Tale of the Tape: Talula’s Garden

Aimee Olexy’s and Stephen Starr’s Talula’s Garden opens tomorrow on Washington Square where the restaurant will serve as Olexy’s stage in her return to downtown Philadelphia.

Aimee Olexy

  • Owner of Kennett Square’s Talula’s Table, a gourmet market and restaurant
  • Talula’s Table
    • Praised by Saveur, Food & Wine and the New York Times Magazine
    • Called one of the hardest reservations to get in the country
    • “Restaurant” is a single table for up to 12
    • Guests must call one year in advance to place a reservation
  • Django
    • Before Talula’s Table, Olexy and ex-husband Bryan Sikora owned Django, a small BYOB off of South Street
    • Only BYOB to receive 4-bells from Craig LaBan
  • Olexy worked for Starr previously at Blue Angel and Pod
  • Olexy is passionate about cheese

Executive Chef Michael Santoro

  • Blue chip background includes:
    • Blue Duck Tavern, Washington D.C.
    • St. John, UK
    • Fat Duck, UK
    • Mugaritz, Spain
    • Gilt, New York

The Space

  • Former Washington Square restaurant space
  • Seats 102
  • 66-seat seasonal outdoor garden
  • Cheese counter constructed with a salvaged granite counter will be a focal point of the restaurant
  • Much of the Washington Square space has been brightened with additional windows and lighter colors and fabrics
  • Richard Stokes of Stokes Architecture and Olexy worked together to create the atmosphere
  • Green wall of edible herbs and flowers line the walls, inside and out
  • Seasonal flowers brighten the garden area
  • Salvaged materials dot the decor
    • Redwood planks from Vlasic pickle barrels which have been restructured as the ceiling
    • Materials from Wilmington’s Queen Theatre were converted into the rustic wood tables
  • Ten-seat communal table built from salvaged wood was built by at-risk teens in Wilmington
  • Alice Waters quote “A garden brings life and beauty to the table” adorns three sides of the middle dining area

The Food

  • Talula’s Garden will showcase rustic ingredients including pastured meats, farmstead cheeses and locally grown vegetables.
  • Menu will change frequently, highlighting the seasons
  • Highlights:
    • Veloute of sweet peas with cuttlefish “ravioli”
    • Spring salad of herbs, flowers, and lettuces, with almond milk dressing and croutons
    • Braised halibut, oxtail stuffed artichokes, sea beans
    • Lancaster saffron barigoule, and roasted morels with new potato gnocchi, Meadowset egg, raisin puree and mushroom jus
  • Tasting Menu
    • 12-course tasting dinner
    • Around $100 per person
    • Hyper-local
    • Will be available a few weeks after opening
  • Cheese
    • A focal point of the restaurant
    • Selection of artisinal cheeses paired with sweet and savory accompaniments
  • Dinner Menu (PDF)
  • Dessert Menu (PDF)


  • Fifty-bottle wine list
  • 100% sustainable wine list
    • Bonny Doon from Monterey, CA
    • Hendry Rosé in Napa Valley
    • Dreyer Family Vegan winery in North Coast, CA
  • Food-friendly beers
  • Cocktails made with seasonal herbs and ingredients grown right at the bar
  • Beverage Menu (PDF)

Talula’s Garden
210 W Washington Square

Dinner served nightly from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Brunch served on Sundays


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