Midtown Village, and particularly the stretch between Locust and Chestnut, is proof of all the theories for building heat and capturing lightning discussed later in this package. It’s an area that showcases diversity, density and new blood: where the idea of money following money is borne out most fully, where the slow build and the tipping point have reached their logical conclusions. Walk here on almost any night of the week and you’ll see Philadelphia at its most vital and alive.
You wouldn’t be blamed for assuming that with Barbuzzo, Grocery, and the brand-new tapas restaurant Jamonera taking the slot vacated by their fine-dining Indian restaurant Bindi, partners Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran flat-out own this micro-neighborhood.
But you’d be wrong, because while Turney and Safran may have concentrated their influence across just a few thousand feet, they have some pretty high-tone neighbors vying for space (and attention) as well.
Michael Schulson’s Sampan brings modern Asian flavors to the ’hood. Stephen Starr has a presence with El Vez. And Vetri or Amis, to McGillin’s or Opa. And those with a sharp eye for orange signs and papered-over windows can see signals everywhere that the 13th Street restaurant boom shows no sign of going bust soon.
The future of Midtown Village’s restaurants: Jose Garces will be bringing wieners and other tube-shaped meats to the neighborhood with Frohman’s Wursthaus (208 South 13th Street). Mike Stollenwerk closed or sold almost every other property he had to bring the new, larger iteration of his flagship restaurant, Fish, to the corner of 13th and Locust. And he’ll have company, because that’s where we’ll be getting more breakfast action when the crew at Green Eggs Café opens their new location. One block up, at 13th and Walnut, the old Portofino space is becoming the Walnut Street Supper Club (1227 Walnut Street).