The Space: Designed by Safran and Turney, the rustic space (pictured, opposite page) is paneled with recycled Lancaster barn wood interspersed with whitewashed exposed brick. Tabletops are cut from wood reclaimed from the foundation of a Manayunk dam, and seating is a mix of repurposed church pews and bistro chairs. Wine-barrel light fixtures hang over the gray marble bar, while glass doors open out to the street.
Our Take: How they do it all—five businesses on the same block!—we have no idea, but we’re always impressed with the results. We predict a slam-dunk.
The ETA: End of August
Cira Centre, 2929 Arch Street, West Philly, 215-222-2363, serafinarestaurant.com
The Players: New York restaurateurs Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato.
The Concept: A Philly branch of this celeb-tastic New York Italian mini-chain. “We’re bringing something truly authentic and New York to Philly,” says Serafina development director Caroline McBride.
The Food: Italian, with wood-fired pizzas, plus a takeout breakfast bakery.
The Space: A 5,700-square-foot space in the heart of Rittenhouse, with an elevated bar on the first floor, room for 100 diners, private dining on the second floor, and plans for sidewalk seating.
Our Take: Look out, Rouge and Parc; these New Yorkers are aiming to swipe your see-and-be-seen status. Philly doesn’t generally cotton to anything “truly authentic” from up the Turnpike, but if the pizza is good, we’ll take it.
The ETA: October
— Il Pittore
627 South 3rd Street, Queen Village, starr-restaurant.com
The Players: Stephen Starr and chef Chris Painter.
The Concept: A “neighborhood Italian” restaurant cheffed by Painter, culinary director for Starr Restaurants.
The Food: Painter plans a small menu focusing on Italian cuisine “from Rome north.”
The Space: Starr, who is designing the place himself, says he doesn’t plan to do much to the former Ansill decor. Expect “understated and un-designed,” with exposed beams and brick and a new fireplace.
Our Take: If anyone can break the 3rd Street jinx (RIP, Ansill, Gayle), it’s Starr.
The ETA: October
Follow @garcesgroup on Twitter for the truck’s schedule. To book a special event, call 215-625-2920.
The Players: Jose Garces’s first business partnership with his go-to designer, Jun Aizaki.
The Concept: A “totally fun” roving food truck that will make late-night stops (and TBD daytime ones) at locations that have what Garces calls “critical mass.” Want Garces’s taco truck at your wedding? It can be hired out for special events.
The Food: An ode to Mexican street fare, serving tacos, including tongue and headcheese versions, and other, less exotic tasties, like tostadas and grilled corn.
The Space: Aizaki is creating an eye-popping mosaic using 40,000 bottle caps on the exterior of the 20-year-old truck. “It’s meant to be a head-turner,” says Garces.
Our Take: The only thing that could possibly slow down Jose-on-Wheels is the City of Philadelphia (or is it the PPA?) and its stringent parking regulations for food trucks.