New Digs For Stollenwerk and Fish

Chef/Restaurateur Mike Stollenwerk has been busy in Philly.

In addition to the pair of businesses in Brewerytown he plans to open (we told you about that in March), his original Fish in Center City,  Little Fish BYO, and Fathom Seafood House (which opened last winter in Fishtown), Stollenwerk’s move to contribute to the string of new fine dining restaurants that are making the number 13 less taboo in Philly and more like magic is coming along nicely. And we mean 13th Street, of course. Where Stollenwerk will shortly join the crowds of new openings to debut his fresh iteration of Fish.

“We got the keys about two to three weeks ago and the place is gutted,” said Justin Petruce, chef de cuisine at the current Fish on Lombard, about the new Fish location, at the corner of 13th and Locust. “The kitchen design team is meeting as we speak.”

When it opens sometime this fall, the new location will feature one large dining room with 75 to 100 seats, according to Petruce. There will also be a courtyard with outdoor seating–not ideal for an East Coast winter, but nice when the sun comes back next year.

“The design and menu details are being hammered out right now,” he said.

While the future of the original Fish location remains unknown, Stollenwerk (who does not own that building, so likely will leave) “has been looking forward to [moving into a bigger location] since I started,” Petruce said.

That was two years ago. It makes us wonder just how vast Stollenwerk’s vision is. What else does he have in mind for Love City? Sushi on Broad Street? Crab shacks for Manayunk? A jivin’ plan for South Street that could put him in good with Stephen Starr?

For now, the the new space on 13th Street’s expanding Restaurant Row will provide Stollenwerk with plenty of distraction. According to Petruce, this translates into an opportunity for his boss “to be more creative in the kitchen, try new things and experiment a bit.” And for a man who already dishes out cod pierogi and crab-stock poutine at Fathom, milk-poached monkfish and Alaskan halibut with Parisian gnocchi and scrambled eggs at Fish, “trying new things” could mean just about anything. The one thing that’s sure, though, is that with a new location that’s more than twice the size of his original, the opportunity is big like a feast.