What’s in Store for Philly in 2015

Our plugged-in staff takes a crack at predicting the future in food, real estate, entertainment, and more.


Clockwise from top left: Nordstrom Rack will falter; Bradley Cooper will get an Oscar nod; projects like East Market will fuel the millennial boom; and throwback cuisine will become a full-blown trend.

Restaurants and Bars

Predictions by Jason Sheehan and Art Etchells, editors of Foobooz

  • Culinary nostalgia will totally become a full-fledged trend. With Juniper Commons already bringing back the cuisine of the 1980s and Bud & Marilyn’s set to do the same for diner food, it looks like we’re all going to be eating a lot more raspberry vinaigrette and chocolate lava cake. The next big thing? Upscale TV dinners.

  • There will come a reaping … We’ve had a nice long boom cycle in Philly’s restaurant scene, but the kind of pace we’ve set in new restaurant openings can’t be maintained without a die-off of underperforming houses. Expect that to start just as soon as the bookkeepers come back from their winter vacations in Aruba, and look for some recent openings not to last out the year.
  • Craft beer will start to look a lot like the vodka industry, with gimmicky ingredients taking precedence over defined styles being brewed well. We actually enjoyed Forgotten Boardwalk’s Funnel Cake Ale, but we aren’t looking forward to the seemingly inevitable Salted Caramel Budino Stout that will be served exclusively at Barbuzzo. Well, actually …

Business and Government

Predictions by Joel Mathis, associate editor of News & Opinion

  • There are three new news organizations trying to elbow their way into Philly’s media mix: Billy Penn, The Philadelphia Citizen, and PhillyVoice.com. At least one of them will not survive all the way to the end of 2015.
  • The plummeting price of natural gas will end hopes that a tax on fracking in the Marcellus Shale will cure all that ails the funding of Pennsylvania schools. And it may just put an end to giddy talk of Philadelphia as an “energy hub.”
  • There will be a lot of talk about privatizing the state’s liquor store system. It will not happen. (Note to editor: Please include this on my predictions list every year hence.)

Health and Fitness

Predictions by Emily Leaman, editor of Be Well Philly

  • You (and your friends) will still be obsessed with your Fitbits. Fitness trackers aren’t going anywhere — and they’re going to get even bigger (and better) in 2015 with more accurate readouts and a host of new bells and whistles.
  • The Philly 10K will sell out in under an hour. I might even be willing to wager under 45 minutes. Organizers are working on all the top-secret details now, and while I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, I’m certain Philly runners will be super psyched about this year’s race. (Hint: It won’t look anything like last year’s race.)
  • You will spend more time at a fitness studio than at your gym. There’s a reason so many boutique fitness studios opened in 2014: Philadelphians can’t get enough of them. The specialized workouts, the individual attention, the community. There’s no sign that the trend is slowing down, with even more trendy, laser-focused workouts (ahem, SoulCycle, we’re still waiting for you) sure to come our way.

Power and Policy

Predictions by Patrick Kerkstra, editor of Citified.

  • There will be a competitive mayoral election in the Fall. There is enough doubt about the caliber of the Democratic primary field, and enough potential independent candidates out there (we see you, Sam Katz), that this election–for the first time since 2003–won’t be over and done with after the Democrats pick their nominee.
  • City Council unity will crack. Council President Darrell L. Clarke has kept his members tightly in line even on hugely controversial matters like the privatization of PGW. But there are signs of strain within council, strain that intensified during the PGW debacle, and soon council won’t have Mayor Nutter to kick around any more (opposition to the mayor has been one of the biggest unifying forces in council). Look for fractures to emerge on questions of taxes and school funding in particular.
  • “New Philadelphia” will underwhelm as a political force. The tens of thousands of Philadelphians who have moved to the city in recent years are civically active and smitten by the city, but they remain estranged from local politics and have demonstrated a tendency for tone deafness and myopia on those rare occasions when they do come alive politically (Their 2014 battle cry? “Beer gardens!!!!!!!!!”). New Philadelphians will have to broaden their understanding of the city’s challenges and stop being so creeped out by the (admittedly creepy) culture of Philly politics if they hope to shape city policy.

Real Estate

Predictions by James Jennings, editor of Property

  • Philadelphia will continue its transition to Millennadelphia. We’re already seeing mega-developments like East Market cater to the Millennial boom in Philly. We expect that you’ll hear the word millennial in almost every new one that comes down the pike, residential and retail and even things to do (like creative pop-up spaces).
  • Philly Bike Share will be touted as a residential amenity. Look for home and rental listing agents to take advantage of the upcoming Philly Bike Share rollout in the spring and summer. With ridership rates continuing to rise in the city, proximity to the new bike share kiosks will be a key amenity for prospective buyers and renters.
  • Something will finally happen with 1911 Walnut Street. This one is a little bit of a bold prediction, but we feel that something has to happen with this vacant lot located in one of the city’s prime areas. Irish developer Castleway Properties owns the lot and has been kicking around ideas of a tower with a boutique hotel and condos for a while now. Will those plans move forward, or will they sell it? We predict we will find out one way or the other in 2015.


Predictions by Josh Middleton, editor of G Philly

  • Philadelphia will get a new lesbian bar. Former Sisters manager Denise Cohen can deny it all she wants, but we’ve sniffed out all kinds of clues that prove she’s getting close to opening another lesbian bar in the Gayborhood. The most recent hint we came across was a liquor license in her name for a space at 1316 Walnut Street.
  • Major transgender-rights bills will be introduced. We’ve got word that State Rep. Mark Cohen is set to introduce a couple of bills in the House that will grant transgender-specific freedoms that aren’t seen anywhere else in the world. If passed, these bills would cement our state as first and foremost in establishing important civil rights for its trans citizens, and hopefully spur change nationwide.
  • Brian Sims will get engaged. Yes, it may seem like we’re jumping the gun here, but Brian Sims and his boyfriend, Brandon McMullin, seem to be warming up with a quickness. He’s already shared a cozy photo of the two of them on Christmas morning, and they apparently share a love for the Eagles. I’m guessing that somebody will put a ring on it before the jingle bells start to ring in 2015.

Shopping and Style

Predictions by Emily Goulet, editor of Shoppist

  • The new Nordstrom Rack in Rittenhouse will slide downhill. Judging from the overwhelming, overcrowded sales floor and less-than-covetable merch, this store won’t be the beacon of discount luxury everyone hoped for. Sigh. Still, it’s worth a trip for tights and workout gear.
  • But Chestnut Street as a whole will continue its upward climb. 2014 also saw Joan Shepp, Uniqlo, Duke & Winston, and a Banana Republic factory store open along what used to be Walnut Street’s less-than-luxe little sister. Forever 21 will be one of the first newcomers in 2015, and while the fast-fashion store isn’t exactly what we’d hoped for, it will at least continue to make Chestnut Street a retail destination.
  • You’re going to see these trends everywhere: sophisticated denim (think tailored, dark denim and sharp blazers instead of slouchy jean jackets), mismatched earrings (yes, on purpose), a bit of ’70s flair (flared pants, luxe boho looks), more crop tops, and plenty of gingham. Oh, and platforms are back. Happy shopping!

Arts & Entertainment

Predictions by Josh Middleton, editor of Ticket

  • The Pope will do something arty in Philly. Long a supporter and lover of the arts, Pope Francis is bound to bless Philly with a touch of artistic expression when he visits in September. Perhaps he’ll pair up with Mural Arts on a special project, or at the very least take a private tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (We also predict that HughE Dillon will be there to document his every Prada-less footstep.)
  • Bill Cosby will fade from the public eye. He’s fought tooth and nail up to this point, but public opinion isn’t on Bill Cosby’s side. As more and more women say they were sexually assaulted by the comedian, we’re guessing his next move will be to slink into the background to take attention away from the whole ordeal.
  • Bradley Cooper will score Oscar and Tony nods. He may have been overlooked for a SAG Award and a Golden Globe, but once Bradley Cooper’s American Sniper gets a nationwide release on January 16th, Oscar voters won’t be able to deny him a nod in the much-coveted Best Actor category. We’d wager he’ll also receive his very first Tony nomination for his lauded turn as the severely disfigured Joseph Merrick in Broadway’s The Elephant Man.​