Royal Izakaya Staff | Photo via Cristina Tessaro
We’ve been talking about Royal Sushi & Izakaya for almost six years now. First the izakaya concept was a pop-up night at the Khyber Pass Pub and then as a location was chosen at 2nd and Fulton Streets in Queen Village. Then starts and stops that had us doubting the bar would ever open. When the location was announced, it was supposed to open in September, 2011. But what’s five years in the restaurant business? A lifetime of course. On the day the location was announced, Foobooz also wrote about Queen Village’s Village Belle, Xilantro in Wayne and David Katz’s Meme. None are around today.
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Octopus at Mica
This summer (like all summers) was a pretty slow time for restaurant openings. We had a few big names come through on their promises to switch on the lights, but for the most part, we were eating at the same places in August that we were in June.
The autumn, though? That’s when the opening-and-closing cycle really gets going again, with some of the biggest restaurateurs in the city (Michael Schulson, Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Daragh, Jose Garces and more…) all working to get their new places open before the holidays hit.
So this, then, is the list of the restaurants (either recently opened or upcoming) that have us most excited–the dining rooms we can’t wait to sit in, and the menus we can’t wait to see. It’s going to be a big season in Philly. So here’s where you’ll all be eating in the upcoming months, starting with…
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Jesse Ito’s Tuna Guacamole
Despite our doubts, Royal Sushi and Izakaya may be proving us wrong. The perpetually delayed Japanese pub recently told us they would be opening in sometime in July. We had our doubts, after the 5 year on-again off-again game they played with us.
However, we just found out the Royal Sushi and Izakaya team will be hosting a pop-up within a pop-up. Maybe they aren’t messing around this time. The team will be at the PHS pop-up garden on South Street this Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24, starting at 6 p.m.
As far as the menu goes? Jesse Ito said he will definitely be making his “tuna guac” with some fresh Bluefin tuna from Mexico. Philly.com also reported there will be two cocktails from Royal Izakaya, as well.
But don’t get too excited, Ito said this isn’t a test run for any menu items or a sneak peek at what might come in July. “I’m just doing it for fun and to keep my knife skills sharp” said Ito. “This is what I love doing.”
Royal Sushi and Izakaya [Foobooz]