Five Family-Style Meals to Try in Philly Restaurants Now

Move over, small plates: Here are some of the best large-format dinners being offered in town.

Photograph by Jillian Guyette

The Trough at Butcher Bar | Photograph by Jillian Guyette

The way we eat today — mixing and matching and plate-sharing — can make ordering when you’re out with a large group a challenge. Which is why restaurants are now creating over-the-top family-style meals where the only thing you have to say is, “We’ll take that.” 

The Trough at Butcher Bar
Serves: A lot.
Price: $250.
Notice: 1 day.
Put together a crew of meat-loving carnivores, get a note from your cardiologist, and scrape up $250: The highlight of the menu at Rittenhouse Square’s new meat temple is the Trough, a large-format butcher’s board that brings to the table a massive pile of rotisserie chicken, racks of ribs, house-made sausages, kebabs, house-smoked bacon, bone-in short ribs, pitas and sides of fries. 2034 Chestnut Street, Rittenhouse.

Schlachtfest at Brauhaus Schmitz
Serves: 12.
Price: $40 per person.
Notice: 2 days.
Brauhaus actually has two family-style feasts available, but the Schlachtfest is the best deal: a full butcher’s feast that includes everything from roasted pork shoulder, bacon, bratwurst, bauernwurst, blutwurst and smoked pork chops to a full spread of herbed potato dumplings, seasonal vegetables, the house’s beer-braised sauerkraut and plenty of German potato salad. 718 South Street, Bella Vista.

The Cutting Board at Percy Street BBQ
Serves: 4 to 6.
Price: $240.
Notice: 1 to 2 days.
Okay, sure; all barbecue is really, at its heart, a family-style affair. Racks of ribs and plates of pulled pork, overflowing bowls of sides — that’s what we dream about. But Percy Street formalizes this (slightly) with two different large-format options, the best of which (for brisket fans) is the Cutting Board, which simply offers a whole smoked brisket, carved tableside, and every single side on the Percy Street menu. 900 South Street, Bella Vista.

French Family Dinner at Bistrot La Minette
Serves: 4 to 20.
Price: $45 per person.
Notice: 2 days.
An infinitely customizable dinner from chef Peter Woolsey. The inspiration for this multi-course meal comes from recipes cooked by Woolsey’s French in-laws. The basic version offers an aperitif, first course, main course, starch, vegetable and dessert (all served family-style) and can be enhanced with soups, cheese plates and extra courses (for an additional cost, of course). 623 South 6th Street, Queen Village.

Dump Dinner at Oyster House
Serves: 6-plus.
Price: $28 per person.
Notice: 2 days.
You may have heard of this one before; it’s been around for years. But it’s still one of the greatest seafood deals in town, offering newspaper-covered tables loaded down with bowls of steamer clams, mussels, potatoes, kale and sausage, all crowned with split lobsters and served with sides and slaw. Add $20 per person and you’ll get two hours of all-you-can-drink Narragansett pounder cans, carafes of red or white wine and mason jars of Kelly’s Punch. Add another $15 apiece for a raw bar add-on that brings rounds of three different kinds of oysters, littleneck clams and two shrimp cocktails per person. At these prices, you should really be booking one of these feasts for you and all your friends right now. 1516 Sansom Street, Center City.

Published as “The Big Feast” in the November 2016 issue of Philadelphia magazine.


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