The Center City District now counts 412 outdoor dining cafes in just Philadelphia’s downtown area. Many a sidewalk has been turned over to eating al fresco. But if you’re looking to dine in the sunshine without the crowds, out of earshot of the SEPTA bus and away from the peering eyes of passersby, you’ve come to the right place. Here, our picks for the 12 best hidden outdoor dining spots in Philadelphia.
Want to live the life of an 18th-century suburbanite but don’t want to give up 21st-century comfort and convenience? Then check out this beautifully renovated trinity on a tree-lined block in Queen Village.
Back in 1782, when this home was built, this neighborhood was called Southwark, and it was Philadelphia’s first suburb. Actually, the neighborhood may be as old as Philadelphia itself, given the Swedish presence in the area prior to William Penn’s arrival in 1682.
This home, however, doesn’t totally show its age, because it was extensively renovated 25 years ago to bring its amenities up to modern standards while preserving its historic charm. Read more »
Chris D’Ambro and Marina De Oliveira quietly reopened Southwark over the weekend but today they shout it out to the mountains that the Queen Village restaurant is open for business.
For fans of the old Southwark, rest assured that the bar is the same as it was when Kip Wade commanded the bar. The rest of the space has been lightened up and the linens removed from the table.
D’Ambro has been in the restaurant business since he was a 19-year old at Vetri. Since then he’s his Savona in Gulph Mills, Sovana Bistro in Kennett Square and both Talula’s Table and Talula’s Garden. It was at Talula’s Garden that he met De Oliveira.
Kip and Sheri Waide have run Queen Village’s Southwark for more than a decade now. The restaurant was at the forefront of the local food movement and a pioneering craft cocktail bar. But the Waides are selling and moving to Cape May.
The buyers are two industry veterans. Chef Chris D’Ambro and front-of-the-house pro (and D’Ambro’s fiance) Marina De Oliveira. The restaurant will close briefly, but will reopen as Southwark. Michael Klein has the details on the deal, which should be completed in 60-90 days.
Extra bonus, D’Ambro and De Oliveira plan to open a second restaurant, next door to Southwark. Restaurant Ambra, will be a small Italian wine bar.
Southwark changing hands this summer [Philly.com]
Typically, we prefer to toot our own horn here at Foobooz, but today we’ll admit that we’re really enjoying Danya Henninger’s column The Spot over on philly.com. In it, she profiles restauranteurs who have been in business for a decade or more. And while she hasn’t yet paid Southwark a visit (yet), they very well could be next on her list. Why? Because it’s turning 10, too, and is looking at some pretty substantial changes to the menu and in the kitchen.
Southwark gets a nice national accolade. The Queen Village bar and restaurant is recognized as one of the Best Bars in America by Food & Wine. The magazine praises the bar as a “pioneer in the resurgence of classic cocktails in Philadelphia.”
It isn’t the first time that Southwark has been so honored. Back in 2011, it and Franklin Mortgage both made the list.
Video by Josh Charette
Watch chef Sam Jacobson assemble a chocolate mille crepes cake for today’s Valentine’s Day dessert in this time-lapse video.
I couldn’t keep that thought away from my olfactory nerve during a recent night at Southwark. It had been years since my first time there. And my first time had also been my last. I remember having a fine dinner, but one that failed to cast the spell that so many other folks had fallen under at the then-new, classically styled Queen Village haunt.
In retrospect, that was probably because I’d eaten in the back dining room instead of at the bar, where bartender George Costa was mixing Gibsons and Aviations when the rest of the city was still one big slosh of pink-lemonade Cosmotinis.
Almost ten years later everyone else has caught up—and Costa has moved on—but Southwark is still humming along. It recently installed a new chef, Sam Jacobson, whose previous tenure at Sycamore helped put Lansdowne on the dining map.
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In the event that you’ve always wanted to eat cheese, followed by cheese, with a side order of cheese for dinner (and who among us hasn’t?) today’s your chance! The Chester County Cheese Artisans are teaming up with Sam Jacobson, the new chef at Southwark, to bring you exactly that kind of local cheese menu. Cheesemakers from Shellbark Hollow Farm, Birchrun Hills Farm, and Meadowset Farm & Apiary will be on hand to talk about their goat, cow, and sheep’s milk cheeses, respectively, and the menu features their cheeses and those from three other local producers as well. The prix fixe menu is six courses and will run you $45 per person, but you can also order individual dishes a la carte, in the event that you want to stop in to Southwark (number 11 on this year’s list of the 50 Best Bars in Philadelphia) for a great cocktail and a cheese nibble.
Call 215- 238-1888 for reservations.