Townsend, the two-month old but critically acclaimed restaurant, is hosting a Five-Course, “Three Way” Wine and Cheese Pairing Dinner on Thursday, July 17th. Chef-owner Townsend Wentz and General Manager/Wine Director Lauren Harris put together the night of five wines, five cheeses and five plates. “I’m always looking for new ways to share our food and our wines with our guests, and this dinner promises to be the first of many inventive pairing events,” Wentz said.
Tickets are $65 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Guests will get a taste of contemporary French flare and domestic and imported cheeses, all of which are paired with wines chosen by Harris.
Reservations are encouraged. To reserve your spot, call 267-639-3203.
Photos by Jason Varney
We here at Philadelphia magazine decided last month to start debuting restaurant reviews early on Foobooz. We had reasons. And we discussed them here. Welcome to the new world.
Townsend Wentz was an analytical chemist shifting toward genomics research when he got a chance to cook at Philadelphia’s Four Seasons for a day. It was 1996, he’d just wrapped up a second bachelor’s degree in biology, and recombinant DNA was calling his name. But Jean-Marie Lacroix interrupted, and fate took care of the rest.Wentz, who’d cooked his way through college, had a great day in the French chef’s kitchen. It beat testing canola oil acids, and it was more social than laboratory bench work. When one of the restaurant’s line cooks quit that very day, Wentz’s lark in Lacroix’s kitchen, and later Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, turned into nearly 10 years.No wonder the Riverton, New Jersey native’s sauces are so good.
Philadelphians wise to Wentz’s transformation of McCrossen’s Tavern in Fairmount have known that for three years already. In May, he opened a place of his own—really, truly his own. From the salvaged cherrywood he planed to cap a rebuilt bar to the floors he refinished with his sous-chef and sommelier to the furniture they stained and reupholstered by hand, his fingerprints are all over the place. Before Wentz became a chemist, he built racing sailboats.
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Townsend opens on East Passyunk Avenue this evening. Owner/chef Townsend (Tod) Wentz has assembled an impressive team with Lauren Harris (McCrossen’s, Tria) as general manager and sommelier, Keith Raimondi (Lemon Hill, Village Whiskey) as head bartender and Colin Leary (McCrossen’s) as sous chef.
The menu will expand over time but its opening iteration includes eight starters and four main courses. The mains range between $25 and $27.
Opening menu at Townsend »
Townsend Wentz’s East Passyunk Avenue restaurant, Townsend will softly open this weekend by serving its bar menu. Drink Philly has the bar menu for the opening weekend that includes beef tartare, marinated hamachi and Pate de Campagne among other items. On the drink side, Keith Raimondi has fashioned a short list of classic cocktails and Lauren Harris has compiled a list of wines that pair well with the food.
The restaurant will be open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Look for a full opening on Thursday, May 1st.
Townsend Restaurant Opens Doors This Weekend for Sneak Peek with Bar Menu [Drink Philly]
That guy over there look familiar? If you’re the drinking sort, he likely does.
That’s Keith Raimondi, who has spent years slinging drinks at some of the best bars in the city. He was the GM at Lemon Hill, worked for years with Team Garces, putting in time at Tinto, Chifa, Distrito, Amada and Village Whiskey, and did the cocktails for Jose’s most recent book, The Latin Road Home.
Well, now he’s got a new gig which will put him behind the stick at Townsend Wentz’s eponymous new East Passyunk project, Townsend–the one opening in the (hopefully totally uncursed) space that formerly (and briefly) held Sophia’s. Raimondi will be head bartender (which is kind of a step back, but one he insists he’s looking forward to), sharing all booze-ly duties with GM and sommelier Lauren Harris.
All throughout the month of March, chef Chris Kearse is doing collaboration dinners at his East Passyunk BYO Will. Every Thursday, it’s a different chef, a different menu. The one thing that stays the same? the price: $70 for five courses.
He’s doing these dinners every Thursday night. And since today just happens to be Thursday, that means he’s doing one tonight–a collaboration with Townsend Wentz who has been very busy lately announcing the openings of new restaurants (most notably, his resurrection of the East Passyunk space that once housed Sophia’s).
It’s looking like a good party, and there are still some seats available. We’ve got the menu after the jump–and also a list of all the other dinners Will has on the books for this month of collaborations.
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Townsend Wentz, who already is working on taking over the former Sophia’s one East Passyunk is also looking to open an Italian BYOB at 23rd and Fairmount. Wentz is appearing in front of the Spring Garden Civic Association meeting today at 4:30 p.m. at 19th and North. Wentz is hoping to see some familiar faces at the meeting who may have enjoyed his food at McCrossen’s, where he was the chef until recently.
More Townsend Wentz news »
How Sophia’s looked back when we all had high hopes
The Passyunk Post is reporting that the brown paper has gone up on the windows at the former Sophia’s on East Passyunk–a sign that work has started on the new restaurant being opened there by Townsend Wentz.
All we really know right now is that Wentz (ex of Lacroix and McCrossen’s Tavern, most recently) is going in with a modern French concept, heavy on the wine, and that the front bar is being redone. They’ve got a few more details over at the Post (plus a picture of the papered-over windows), so check it out if you’re hungry for some grist for the rumor mill.
Work Has Started On Replacement For Sophia’s [Passyunk Post]
So you guys remember the disaster that was Sophia’s on East Passyunk, right? What was supposed to be chef Christopher Lee‘s triumphant return to Philadelphia was crippled early by a completely ridiculous (and scattershot, and confusing, and ill-planned) concept, and then, later, by a total lack of focus (and a lack of a chef) in the kitchen. It was one of those openings that was seemingly doomed from the minute the first plate hit the first table, and, unsurprisingly, closed not long after.
But one of the big questions on and around East Passyunk has been who was going to take on the space. I mean, it’s a restaurant space. On East Passyunk. There was no way it was going to stay dark forever.
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McCrossen’s Tavern has rolled out chef Townsend Wentz’s summer menu with classics like pickled beet salad and marinated Boquerones as well as new dishes like braised rabbit pappardelle and whipped ricotta with thyme and olive oil.
Also check out Laurne Harris’ new cocktails for the summer. Among the new additions:
- Agave Mojito, a refreshing twist with tequila and cilantro
- Purple Orchid, a white wine cocktail with lavender and orange liquors and lemon
- Blushing Lady, a sparkling blend of prosecco, aperol and orange.
Full summer menu at McCrossen’s »