It’s been said before that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. That same thinking applies to restaurants opening their doors to customers for the first time. Now Serving is Foobooz’s series of interviews with the chefs and owners of just-opened restaurants and bars where we ask what has changed between opening night and today.
Without Southwark, Ambra wouldn’t exist. At least not now. Not in the form it has taken. And without Ambra, owners Chris D’Ambro and his wife, Marina De Oliveira would’ve never taken over the Southwark space operated for years by Kip and Sheri Wade.
“We really walked into a unique scenario,” D’Ambro told me when I got him on the phone to talk about how things have come together at his tiny, jewelbox Italian restaurant next door to Southwark. “And it wouldn’t have worked without Southwark.”
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The death of Gene Wilder a few weeks ago hit all of us at Foobooz World HQ pretty hard. So we decided, what better way to honor the man than by having an entire Open Stove competition based around his most iconic character, Willy Wonka?
As it turned out, this was one of those things that was a lot of fun for us and a lot of fun for the crowd. But for the chefs?
Let’s just say that Everlasting Gobstopper gastrique is probably not going onto the menu at Will any time soon.
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Happy Hour at Lloyd: It runs till 8 p.m. and includes cocktails, bites and frozen drinks.
Around the office, some of our co-workers have lamented that everyone knows about their favorite happy hours and perhaps the Foobooz crew has some undiscovered happy hours options where they could drink and eat cheaply without the crowds.
So here is our list of previously undiscovered Philadelphia happy hours.
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617 S. American St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND Images from Keller Williams Center City
The beautiful thing about Postmodernism is it allows you to mix and match periods and styles to your liking. Usually, the standard pairing is the insertion of Modernist furnishings and design elements into fusty old classical interiors, sometime with a nudge and a wink.
This home in Queen Village does the reverse: it’s a starkly Modernist home that has been outfitted with traditional design elements of the kind you might see in Architectural Digest. The effect is, dare we say it, rather refreshing. Read more »
Outdoor garden at Little Nonna’s | Photo by Jason Varney
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.
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Living room, 143 Fitzwater St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND Images via Space & Company
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 »
The new brightened interior of Southwark.
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.
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Sazerac at Southwark
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.
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On Sunday, September 14th, Southwark chef Sam Jacobson is inviting Elijah Milligan (Taproom on 19th, formerly, Laurel, Stateside, Le Bec Fin) to celebrate local farms’ bounty. The dinner at Southwark begins at 6:30 p.m. and is $55 per person, $80 with wine pairings.
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