Exciting news: we have some updates on the heretofore unnamed Italian BYOB by Townsend Wentz that’s going to be at 23rd and Fairmount (formerly the space occupied by Garden Fresh).
Wentz plans to open the 50-seat BYOB in about four months (which seems like a totally reasonable time frame in that, when it takes six months, it really won’t seem like he blew past that proposed opening date by all that much), and the menu will be seasonal and heavily Italian-influenced. The highlight will be homemade pastas, which makes sense. It would’ve been weird if the highlight was going to be ice cream sundaes.
It will be open for dinner 6 nights a week. No word yet on if he plans to call the place, “Wentz,” but our fingers remain crossed. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
All Townsend Wentz coverage [f8b8z]
A few months ago, we told you about a beautiful, inspiring short documentary made about Chris Kearse from Will. Videographer Oliver Gallini told us then that this was just the first in a series of docs on local chefs and the stories behind their restaurants, their careers and their foods.
Well, today he made good on that claim. He’s now released the second short film in his series–this one focusing on organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, and his eponymous restaurant.
As was the case with the first video, this one is gorgeously shot and smartly put together. It captures both the chaos and the grace of kitchen work, the beauty of the plates, and the story behind how Wentz ended up cooking for a living rather than working in a lab.
If you’ve got a couple minutes, you should totally check it out.
Show me the video
Well you can. Kinda.
First, you’re going to have to clear your schedule on the night of January 13 (which is a Tuesday, so you won’t really be missing anything good on TV). Then you’re going to have to find $65 (plus tax and tip). Then you’re going to have to make reservations for this special dinner that Wentz is doing at Townsend where he and some fancy olive oil guy (actually Lorenzo Caponetti from Caponetti Olive Oil) are going to be doing a four-course dinner where Wentz will be showcasing some of the dishes that will eventually make it onto the menu at his new Fairmount restaurant, which is set to debut later this year.
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Since we’ve been on a bit of an Instagram kick recently, we wanted to share what Townsend Wentz did last night. Wentz, who is the chef/owner of East Passyunk’s Townsend, was breaking down a whole pig for tonight’s Garces Foundation Gala and he instagrammed each step.
Click on through to follow the process, and check out the captions for some helpful hints.
Not sure who Ken Forrester is? He’s a renowned South African winemaker, and he’s coming to Philly. And he’s bringing his wine with him.
By collaborating with Townsend Wentz at Townsend, the two will create an awesome pairing dinner, scheduled to take place on October 20th at 7 p.m.
For $75 a head, guests will enjoy five courses of chef Wentz’s much-praised French fare, complemented by rare and special wines from Forrester’s portfolio–and will have the opportunity to chat with the award-winning winemaker. So if that kind of thing gets you super-excited, now you know where to go.
Check out the five course tasting menu below, along with the wines that will be paired with each dish.
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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.