Restaurant Review: Society Hill Society

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Society Hill Society | Photo by Courtney Apple

In the annals of faint praise, neighborhood restaurant is a peculiar epithet. People usually apply it to the places that make them feel most welcome. Yet it’s a dismissive classification—not just because it implies that a place merits only limited attention, but because it suggests that one neighborhood restaurant is more or less interchangeable with any other. Warm hospitality, a menu that’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, consistent cooking, and bang—your Brewerytown pals are all, “Why can’t somebody open a place like this by us?”

Nobody would ask that about Society Hill Society, because Reed Barrow has remade the old Artful Dodger into a public house that looks like pints have been sliding across its hammered copper bar since the first bricks were laid on Headhouse Square (and only lately, eclectic cocktails). Locally crafted spindle chairs and coarse-grained chestnut soak up the warm light of yellow globe fixtures on patched plaster ceilings. The upper bar shelves hold objects so random, it seems they must have taken decades to accrue. Is that a femur wedged in next to the ship captain’s hat?

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Reduced: Society Hill Beauty Gets Price Cut of $100K

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This high-ceilinged Society Hill townhouse has a traditional facade that hides a mix of modern and historic elements. The kitchen has Viking stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and backsplash, Shaker-style wood cabinets, and limestone flooring. The formal dining and living rooms have crown molding and wood floors. There’s a breakfast room that leads out to the red brick garden.

The second floor has the master suite, a rear library with built-ins, and a small deck. Another deck is possible right off the stairs leading to the third floor, where two bedrooms share a marble bathroom. A fourth bedroom with a bathroom and bonus open area can be found on the fourth floor. The lower level has a media room.

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Cheese Curd Redemption at Independence Beer Garden

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Adam Erace reviews the pop-up Independence Beer Garden and offers tips for where and when to hang out but skewers the food, save what comes with cheese curds.

But don’t miss the cheese curds, light little poufs of tempura-fried Vermont goodness served with sweet, smoky tomato jam, the marinara to these new-school mozzarella sticks.

At Independence Beer Garden, a democratic menu of bar fare [City Paper]
Independence Beer Garden [Foobooz]

Franklin Flea’s Summer Market Food Lineup

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The Franklin Flea Summer Market is happening this Saturday, August 16th, and it’ll be full of vintage pieces, music, and food. Oh so much food. In fact, this month’s event is the largest one yet, when it comes to the food.

We just got the lineup of the 13 vendors that will be satisfying your cravings and we’re not sure where to start. Maybe with the Watermelon-Basil Lemonade? Or the Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa? Perhaps the S’mores Cups and Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Cheesecake baked in the center? The list goes on, so be sure to stop by between 10am – 5pm and enjoy all of the market’s offerings.

Franklin Flea Market will be located at the McCall Schoolyard in Society Hill. (325 S. 7th Street between Spruce and Pine Streets).

Check out the full lineup »

DIY Down the Shore: Paul MacDonald’s Quasimohido

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For today’s installment of the DIY recipe round-up we’re finishing up with a classic. A mojito. Paul McDonald of Society Hill Society shared his spin on the summer classic. We’re not only fans of the name, Quasimohido, but the cucumber syrup which offers a fresh flavor that isn’t typical to this summertime favorite. The prep time for this drink might be a little longer than you’re used to, but you won’t regret it when you’re down the shore with drink in hand.

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Spruce Street Gem Built by Stephen Girard with Private Park Entrance

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

In a city where founders left history on practically every block in some neighborhoods, Stephen Girard still stands out. The guy stuck around Philadelphia during two separate yellow fever outbreaks to help the sick and dying. And then he personally bailed out the government to ensure the Americans would win the War of 1812. He provided for the city’s orphans in his will, establishing Girard College (for background on the school’s eventual desegregation as well as a fascinating story about the perimeter wall, check out Hidden City). Society Hill still bears reminders of the philanthropist, especially on Spruce Street.

This enormous home was built by Girard in 1831 and has since been restored and preserved. The listing claims in excess of 4,200 square feet but the agent’s notes tell us it’s closer to 5,200 square feet. In short, it’s huge. There are plenty of period details (the usual plaster, pine floors and winding stairs found throughout Society Hill). Our favorite is the actual King of Prussia marble in the fireplaces.The home itself has four bedrooms and four full baths.

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Toll Brothers Pushing 410 At Society Hill

A rendering of 410 at Society Hill, courtesy of Toll Brothers

Toll Brothers, the Horsham, PA-based megadeveloper, has found late-career success in the unlikeliest of places: bustling cities. The company has done projects throughout New York City, as well as the remarkably successful 600-unit Naval Square in Graduate Hospital. Now Toll Bros. is pushing its latest Philadelphia offering: the still-under-construction 410 at Society Hill, the luxury condo complex on Headhouse Square that replaces the large hole where Newmarket once stood.

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Newly Listed: Home Designed By Amburn/Jarosinski

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When David Amburn, one half of the well-known architecture firm of Amburn/Jarosinski, passed away in 2012, his work and life partner Jerry Jarosinski told the Inquirer the work of the designers of Kansas City Prime, River City Diner and Arroyo Grill had “significantly changed the face of Manayunk.” The firm’s work was also included in the book The Unexpected House in a City of Tradition, and Amburn was chair of the Historical Commission’s architectural review committee.

Meanwhile, Jarosinski was chairman of COLLAB in 1991 and 1993. In 2006, he was made an honorary committee member for his decade of service.

Right before Amburn passed away, he designed one last home in Harleysville, PA–for Jaronsinski. 

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Another I.M. Pei Gem in Society Hill Hits the Market

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

There are many good reasons to revere I.M. Pei and his Philadelphia handiwork. Sure, the Society Hill homes are uniformly the coolest. And the Society Hill Towers pair beautifully beside them. But the guy also turned down a place in Oxford because he liked Bing Crosby movies. And then he got one look at Penn and immediately transferred to MIT.

There’s another Pei on the market around the corner from this one, at $1.395 million. One sold in April for $1.1 million on South Third. So it’s a safe bet that this Saint James Place property will be a solid, 3-bedroom investment. The home home has been totally renovated, but hews to the unspoken rule that Pei houses shall be decorated with only modern artwork. The eat-in kitchen is all clean lines. Bathrooms throughout – including the en-suite in the master – are sleek and inviting. We are still puzzling over the lower-level library; we see books, but is that also a collection of … jars?

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Splendiferous Interiors: Delancey Street Surprise

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TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

When we hear “Delancey Street,” we assume pomp, grandeur and mahogany will follow. This townhouse has grandeur in spades – marble, stained glass and artwork abound – but not the kind you’d assume. In fact, from the outside, the only hint you get at what’s to come behind the front door is a modern art sculpture out front.

Once owned by someone in the movie business, the interior of the three-bedroom home has a definite flair for drama. There are hand-painted wall treatments in nearly every room in almost as many colors. Where there aren’t murals or ceiling art, there are mirrors. Or chandeliers. The kitchen showcases marble sills, floors and counters in addition to Frank Gallagher stained glass throughout.

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