On October 10, River Twice, a new restaurant focused on celebrating ingredients found regionally and seasonally, opened at 1601 East Passyunk Avenue. Owned by couple Amanda and Randy Rucker, this thoughtfully designed space and menu offers an original concept. We sat down with Amanda and Randy to learn more about River Twice and their commitment to sustainability and high quality local ingredients.
“There’s good meals and great meals. In my experience great meals have always had a relation to their surroundings. Time and place is huge because it provides that connection. My goal is to provide a connection between guests and their food source,” said Randy.
When researching the Delaware Valley, he was struck by the fertile farmland and the proximity to the ocean for fresh seafood. Randy is committed to highlighting ingredients in a way that allows dishes to speak for themselves. He’s working directly with a number of growers, artisans, fishers, ranchers, and foragers in the region and says “they’re the ones that inspire us. They write the menu.”
Randy’s delicate yet hearty opening menu includes dishes like raw scallop with autumn olives, dry aged duck with cider, honeynut squash, and mustard greens and mushrooms with black kale, soft egg, and miso. He purposefully limits the number of elements in a dish to allow the diner to taste each ingredient and its high quality. Dishes and the customer experience are perfected by the collaborative team in front and back of house with veterans from Serpico, Husk, and Green Meadow Farms.
River Twice is BYOB and is conveniently located across the street from The Bottle Shop and near Separatist Brewing. Randy recommends all things bubbly when considering drinks to bring along – prosecco, cider, and beer all pair wonderfully with his food. In addition, consider bringing along a natural wine.
The couple recently moved to Philadelphia from Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a homecoming for Amanda, who grew up just outside the city in Wynnewood. Randy hails from Texas and earned a James Beard nomination for one of his former restaurants, Bootsie’s, located outside of Houston. Amanda’s father serves as their business partner. His corporate experience has been helpful on a number of fronts, including the decision to offer benefits and paid time off to their staff, something all too uncommon in the restaurant industry.
When looking for a location, they wanted to “find a community that was very welcoming and support us while we support them,” said Randy. East Passyunk was a natural fit in terms of the lively business corridor and the tight knit community. Amanda had introduced Randy to the neighborhood years ago, and they were thrilled to find their location here after a long search.
Amanda has a background in sustainable design and “focussed on making this a healthy building as a living and breathing organism.” When fitting out the space, they worked with XOXO Plaster to create a wall surface that layers clay and lime to help regulate the humidity and improve air quality. She partnered with Philadelphia Table Company for counter and tables, and features plants from Plants from ILL Exotics on East Passyunk Ave. Plants are part of biophilic design which brings nature into the space. “Humans have an innate tendency to be with nature and being with nature makes you healthier,” says Amanda.
River Twice will eventually open for brunch. With windows open and its proximity to the Singing Fountain, it will add to the buzz of the neighborhood on the weekends, and double its capacity as a thirty-seat restaurant. Until then, book a table for dinner and enjoy a sensational menu and space that are both rooted in a true sense of place.
1601 East Passyunk Ave
Tuesday – Saturday: 5:00 – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 5:00 – 9:00 PM