One Liberty Place Getting Observation Deck and Restaurant

Liberty PLACE-JEFF-FUSCO-400One Liberty Place is getting an observation deck and that’s just part of the story. In a big presser yesterday, Mayor Michael Nutter announced that Montparnasse 56 Group (M 56) would operate the observation deck on the 57th floor of Philadelphia’s second tallest building (until Comcast’s Innovation and Technology Center opens in 2017). What wasn’t widely reported but was picked up by HughE Dillon, is that in addition to the cafe at the observation deck level, a restaurant will go in on the 58th floor.

The restaurant will open after the observation deck debuts in the summer of 2015 but it will eclipse Two Liberty Place’s R2L as the highest restaurant in the city. At least until the Four Season’s restaurant debuts in the new Comcast tower.

No details on what kind of restaurant it would be and who would run it.

Details of the New Observation Tower at Liberty One – Press Conference with the Principles, views, cafe news and more [Philly Chit Chat]

Main Line Happenings: Ardmore Becoming Beer Destination

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Ardmore has become a beer geeks destination with the rise of Tired Hands Brewing. The tiny brewery  was just named to First We Feast’s 12 Bucket-List Breweries That Every Beer Lover Should Visit. The Main Line town has some other things happening as well. The eleventh Iron Hill Brewery location, grandly opened on Sunday at 44 Greenfield Avenue, just a block from Tired Hands. And speaking of Tired Hands, the brewery continues to make progress on its second Ardmore location. The larger location’s brewhouse was just delivered yesterday and the brewery will open in the first half of 2015.

The Saint James is closing. The much ballyhooed restaurant from Rob Wasserman (Rouge, 500º) and Michael Schulson (Sampan, Izakaya) opened in 2012 but was slammed by critics. Schulson left the partnership earlier this year and Wasserman will close the restaurant on December 30th. Michael Klein reports that the space will undergo six weeks of renovations before producing what Wasserman says will be a “‘very family-friendly'” restaurant.

More on the Main Line »

Palladino’s To Open Thursday on East Passyunk

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Whole Roasted Fish (in “crazy water”)

Chef Luke Palladino has made a name for himself at the Jersey shore and he is now opening on Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia. The former Columbo’s at 1934 E Passyunk Avenue has been transformed from a sandwich joint to Palladino’s, an upscale Italian restaurant with bar, open kitchen and 80-seats inside. The location, visible from Broad Street also makes the restaurant a gateway to East Passyunk. An opportunity, Palladino’s has taken advantage of with its striking striped exterior and large vertical sign. The opening is set for Thursday, December 18th and reservations are now available.

Inside, Palladino’s has a large bar with windows that will swing open to the avenue in nice weather, an open kitchen (also visible from the street) and a dining room with padded walls, banquettes and dark wood. A collection of striking Fornasetti plates hangs vertically at the entrance to the dining area.

The kitchen features a wood-fired grill as well as an Italian oven that will be used exclusively to bake focaccia. The extensive menu will consist of seasonal Italian cuisine, wood-fired steaks, chops, seafood and handcrafted pasta.

Photos and the full menu » 

Garces Alums Are Spreading Their Wings

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El Poquito on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill

This week we’ve seen two sets of Garces alums open new restaurants. Former Garces director of operations, George Atterbury has opened El Poquito in Chestnut Hill. The Mexican restaurant takes over the Chestnut 7 property ad Atterbury has hired former JG Domestic chef de cuisine, Andrew Sabin as executive chef. El Poquito is open for dinner seven days a week.  Michael Klein reports that Atterbury already has a deal in place for a second location in a new development by the Christina River in Wilmington. Check out El Poquito’s menu here.

Garces vets open on Dottie’s Dinette »

Garces Is Opening Bookbinder’s On New Year’s Eve

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Well, the bar, anyway. The “Olde Bar” at the Old Original Bookbinder’s in Old City, which has had a makeover and raw bar added to its original, olde-timey woodwork. You catching a theme here? Yeah. Garces and company are looking to capitalize on the storied address and nostalgic memories that people have of Bookbinder’s, but they’re amping up the food and drink side to bring it (a little) more in line with modern tastes.

Read more »

First Look: Juniper Commons

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Kevin Sbraga’s third restaurant, Juniper Commons is now open at Broad and South Streets. The restaurant is heavily influenced by the 1980s and Sbraga intends to make that a good thing. There are table-side Caesar salads, baked potatoes, house-made wine coolers, prime rib and so much more.

But this is more than just kitsch, the restaurant is Sbraga’s biggest yet, and the 1980s vibe is just a jumping off point. To any child (or adult) of the 80s, the soundtrack will be hard to resist. And that music selection goes a long well in setting the mood. So does the bar program which is aiming to stock over 150 gins and offer a cocktail menu exclusively of gin-based cocktails. That isn’t to say there isn’t a full bar selection available but the bar is definitely obsessed with gin. And what’s gin without tonic? Juniper Commons is stocking 24 tonics, including six that are made in house.

Read more and check out the photos » 

A Look at What SPOT Burger Might Look Like

Conceptual rendering by Ambit Architecture and Design

Conceptual rendering by Ambit Architecture and Design

SPOT Burger is raising money for a brick-and-mortar location of the popular food truck near or on Drexel’s campus. This weekend, owner Joshua Kim teased what the non-wheeled version of SPOT might look like.

Kim’s GoFundMe campaign continues and for every dollar you donate, you can redeem it in free food once the new SPOT opens.

SPOT Burger [Foobooz]

Founding Fathers Sports Bar Opens Today

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Inside Founding Fathers during last night’s pre-opening party.

Founding Fathers Sports Bar and Grill opens today. The bar is located at 1612 South Street and features a clean design and a lot of very big TVs.

Owners Owners Jon Adler and Sam Brouwer swing open the doors at 5 p.m. with a full bar and flowing beer taps. The kitchen will be bringing out complimentary food this evening and start full food service tomorrow at noon.

Founding Fathers will add brunch down the line and looks to cater to the neighborhood. Al Anderson, who has previously worked at Johnny Brenda’s and South Philly Taproom is the man in the kitchen.

Founding Fathers Sports Bar and Grill [Foobooz]

Garces Hiring for Bookbinders

Jean and John M. Taxin in Cadillac in front of Old Original Bookbinders Restaurant Philadelphia

Bookbinders owner  John Taxin with his wife Jean, in front of Old Original Bookbinders

An open call is now going on for front and back of the house positions for Jose Garces’ new restaurant and bar in the Old Original Bookbinders building at 125 Walnut Street.

Today’s fair runs till 2 p.m. and another fair will be held tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Though first announced in October of 2013, not many more details have been spilled on what Garces has planned for the sprawling restaurant that once was THE Philadelphia restaurant.

Foobooz Jobs [Foobooz]
Olde Bar [Foobooz]

Could a Beer Hall Happen at 22nd and Washington?

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Rendering via Naked Philly

Naked Philly reports that MSC Retail has a warehouse at 22nd and Washington Avenue on the market and has even gone to the effort of producing renderings of the 24,000 square foot building as a beer hall. We know the property has been floated as a beer garden since the spring. It will be interesting to see if anyone takes the bait.

Washington Avenue has some serious development potential and with Kermit’s Bake Shoppe, Cafe Ynez, NextFab Studios and a crossfit studio nearby, the stretch has some success stories as well.

MSC Retail’s Jacob Cooper reached out to us regarding the company’s thoughts on the property.

Read more »

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