It’s summertime in Philadelphia, and the dining scene is heating up with sizzling new additions. From a long-anticipated gastropub in South Philly to a fresh, health-conscious haven in Fairmount, the options for great meals are endless.
Here’s a look at some of the newest dining hot spots in town:
• a.kitchen: Bryan Sikora, formerly of Django, returns to city limits with a.kitchen, a modern bistro housed in the AKA building in Rittenhouse Square, showcasing a marble-topped bar and appealing edibles. Fun fact: the burrata cheese is made in-house.
• Fare: Eco-friendly architecture is the foundation for Fare, a restaurant and wine bar new to Fairmount with 40 wines by the glass. The organic, health-conscious menu includes items like cauliflower and millet mash with shiitake sauce; barbecued tempeh on polenta with broccoli rabe; and roasted mackerel with avocado and green herb sauce. Fun fact: Fare serves up a “cheese” made from raw cashews, served with sunflower sprout salad.
• Serafina: The prime location, located at the 10 Rittenhouse Square Residential building right off the Square, makes Serafina an ideal spot for a business lunch or casual afternoon affair. The opening comes just in time for summer, with floor-to-ceiling windows that can be opened in warm weather, plus sidewalk seating shaded by Serafina’s signature bright yellow umbrellas. The menu includes 20 varieties of pizza, homemade pastas and fresh grilled meats. Fun fact: the pizza is produced in ovens hand built with lava stone from Mount Vesuvius fueled with burning cherry-wood.
• Chenango: The private Arrow Swim Club is the newest place to see and be seen this summer. But even non-members can enjoy its public restaurant Chenango, a patio oasis serving all-day eats like tempura asparagus, Kennett Square mushroom pizza, burgers and salads, plus all manner of cocktails both cool and bubbly. The garden patio, referred to as “The Backyard at Chenango,” is the perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful weather this summer. Fun fact: Chenango has a great all-you-can-drink brunch; $20 gets you an entree and unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
• Talula’s Garden: Celebrated restaurateurs Aimee Olexy (of famed Talula’s Table) and Stephen Starr join forces for the rustic-chic farm-to-table Talula’s Garden in Washington Square. The cocktail list draws upon seasonal ingredients such as vanilla grass and mint, which are grown in flower boxes behind the 10-seat bar and in the outside garden where you can sit! Fun fact: the beverage program is one of the Philadelphia area’s first to feature a 100% sustainable wine list.
• Gemelli on Main: This sophomore effort from chef/owner Clark Gilbert of Gemelli on Narberth is offically open in the Mango Moon space on Main Street in Manayunk. The menu is Italian-focused with some French influences. Fun fact: Gemelli (meaning twins in Italian), is a tribute to Clark’s twin children, Riley and Dylan.
Below, we have all the details on Stephen Starr’s super popular beer garden Frankford Hall, a quirky new hot dog joint on South Street called Hot Diggity and more.
• Wedge and Fig: Serving lunch (cajun croque monsieurs, truffled egg salad), light-fare dinners on Friday and Saturday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday, Old City’s Wedge and Fig is a decidedly sophisticated snack bar. Fun fact: this spot has an appealing bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) policy; take a seat in the back garden, open your own bottle and settle in for an array of snacks, cheese, crostini and more.
• Art of Bread: Having built a world-renowned career on his French cooking, Georges Perrier (Le-Bec Fin) is now baking with the Art of Bread, a gourmet bakery and patisserie serving crusty baguettes, boules and croissants, plus sandwiches, salads and sweets. Fun fact: bread is made on site twice daily.
• La Copine: La Copine is a multi-purpose food organization, hosting dinner parties and a supper club, in addition to operating a brunch truck in Northern Liberties’ Garden Variety that dishes out griddled peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches; strawberry, blue cheese and prosciutto flatbreads; and hashbrowns with chipotle ketchup. Fun fact: founders Nikki Hill and Claire Wadsworth met at a dinner party in March 2009.
• Appalachian Brewing Company: A brewpub chain with outposts in Harrisburg, Gettysburg and Camp Hill, Appalachian Brewing Company sets down stakes in Collegeville, bringing its full range of signature handcrafted beers, plus a selection of Belgian bottles and a menu of casual cuisine like burgers, pizzas, steaks and salads. Fun fact: ABC’s brewery operates using a state of the art copper and stainless steel, 4.5 bbl. Newlands brewing system that’s capable of brewing batches of 140 gallons.
• Frankford Hall: Summer is the season for beer gardens and Stephen Starr’s Frankford Hall has introduced the concept to Fishtown, with indoor and outdoor seating for 400, nine German and craft beers on tap and authentic specialties like bratwurst, curry fries and schnitzel. Fun fact: an exclusive Dogfish Head brew called My Antonia is available only at Frankford Hall.
• Gunners Run: Named for a nearby but long-defunct creek, Gunners Run is the Piazza at Schmidts’ newest pub, serving panko-crusted chicken tenders with sriracha mayo, vegan sloppy joes and Bad Luck Burgers, along with a local selection of craft beers. Fun fact: Gunners Run is a collaborative effort between regional concert promoter Bryan Dilworth, tattoo artist and Olde City Tattoo owner Jason Goldberg, music booking agent Tim Borror and chef Shawn Sollberger (formerly of Capital Grille and Ravenna).
• Blind Pig: This spot takes up residence in Northern Liberties with lots o’ local beer and homey fare like mac and cheese, simple roast beef sandwiches and burgers, plus a menu of children’s options. Fun fact: the Blind Pig dishes up something called Thanksgiving Balls: turkey wrapped in mashed potatoes and stufﬁng, breaded, fried and served with gravy and cranberry sauce.
• Burger.org: Fast-food gets a conscience at this South Street burger joint where the grassfed beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish burgers and vegan and vegetarian options are served on brioche buns, on organic buns or in lettuce wraps; the shakes are organic; and the fries, available in both vegan and gluten-free, can be dolled up with spicy or truffle seasoning. Fun fact: this place is open until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. TLA show then late-night feast? We think so.
• Hot Diggity: With a menu devoted to the almighty dog, Hot Diggity is helping keep Philly’s frankfurter standards high. On offer are regional topping combinations (Chicago, Seattle) and hand-cut fries with dipping sauces like chipotle mayo and black peppercorn ranch, to be enjoyed in specially carved table nooks. Fun fact: the menu is graphically displayed on placards strung above the registers, which makes ordering all the more exciting.
• Roost: Locally sourced organic chicken is the foundation at West Philly’s Roost, and the takeout/delivery shop offers rotisserie and fried birds along with biscuits, slaw and sides to be enjoyed singly or in family combos. Fun fact: ask about vegan selections!
• Rotisseur: The roasted birds at Rittenhouse Square’s chicken emporium Rotisseur are hormone- and antibiotic-free, served up with sides like mac and cheese, kale chips, succotash and pickled vegetables. Fun fact: check out the interesting sauces to flavor up your chicken with at the counter.
• Federal Donuts: The fryer is king at Federal Donuts, the brainchild of Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Percy Street Barbecue, Xochitl), Bob Logue (Bodhi Coffee) and food scribe Felicia D’Ambrosio. On the menu are fried chickens of all varieties, including Korean and traditional American, plus glazes like black garlic and date molasses. The titular donuts are available all day. Fun fact: expect creative seasonal donut specials, such as Key Lime with graham cracker streusel, Vanilla Cardamom Custard with pistachio, Brown Sugar-Grapefruit and Chocolate Blood Orange Cream with orange blossom.
• American Sardine Bar: The latest offering from the team behind South Philly Taproom, Point Breeze’s American Sardine Bar promises hand-pumped drafts and creative sandwiches courtesy of chef Scott Schroeder.
• Stateside and Birra: In the coming months, the dining epicenter of East Passyunk will be getting two new additions: Stateside, a wine and whiskey bar offering regional small plates and American craft beers and whiskey from the owners of Green Eggs Cafe; and Birra, an Italian eatery with American and Italian craft beers.
• Honest Tom’s Tacos: Having built a huge fanbase from the driver’s seat of a truck, Honest Tom’s Tacos are going bricks and mortar with a West Philly shop later this summer.
• Nomad Pizza: The legendary Central Jersey-based Nomad Pizza — which also got its start as a roving operation on wheels — is putting down new roots at the former Horizons building at 7th and Kater streets.
• Chestnut7 Kitchen and Bar: Chestnut Hill residents will welcome a new easygoing bistro in the form of Chestnut7 Kitchen and Bar, serving pizza, seafood and a long list of draft beers.
• Crisp: New York sammy chain Crisp comes south, opening in Rittenhouse Square and offering internationally inflected falafel sandwiches like Mexican (avocado, corn, salsa and nachos), French (goat cheese and tomato spread) and American chili cheese.
• Twisted Tail: This bi-level bar, restaurant and live music venue is set to open in Headhouse Square any day now. Featuring an authentic charcoal-fired grill shipped from Texas, a wealth of whiskey selections and a Southern music hall vibe, The Twisted Tail will host blues and rock-n-roll bands five nights a week.