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November 11, 2015

First Look: Buckminster's in Point Breeze

Michael Pasquarello opens 'neo-bistro'

Restaurants Food
Carroll - Buckminster's Bistro Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The interior of what was Buckminster's.

Just a little more than a year since launching Kensington Quarters, Michael Pasquarello is back at it with his newest venture, Buckminster's. The casual, seasonal-inspired spot is slated to open this Sunday in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia.

“Buckminster’s is about taking ingredients that are in season and finding the best way to work with them," Pasquarello said of his fifth restaurant, noting that menus will be printed daily to reflect new produce arrivals on any given day. 

Owner Michael Pasquarello of Prohibition Taproom, Cafe Lift, Bufad, Kensington Quarters and, now, Buckminster's. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

Roughly 85 to 90 percent of the ingredients at the restaurant will be sourced locally from farms like Green Meadow, Ely Farm and Doe Run. They will be used to shape a rather eclectic menu, including opening dishes that range from Thai green curry marinated beef to a Frecon Farms’ cider-infused chicken marsala to oysters, served cold, hot and stewed. Rob Marzinsky, executive chef at Buckminster’s, says he’s currently most excited about the classic bologna and cheese on the menu. 

“It essentially encapsulates what we’re all about – doing traditional and accessible dishes well, with seasonal ingredients from the community that keeps us alive,” Marzinsky said. 

Buckminster Fuller's signature geodesic designs line Buckminster's walls. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

Every component on the sandwich, right down to the local grain derived spelt and potato bread, is locally sourced. This includes Marzinsky’s favorite sweet Lebanon bologna, too, from Green Meadow in Gap, PA.

The farm-to-fork emphasis aligns nicely with the philosophy of the man who’s name graces the restaurant. Inspired not just by Buckminster Fuller's designs, but by the mid-century architect's entire belief system, Pasquarello decided to name the restaurant after him. 

"Buckminster's, Point Breeze." (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

“His way of life fits into our desire to reduce our carbon footprint,” Pasquarello shared. “Plus, he has a cool name.”

Signs of Fuller jump off the menu pages and are found all around the restaurant. Black and white, geodesic drawings line the front left wall of the dining room. Pyramid-shaped metal prisms circumscribe a series of pendant lights which hang over the 14-seat bar. And a group of black painted tables, detailed with a sleek, gold stripe across their tops, fill the intimate, 40-seat space. The atmosphere also gets a fun, colorful vibe from bright green accent walls and a rusty red, formica laminated bar top. If you look close enough, you’ll spot Fuller’s signature eyeglasses painted on different sections of the walls.

Even Buckminster's pendant lights get in on the geometric action. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

Pasquarello envisions the space holding a lively, yet low-key environment. In line with the rest of his restaurants, dishes will range from $2-$21 in price. 

“I don’t really understand why farm-to-table is classically more expensive,” Pasquarello said. “Things that are in season have [fewer] miles to travel and are generally cheaper. In my opinion, it’s more efficient to serve food this way to a customer.”

Buckminster's bar will serve wine, beer and reasonably priced cocktails. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

The cocktail menu also strives to remain reasonably priced with a $5.50 gin and tonic, alongside a handful of other spirited options. A 14-tap system will pour eight beers and six wine options, kicking off with local drafts like the Sly Fox O'Reilly Stout and Neshaminy Creek Cream Ale. 

Come Sunday through Thursday and you can catch the late night happy hour from 10 p.m. until midnight, featuring $3 drafts and mixed drinks. The kitchen will remain open until at least midnight every night, hoping to make Buckminster's feel like a spot you can hang in until you’re truly ready to go home. 

“I want Buckminster’s to be whatever the customer is feeling that night,” Pasquarello said. “If they want to simply show up and stay awhile for a glass of wine and some bar food, they can have that. If they want to share a bunch of dishes with a date, they can have that too. The restaurant is what you want it to be.”