With the attention placed on East Passyunk, Rittenhouse Square and Midtown Village, you might forget the dining scene in Fairmount was every bit as hot this year.
You have Fare, the organic American that opened in May at 2028 Fairmount. McKenna's Irish Pub, a corner spot at 24th and Brown, upgraded recently as Brown Street Pub. Isabel, a California-Mexican BYOB, opened last month at 2601 Pennsylvania Ave.
Wednesday, Dec. 21 marks the opening of Hickory Lane, a BYOB eventually doing all-day service at 2025 Fairmount Ave. (215-769-2420), across from Fare and Eastern State Penitentiary. The bistro, named after Fairmount Avenue's original handle, is a collab of Matt Zagorski, former chef of Rouge on Rittenhouse Square, and Jack Henderson, who had a stake early on in the space's previous restaurant, L'Oca. Dan Elliott, who had run the Oyster House, will run the front of the house. Zagorski also has Dustin Robinson, previously chef de cuisine at Table 31, as his sous chef. They've polished up the interior, adding gorgeous wooden tables and minimizing the impact of the open kitchen. It's open for dinner nightly; lunch will start next week. Here's Zagorski's opening dinner menu for Hickory Lane. (You may chuckle at the "white wine air" as part of the fluke entree. Zagorski, playing Mr. Science, explains that it's white wine whipped with buttermilk and soy lecithin to create a stiff foam.)
Wednesday, Dec. 28 is the public opening of Lemon Hill, a corner bar at 25th and Aspen that replaces Lucky 7. This is a link-up of Mike Welsh and crew from Rittenhouse Square's Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. and Mitch Prensky, chef-owner of South Street's Supper, in a food-forward pub. Prensky has Chuck Del Grosso and Joel Mazigian (ex-JG Domestic) executing a menu that utilizes a gas-fired brick oven. Bar menu includes classic cocktails, a few specialties from Franklin Mortgage, 25 craft beers in bottles/6 on draft, and 30 wines. Here's the opening menu and the opening cocktail menu. Cocktails will be priced at $9-$11. The snacks will be priced around $5-$12, with main courses topping out at $24.
Let's say "mid-January" for La Calaca Feliz (2312 Fairmount Ave.), a lively Mexican from Cantina Feliz's Brian Sirhal and chef Tim Spinner. They're taking over Illuminare.