As the calendar flips to 2020, let’s look at the Philadelphia-area restaurant openings on the horizon. The prospects aren’t nearly as bright and promising compared with last year’s bumper crop, which yielded Jean-Georges, Vernick Fish, Cry Baby, Pizzeria Beddia, Cicala, Musi, Alpen Rose, Via Locusta, Hiroki, and aether.
Still, the restaurant scene likely will see growth — e.g. openings outpacing closings. We’ll have one new Vetri restaurant (albeit a 14-seater), one more from Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook, and one long-awaited revival (Modo Mio from Peter McAndrews). Wilmington’s Hotel Du Pont, which is a bit far afield but a destination nonetheless for luxury-seeking Philadelphians, will see a new French restaurant from a Philly chef — replacing the venerable Green Room.
Meanwhile, other restaurant projects are in the early stages. I’m awaiting word of a deal for the shuttered London Grill, the possibility of a new Starr restaurant later this year, a replacement for Mistral in King of Prussia Mall, a popular Asian restaurant coming to Ardmore, and something substantial opening on North Broad Street to bridge the gap between Osteria and Cicala.
This is what the near future looks like, in rough order of anticipated opening. All dates were provided by the sometimes wildly optimistic owners:
Fast-casual chain with a vegetable-focused mission. 1616 Chestnut St., “soon”
The sole location of the energetic Greek seafooder (in Northern Liberties) is due to reopen after exterior repairs. 944 N. Second St., Jan. 10
Restaurant with a heavily vegan menu, though with a few seafood items as proteins, comes to West Philly. 1214 N. 52nd St., mid-January.
Fergus “Fergie” Carey and Jim McNamara, partners in the Washington Square West landmark Fergie’s, hit Rittenhouse as they take over the former Oh! Shea’s with a new bar. 1904 Sansom St., Jan. 14.
Popular barbecue restaurant branches out to Wayne Junction. 137 W. Berkley St., January
Bomba Tacos & Rum Bar
Spinoff of Paladar Latin Kitchen opens at The Grove, previously The Shops at Great Valley, in Malvern. 10 Liberty Blvd., Malvern, mid-January
The brewery’s Malvern location, at The Grove, formerly the Shops at Great Valley. Jan. 20 target.
The Board & Brew
Board games and a bar at the former coZara in University City. 3200 Chestnut St., January
Taps & Bourbon on Terrace
Old Eagle Tavern in Manayunk gets a redo. 177 Markle St., January
Peter McAndrews revives his Northern Liberties sandwich shop, which closed Dec. 29, in a hole-in-the-wall, takeout-only situation across from Suraya in Fishtown. Frankford Avenue at Marlborough Street, second week of January
Marc Vetri’s pasta bar comes to the Italian Market. 817 Christian St., second or third week of January
Wine shop-slash-eatery from the Cambridge/Hawthornes crew. 1506 South St., mid-January
Top Chef Quickfire
Top Chef-inspired fast-casual eatery in the shops at the Comcast Center. 1701 JFK Blvd., week of Jan. 20.
Peter McAndrews revives his once-popular Italian restaurant in new Queen Village digs with a bar. 705 S. Fifth St., third week of January
Troubles End Brewing
Brewpub in Collegeville, at the former Appalachian Brewing Co., from Casey Parker of the Pistola’s restaurants and business partners Dave and Nick Bellenzeni and brewer Zach Svoboda (last at Forest & Main). 50 W. Third Ave, Collegeville, late January
South Street gets its Montreal-style bagels. Fifth and South Streets, late January
Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook’s Israeli skewer house, named after the butcher from Fiddler on the Roof, in Kensington. 1301 N. Howard St., early February
Long-delayed BBQ-bar. 990 Spring Garden St., February
A massive "modern cabaret” with Kanella’s Konstantinos Pitsillides in the kitchen in Fishtown. 1108 Frankford Ave., February
Seasonal New American cooking in stylish digs at the Village at Newtown shopping center in Bucks County. 2948 S. Eagle Rd., Newtown, late February/early March
Arizona-based steakhouse takes over a massive space (the former Ted’s Montana Grill and Ruth’s Chris) at the Atlantic Building. Broad and Spruce Streets, spring
Unnamed seafood restaurant
Kevin Addis, chef-owner of Entree BYOB, opens a seafood-focused BYOB at the former Queen Village site of Dmitri’s. Third and Catharine Streets, March or “spring”
Ember & Ash
Nose-to-tail cooking from Jean-Georges alums comes to South Philly. 1520 E. Passyunk Ave., spring
A Mexican restaurant is a sibling of South Philly’s Cafe Ynez comes to Kensington. 1800 N. American St., spring
A move next door for Rex 1516 into the historic Royal Theater. 1524 South St., spring
Unnamed restaurant at Hotel Du Pont
Philadelphia chef Tyler Akin (Stock, Res Ipsa Cafe) takes over the Green Room with a French restaurant. Rodney Square in Wilmington, spring
Top-to-bottom redo of the popular South Street bar-restaurant. Second and South Streets, March
West Philly cafe takes over the former Trolley Car Station. 3940 Baltimore Ave., April
N.B. Construction at The Little Lion in Old City, shuttered in February by an arson fire next door, is delayed.