The year-old location is making Portugal proud with its Iberian influences.
We hear that good things come to those who wait, so for Ryan Rayer, whose “visceral anticipation” as the opening of Grace & Proper neared last November was almost a force of nature, this year has proven quite rewarding. As the general manager of the Eurobar located at 941 S. Eighth St., he has seen the space enjoy a “neighborly essence” that had been missing since the 1980s, which had been the last time the address had housed a business.
“There is so much history to this space, and I’m happy to give it a great present and what I hope is a fantastic future,” Rayer said of the 103-year-old spot that originally opened as a pharmacy and then became a delicatessen. “Once you’re here, we’re hoping the experience connects you to culture and helps you appreciate the great food and drink items inspired by the Iberian peninsula.”
Portugal is the main influence for the Bella Vista location. Whether or not diners have any knowledge of Portuguese portions or potables upon entering, there is a lengthy food and drink menu that will make them instant admirers of not only selections from Portugal, but also adjacent lands.
“This is like asking me to pick a favorite child,” Rayer joked when tasked to name standout items. “With the variety we have here, you can’t go wrong, especially when it comes to food because through our manner of plating, we try to have everything seem as if your best friend made it for you.”
Thanks to Portuguese bread, egg sandwiches available from noon until 4 p.m. on Friday through Sunday are big movers. The pastries offered during the same period also benefit from a Portuguese tie, not to mention the spice-glazed, thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon. If patrons are enamored with pairing those options with a day drink, 13 possibilities await them, including the humorously named Corpse Reviver #2 that includes gin, cocchi Americano, combier, lemon, and absinthe.
Regarding the main food menu, Rayer dubbed Grace & Proper’s meatballs “phenomenal,” while also giving a nod to the meat and chips, consisting of calabrese salami and black truffle potato chips; the Caesar panzanella; the bifana pork sandwich; and the bacalao ceviche.
Other meat and cheese choices will have guests making modest yet oh-so-delicious purchases, and wine, cocktail, and spirits creations, such as the Porto Tonico, Grace & Proper’s house cocktail, will make for smooth complements or enjoyable buys on their own.
“One visit is not enough for you to take in all that we have,” Rayer stated. “That’s fine with us.”
Grace & Proper
941 S. Eighth St.
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 4 p.m. until 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday: Noon until 1 a.m.,
Sunday: Noon until 12 a.m.
www.graceandproper.com and www.instagram.com/graceandproperphilly/