Haddonfield's dining scene is expanding. The dry town's first and only venue selling alcoholic beverages, King's Road Brewing Co., opened its tasting room just before Christmas at 127 Kings Highway East. There's no food (by law), so simply buy something nearby — maybe fish and chips from the British Chip Shop or a turkey meat loaf sandwich from Apron — and tote it inside to wash it down with the seven beers on tap.
A few doors down, the casual Passariello's Italian Kitchen is awaiting a mid-January opening, as is a fourth South Jersey location for Megu Sushi. Braise 116, a romantic small-plater, opened in October at 116 Kings Highway East.
Also new, tucked into Kings Court, is Leaf, a spare though charming vegan cafe operated by three sisters. The space's former occupant, Marie's Sandwich Bar, will relocate nearby in the spring.
Aki, one of Center City's few all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants, will have ramen on the menu this winter. Nom Nom Ramen's Alan Su plans to move in to Aki (1207 Walnut St.), where he and Aki's Tom Lau will create a new restaurant called Aki Nom Nom, combining the ramen and sushi concepts. Plan is to close in late February to retool, add kitchen equipment, and lightly redecorate. The new restaurant will offer sushi (with the AYCE option), bento, and ramen. Nom Nom on 18th Street will remain.
Paris Baguette, a franchised pastry/sandwich shop whose specialty is croissants, has opened at 923 Arch St. in Chinatown. A second Center City location is scheduled to open at 1717 Chestnut St. in February.
Jahri Evans, a standout at Frankford High, is now an All-Pro right guard with the Green Bay Packers and wears a Super Bowl ring from the New Orleans Saints' 2010 win. At 34, he's about to face a challenge perhaps just as daunting as the blitz:
The restaurant business.
He and his wife, Takia, are joining designer/restaurateur James Morrissey in opening Somo SoPhi, a larger offshoot of Morrissey's Manayunk yearling, Somo. They're renovating the former Medora's Mecca, at 13th Street and Packer Avenue, near the stadiums and the I-76 approach to the Walt Whitman Bridge. A spring opening is the target.
They're going for chic at this restaurant/bar/lounge, which will take three levels and include two outdoor dining/lounge spaces.
The first floor will be a 50-seat replica of the Manayunk location, with a relaxed vibe, TVs showing sports, and an American menu. Also on the ground floor will be a lounge and a large al fresco cafe/sidewalk seating area open seasonally.