Dear Instagrammers: Don’t Bother Asking Nick Elmi for a Free Meal

Behind the Line is Foobooz’s weekly interview series with the people who make up Philadelphia’s dynamic bar and restaurant scene. Click here for the full archive.

This week’s special Best of Philly-edition of Behind the Line brings us to Nick Elmi, who went from winning Bravo’s Top Chef to having one of the hardest tables to get in Philly: Passyunk Avenue’s Laurel, which we recently named the 2nd best restaurant in Philadelphia. His South Philly bar followup ITV just won Best of Philly for its caviar service. And we can’t wait for his soon-to-open Old City spot. Here, we talk about all that and more. Read more »

Nick Elmi’s New Old City Bar Has a Name

Back in May, word got out that Top Chef-winner Nick Elmi would be opening his third project in Old City in partnership with David Frank and Stephen Simons (the guys behind Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Triangle Tavern, the Cantinas in East Passyunk and NoLibs, and Royal Sushi & Izakaya). Back then, Elmi didn’t even have a name. All we knew was that it’d be a chef-driven bar, and that it’d be somewhat of a departure from the likes of his first two spots: Laurel, his French, East Passyunk jewel box, and next door to it, ITV, a cocktail and wine bar with some high-brow bar snacks. This one would be casual with an intensive charcuterie program and raw bar.

Now that we’re well into July (and he’s shooting for a September opening), he’s given the spot a name: Royal Boucherie (52 South 2nd Street), which translates to “butcher shop” in French. Read more »

Nick Elmi Is Opening Another Chef-Driven Bar in Old City

After his first hit restaurant, Laurel, Top Chef winner Nick Elmi chose to get into the bar game. He opened a sneaky-good cocktail and wine bar right next door to his intimate 22-seater called ITV and gave East Passyunk diners an elegant spot to snack on things like beef fat biscuits and caviar. And it’s great — the New York Times even singled it out in a feature piece with the likes of only three other restaurants (powerhouses): Kanella, Vedge, and Vernick.

Elmi — stir-crazed on East Passyunk or itching for a change of pace — has a new deal in the works in Old City at 52 South 2nd Street. And this time, he’s partnering up with a couple of familiar bar pros, Stephen Simons and David Frank.

Read more »

Save Animals and Drink Awesome Beer at ITV

Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi opens ITV next to his Laurel on East Passyunk.

ITV

If you’re a lover of animals and beer, then you should hit up ITV, Nick Elmi’s East Passyunk Avenue bar, on April 14th and 15th. I mean, you should go there that weekend because it’s just a fantastic place to eat and drink, but also because they’re hosting some friends from North Carolina, Sanctuary Brewing Company, brewers of some pretty fantastic craft beer.

So what’s a N.C. brewery doing popping up in Philly anyway?

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Because Every Great Party Needs A Turkey-Shaped Shot Luge…

Such a noble creature...

Such a noble creature…

This showed up in my mailbox over the weekend. An email from Nick Elmi at Laurel and ITV, titled “Wild Turkey from a turkey’s ass.” It begins:

Jason,

I think we have a really great/really stupid idea for Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Since its the “biggest drinking day of the year” and we( I mean us) all need a reason to wind down we figured ITV could do something fun.

What came next was possibly one of the best ideas I’ve heard so far this holiday season.

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More Collaboration: San Francisco’s Coi Taking Over The Laurel Kitchen

Cocoa-cured foie gras at Laurel | Photography by Jason Varney and Samuel Markey

Cocoa-cured foie gras at Laurel | Photography by Jason Varney and Samuel Markey

Yesterday, we were pleased to announce the return of something we haven’t seen in a little while–a collaboration dinner between the teams at Will and Jaxon. It was interesting to us because it has seemed like the collaboration dinner has been a fading trend lately, something overwhelmed or forgotten under the summer’s glut of food events, tasting menus, bar takeovers and whiskey, wine or beer dinners.

And that’s fine. These kind of things? They come and go. But collaborations are almost always exciting because unlike some special event menu or pairing (where, generally, the same crew is working in the same kitchen they always do, with all their influences and biases intact), the collaboration introduces a chaos element into things: The arrival of a whole new chef (or a whole new crew) with their own ideas about what food is supposed to look and taste like.

So one collaboration dinner? That’s good news. But two is (we hope) starting to look like the return of a trend. And the one that’s coming up at Laurel looks like it could be a good one.

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Fried Chicken And Donut Pop-Up At ITV

ITV | Photo by Ted Nghiem

ITV | Photo by Ted Nghiem

Here’s some big news for those of you enamored of the intersection between science and junk food. Alex Talbot of Ideas In Food is coming to Nick Elmi’s ITV for a one-night-only pop-up. And he’s bringing his fried chicken and donuts with him.

Read more »

Local Chefs Star in Redo of Terminal B at PHL

elmi-american-phl-terminal-b-940

This is how you do an announcement. Roll in the jet, roll out the red carpet. Nick Elmi at PHL.

Yesterday afternoon, American Airlines, Philadelphia International Airport and airport hospitality firm, OTG put on an impressive show to announce a $30 million overhaul of PHL’s Terminal B. That overhaul will include eateries from eight well known local chefs and restaurateurs.

The event took place at American Airlines huge hanger at the southern end of the airport. The chefs and restaurateurs, including Top Chef winners Nick Elmi and Kevin Sbraga descended the steps of a sparkling American Airlines plane to take their places along with PHL’s CEO Rochelle Cameron, Cedric Rockamore of American Airlines and OTG’s founder Rick Blatstein. After a highly-polished video about the transformation of Terminal B, samples of each restaurant’s food, plus wine and beer were brought out.

The project has been in the pipeline for a number of years old and several of the chefs involved admitted, that they thought their involvement was dead. When complete, the overhauled terminal will have eight new eateries and thousands of iPads from which to order food right to the gate.

Read more »

Nick Elmi Is Opening a Bar

Photo by Claudia Gavin

Photo by Claudia Gavin

Last May Nick Elmi went to work on securing a liquor license and expanding into the former coffee shop that is next door to his Laurel. The initial plan was to add some seating and install a bar. But here we are more than seven months later and that hasn’t happened.

So when we caught up with Elmi at Philly Cooks, we asked him what was up. Elmi, whose Laurel has been named the top restaurant in the city for the past two years, has decided not to mess up the good thing he has going at Laurel. So Laurel remains BYOB though he does now offer a $60 wine pairing for those interested.

About the bar »

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