Nick Elmi Is Opening a Bar

Photo by Claudia Gavin

Photo by Claudia Gavin

Last May Nick Elmi went to work on securing a liquor license and expanding into the former coffee shop that is next door to his Laurel. The initial plan was to add some seating and install a bar. But here we are more than seven months later and that hasn’t happened.

So when we caught up with Elmi at Philly Cooks, we asked him what was up. Elmi, whose Laurel has been named the top restaurant in the city for the past two years, has decided not to mess up the good thing he has going at Laurel. So Laurel remains BYOB though he does now offer a $60 wine pairing for those interested.

Next door, he says he’s about two months out from opening a bar. It’s an ideal situation for Elmi to add a second concept, literally connected to his first restaurant. The space will have seating for around 30; 10 at the bar, 14 on the floor and another 5 looking out over the Avenue.

The menu will consist of small plates appropriate for enjoying with wine. Elmi, who says he still doesn’t know how to define the food at Laurel, describes the food as “French but American. Like laurel’s little brother.”

As for a name, Elmi was leaning towards June, the month laurel flowers blossom, until a restaurant opened in New York with the same name. So back to the drawing board on that one, but whatever it’s called, we’re predicting it’ll be a tough seat to get.

Laurel [Foobooz]