First Look: Triangle Tavern

triangle-tavern-dining-room-940The Triangle Tavern has reopened in South Philadelphia and not much has changed. Yes, it is now owned by David Frank and Stephen Simons, who own the Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Los Caballitos and Dos Segundos, but other than that, the space feels similar to what was there for the better part of the 20th century. It’s the same bar. Suzanne O’Brien, who consulted on the project (as well as redos at Trestle Inn, Jerry’s Bar), told me that the gum still remains on the underside. I took her word on that.

The reboot is rooted in the Triangle Tavern’s historic position as a neighborhood eatery. Refreshingly, affordability seems to be a key tenet in the redo. Entrees are all under $20, the house wine is $7 and there are even $6 cocktails on the list. The idea is that the 85+ seat bar and restaurant can be a frequent dinner destination for people living on and near Passyunk Avenue.

triangle-tavern-meatballs-400The menu is made up of Italian classics, most notably the mussels, which as the staff shirts note, can be ordered red or white. Roast pork is one highlight of the sandwich section of the menu, and if it lives up to the excitement offered by several of the staff members, could be the latenight roast pork sandwich I’ve often lamented, doesn’t really exist in Philadelphia. Another sandwich which will be highly sought after is the meatball sandwich, as those meatballs were the standout side of an impressive early meal that also included chicken parmesan and spaghetti as well as a burly piece of meaty lasagna. The garlic bread also delivered, and somewhat surprisingly, is vegan. Though the surprise is lessened since Frank and Simons always have plenty of options for Vegan and vegetarian diners.

As for the drink program, Cristina Tessaro is behind the lists. Tessaro went with draft wine to keep costs reasonable and like the mussels, is pouring red and white for $7. A liter carafe can also be ordered for $36. Cocktails are broken into four sections:

  • The Bitter the Better – Four takes on the Negroni plus the Passyunker, Zucca Amaro, Orchard Apricot, and Buffalo Trace.
  • On the Rocks with a Twist – As the name suggests, a spirit or two and a twist of lemon.
  • Adult Water Ice – Shaved ice with a boozy and sweet twist.
  • A Walk Down Memory Lane – Classic cocktails including a $5 Rum Swizzle.

The beer list cuts a large swath, Yuengling, Bud Light and Rolling Rock are available on draft for oldtimers and selections from Deschutes, Victory and Ballast Point will appeal to the beer geeks.

The space itself is dark (most of our photos came out looking like crap), cheeky signs, like “Wine, How Classy People Get Wasted” and Sophia Loren’s, “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti” set the tone. Old photos, many of which were found in the basement or donated by neighbors, show former Triangle Tavern employees or neighborhood scenes. An “L” shaped bar is the first thing you see if you come in at the corner. A second entrance (the former Ladies entrance) opens right into a dining area. Up a couple of steps and you’re in the back dining room, which thanks to some cuts in the wall, still lets people watchers enjoy the bar from their dinner table. Outdoor dining is something that will require neighborhood approval down the line. Lunch is also a future option.

Triangle Tavern Food Menu


Triangle Tavern Drink Menutriangle-tavern-drink-1 triangle-tavern-drink-2

Triangle Tavern is currently open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. with the kitchen closing daily at 1 a.m.

Triangle Tavern [Foobooz]