 9, 2019 at The Franklin Institute where we will celebrate our champions of children and our agents of change.