40 new Philadelphia-area restaurants show no downturn in the food scene

Two imports from Brooklyn. A solo restaurant from a renowned Mexican chef. A soup and sandwich restaurant at street level with a show kitchen upstairs. A workshop for a pasta maker. A bar of two of the city’s best-known publicans. An Italian destination in Montgomery County. A distiller’s café bar-slash-cocktail bar. Two new bar-restaurants in Conshohocken. Even a few BYOBs.

As the Philadelphia-area dining scene emerges from the pandemic slump, dozens of new restaurants are set to open in the next 60 to 90 days.

Three new BYOBs are due in the next two weeks. Cozy BYOBs had suffered over the past two years as few were able to manage the occupancy restrictions and shift to takeout and delivery that helped keep large restaurants in business.

After some restaurateurs shut their doors, a new culture is ready to step in, serving up menus without hard-to-skin food.

  • Olea, from former Noord server Luis Pedrogo, opens at 232 Arch St. in the Old Town, in the old Chloe, on February 17. Pedrogo takes a seafood-focused Mediterranean BYOB approach. Cash only. Open every evening.

  • Mabu Kitchen, from Ayad Sinawi, a Canadian-born New York transplant, takes the former Aroma spot at 1120 Pine St. in Washington Square West for a charming BYOB whose menu can be described as French-influenced Southern cuisine; it will open for brunch on February 19 and 20, take a break until February 24, then switch to dinner Tuesday through Saturday and weekend brunch.

  • 1911 BYOB are chefs Jonathan Raffa and Mike Gingras, who met at former Will BYOB at this site at 1911 E. Passyunk Ave. in South Philadelphia. Their approach will be casual comfort food, initially offered Wednesday through Sunday for dinner, starting Feb. 25.

Brooklyn imports include Other Half Brewing Co., which opens Feb. 18 in the former Goose Island space at 1002 Canal St. in Fishtown, across from Punchline and Fillmore. Eventually, OH will brew 20 varieties on site. The other import will be the pizza destination Paulie Gee’s, who just started teasing the location of his Philly music-themed slice store. It could open this spring.

Mish Mish, of the old Philadelphia Magazine food editor Alex Tewfik, is taking the newly vacated Noord space at 1046 Tasker St. on Feb. 18 for what he calls a “vintage Mediterranean” bistro. It will operate as a BYOB until the liquor license passes.

Bomba Taco & Bar, a cantina of Paladar Restaurant Group, opens its second location in Pennsylvania on February 18 at the Village at Newtown (2801 Eagle Rd.). It is the twin concept of the Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar.

Canteen La Martina, named after the song by Irma Serrano, will mark the solo debut of veteran chef Dionicio Jimenez, whose last day at El Rey at Rittenhouse after a decade will be this weekend. He’s taking over the old Somerset Bar at 2800 D St. in Kensington for a Mexican restaurant that will eventually have a bar. The debut will take place on February 22. Lunch and dinner are planned daily.

human robot, Kensington Brewery, will host a pre-opening day (billed as a pop-up) on February 22 at its upcoming brewery (dubbed The Haus) at 208 York Rd. in Jenkintown. The opening is now set for March 3.

Fond, the longtime bistro across from the Singing Fountain on 11th Street and East Passyunk Avenue, has closed and founders Lee Styer and Jessie Prawlucki Styer are moving The Dutch, their brunch, in this space with a liquor license. The Dutch, formerly at Fourth and Cross Streets in Pennsport, will open Feb. 23 with chef Kevin Watters as its partner. (Lee Styer said they plan to turn the now-closed Dutch location into a sandwich and dessert spot.) new spot (1537 S. 11th St.). It’s a $50 four-course meal that includes deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese and cornbread with a braised short rib, fried chicken, collard greens and candied yams, and donuts from strawberry shortcake. They will be seated at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; book via info@thedutchphilly.com. It’s in honor of Watters’ grandmother, Lillian Lewis, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Everybody Eats Philly.

Homemade by Bruno, from self-taught chef Janine Bruno, is set to open her studio for her signature gelato and pasta just off 15th and Wharton streets in South Philadelphia. She will host group pasta-making classes and other private culinary events; follow her on Instagram.

Char & Stave Cafe will be an all-day coffee and cocktail bar from Bluebird Distilling founder Jared Adkins at 21 Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore, just yards from Tired Hands Beer’s Fermentaria. Expect barrel-aged coffee beans, coffee drinks, and whiskey cocktails.

At Dom & Mia is being built as a family restaurant and bar at 145 Saxer Ave. in Springfield, Delaware County, a former bank building. The names are a tribute to the children of co-founder Steve and Jenna DeVito, who died due to premature birth. The DeVitos are partnered with Matt White.

Classroom will be a modern neighborhood cafe and brunch spot from chef Henry Morgan (formerly at Dizengoff, Abe Fisher and Merkaz) in the former Green Bean Coffee at 358 Righters Mill Road in Gladwyne.

Sooo delicious trucking, Aminah McDaniel and Angel King’s Southern-style soul-food truck (parked at 5200 Grays Ave. in Southwest Philadelphia) comes cold with a coffee at 1112 Locust St. in Washington Square West.

Tresini (504 N. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler) will be a top-to-bottom redesign of the former Ristorante San Marco, at Spring House. Vetri alumnus Brad Daniels and his partners promise a stylish Italian bar and restaurant.

wilder (2009-11 Sansom St.) is the developing restaurant, bar and event space of chef Brett Naylor (formerly of Oyster House and Mission Taqueria) and artist Nicole Barrick, with chef Bob Truitt. Wilder’s first and second floors will be set up for dining (with a show kitchen serving pizza and crudo on the first floor), while the third floor will host private dining.

Nonna & Pop’sa revival of Mr. Joe’s Cafe by Vinny and Joe Termini in honor of parents Vince and Barbara, is planned across from the Termini Bakery at 1514 S. Eighth St.

Thyme Broth brings chef Michael Kanter, former Bec-Fin saucier (and chef of many restaurants over the years), to 102 S. 13th St. at Washington Square West. The first floor will offer soups and sandwiches, while the second floor and rooftop terrace from previous occupant Tiki will come online later to be used for cooking demonstrations and private parties. Kanter had a similar business in Doylestown until 2020.

Umami Izakaya will be an underground Japanese bar by Alan Su of Nom Nom Ramen, in the space at 725 Walnut St. that used to be Six Feet Under.

Marianne’s cafe marks the return of chef Marianne Cuneo-Powell, who ran A Little Cafe de Voorhees, to the world of everyday catering. She will work at the old Longshore, a pop-up brunch on Route 70 and Cropwell Road in Marlton.

Amine (104 Chestnut St.) marks the bar and restaurant debut of Felicia Wilson, who works with chef/partner Darryl Harmon (formerly of Water Works). The Southern menu will include African ingredients. The interior will feature designs depicting female African warriors.

The Jim, a bar by Fergus Carey and Jim McNamara (Fergie’s Pub, The Goat) and restaurateur Tony Rim (1225 Raw, The Foodery), takes over former JC Chinese at Eighth and Morris Streets. (“Honey, I’m going to Jim.” Hilarity ensues.)

Liberty Point will be Philadelphia’s largest restaurant – with 1,400 outdoor seating – and a new phase in the redevelopment of Penn’s Landing. It will operate year-round at the Independence Seaport Museum.

El Chingon installs chef Carlos Aparicio in a corner restaurant at 1524 S. 10th St., where he will specialize in Mexican cemitas.

Fayette Street Oyster House & Grille installs veteran restaurateur Peter Dissin (Pinefish in Center City) at the old Tierra Caliente (128 Fayette St, Conshohocken) with steaks and seafood.

at Daniel’swhich replaces the Lucky Dog Gastropub (16 E. First Ave., Conshohocken), marks a return to dining for Daniel and Debbie Brodeur, who previously had a Brodeur in downtown Media over a decade ago.

Raise the canethe chicken finger fast food chain, Target in early April at 3925 Walnut St. near the University of Pennsylvania, and in the summer on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 12th Street on the Temple University campus.

The Magic Cauldron Pub, By far the most ambitious newcomer to this list, is under construction at 1305 Locust St. It will be a fantasy-themed bar where patrons will be given a dress to wear and mix their own cocktails. Expect lots of fire, smoke and magic.

MaGerk’sthe sports bar, replaces an Applebee’s at 174 Eagleview Blvd, Exton.

Pietramala will be a vegan restaurant at 614 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties from chef Ian Graye, who works for Blackbird (which is closing on that site Feb. 20) and has run pop-ups under the name Moto Foto.

Marc Vetri is on the right track with its unnamed steakhouse at Bryn Mawr Village (915 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr).

the pullman will take over the former Tango space at Bryn Mawr Station (39 Morris Ave., Bryn Mawr). It will be a bar-restaurant inspired by old-fashioned wagon meals, complete with a piano lounge.

Thirsty diceFairmount board game cafe, will create a second licensed location at 1 Ardmore Place in Ardmore.

Tabachoy, Chance Anies Filipino cart heads to brick and mortar, with a shop at 1300 Federal St.

Royal Tavern must return to 937 E. Passyunk Ave.

The Franklin (the former Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.) will open in a new home at 1715 Rittenhouse Square.

» READ MORE: Two Robbers will open a bubbly burger restaurant in Fishtown

Two major projects — Fund Clubwith a Stephen Starr restaurant in the old Boyd Theater at 1910 Chestnut St., and Sports bar stool at 1213 Sansom St., on the theme of the media company – plan to connect the worlds of sports betting and socializing.

Designer/restorer Owen Kamihira (El Camino Real) has a pearl on 702 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties for a as yet unnamed Japanese-American izakaya. It will be a tribute to what he says would have been such a place in his parents’ hometown of Yakima, Washington in the 1930s. He points to the simple lunches once served at Sagami in Collingswood as a point of reference.


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