Our Team


Jill Weber spent her childhood in Michigan City, IN longing to travel. This eventually led to a career in archaeology, landing in Philadelphia where she received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1992, Jill has worked in Syria, Turkey, Armenia, Oman, Iraq, and Italy.  Along the way, she gained an intimate knowledge of these countries, their cultures, and native cuisines, which inspired her to open a restaurant back in Philly.

Evan Malone came to Philly from the mountains of Colorado, and met Jill. He also traveled a lot – to Cornell for a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Systems Engineering, to Fukuoka, Japan where his team became World Champions of RoboCup (soccer-playing robots), and to Gauteng, South Africa, where he helped open an internet cafe.  At Cornell, Evan helped develop a multi-material desk-top 3D printer to help democratize invention. Back in Philly, Evan opened NextFab- a membership-based maker space and business accelerator.

Building on the success of their first restaurant, Jet Wine Bar, Jill and Evan opened REX 1516 and Cafe Ynez, and are soon to open Sor Ynez.

In their spare time, Jill and Evan love to travel. At home, you’ll find Evan cooking, Jill opening wine, and the cats being crazy.


Lucio Palazzo was born and raised in Italy. As a kid, he never thought he’d have a career in the restaurant industry. Upon moving to West Philly, Palazzo found a job through a friend who was working at Brasserie Perrier, where he soon started work as a pastry assistant. Palazzo found his calling in preparing beautiful plates for guests to enjoy.

After a few years of transitioning between cooking sweet and savory, Palazzo got the opportunity to join the opening team at the acclaimed Zahav, which led to Palazzo’s first Head Chef gig at Xochitl. Xochitl sparked a long running fascination with Mexican cuisine and culture, which included stops at La Calaca Feliz and Loco Pez. Palazzo further developed his focus on high quality local ingredients working in the kitchen at Russet, where the menu changed daily based on the shims of the season.

Palazzo’s love for his adopted city runs deep and inspires his food and activism in the restaurant industry. He works to ensure that his team is being given an opportunity to flourish in the kitchen. He strives to be a more well-rounded chef for both himself and his staff, and avidly promotes physical and emotional wellness.

When he’s not in the kitchen, Palazzo can be found tending to his vegetable garden with his wife and two children, as well as his oldest friend, Calvin — the family’s Pomeranian. Outside of cooking, Palazzo is passionate about cycling and he looks forward to spending July mornings watching the Tour de France.