Summer Restaurant Openings We’re Looking Forward To
We made it through a long winter. We gloried in a warm spring. We saw new restaurants open and old restaurants close and it sometimes felt like we were gaining more than we were losing, but not always.
Still, there was always the summer to look forward to. There was the list of upcoming openings which seemed to be growing longer with each passing week — loaded down with well-known names and interesting concepts. The only thing was, so many of those places seemed like they should be open already. Like we’d been waiting so long for them that it was hard to believe they weren’t serving dinner tonight.
So with that in mind, we took a long look at our list of upcoming openings for the summer. We made a lot of calls, sent a lot of emails, pestered a lot of really busy chefs. And now, we have some updates for you — on everything from Bud & Marilyn’s to Johnny Manana’s. So for all of you out there who’ve been wondering if that Center City Meltkraft is ever going to open, or whatever happened to Jeremy Nolen’s Whetstone, you’ve come to the right place.
Bud and Marilyn’s
1234 Locust Street Philadelphia, PA, Midtown Village
You know what we know about Bud & Marilyn’s? That they’re close enough to be in menu testing for their mid-century modern restaurant. And what menu testing it is. For the old-heads, chef Marcie Turney, who once worked at Judy’s Cafe is doing her take on Judy’s signature meatloaf. There will also be fried chicken, Virginia ham and heavenly looking desserts.
Bud and Marilyn’s [Foobooz]
1435 Frankford Ave Philadelphia, PA, Fishtown
Peter McAndrews is opening a taco joint on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. Expect big flavors, if not authenticity. Get your first taste of Heffe at a Fishtown block party on Saturday, June 27th.
757 S Front Street Philadelphia, PA, Queen Village
The original Kanella is closed and we’re eagerly awaiting Konstantinos Pitsillides’ new spot in Queen Village. The new place will have Pitsillides’ take on Cypriot food plus a liquor license and a custom built brick oven.
Opening, originally projected for the end of June but Pitsillides isn’t talking.
Kanella South [Foobooz]
700 S 5th Street Philadelphia, PA, Queen Village, South Street
Jeremy Nolen’s first move outside his “modern German” comfort zone has been in the works for a long time, but it does appear that he’s closing in on an opening. Our proof? He’s got a menu preview scheduled for Monday, June 29, at Brauhaus Schmitz. Twenty bucks gets you though the door and in on a tasting of several dishes (pepper pot soup, a classic steak tartare, etc.) that Nolen is planning on having on the menu at Whetstone.
BUT… When will the restaurant actually open? Mid-July is what we’ve been told. We’ve been told a lot of dates, but we have faith in this one.
Whetstone Tavern [Foobooz]
1801 Lombard Street Philadelphia, PA, Rittenhouse Square
Construction delays have slowed the transformation of the former Tangier into a Korean gastropub. But lately the progress has been visible outside and in. When complete, chef Clara Park, who has won an episode of Chopped, will be serving up a Korean inspired menu.
Yes, of course there will be Korean fried chicken.
1306 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA, Midtown Village
When asked to give details about the upcoming opening, all owner Mitch Prensky would tell us is that it’s coming “super soon, maybe even sooner than the end of this month.”
Biscuits at this brick and mortar location will be served chipotle-style and customers will choose which biscuit they want and their meat (or veggies) of choice. Rumor has it that breakfast might be served all day–and if it’s not, at least you’ll have a reason to get up in the morning.
If you’ve seen Mitch and tried his biscuits at Night Market, farmers markets, or at one of his pop-ups, then you know how exciting this opening is. While we’ve loved chasing these biscuits around Philly, we’re ready to settle down into a steady relationship with this permanent storefront.
Scratch Biscuits [Foobooz]
133 S 18th Street Philadelphia, PA, Rittenhouse Square
The opening for this “vegan taqueria” is just around the corner: we can expect a soft opening in the 2nd week of July. The restaurant is set to open at 133 S 18th Street, right next to Hip City Veg’s Rittenhouse location. There will be dine-in seating, a full bar, and a take-out window. Beyond just serving lunch and dinner, the kitchen will stay open late daily–meaning that late-night bar food just got a lot more exciting (and healthy).
1080 North Delaware Avenue Philadelphia, PA, Fishtown
Totally re-branded, Johnny Manana’s opened its new Fishtown location this week. There’s a new menu by executive chef (and longtime Garces vet) Susan VanVreede.
They’re describing the menu as “modern tapas.” The food will pay homage to the original Johnny Manana’s, but have a much more upscale feel. They’re using sofrito and fresh corn tortillas and substituting in adobo-rubbed New York strip steak and ground Wagyu in place of ground beef. Walking the line between authentic and modern, the menu includes fish of the day ceviche, fresh guacamole every hour, mushroom and steak fundido, jumbo lump crab cakes, and the classic Mexican street food dish chileatole – sweet corn, chipotle mayo, and queso fresco.
Expect an extensive drink menu with new takes on classic Mexican cocktails, over 90 types of tequila, and several different margarita flavors like cucumber, blood orange, hibiscus flower, and black cherry. You can’t pass on drinks here. The space, designed with a Mexican cantina in mind, is great for large parties.
Johnny Manana’s [Foobooz]
2015 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA, Rittenhouse Square
We’ve got the menu highlights for this brick-and-mortar collaboration between food truckers Mike Sultan, Carolyn Nguyen (Street Food Philly and Taco Mondo) and Alan Krawitz (Say Cheese), all of which is making us even more excited for its end of July opening. Construction on the restaurant starts at the end of this week and should take just about 4-5 weeks.
If you didn’t skim over this section in a rush to get to the menu then you have some serious self-control. Here it is:
Braised Brisket with Chipotle BBQ and Fried Shallots
Adobo Pork Belly with Chipotle Jicama Slaw
Housemade Chorizo, Aged Queso Fresca
Fried Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp
Cubans with house-cured ham
Revolution Taco [Foobooz]
707 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA, Washington Square West
2401 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA, Fitler Square
The Garces group is getting busy. Remember Rosa Blanca closing down just a couple weeks back? There are now plans to reopen it in the fall as…Rosa Blanca Café. Weird, I know. Also opening this fall is an as-yet-unnamed test kitchen at 2401 Walnut Street. We’ve heard a few things from the chef on what he plans to do with this space (public tastings, a pizza oven, classes), but we’re not sure which of these predictions might actually come true, so we’re not saying too much right now. Keep your eye out for more updates.
Test Kitchen [Foobooz]
701 N 2nd Street Philadelphia, PA, Northern Liberties
Robert Carollo’s second pizzeria is set to open shop in Northern Liberties in the first week of August. The new spot won’t stray much from the course laid down by the original location in Doylestown. The focus is on specialty, gourmet, wood-fired pies which claim to be “lighter” and more flavorful than your average pizza.
Spuntino- Northern Liberties [Foobooz]
MeltKraft Center City
46 S. 17th Street Philadelphia, PA, Center City
Reading Terminal Market is great. Reading Terminal Market is also WAY TOO CROWDED. But now you won’t have to go through that mess just to get your grilled cheese. MeltKraft is opening its Center City location near the corner of 17th and Chestnut in the beginning of August. Aware they’ve got a good thing going, owners plan to stick to the original menu but promise to expand upon it. Meaning the grilled cheeses and mozzarellas you know and love will all be there, but now you’ll be able to supplement those with freshly spun milkshakes and local baked goods.
Meltkraft- Center City [Foobooz]
943 S 9th Street Philadelphia, PA, Bella Vista
Chef Joncarl Lachman tells us that his highly-anticipated French/North African bistro is set to open in early September. Construction is proceeding, the liquor license is there, and the menu items (or at least the ones we know about) are making us desperate for more. Eggs are on the menu in the form of a delicious looking shakshuka with almonds. There’s baked monkfish with fregola, clams, and saffron. And dessert includes figs with vanilla custard, honey, and pomegranate molasses. Whoever’s lucky enough to go to Joncarl’s sneak preview at Cook this month, we beg you to give us more inside scoop.
743 S 4th Street Philadelphia, PA, Queen Village
Scott Schroeder’s Queen Village spot promises to be a hip, casual “diner” by day and damn good restaurant by night. Breakfast will feature Schroeder’s buddy Pat O’Malley’s pastry skills, offering croissants, muffins and danishes that will all be on the more savory side. You can also expect quiches, egg sandwiches, English muffins, and biscuits and gravy. Each meal will be a little different from the last as the owners navigate different concepts throughout the day. Lunch will focus on Scott’s healthier cooking (expect salads, sandwiches, and soups featuring lots of vegetables and grains), so quick and casual like a diner, but with healthy, locally farmed ingredients. Both breakfast and lunch will be counter service and will offer Ultimo coffee, thanks to Aaron Ultimo.
A new meal, a new concept. Dinner will change to table service and Scott promises this food and drink will be more like what he and Pat actually cook and eat at home. It’ll be family-style with small to mid-sized plates and will maintain a focus on vegetables, which will be for sharing. A few menu highlights include:
Shaved Zucchini and Cucumbers with oil cured olives, fresh mozzarella and basil
Tomato and Watermelon Salad with pickled chiles, cilantro, sea salt and olive oil
Buttered Egg Noodles with dill and hot smoked salmon
Roasted Local Chicken with mushrooms, sage
Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
Grilled Whole Fish with lentil-yogurt vinaigrette
Pigeon Pot Pie
Their pot pie will be their signature dish for good reason. Already tested at preview dinners at Vetri and Cook, the pot pie combines Pat’s pie dough with Scott’s filling of locally sourced squab (hopefully not Rittenhouse Square local) and seasonal vegetables.
Pat will finish the meal with 2-3 dessert offerings and ice cream. Think simple pies, tarts, and “the best chocolate cake I (Scott) have ever had in my life.” Works for us.
Hungry Pigeon [Foobooz]
120 Concord Road Aston, PA, Delaware County
And finally, some big news for you boozehounds. 2SP starts brewing this week, and boy will they be brewing. Owner Mike Contreras informs us that their Aston brewery includes a 20 barrel brew system, over 40 bourbon and wine casks, a Barolo wine cask, and a tasting room to
sample all their wonderful selections get really drunk.
The 2SP Brewing team is excited by the support they’ve received from the surrounding beer community and have shown their thanks through collaborations. They’ve already teamed up with the farmhouse brewery Oxbow out of Maine, Funky Buddha and Coppertail which are run out of Florida, as well as Evolution Craft Brewing in Salisbury, Maryland. Crowds loved these beers at Beer Week so the team is excited to keep things rolling.
Beers should be at select accounts by late July. Brew master Bob Barrar, “the medal machine” (he’s won 19 GABF medals and 10 World Beer Cups while at Iron Hill Brewing), and head cellar man Andrew Rubenstein are making sure that everything’s perfect before they really get started.
Meanwhile, we can look forward to their launching lineup: Delco Lager which is their all-weather beer, an IPA that’ll cut the humidity, a High-Test Double IPA, a bold and dry American Stout, and a secret Saison.
2SP Brewing [Foobooz]
Reporting by Genny Liebes, Sara Schuster, Arthur Etchells, and Jason Sheehan.