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Archive | Restaurants

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

UPDATED: Philly-born Chicago chef eyeing the Avenue


We chatted with Sam Sherman at PARC yesterday and he told us that he gave a tour of the Avenue with a chef from Chicago, but he wouldn’t cough up the details.

Lachman, via Eater Philly

Eater Philly, though, must have heard something similar because they went straight to the horse’s – er, chef’s — mouth. They said Chef Joncarl Lachman, owner of Home Bistro in Chicago, was here looking to open a Dutch restaurant, and he’s narrowed down the search to three properties.

“I’m down to Mémé, Fond, and I was looking at Zen-Nor, too,” Lachman told Eater Philly. “But, I have my heart set on the space on East Passyunk, but we will see how it works out.”

Tentatively called Winkel, the place would serve Northern European cooking, including bitterballen (fried meatballs), konijn in het zuur (rabbit and bacon dish in vinegar sauce), and snert (pea soup). Lachman told Eater that he plans to have lots of smoked fish and smørrebrød (a selection of toasted breads with spreads and proteins). Intriguing.

We’re waiting on Sherman to get back to us to confirm that it was the same person, but really, how many Philly-born Chicago chefs could there be looking to open a restaurant in the neighborhood?

Fond is leaving its tiny space at 1617 East Passyunk Avenue for a larger space with bar and liquor license across form the fountain at 11th and Tasker, which is owned by PARC. One slight con of Lachman’s proposal is that we were hoping the Fond folks would open a second restaurant in their old space, maybe something more casual. Lachman could set up shop somewhere else, right?


Just got an email back from Sherman, who told us that Lee Styer, owner of Fond, said they planned to continue leasing their current space and launch a new concept there once they move to the new corner location.

Turns out Lachman didn’t know Fond wasn’t available. Eater says Lachman “name-dropped” Fond’s space as a potential site before he got here, not knowing it wasn’t even available. He remains dedicated to finding a different spot in East Passyunk, though, and Styer confirmed that they’re keeping their old space when they move.

So that’s that.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

First pics of inside Will BYOB

It’s looking good inside Will BYOB at 1911 EPA, where we were invited inside by the work crew to snap a couple photos to give you all a sneak peek. Christopher Kearse’s first restaurant appears to be right on schedule for its expected Aug. 24 opening.

Actually, it looks like they’re ahead of schedule. The light fixtures are in, the kitchen equipment looks to be installed and the dark wood floors are even finished. Throw a couple pictures on the wall and move a few chairs into the tiny space and they could open this weekend, if they wanted to. Instead, they started taking reservations today.

The place is tiny, so call soon.

Since we last checked in with the progress a few weeks ago, news emerged that Kearse, who made a name for himself at Pumpkin, will be offering a Sunday prix fixe menu – four courses for $40. Not bad for modern, French-inspired cuisine. Dinner will be served Tuesday through Sunday, plus Sunday brunch.

Imagine those windows flung open on Passyunk.
Just finishing touch-ups
Close-up of fixtures
Pretty close
Yeah, that’s nicer than my oven
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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

What’s that pile of dirt at soon-to-be Garage?

For those hoping for a quick opening at the forthcoming Garage across from Geno’s on Passyunk, you’re stomachs are going to be grumbling for a while.

As you can see, not very restauranty

Jackhammers were rumbling this week and yesterday a crew was digging out the soil inside the cavernous space. Though we only were able to get a quick glimpse of the inside, it appears there’s plenty of work left to do. Almost all of it, actually.

Owners Jason and Delphine Evenchik came up with a fantastic idea of tapping into the food truck craze with Garage. They plan on working with Honest Tom’s taco truck and a rotating roster of other food trucks to feed the patrons inside. They’ll also have a food cart with their own menu of “modern American street food from around the country,” Jason told GrubStreet. Add big TVs, foosball, a bar and seating for 30, and you got yourself some serious potential.

From last week. Not too pretty yet.

The pair also own similarly one-word restaurants Vintage, Time and Bar around 13th and Sansom. They’re also taking over the old Vesuvio in Bella Vista and calling it – naturally – Growlers.

We’ll update you when we hear back from them. Meanwhile, since you won’t actually see them in the flesh for a while down this way, here’s an interview of them talking about their first three restaurants.


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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Center City hot dog shop to open here in September

Underdogs, the subterranean “haute dog” shop at 132 S. 17th St., is shooting for a September opening for their second location, next door to Geno’s on 9th Street.

Good news. Photo via Passyunk Square Civic’s FB page

It’s in the dearly departed former bahn mi shop O sandwiches, which was our first exposure to the tasty Vietnamese hoagies and remains our favorite, hands down.

Here’s a snippet of the Insider’s write-up when Underdogs’ Center City place opened in February, which includes some pics of their inventive, all beef-dogs:

Restaurant veteran Robert Amar is behind the new Underdogs, a subterranean hot dog shop, which opened today (2/28) in the lower-level storefront at 132 S. 17th St. It previously was Argan Moroccan Cuisine.
Underdogs’ base dog is a boiled Dietz & Watson all-beef “5-to-1” – the Tacony meat packer’s signature five-to-a-pound frank – which he’s selling for $3.25 on a sturdy roll from South Philly baker Cacia’s. From there go the toppings – the result, Amar says, of two years of research and development.

Between this and the new Garage on the other side of EPA, drunk late-nighters will finally have an alternative in the area to mediocre cheesesteaks. Bring on the defensive comments, you misguided Geno’s lovers!

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Plenty remodels, opens for breakfast

After the quickest remodeling this side of the Mississippi, Plenty opened for breakfast Monday morning at

Much more seating

The changes aren’t drastic, but there are definite improvements. The counter has been enlarged and turned into a coffee bar, making room for a two-port La Marzocco espresso machine. They’re also brewing regular coffee – all La Colombe – and selling beans to go.

The eight-seat communal table has been ditched in favor of seven tables seating 18 people, plus the four original seats at the window counter (better for people-watching).The former cold case that held cheeses, prepared meals and salads is gone and so is the ice-cream freezer in the back of the room. We believe they’re still going to be selling those items, but we still trying to get in contact today with Anthony Mascieri for more details (he was out when we stopped in). They also plan a juice bar along the back wall.

The new menu – $5.50 to $7 – consists of five breakfast sandwiches, mostly upscale takes on meat, egg and cheese. The fried egg, smoked brisket and cheddar on an artisan roll sounds like a delicious artery clogger, but there’s also a more sensible scrambled eggs, roasted red peppers and pesto on 7-grain toast. Plus there are muffins and other pastries, a greek yogurt parfait and they’ll be doing specials daily.

There’s a sign up saying they have a new website, but it looks like the old one and hasn’t been updated to include the new hours, which start at 7 a.m.

Check back later today for some updates.

Warmer colors than the old, spartan Plenty
The new coffee bar, face with old produce crates
The shiny new equipment
Imagine a juice bar here


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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Hope for the Triangle Tavern

Meal Ticket reported that the Triangle Tavern across from CVS at 10th and Reed has leased the space to partners opening a new bar – maybe.

The Triangle, via Meal Ticket

A source said that the building owner has leased the space to partners who want to open a new restaurant but didn’t cough up the details. The crew that owns the Cantina and Royal Tavern, Steve Simons and Dave Frank, was reportedly interested in the space but that deal fell through when the building owners wanted too big a cut, the blog reported. One tantalizing tidbit from an earlier post, which hasn’t been confirmed, was this rumor:

No word yet on what it is the Simons and Frank shall do at the Triangle. At one point Frank was heard to have been looking for a space to place Farmers Cabinet cocktail expats Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal.

Even if that’s only wishful thinking, it’s OK to dream, right? Because it’s about time the new Passyunk wave took over that place. It’s been kinda creepy for a while.

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