First-time restaurateurs Bernard Grigri and daughter Chloe are behind the Good King Tavern, a cozy yet upbeat French corner bar just south of South Street, at 614 S. Seventh (215-625-3700), in the former Chick's Social across from Nomad Pizza.
They have enlisted Paul Lyons, a former chef de cuisine at Barbuzzo and Jamonera and more recently chef de cuisine at Morgan's Pier, to execute a brasserie menu that hits the favorites.
With help from designer/restaurateur Owen Kamihira, they considerably lightened up the classic barroom interior with antique mirrors and old-fashioned lighting. There's seating in booths and tables, as well as at a wooden high-top communal table.
Besides specialty cocktails, there are pichets of wine and eight craft beers.
Standard Tap veterans Cody Ferdinand and Gerard Angelini have gone to the burbs to open the Butcher and Barkeep, a pub that recently took over for the East End Ale House at Salford Square (712 Main St., Harleysville, 267-932-8407). The third partner is chef Jeffrey Sacco, former chef of the Craft Ale House in Limerick. Bar list includes craft beers, a strong cocktail program of bottle- and barrel-aged drinks, and some draft wines.
George Sabatino has changed seasons, transitioning from critically acclaimed chef at Morgan's Pier on the Delaware to chef at the Waterfront Winterfest at the RiverRink. He's actually using the pier's kitchen to turn out ambitious festival fare such as brined and smoked turkey legs and hand pies filled with mashed sweet potato, ginger, kale braised in maple syrup, chili flake, and a cranberry-quince compote. It's free to enter the area, which also has holiday shopping, and, of course, ice skating.
South Philly's Plenty Cafe has opened a Center City branch at 1602 Spruce St. (215-560-8684).
Buoyed by their success on East Passyunk Avenue, Le Virtù owners Francis Cratil Cretarola and Catherine Lee - in partnership with chef Joe Cicala - are opening a homey offshoot down the street next summer. Brigantessa - named after the female southern Italian guerrilla fighters who resisted the unification of Italy in the 1860s - is to occupy 1520 E. Passyunk, now Karina's. Where Le Virtù is all about Abruzzo, the unpretentious Brigantessa will cut a wide swath through southern Italy, combining elements of the forno a legna (wood-fired) pizzeria Napoletana, enoteca (wine bar with tapas-like dishes), and birreria (taproom). Karina's will remain open till February and then will relocate around the corner, to 1535 N. 11th St.
Charlie Was a Sinner is the name of the vegan bar backed by HipCityVeg's Nicole Marquis at 131 S. 13th St. She is inspired by New York nightspots Beauty & Essex, the Ace Hotel and the NoMad Hotel, and hopes to open in March.
Exton has a location of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, at 123 E. Swedesford Rd. in the Fairfield Place Shopping Center.
Cherry Hill is getting a Smashburger on Dec. 11 at 56 Haddonfield Rd. (next to Wawa in North Mall Plaza).