Chris Fetfatzes and Heather Annechiarico have converted The Cambridge, one of their South Street restaurants, into the new Sonnys Cocktail Joint (1508 South St., next to Wine Dive and down the street from Tio Flores), a bar/restaurant that mixes high-end and everyday elements.
The couple, who also own Hawthornes Beer Cafe and Pivot Coffee and Soupery as well as the Quick Sip delivery service, are going for a laid-back, neighborhood vibe with plenty of curios in the comfy barroom and lounge.
There’s a 1,200-square-foot patio out back that has a similar granny’s parlor vibe.
The upscale/downscale vibe extends to the bar, overseen by beverage director Jordan Gulick and Wine Dive’s Jeffrey Hyman, and food, from chef D DeMarco. The high-tech Beam Suntory Japanese highball tower mixes Jim Beam White bourbon with ultra-carbonated water for a spectacular highball.
You can get carafes of Negronis served at the table, numerous cocktails, natural wines. and dozen beers on draft, as well as more plebeian beverages, like canned Miller High Life.
DeMarco, previously culinary director for the group that owns American Sardine Bar, Second District, and South Philadelphia Tap Room, has put out a menu that is a similarly fun mix of the up and downscale.
The French onion dip (served with chicharron) is topped with caviar, the popcorn is topped with truffle butter, crispy shiitake bites (one of their vegan offerings) comes with good ol’ Frank’s hot sauce, and the hot dog — DeMarco’s specialty — is Snake River wagyu on a tallow split-top roll topped with sweet heat mustard, pickled celery, and shallots.
“Sonny” is Olympia Fetfatzes, Chris’ mom. Her childhood nickname was “Fila,” which translates loosely to Sonny. Fetfatzes relates that she took no guff from anyone, and even got into ice pick fights defending her hot dog cart location when she first immigrated to Philly from Portugal.
“She also was a mom who, no matter what, always had a hot meal for us while working 12- to 16-hour days,” he said.
Why the changeover? The Cambridge closed at the beginning of the pandemic, as did many restaurants, Fetfatzes said. While thinking about reopening, the couple realized they were not as passionate about its concept or design. Recalling the fun they had opening Wine Dive — which is a funky bar and bottle shop — they decided to redo The Cambridge. Time was on their side.
Hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday; kitchen is open till midnight.