K’Far, an all-day bakery and cafe with, naturally, an Israeli twist, is the next Center City restaurant project teed up by Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook (Zahav, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, The Rooster, Goldie, Federal Donuts).
It will be part of the residential entrance of the Harper, the new 25-story apartment tower by Pearl Properties, on 19th Street between Sansom and Chestnut Streets, that also encompasses the old Boyd Theater.
At K’Far, the restaurateurs will give a bigger stage to Camille Cogswell, their pastry chef at Zahav, who won the James Beard Award last year for rising star chef.
The menu will start the day with rugelach, the Eastern European pastries, and bourekas, the Middle Eastern handpies, and coffee before segueing into what Solomonov described as a light lunch followed by Israeli-style dinner that will take advantage of a hearth. There will be cocktails.
There also will be no overlap among their Israeli themers. “No hummus, no falafel,” Cook said.
K’Far, Hebrew for “village,” harks back to K’Far Saba, near Tel Aviv, where Solomonov first worked in a kitchen, scrubbing sheet trays for 14 hours a day because, as he said in an interview, “I had no skills.”
The bakery plays a central role in Israeli life, Cook said: “In Israel, they’re not as afraid of carbs as we are.”
“Bourekas and rugelach help to tell the story of what Israeli cuisine is,” said Solomonov, whose cookbook with Cook (Israeli Soul) tells the story of how Jews left Spain during the Inquisition, made their way to the Balkans, and then found their way to Israel. “It’s east and west. Bourekas were one of three things that I ate as a kid.”
For the record, the other two are schnitzel and his mother’s stir-fry dishes.
K’Far and the Harper are expected to open in June.
Even less in focus is the status of Tatel, a luxe Spanish restaurant that in 2017 signed a lease for the Harper’s Chestnut Street frontage. A Pearl rep said the space was still under lease, but there has been no word from Tatel on its status.