Celebrity chefs and first-time restaurateurs — and combinations thereof — will be in the spotlight in the coming months, as the Philadelphia restaurant boom continues.
If there’s one overarching trend, style is in style. Out with Edison bulbs and in with linen. The rustic look has faded, at least for much of what I’m seeing in the crystal ball of restaurant openings for the next 90 days or so.
You cannot get splashier than Jean-Georges Philadelphia and Vernick Fish, both opening Monday, Aug. 12, at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Comcast Technology Center.
Also in the forecast are two new restaurants from Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook; an upscale French spot in Old City from Will BYOB alum Christopher Kearse; a fancy Italian from Le Virtu alums Joe and Angela Cicala; a casual pasta bar in the Italian Market from Marc Vetri; an upmarket pasta destination in Rittenhouse from Michael Schulson and Jeff Michaud; a tavern from Townsend “Tod” Wentz in Washington Square West; two luxe BYOBs on East Passyunk; three ambitious pizzerias (two in Queen Village and another in Montgomery County); a collection of Mexican restaurants in one Center City building from the team behind Suraya; and a few chain eateries at the soon-to-open Fashion District Philadelphia.
Keep in mind that restaurateurs are optimists by nature.
Here is a rundown, in an extremely tentative order of expected opening.
Jean-Georges Philadelphia | Logan Square
Vernick Fish | Logan Square
James Beard-honored Greg Vernick of Vernick Food & Drink, a former lieutenant in the Jean-Georges organization, opens a fancy interpretation of a Jersey Shore seafood eatery on the ground floor of the Comcast Technology Center; it’s also under the Four Seasons umbrella and is a complement to Vernick Coffee Bar, which opened last fall on the tower’s second floor. (See dinner menu here.) Aug. 12.
Dock Street South | Point Breeze
Burrito Bonito | Old City
Southwestern quick-serve at 212 Market St. Aug. 19.
June BYOB | East Passyunk
Well-traveled chef Richard “Todd” Cusack goes the white-tablecloth route with a luxe BYOB at the former Will space (1911 E. Passyunk Ave.). Menu is straightforward. Aug. 21
Forsythia | Old City
Christopher Kearse has traded East Passyunk Avenue for the former Capofitto (233 Chestnut St.), picking up a bar; modern French menu has modern overtones. Aug. 23
Bryn & Dane’s | Washington Square West
Enza | Wyndmoor
Family- and date-night-friendly Italian, with major pizza focus from pizzaiola Steve Gonzalez (Zavino), at 909 E. Willow Grove Ave., near Chestnut Hill. Late August
Queen & Rook Game Cafe | Queen Village
Play games, have drinks, eat snacks: That’s the idea of this game cafe filling the former Hikaru at 607 S. Second St. Early September.
Refectory | Villanova
A 200-seat American grill-restaurant developed by Greg Dodge (Zavino, Tredici) at the Commons on Villanova University’s campus (Lancaster and Ithan Avenues). September.
Nudy’s Cafe | Berwyn
Popular suburban cafe opens its 10th location at 120 W. Swedesford Rd., the former Shangrila, in mid-September. An 11th location is on tap for November for Fayette Street in Conshohocken and a 12th is due around then at the Grove in Malvern.
Chhaya Cafe | South Philadelphia
New owner Marc Grika, shifting to Southern focus, is rebranding as Flannel in mid-September.
Emmy Squared | Queen Village
New York-based Detroit-style pizzeria (whose burger is renowned) sets up in a new boutique hotel at Fifth and Bainbridge Streets. Labor Day.
Gigi | Queen Village
Pizzeria, with wood-burning oven, adjacent to Olly, is opening at 504 Bainbridge St. Labor Day
Triple Bottom Brewery | SpringArts/Poplar
“People, planet, profit” is the mission of this microbrewery opening at 915 Spring Garden St. across from SpringArts (and Roy-Pitz and a forthcoming Lucky Well BBQ restaurant). September
Zagafen | Bala Cynwyd
Kosher pizzeria at the former Citron & Rose space at 370 Montgomery Ave. September
Condesa/El Cafe/El Techo | Rittenhouse
Three Mexican eateries (restaurant, cafe, 11th-floor rooftop bar) from the Suraya team at the new Pod Philly hotel at 1830 Ludlow St. (just off 19th and Market Streets). September
City Winery | East Market
Syndicated music venue/winery/restaurant at the Fashion District (former Gallery). Sept. 19. Also opening at Fashion District are such chains as BurgerFi, Oath Pizza, Big Gay Ice Cream, Chick-fil-A, Freshii, and Chickie’s & Pete’s.
Spread Bagelry | Center City West, South Street, Bryn Mawr
The cash-infused Montreal bagel chain is saying September for its spot at 2401 Walnut St., a former Garces restaurant called 2401. This location will feature a Workhorse Brewing taproom, an expanded menu and extended hours. The location also will house Spread’s commissary and “SpreadQuarters.” Oct. 1 is the planned opening of the Bryn Mawr Village on Lancaster Avenue, and a location at Fifth and South Streets is expected shortly thereafter.
Stove & Tap | Frazer
The popular Lansdale pub branches to Chester County, where it opens in the front of Lincoln Court (245 Lancaster Ave.). September/October
Cicala | North Philadelphia
Chefs Joe and Angela Cicala (ex-Le Virtu) aim for elegance at the Divine Lorraine Hotel, 699 N. Broad St.
Dig | Rittenhouse
Healthful fast-casual eatery partly bankrolled by Danny Meyer, formerly known as Dig Inn, is coming to 1616 Chestnut St.
River Twice | East Passyunk
American BYOB "with Southern sensibilities” at East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street (the former Izumi) from chef Randy Rucker, who was a James Beard semifinalist while working near Houston eight years ago.
The Pearl Tavern | Washington Square West
Townsend “Tod” Wentz’s American bar at 1123 Walnut St., the former Irish Pub; it’s next to his sultry Spaniard, Oloroso. He also is converting the former TALK at 2121 Walnut St. into a bistro.
Merkaz | Washington Square West
All-day sandwich shop next to Fergie’s on the 1200 block of Sansom Street.
Denim American Bistro | Haddonfield
BYOB plans a move from Cherry Hill to the Shops at 116 on Kings Highway.
Fabrika | Fishtown
Lavish Eastern European dinner theater and restaurant at 1108 Frankford Ave. October.
Wine Dive | South Street West
Wine shop-slash-eatery from the Cambridge/Hawthornes crew at 1506 South St. October/November
Gabi | North Philadelphia
All-day French cafe from chef Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette, La Peg) at Hanover North, 339 N. Broad St.
Fiorella | South Philadelphia
Marc Vetri’s pasta bar at the former Fiorella Sausage at 817 Christian St.
Via Locusta | Rittenhouse
Michael Schulson, backed by his partner in Osteria, Jeff Michaud, sets up a pasta-focused Italian at 1723 Locust St.
Laser Wolf | Kensington
A “Zahav-ish" Israeli-style grill from Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook at 1301 N. Howard St.
Rosalie | Wayne
Swish Italian restaurant from Marty Grims (White Dog Cafe, Moshulu, etc.) at the former Paramour at the Wayne Hotel.