Wm. Mulherin’s Sons Is Set in Fishtown
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons is set to officially open this Thursday, March 31st. The 101-seat Italian restaurant and four-room hotel (opening in June) is situated under the El in Fishtown, at the corner of Front and Master Streets. Named for the family-owned 19th century whiskey blending and bottling factory that occupied the building, it has been impressively redeveloped preserving the original character and decor. The restored elements include the terra-cotta exterior signs, wood-framed arched windows, the original vestibule and even the company’s safe, repurposed as a coat room and closet. Local craftsman have admirably filled in the gaps, creating a brand new restaurant that feels like it has been there forever.
Artist Stacey Rozich painted a mural that wraps around the top of the vestibule with fascinating animal headed, human bodied creatures that illustrate fraternal organizations of yesteryear and gives the restaurant a brood of folklore characters that get integrated into the menus, wine lists and even matchbooks.
Looking down, a gorgeous hand-clipped marble tiles spill out from the entranceway into the bar and into a mosaic that spells out “Winner,” a rye sold by the original Wm. Mulherin’s Sons. The arched windows of the bar area allow in ample sun during the day and provide a bustling street view onto the unarguably resurgent Front Street at night. A black walnut bar with room for fourteen beckons with brown liquor, wine and beer. Doorways have been punched into the far wall, opening into a dining room that was once a separate garage building. The room is set off by a bright skylight and concrete-paneled wood-fired fireplace. Repurposed church pews have been converted to bench seating along one wall, Norman Porter leather padding making the seating more comfortable.
A third room features the restaurant’s wood burning oven and grill. Here is where chef and partner Chris Painter–formerly of Il Pittore and Stephen Starr orbits joins with Jonah Fliegelman and Nathan Winkler-Rhoades, the team that brought us the Pitruco Pizza truck, to create a specialty wood-fired pizza program. Next to the pizza oven, Painter’s wood-fired grill cooks up brick chicken, hangar steak, a 24-ounce dry-aged ribeye for two and the restaurant’s signature 32-ounce tomahawk pork chop for two.
The menu features snacks, small plates and crudo. The pizza section has eight pies at an average price of $15. Painter’s pastas start with the same recipe as he used at Il Pittore but the eight dishes will be different, more rustic than what was offered Il Pittore offered and they top out at $17. Dinner sized plates of fluke, swordfish, lamb neck and veal cheek range from $22 to $28.
In addition to his Pitruco talent, Chris Painter also has John Taus on as sous chef. Taus has been a veteran around Philadelphia with experience at Snackbar, the Corner, the Diving Horse and several Starr restaurants including under Painter at Il Pittore. Todd Rodgers, formerly of Noble and a.Kitchen runs the front-of-the-house. The concept is the first stand-alone concept from Method Hospitality, the group headed by Randy Cook, David Grasso and Painter. Method is a spinoff of the Roost Hotel group and they will be adding a wine bar down the line to the Roost at 18th and Chestnut.
The beverage menu is being curated by Michael Haggerty (Olde Bar, a.bar) and features quality-driven cocktails along with a curated list of craft beer and approachable wines from small producers.
In the future, Mulherin’s will offer daytime hours, outdoor seating for 35 and a happy hour featuring discounted pizzas and affordable pony bottles of beer. The four-room hotel will open later in the year, featuring loft-like guestrooms, each offering its own character that will jive with the restaurant below. A second ground-floor restaurant will spill out towards Frankford Avenue and will feature a glass-fronted garage door. That concept hasn’t been nailed down yet.
More Photos of Mulherin’s
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons Opening Menu
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons [Foobooz]