The Best Restaurant Openings You Missed This Summer

While you were distracted, Philadelphia had quite the season in restaurant openings and reboots.

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Pu Pu Platter at Bud & Marilyn’s | Photo via Bud & Marilyn’s

Summer can be a distracting time. There are trips to the shore, rooftop beer gardens, empty lot beer gardens and beer gardens surrounding 1960s architecture. But while you may have been…elsewhere, the restaurant scene marched on, and here are some of the best openings and reboots of the summer.

Bud & Marilyn’s
1234 Locust Street, Midtown Village

Yes, we’ve been waiting FOREVER for this new restaurant from Marcie Turney and Val Safran to open. But now that it is, we can confidently say it was worth the wait. Why? Fried cheese curds for starters–possibly the greatest food to ever come out of the Midwest. But there’s also the comfortable bar, the retro rec room vibe that the space perfectly nails, the excellent happy hour deals, and a whole menu full of re-invented classics of American regional cuisine.

1801 Lombard Street, Rittenhouse Square

This Korean-inspired gastropub replaced the longstanding Tangier at 18th and Lombard. The result is a very attractive neighborhood destination that has several must order dishes including its Korean fried chicken wings, bulgogi burger and bibimbap with oh so tender beef. But don’t sleep on the cocktails, especially the easily tippled Korombian sake punch.

1838 East Passyunk Avenue

On an early visit, owner Sam Jacobson said a recipe for success is to take something simple from one land and bring it somewhere else. But it is a lot more difficult than that. You’re going right at people’s memories and that can be darn near impossible. But even if you’ve never grabbed a sausage roll from a London vendor (or ever dreamed of ordering an eel pie), Stargazy’s tight menu delivers. Start with the traditional beef and onion pie with mash and parsley sauce, then branch out towards a daily special. And of course finish with a tea. Because tea at Stargazy is always free.

Whetstone Tavern
700 South 4th Street, Queen Village

Jeremy Nolen (Brauhaus Schmitz) and his team ran into just about every roadblock possible when opening Whetstone. Permits, flooding, inspections and more delayed the opening. But now the doors are open and the locals are coming into the tavern for wings, a really solid roast beef sandwich and, of course, a burger. That’ll keep the neighborhood coming back but there are also destination dishes like the rabbit tetrazzini over fresh pappardelle and the ode to South Philly, the Passyunk Pork, which is a twelve ounce bone-in pork chop served over sharp provolone polenta, prosciutto jus, broccoli rabe and crispy pork cracklings.

Bar Bombón
133 South 18th Street, Rittenhouse Square

Nicole Marquis has opened a Latin bar just a couple of doors down from her fast casual vegan spot, HipCityVeg. At Bombón she’s also offering an all-plant based menu with dishes inspired by flavors from across the Latin world. It can feel a bit odd to order plantains filled with stewed “beef” when that dish could hold up without any fake meats, but those kinds of quibbles will disappear when popping a “chick’n” empanada in your mouth or finishing off a “chorizo” taco.

Kimmel Center, Center City

Jose Garces’s big, fine dining bet is back after an extended summer vacation, and it has returned with an entirely new menu. Menus, actually, because not a single dish from last season’s board has carried over, and the team (now led by new exec chef Justin Bogle, ex of Avance) has completely re-made the 8 and 12-course tasting menus in the main dining room and the more casual, a la carte menu at Bar Volver. The 8-course is still a good deal at $95, the full 12-course experience will still run you $150 before drinks and tip, and at the bar, the toasts-and-caviar offerings have been bulked out with charcuterie, cheese, oysters, and a variety of snacks like puffy tacos and corn croquettes.

For more info on all this summer’s hot restaurant action, check out our Reviews and our Openings pages.