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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Four Seasons alum opening new restaurant in former Sophia’s

A new restaurant is coming to the ill-fated Sophia’s, which despite high hopes closed last summer after less than a year.


The Insider reports that the concept for 1623 E. Passyunk Ave. has yet to be finalized but that the chef is Townsend Wentz, formerly of the Four Seasons. Wentz, who appears to go by Tod, was head chef at McCrossen’s Tavern when it earned two bells from Craig Laban in 2011.

Says the blog:

Time frame and details are somewhat nebulous, though his rep says the menu will have European influences.

Ooh, European. How vague.

Sophia’s was the successor to Salt & Pepper, and before that, Rosalena’s. Hopefully, Wentz can have better luck than the previous tenant. If he just settles on a name and concept from the get-go, he’ll already have a leg up.

But take a look at that Laban review. He raves about Wentz’s gastropub food at McCrossen’s, including the tender “braised cubes of pork belly now being served in a white bean cassoulet; or the superbly crisp sweetbreads that came alongside rounds of poached veal tongue” as well as a “very respectable crispy wing” and “excellent burger.”

If that’s what Wentz has in mind, it might just fill that niche of culinary middle ground that’s lacking on Passyunk. We can’t have all fine dining, right?

UPDATE: Zagat Philly spoke to Wentz, and it looks like we’re not talking middle ground here:

A renovation is planned for the bar area at front, and Wentz’s sommelier is already curating a list of interesting and unique wines as well as pairings with the “wine-driven food.” After everything is in place, the restaurant – as yet unnamed – will serve dinner six nights a week (closed on Tuesdays). A spring opening is targeted.

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