Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi has a deal with restaurateurs Stephen Simons and David Frank to open a bar-restaurant this fall at 52 S. Second St. in Old City - a long, long-in-works redo of the building that formerly housed Glam, Live Bait, and Rib-It.
Elmi will keep his East Passyunk holdings: the chichi Laurel and its bar-next-door ITV.
Simons said Royal Boucherie would be "a fun, chef-driven bar." He and Frank also own the nearby Khyber Pass Pub, as well as Royal Tavern, Los Caballitos, Dos Segundos, Triangle Tavern, and Royal Izakaya.
"These guys are pivoting from operating spectacular bars to spectacular restaurants," Elmi said today, referring to Simons' and Frank's collaboration with chef Jesse Ito at Royal Izakaya in Queen Village.
The partnership has been in the works for three years, Elmi said. They visited Montreal, New Orleans, and New York for inspiration - playing into Elmi's French background.
The space will have a 25-seat bar that will open into a 50-seat dining room. Upstairs will be a 30- to 40-seat private dining room and an open-air garden.
Simons says he hopes to open in mid-September. He also explained the project's slow pace: workers took off the facade brick by brick, cleaned them, and must put them back as they were.