Conveyor-belt sushi near Rittenhouse Square, an edgy BYOB in the Italian Market, a splashy sports bar downtown, an “Automat” dumpling in University City, and the long-awaited opening of an Afrocentric deli cafe west of Philadelphia are just a handful of the restoration projects slated to open in the next 60 to 90 days in Philadelphia.
Aside from the new, larger Kalaya en route to Fishtown and Bankroll (the sports bar taking over the old Boyd Theatre), there are few large-scale shows on the immediate horizon. But the two dozen newcomers are different, and certainly quite interesting.
There’s fine vegan food at Northern Liberties, Filipino and Mexican spots in South Philadelphia, an all-day cafe at Rittenhouse, and what promises to be a casual wine and pasta bar in Fishtown thanks to a genealogical partnership.
Note that few restaurants opened when they were supposed to, and that’s even truer now, as the restaurant business enters a post-pandemic world. Delays are commonplace. The city lacks inspectors. Equipment and furniture are blocked in transit. The staff is difficult to bring together. I have presented here the planned opening dates in italics as they are tentative. I will drop more info as it is known.
» READ MORE: 26 new restaurants in suburban Philadelphia
Another thing: this fall will also see the launch of Adrian, the Stephen Starr/Aramark restaurant on the club level of the Wells Fargo Center — alas, only open to suite occupants. The name is a clever homage to the hometown of Rocky. When you order a burger, you have every right to say, “I’m going to fry it now.”
alexander (126 S. 19th St., August 4). Leading restaurateur Aleksandar Stojnic, working with veteran Andrew Hueston, has transformed the former V Street and Wiz Kid space near Rittenhouse Square into what they call a “reclaimed industrial aesthetic.” (Stojnic’s mother created all the art.) Chef Montana Houston’s menu is primarily American with a slight Eastern European influence and includes vegan and gluten-free options. Full bar with everything homemade. Lunch/brunch, dinner every day. 📷 @restaurant_aleksandar
Alice (901 Christian Street, to fall). Dave Conn, former longtime executive chef of downtown El Vez, is the originator of this American bistro in a former butcher’s shop in the Italian market (the former Butcher’s Cafe, Paesano’s and Monsu). 📷 @alice.philadelphia
Bankroll Philadelphia (1910 Chestnut Street, to fall). Stephen Starr will operate this sports bar in the former Boyd Theatre, designed to appeal to fans of sports games. 📷 @bankrollphl
House Bottega Ritten (263 S. 17th St., August). Luan Tota goes next door to his Branzino with a small café serving pasta dishes, coffees and Italian specialties to go.
Brazas BBQ Chicken (326 South Street, this summer): Juan Placencia, who had a hit with his Peruvian-style chicken and scratch ribs at a Philadelphia ghost kitchen, plans to celebrate his culture through food at a South Street storefront. 📷 @brazasbbqchicken
Brooklyn dumpling shop (3400 Lancaster Avenue, to fall). Before fast food as we know it today, popular Horn & Hardart restaurants were powered by a gadget called an Automat – essentially a wall of vending machines that dispensed food and drink. Add a dime or penny and you’ll open a door to a piece of pie or a cup of tapioca pudding. BDS, which started in Manhattan, is coming to The Summit in University City with a kiosk that drives the ordering and cooking of dumplings. I checked it out in the spring: easy, tasty, technical. Order lamb gyro balls or pepperoni pizza balls or, say, pastrami balls. You get a ticket. A worker in the back heats the dumplings, boxes them, and places the box in a numbered window. You receive a notification. Scan your ticket, the window opens and you are on your way. The system is a boon for delivery drivers, who cannot pick up the wrong order. 📷 @brooklyndumplingphl
Buena Onda (114 S 20th St., mid August). Jose Garces is converting his old gem Tinto into a second location in his taqueria. Another location is available for “late August-early September” at 200 N. Radnor-Chester Rd. in Radnor. Meanwhile, he has other irons in the fire (stay tuned) and is still uncertain about the future of the closed Distrito in University City. 📷 @buenaondatacos
carbon copy (701 S. 50th St., to fall). Kyle Wolak and Brendon Boudwin open a brewery and pub on the former West Philadelphia brewery site on Dock Street. Yes, flatbreads will continue. 📷 @carboncopyphilly
El Chingon (1524 S. 10th St., end of August). Chef Carlos Aparicio will specialize in cemitas served on his own bread on his corner near Passyunk Crossing, complementing his menu with dishes such as tlacoyos, memelas and tostadas. 📷 @elchingonphilly
inflate (1528 Spruce Street, to fall). An all-day cafe with cocktails on the ground floor of The Touraine by Rival Bros. with an extensive menu of breakfast options in the morning and a PM cocktail menu featuring New Liberty Distillery spirits (also sold at an on-site bottle shop), Pennsylvania beer and wine, and light fare. 📷 @enswellphilly
Honeysuckle Arrangements (310 S 48th St., mid-september). What chefs Omar Tate and Cybill St. Aude-Tate call their “Afrocentric coffee shop” reaches the finish line after two years. Omar Tate says the small grocery store will sell produce from local black farmers (including themselves — they run a nearby farm in partnership with the Enterprise Center) as well as hot and cold foods — yes, those favorite sandwiches for the breakfast – and coffee to go. 📷 @honeysuckle_provisions
Kalaya (4 W. Palmer St., “November”). Chef Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon works with Defined Hospitality partners Greg Root, Chef Nick Kennedy and Al Lucas (Suraya, Pizzeria Beddia, R&D Cocktail Bar and Condesa/El Techo), at a splashier Thai location between Front Street and Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. 📷 @kalayaphilly
» READ MORE: We accompany Chef Nok’s trip to Thailand
Kura Revolving Sushi Bar (1721 Chestnut Street, end of August). The syndicated sushi restaurant, on two levels of the former American Eagle & Aerie Store, has a cool concept: your plates on the conveyor belts are color-coded by price. You accumulate enough plates to win prizes. 📷 @kurasushi_usa
Manatawny still works (North Lee Street near Thompson, this autumn). The distillery has tasting rooms in the books for Fishtown as well as at 49 W. Lancaster Ave. at Ardmore. Local wines and beers, original cocktails and zero ABV options. 📷 @manatawnystillworks
Nipotina (streets 21 and Wolf, late August or early September). Marlo and Jason Dilks of P’unk Burger and Slice Pizza locations are behind this sandwich shop in West Passyunk. 📷 @nipotinaphilly
Philly Cheese School (701 S. Ninth St., open). Self-proclaimed indulgence advocate Julia Birnbaum, a former merchant chef at Murray’s in New York, had led cheese tastings on Zoom. Birnbaum has gone the brick (or is it Brie-k?) and mortar route with a classroom that doubles as a party venue and BYOB. The 90-minute courses ($90 per person plus 30% tip) include a plate of four to five artisan cheeses, as well as gluten-free charcoal crackers and pairings such as jams, honeys, sweet nuts and olives. 📷 @phillycheeseschool
Pietramala (614 N. Second St., August 23). Chef Ian Graye, who has done pop-ups as Moto Foto, will serve up an upscale vegan menu with dishes like slow-roasted eggplant in a sun-baked tomato sauce in this BYOB from Northern Liberties. He’s an alumnus of Blackbird, previously in this space. 📷 @pietramala_phl
Raise the cane (1717 N. 12th St., August 9). The famed chicken fingers specialist’s second Philadelphia location will be on the Temple University campus. 📷 @raisingcanes
Roxanne (912 Christian Street, early fall). Going around pop-ups and collabs, Alexandra Holt partakes in the closed Sabrina’s Cafe for an American BYOB with ambitious sweet and savory pairings (chilli-filled togarashi canele on the snack list). 📷 @roxanne_philly
by Samuel (1523 Sansom Street, later this summer). Michael Schulson takes the Jewish charcuterie route over his Giuseppe & Sons with an all-day menu of homemade bagels, charcuterie and house-smoked fish, plus desserts and pastries from baker Nick Brannon and the pastry chef Abby Dahan. 📷 @[email protected]
Tabachoy (932 S 10th St., to fall). Chance Anies of this Filipino cart changed location for its first brick-and-mortar location, as the permit for its first location on East Passyunk proved daunting. The new spot, at Bella Vista, is around the corner from the original Kalaya. 📷 @tabachoyphilly
taco heart (1005 E. Passyunk Avenue, September 1st). Austin-style breakfast tacos are great any time of the day. Nano Wheedan, who brought them to town a few years ago as Nano’s Tortillas, is taking over the triangle-shaped building at Seventh, Passyunk, and Christian streets just above Washington Avenue, which previously housed El Bocado.
Tulip Pasta + Wine Bar (2302 E. Norris Street, August). It’s one of those happy confluences that should result in a laid-back concept featuring people with foodie backgrounds. Chef Jason Cichonski, whose business partner owns the former Over Easy Breakfast Club space at Tulip and Norris streets in Fishtown, met winemaker brothers James and Zach Wilson of Wayvine in Nottingham, Chester County – fourth-generation farmers – who have a tasting-room license allowing off-site service of their wines, as well as Pennsylvania wine, beer and spirits. Then came chef Alex Beninato, a specialist in pasta made from old-fashioned ground grains and whose last stop was chef de cuisine at Laurel. Pasta + wine = a fun experience, they say. 📷 @tulippastawine
Two Fishtown Thieves (1221 Frankford Avenue, September). Originally called Burgers & Seltzers, it will be a “seltzer taproom” from twin brothers Vivek and Vikram Nayar, creators of Two Robbers hard seltzer. The boldly decorated space will be a retail store, an art installation by artist Alex da Corte and a restaurant with a drinks program put together by bartender Dan Greenbaum and what they shamelessly say will be the best burger in town. Philadelphia. @two_robbers
Chotto Matt, a chic Japanese-Peruvian restaurant centered around a robata bar and grill, will open in Jessup House, the 20-story skyscraper at 12th and Sansom streets — but not until fall 2023.
Dock Street pub in Fishtown is on target for “later this year” at 1229 N. Front St.
Barcade Philadelphia’s second gaming bar is on track for early 2023 at the Hale Building, 1326 Chestnut St.
Restaurateurs Valérie Safran and Marcie Turney are planning an unspecified new restaurant in the old one lolita space (106 S. 13th St.) with an expected opening later this year or early 2023.
Shake Shack will open several new addresses in the suburbs at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023.