New Restaurants in Philadelphia Spring 2009

It doesn’t seem like anything can keep Philadelphians from launching new eateries (see our report from last week on the U-City restaurant craze). We are in shock (and so psyched!) about all the new openings and places slated to open soon. Since there are so many of them, we wanted to fill you in on the ones we’ll think will be must-visits, so you can talk shop with your foodie friends and plan your spring of eating. Enjoy!

Girasole, the Italian spot so well received in A.C. (and loved when it was originally in Center City), has reopened in the Symphony House, serving its famed carpaccios and crudos.

Relish, a new jazz club that has a mouth-watering menu of Southern-inspired dishes like braised turkey wings and fried catfish, recently opened in Northwest Philly on Ogontz Avenue.

Noble American Cookery, at 2025 Sansom Street, is slotted for a late April opening. It’ll be seasonally focused with American bistro fare (and a pretty, pretty look).

Kong will open in the former Sovalo spot (702 North 2nd Street) in Northern Liberties. It’s an Asian “street food” eatery from Michael O’Halloran of Bistro 7.

Oyster House — a city classic formerly known as Sansom Street Oyster House — gets a third chance from the grandson of the original owner at 1516 Sansom Street in May.

Jose Garces’s Village Whiskey is also coming to Sansom Street, next to Tinto. Set to open (tentatively) in June, it’ll have (spoiler alert!) whiskey … and upscale bar food.

Varga Bar will open in May at 10th and Spruce (it already has a spiffy new whitewashed paint job) from Evan Turney of Mercato and Valanni. It will also be a food-focused drinkery.

Bibou will keep the old Pif location (1009 South 8th Street) French. Former Le Bec-Fin chef de cuisine Pierre Calmels will own and cook at the BYO. It’s running late (who isn’t), but expect a spring opening.

BBQ joint Smokin’ Betty’s should open soon at 11th and Sansom. It’s from Susan Schlisman, of Sam’s Grill and Devil’s Alley.

Yogorino, a Pinkberry-like frozen yogurt place, looks minutes away from opening in Rittenhouse (233 South 20th Street).

Max Brenner chocolates — which has locations in Singapore, Australia, Israel, the Philippines, and NYC — is soon opening up a location at 1500 Walnut Street. It serves pretty much anything having to do with chocolate, plus savory foods.


Restaurant Rosalie is a cheery, recently opened BYO in Cedars focused on serving food sous vide, a low-and-slow cooking process (food is sealed in an air-tight plastic bag and submerged in a hot water bath for days) that turns everything it touches into gold. (Note: Reservations are a must for the tasting-menu only restaurant.)

Firecreek Restaurant, from some of the people behind 333 Belrose, opened in Downingtown last week. Given the staying power of that Main Line spot, we can’t wait to check it out.

Daddy Mims and Johnny’s New Orleans Pizza Kitchen share a space in Phoenixville — both have a touch of owner John Mims’s Creole style.

Majolica, a Phoenixville BYOB, has reopened as a lower-priced bistro where entrées like skate and steak frites run under $21.

Alphabet Soup
has reopened in its charming corner of Audubon. Chef Jayson Grossberg’s American, always-changing menu is really appealing:  velvety soups, fried chicken, steak frites, and the best lobster roll we’ve had in a while. (Note: He’s got a gourmet take-out shop in Cherry Hill in the works.)

Seasons 52 has opened in the Cherry Hill Mall (as has a new Nordstrom). The restaurant chain does something that most chains don’t: It focuses on healthy eating. Every dish on their seasonal menu is nutritionally balanced and comes in at or under 475 calories. Don’t pass on dessert, — the shot-glass sweets are delish.