The Little Lion officially opened yesterday on Chestnut St. in the old Haru. On Wednesday night, owners Chris Younge and Jason Dills hosted a party for the press and friends. At the soiree, cocktails were served, as well as an array of tasty delights from the menu executed by Little Lion executive chef Sean Ciccarone formerly of Pennsylvania 6, Farmer’s Cabinet and the Mainland Inn.
Chef Ciccarone told me he once worked at Haru a decade ago and was pleased with the renovations of the historic building. He told me he was influenced by the southern cooking he did in Charleston, South Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida, at earlier gigs he’s had.
I think you’ll agree he’s captured the magic of Southern cooking in his fried chicken, mac and cheese and the most delicious Brussels sprouts you’ll ever have. Originally the Brussels sprouts were a side dish to the beef short ribs, but they tested so good they’re now a standalone dish. There’ll be 16 draft lines with craft beers, draft cocktails and draft lattes all available. Currently Little Lion is open for lunch and dinner, and soon will server brunch on the weekends.
Photos after the jump »
Some Southern cooking at the Little Lion | Pimento Cheese with Country Pit Ham
The Little Lion is now open at 3rd and Chestnut Streets. The former Haru has been extensively renovated and is now serving up chef Sean Ciccarone’s Southern comfort food. The “pour house” will offer 16 taps, 14 for beer, and one each for cider, cold press coffee and housemade sangria.
The menu has shifted towards more Southern fare from when the Little Lion was originally announced. Look for the oh-so-right-this-moment pimento cheese to make an appearance with country pit ham. There are also smoked wings, New Orleans-style chargrilled oysters and stone ground grits on the appetizer section of the menu. Highlights from the entrees include: a smoked bone-in pork chop; wild rabbit and sausage and blackened Mississippi catfish.
Menus and photos »
We called it the “Land of 1,000 Snookis,” and judging by the wounded comments we got, that hurt.
In the 2010 story “What the Hell Happened to Old City?,” Philly Mag’s Richard Rys reported that the neighborhood’s late-1990s promise — fueled by an enticing mix of high-end restaurants, cool boutiques and celeb-friendly lounges, much of it housed in repurposed historic buildings and all anchored by Stephen Starr’s pioneering spots Continental and Buddakan — had curdled under a relentless every-weekend assault by drunken young clubbers. Residents who’d snapped up million-dollar condos after lapping up the hip daytime and weeknight vibe were checking out as soon as they were lucky enough to find buyers. Local business leaders felt that City Hall, content to keep the raucous behavior roped off from other areas of the city, wasn’t interested in addressing the mess.
Though neighborhood organizations had sporadic success dealing with the so-called nuisance bars and clubs in the zone bordered by Market and Chestnut streets from Front to 3rd — Cebu, a former VIP magnet that had fallen far, was a notable early closure — it’s only relatively recently that a concerted mix of planning and enforcement has truly clicked. The result: Notorious clubs such as Grey Social Lounge, Mint, 32˚ and Blurr, along with about 10 similar establishments and their fly-by-night party promoters, are finally gone, and a new scene is emerging.
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The Little Lion: Opening at 3rd and Chestnut.
Named for red-hot rapping Colonial statesman Alexander Hamilton, The Little Lion has announced it will be opening on Thursday, January 7th at 3rd and Chestnut Streets.
Executive chef Sean Ciccarone is working on the menu and shares some in-progress shots of several dishes.
Check out the food »
26 North, now open for lunch
Mike Stollenwerk has launched lunch at his Old City BYOB, 26 North. He has a menu of soups, salads, plates and “hand helds.”
If we were there right now we’d start with the steamed little neck clams with chorizo, go with the seared tuna tacos and tell our land-lover friend to get the Bistro Steak with Lancaster blue cheese.
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26 North, BYOB by Michael Stollenwerk
Last night was the official opening of Mike Stollenwerk’s latest restaurant, 26 North. The Old City BYOB features a seafood-centric menu of Stollenwerk’s greatest hits. Yep, skate wing with truffled spaetzle is on the menu, as is salmon belly and seared octopus. The space feels particularly large for a BYOB. The 48-seats in the long space with high ceilings provides plenty of room between tables. A marked difference for the chef who first got noticed in the tiny kitchen and restaurant of Little Fish. In addition to the seafood hits, 26 North also offers lamb for meat lovers and a vegetarian entree.
The space features exposed brick walls with dark wood accents. The wall art features pages from the Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications. A marble bar in the center of the room is a leftover from when the space was going to be a coffee shop but will be put to good use, especially at lunch.
The restaurant is currently dinner only but weekday lunch will be starting shortly with a “Hand Helds” section.
Check out the opening menu »
Here’s the lot from a few weeks ago. | Photo: James Jennings, Renderings: Abitare Design Studio
It looks like another surface parking lot in Old City will soon bite the dust. We’ve learned that a 6-story condo building will replace the secluded concrete pad at the corner of Bank Street and Elbow Lane (map).
The parcel is directly across Bodine Street from the now-greened (but still vacant) lot that Old City District fixed up this summer. Abitare Design Studios, of nearby North 3rd Street, is leading the design of the 5-unit building, and architect Benjamin Nia said they’re just starting the design development phase of the project. They’ve been kind enough to include a few conceptual renderings to give us a better idea about what the building will look like when it’s completed.
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Commemorative t-shirt by Paul Carpenter
The Khyber Pass Pub in Old City is just the latest iteration of the storied bar. And this successful beer bar and restaurant with the Southern leaning menu is turning five today. And they’ve got an all-day celebration planned. The bar is kicking it all off at 11 a.m. with an impressive beer list and limited edition commemorative T-Shirts by Paul Carpenter Art.
Join the crew at the Khyber and try at least a couple of beers from this impressive list.
“Juice should not taste terrible,” Khoran Horn, owner of Stripp’d Juice, tells me. I agree with him, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my fair share of funky-tasting, never-drinking-that-again juice concoctions. But that philosophy is exactly what makes Horn’s juices so wonderful: Along with being packed with good stuff like kale, ginger, beets, celery and more, you actually want to drink them. All of them. I am drinking his Jala At Ya Boy — a green juice with jalapeño, kale, grapefruit and more — as I type this, and I can tell you that I truly never want to get to the bottom of the glass jar.
So it gives me great pleasure to tell you guys that soon, you’ll be able to walk into his Old City storefront at 263 North 3rd Street and grab a jar of this delicious juice for yourself. After months of prepping, Stripp’d Juice’s first brick-and-mortar location will officially be open for business on November 6th. Read more »
Mike Stollenwerk, who won a legion of fans with his seafood at Little Fish and Fish has bounced around in recent years. Spending time at Branzino and Headhouse Crab & Oyster Co. Now he’s back with a new Old City BYOB, 26 North.
The restaurant at 26 North 3rd Street is aiming for a November opening. The BYOB will be open for lunch and dinner, with some classic Stollenwerk dishes including his signature skate wing with truffled spaetzle, leeks and parmesan broth. Expect another four or so seafood-focused entrees plus vegetarian pasta, meat and fowl dishes. Appetizers will include Portuguese fish soup, Sepia a la Plancha (grilled cuttlefish), char-grilled octopus, seared diver scallops and more.
For lunch, Stollenwerk is planning a casual selection of salads, soups and “handhelds,” (burger, crab cake, etc.) and entrees. There will be less of Stollenwerk to see when he opens his restaurant. The chef has lost nearly 140 pounds over the past couple of years.
26 North [Foobooz]