Conveyor belt sushi near Rittenhouse Square, an edgy BYOB in the Italian Market, a splashy sports bar in Center City, a dumpling “Automat” in University City, and the long-awaited opening of an Afrocentric grocery cafe in West Philadelphia are just a handful of the dining projects due to open in the next 60 to 90 days in Philadelphia.
Aside from the new, larger Kalaya on its way to Fishtown and Bankroll (the sports bar taking the old Boyd Theater), there are few grand-scale show-stoppers on the immediate horizon. But the two dozen newcomers are different, and certainly interesting, enough.
There’s refined vegan food coming to Northern Liberties, Filipino and Mexican spots in South Philadelphia, an all-day cafe in Rittenhouse, and what promises to be a casual wine and pasta bar in Fishtown from a pedigreed partnership.
Note that few restaurants have ever opened when they were supposed to, and this is truer now, as the restaurant business enters a post-pandemic world. Delays are rampant. The city is short inspectors. Equipment and furnishings are stuck in transit. Staff is difficult to assemble. I’ve presented the projected opening dates here in Italians because they are tentative. I’ll drop more info as it is known.
» READ MORE: 26 new restaurants in the Philadelphia suburbs
One other thing: This fall will also see the debut of Adrian, the Stephen Starr/Aramark restaurant on the Wells Fargo Center’s club level — alas, open only to suite occupiers. The name is a clever hometown homage to Rocky. When you order a burger, you are well within your rights to say, “Gonna fry now.”
Aleksandar (126 S. 19th St., aug. 4). First-time restaurateur Aleksandar Stojnic, working with veteran Andrew Hueston, has changed the former V Street and Wiz Kid space near Rittenhouse Square into what they’re calling a “recovered-industrial aesthetic.” (Stojnic’s mother created all the art.) Chef Montana Houston’s menu is mostly American with light Eastern European influence and includes vegan and gluten-free options. Full bar with house-made everything. Lunch/brunch, dinner daily. 📷 @restaurant_aleksandar
Alice (901 Christian St., fail). Dave Conn, a former longtime executive chef at El Vez in Center City, is behind this American bistro in a long-ago butcher shop in the Italian Market (the former Butcher’s Cafe and Monsu). 📷 @alice.philadelphia
bankroll philadelphia (1910 Chestnut St., fail). Stephen Starr will operate this sports bar in the former Boyd Theater that is designed to appeal to adherents of sports gaming. 📷 @bankrollphl
Bottega Rittenhouse (263 S. 17th St., August). Luan Tota is going next door to his Branzino with a tiny cafe serving pasta dishes, coffees, and Italian specialties to go.
Brazas BBQ Chicken (326 South St., this summer): Juan Placencia, who had a hit with his Peruvian-style chicken and scratch sides in a Philadelphia ghost kitchen, plans to celebrate his culture through food in a South Street storefront. 📷 @brazasbbqchicken
Brooklyn Dumpling Shop (3400 Lancaster Ave., fail). Before fast food as we know it today, the popular Horn & Hardart restaurants were powered by a gizmo called the Automat — essentially a wall of vending machines that dispensed foods and drinks. Pop in a nickel or a dime, and you’d open a door to get a hunk of pie or a cup of tapioca pudding. BDS, which started in Manhattan, is coming to The Summit in University City with a kiosk that drives the ordering and cooking of dumplings. I checked it out over the spring: Easy, tasty, techie. Order lamb gyro dumplings or pepperoni pizza dumplings or, say, pastrami dumplings. You get a ticket. A worker in the back heats up the dumplings, boxes them, and puts the box in a numbered window. You get the notification. Scan your ticket, the window opens, and you’re on your way. The system is a boon to delivery drivers, who can’t pick up the wrong order. 📷 @brooklyndumplingphl
Good Wave (114 S 20th St., mid-August). Jose Garces is converting his former jewel Tinto into a second location of his taqueria dele. Another location is on tap for “late August-early September” at 200 N. Radnor-Chester Rd. in Radnor. Meanwhile, he has other irons in the fire (stay tuned), and is still uncertain about the future of the shuttered District in University City. 📷 @buenaondatacos
carbon copy (701 S. 50th St., fail). Kyle Wolak and Brendon Boudwin are opening a brewery and pub on the former site of Dock Street’s West Philadelphia brewpub. Yes, the flatbreads will continue. 📷 @carboncopyphilly
El Chingon (1524 S. 10th St., late August). Chef Carlos Aparicio will specialize in cemitas served on his own bread at his corner spot near Passyunk Crossing, rounding out his menu with such dishes as tlacoyos, memelas, and tostadas. 📷 @elchingonphilly
Enswell (1528 Spruce St., fail). An all-day café with cocktails on the ground floor of The Touraine from Rival Bros. with an extended menu of breakfast options in the morning and a PM cocktail menu featuring New Liberty Distillery spirits (also sold at an on-site bottle shop), Pennsylvania beer and wine, and light fare. 📷 @enswellphilly
Honeysuckle Provisions (310 S 48th St., mid-September). What chefs Omar Tate and Cybill St. Aude-Tate’s call their “Afrocentric grocery cafe” is reaching the finish line after two years. Omar Tate says the small grocery will sell produce from local Black farmers (including themselves — they operate a nearby farm in a partnership with the Enterprise Center) as well as hot and cold foods — yes, those favorite breakfast sandwiches — and coffee to go. 📷 @honeysuckle_provisions
Kalaya (4 W. Palmer St., “November”). Chef Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon is working with Greg Root, chef Nick Kennedy, and Al Lucas, the partners from Defined Hospitality (Suraya, Pizzeria Beddia, R&D Cocktail Bar, and Condesa/El Techo), on a splashier Thai location between Front Street and Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. 📷 @kalayaphilly
» READ MORE: We tag along on Chef Nok’s trip to Thailand
Kura Revolving Sushi Bar (1721 Chestnut St., late August). The syndicated sushi restaurant, on two levels of the former American Eagle & Aerie Store, has a cool concept: Your plates on the conveyor belts are color-coded by price. You rack up enough plates to win prizes. 📷 @kurasushi_usa
Manatawny Still Works (North Lee Street near Thompson, this fall). The distillery has tasting rooms on the books for Fishtown as well as at 49 W. Lancaster Ave. in Ardmore. Local wines and beers, original cocktails, and zero-ABV options. 📷 @manatawnystillworks
nipotine (21st and Wolf Streets, late August or early September). Marlo and Jason Dilks of P’unk Burger and the Slice Pizza locations, are behind this sandwich shop in West Passyunk. 📷 @nipotinaphilly
Philly Cheese School (701 S. Ninth St., open). Self-billed indulgence advocate Julia Birnbaum, a former head monk at Murray’s in New York, had been leading cheese-tastings over Zoom. Birnbaum has gone the brick (or is that Brie-k?) and mortar route with a classroom that doubles as a party venue and BYOB. The 90-minute classes ($90 per person plus 30% gratuity) include a plate of four to five artisanal fromage, plus gluten-free charcoal crackers and such pairings as jams, honeys, sweetened nuts, and olives. 📷 @phillycheeseschool
Pietramala (614 N. Second St., aug. 23). Chef Ian Graye, who did pop-ups under the name Moto Foto, will rock a high-end vegan menu with dishes like slow-roasted eggplant in sun gold tomato sauce at this BYOB in Northern Liberties. He’s an alum of Blackbird, previously in that space. 📷 @pietramala_phl
Raising Cane’s (1717 N. 12th St., aug. 9). The popular chicken-finger specialist’s second Philadelphia location will be on Temple University’s campus. 📷 @raisingcanes
Roxanne (912 Christian St., early fall). Alexandra Holt, making the pop-up and collab rounds, is taking part of the shuttered Sabrina’s Cafe for an American BYOB with ambitious sweet-and-savory pairings (togarashi canele filled with pimento cheese on the snacks list). 📷 @roxanne_philly
Samuel’s (1523 Sansom St., later this summer). Michael Schulson goes the Jewish deli route above his Giuseppe & Sons with an all-day menu of housemade bagels, house-cured meats and smoked fish, and desserts and pastries from baker Nick Brannon and pastry chef Abby Dahan. 📷 @samuels@phl
Tobacco (932 S 10th St., fail). Chance Anies of this Filipino cart has changed locations for his first brick-and-mortar as permitting for his first location on East Passyunk proved daunting. The new spot, in Bella Vista, is around the corner from the original Kalaya. 📷 @tabachoyphilly
Taco Heart (1005 E. Passyunk Ave., Sept. 1). Austin-style breakfast tacos hit well any time of day. Nano Wheedan, who brought them to town a couple of years ago under the name Nano’s Tortillas, is taking the triangle-shaped building at Seventh, Passyunk, and Christian Streets, just above Washington Avenue, that previously housed El Bocado.
Tulip Pasta + Wine Bar (2302 E. Norris St., August). It’s one of those happy confluences that is expected to yield a casual concept featuring folks with fine-dining backgrounds. Chef Jason Cichonski, whose business partner owns the former Over Easy Breakfast Club space at Tulip and Norris Streets in Fishtown, met up with the winemaking brothers James and Zach Wilson of Wayvine in Nottingham, Chester County — fourth-generation farmers — who have a tasting -room license allowing for off-premise service of their wines, plus Pennsylvania wine, beer, and spirits. Then came chef Alex Beninato, the pasta specialist made from old-world-style milled grain and whose last stop was chef de cuisine at Laurel. Pastas + wines = a fun experience, they say. 📷 @tulippastawine
Two Robbers Fishtown (1221 Frankford Ave., september). Originally called Burgers & Seltzers, this will be a “seltzer taproom” from twin brothers Vivek and Vikram Nayar, creators of Two Robbers hard seltzer. The boldly decorated space will be a retail store, an art installation by artist Alex da Corte, and eatery with a drink program set up by bartender Dan Greenbaum and what they immodestly say will be the best burger in Philadelphia. @two_robbers
Chotto Matte, a chic Japanese-Peruvian restaurant centered on a bar and robata grill, will open in Jessup House, the 20-story high-rise at 12th and Sansom Streets — but not until fall 2023.
Dock Street’s pub in Fishtown is on target for “later this year” at 1229 N. Front St.
barcade’s second Philadelphia game-bar location is on track for early 2023 at the Hale Building, 1326 Chestnut St.
Restaurateurs Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney are planning an unspecified new restaurant in the former lolita space (106 S. 13th St.) with an expected opening sometime later this year or early 2023.
Shake Shack will open several new locations in the suburbs in late 2022 and early 2023.