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The crop of spring restaurants in Philly

Plenty of Asian restaurants, a relocation of a Center City destination, and comfort food to spare.

You may look for spring flowers. I spot the orange signs marking liquor-license applications.

The region is awash in them.

Not too long ago, one could buy a liquor license in Philadelphia for $65,000. The laws of supply and demand have pushed the price of a license in the city past $90,000 in recent weeks, according to one liquor lawyer. (The licenses are traded on the open market, subject to state approval.)

Here's a look at the spring crop of restaurants, more or less in order.

Note that the mere act of pinning down the timing of a restaurant opening is pure folly. Take Brick and Mortar, the bar-restaurant coming to the Goldtex Apartments at 315 N. 12th St. It was announced last summer as Brick & Mortar, with a November opening. Work dragged out so long, the ampersand up & quit. Opening is now being targeted for May.

Also, two restaurants whose openings I have been following seem to be stuck in limbo: Mercadito, the upscale Mexican out of Chicago, is still supposed to open at 2116 Chestnut St., but I've given up trying to pin down a time. Same for Calexico, a joint out of New York under construction at 1600 South St.

Construction, money, permitting - who knows.


Boxcar Brewing Co. - a big, bold brewpub - at 142 E. Market St. in West Chester.

The Dairy Cafe - the vegetarian counterpart to the kosher C+R Kitchen - in Bala Cynwyd.

The Restaurant at Wyebrook Farm - featuring homespun food from Andrew Wood, chef/owner of Russet - opened last week in Honey Brook.

helm - a two-chef-owned, farm-to-table BYO - opened at 1303 N. Fifth St. in Kensington.

Heritage - a bar/restaurant/jazz/funk destination - opened last week at 914 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties.

Upstairs at Souvlaki - a modest-priced bistro and lounge atop South Street Souvlaki (517 South St.) - rolled out Thursday, March 26.

Nine Ting - Chinese hot pot and Korean BBQ at the same table - opened Wednesday, April 1 at 926 Race St. in Chinatown.

Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop - the cheesesteakery formerly known as Chink's - opened a second location Wednesday, April 1 at Frankford and Girard Avenues in Fishtown.

Tria Fitler Square - a more ambitious version of the popular wine/beer/cheese bars - opened at 23rd and Pine Streets.


Bonefish Grill: The region's largest, opens April 13 at King of Prussia mall.

Dubu: a tofu-based Korean restaurant, inside the H Mart on Cheltenham Avenue in Elkins Park.

Rai Rai Ramen: a resurfacing of the North Brunswick, N.J., soup specialist that burned down last year, at 915 Race St. in Chinatown.

Moo Burgers: the Ottsville burger truck and restaurant adds a location, at 137 S. Main St. New Hope

The Real Marketplace: a coffee shop, grocery and consignent shop, at 102 Greenwood Ave. in Wyncote, near the Jenkintown SEPTA station.

Vesper: the former social club is swanked up as a restaurant with music and dancing and a cool subterranean bar, at 223 S. Sydenham St. (off 15th and Locust Streets).

Scratch Biscuits: Mitch Prensky of Supper sells his sandwiches from a storefront, at 1306 Chestnut St.

Grace & Pat's: A family style Italian from the crew at Gennaro's Tomato Pie, at 1533 S. 11th St. (across from East Passyunk's Singing Fountain).

White Dog Cafe: welp - here comes a location in Haverford Square, where Du Jour was.

Farmer's Keep: casual natural-foods specialist (formerly billed as UrbanFarm), at 10 S. 20th St. in Center City.

Same Same: a Vietnamese street-fooder, at 614 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties.

Triangle Tavern: The South Philly landmark comes back with a retro bar menu, courtesy of the Khyber crew.

Tired Hands Fermentaria: Tired Hands Brewing opens a cafe, at 35 Cricket Terrace in Ardmore.

Big Gay Ice Cream: The NYC/LA fave dips into South Street east of Broad, next to Juniper Commons.

The Irish Pol: New digs at 114 Market St.


Fourth and Cross: Pennsport getting an all-day farm-to-table BYO, at 1527 S. Fourth St.

MaGerk's: A second location of the Fort Washington destination, at 303 Horsham Rd. in Horsham.

Brick and Mortar: Comfort food, craft beer and cocktails, at the Goldtex Building, 315 N.12th St.

SouthGate: Korean-influenced pub, replacing Tangier at 18th and Lombard Streets.

Mercer Cafe: The Navy Yard partnership with Tacconelli's Pizza, at 15th Street and Kitty Hawk Avenue.

Johnny Manana's: The East Falls cantina sets up across from SugarHouse Casino, 1080 Delaware Ave. A Center City location at 1408 Chestnut St. is penciled in for later in the year.

Carlo's Bakery: The Cake Boss rises at 21st and Walnut Streets.

Bud & Marilyn's: a retro comfort-fooder from Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, at 13th and Locust Streets. (Speaking of timelines: When I wrote about this project Aug. 29, 2014, the idea was to open sometime in 2014.)

Pour House: The local chain extends to Airport Square in North Wales.

Pizzeria Vetri: Marc Vetri and ragazzi set up on Chancellor Street, behind the ICON 1616 building at 1616 Walnut St.

Whetstone: The rustic American from Brauhaus Schmitz's Jeremy Nolen and Doug and Kelly Hager, at Fifth and Bainbridge Streets. (Announced in February 2014 with a "summertime" opening.)

Unnamed taqueria: HipCityVeg and Charlie was a sinner's Nicole Marquis is hiring for her next vegan spot at 133 S. 18th St.

Dan Dan: Han "Han Dynasty" Chiang's sister and brother in law set out on their own, 126 S. 16th St. 

Keen:  The homey, affordable (and long-delayed) bistro from Christopher and Caitlin Rorer, at 1708 Lombard St.


Guild Hall Brewing Co.: The long-delayed brewpub in Jenkintown.

Malvern Buttery: a cafe at 233 E. King St. in Malvern.

Tredici: Zavino's flagship location gets a Mediterranean sibling across the street, at 13th and Sansom Streets.

Lorenzo & Son's: The South Street pizzeria's new pizza/Italian, at Gay and High Streets in West Chester.

Cheesecake Factory: The chain of chains arrives at 15th and Walnut Streets.


Neuf: Joncarl Lachman and Bob Moysan of Noord's French/North African bistro at 943 S. Ninth St. in the Italian Market.

Suga: Susanna Foo's Center City return, at 1720 Sansom St. (September).

The Republic: A cafe for the gayborhood, at 13th and Cypress Streets.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken: The Memphis-area destination is opening here; where, though?

Double Knot: Michael Schulson's combo of coffeeshop and izakaya, at 120 S. 13th St.

Misconduct Tavern: a new branch of the bar, at 18th Street and JFK Boulevard ("summer").

Avenue Kitchen: the Villanova American heads to Glen Eagle Square in Glen Mills.

Clarkville: a beer bar from the Local 44/Memphis Taproom/Strangeloves team, at 43d Street and Baltimore Avenue (August).

Coeur: The Local 44/Memphis Taprtoom/Strangeloves folks, at 824 S. Eighth St. in Bella Vista (September)

Herban: Wharton-trained entrepreneurs do a healthful quick-serve at 3601 Market St.

Sweetgreen: the salad specialist is something significant at 1821 Chestnut St. - roof deck included - but the timeline is unknown.

Maison 208:

Sylva Senat's new spot at 13th and Chancellor Streets.