November 20, 2023
A longtime neighborhood bar in the heart of Fishtown is getting a dramatic overhaul. The Nut Hut Saloon, which operated as a dive bar at Frankford Avenue and Norris Street for three decades, is set to reopen with a fresh coat of black paint on the outside, a revamped interior and an all-new kitchen run by a former Garces Group chef.
The original Nut Hut shut its doors in January after the bar's liquor license and the building it occupies were acquired by the Yardley, Pennsylvania-based company JSC Real Estate, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.
While it doesn't yet have an opening date, the revitalized Nut Hut Saloon is expected to open within a few weeks, its new owners said. When the saloon opens its new, bright green front door, few of its previous customers will likely recognize the 1,400-square-foot space. In addition to a redesigned interior complete with new floors, an updated bar and repainted walls, the new Nut Hut Saloon will serve food – such as a Cuban sandwich and wok chicken wings – from a menu crafted by Taylor Daley, a Garces Group alum.
The bar's new food menu will also include the 'Hut Burger,' fish and chips and homemade bar nuts. Some of the beers that will be available on tap include Yuengling, Blue Moon and Victory beers.
In its heyday, the Nut Hut Saloon was known for its $2 shots of Jameson whiskey, billiard tables and karaoke. While the new concept is a dramatic departure from the original, the Nut Hut's new owners have included several nods to the bar's roots. In addition to keeping the bar's original name, the Nut Hut Saloon will maintain some elements from its old interior, including a collection of license plates that once adorned the walls. In the bar's newly renovated, now graffiti-free bathroom, patrons will find illustrations of Ben Franklin, the Philly Phanatic and a revised version of the Nut Hut's original logo.
“Our updated logo will be familiar to the one Nut Hut Saloon enthusiasts know and love, with a refreshed twist," co-owner Ken Landis told PhillyVoice on Monday. "Note the lime green sneakers, which match the Nut Hut’s new green entryway door."
The revitalized Nut Hut is also planning to continue hosting karaoke, which for years was a popular weekly event at the bar. To keep the Nut Hut karaoke tradition going, its new owners said they have applied for a special assembly license and have structured the bar's new sound system to accommodate having a karaoke host in the future.
The Nut Hut's evolution from dingy neighborhood dive to brightly lit restaurant and bar is symbolic of the type of change that has been unfolding in Fishtown over the last few years, as newly constructed condominiums and world-class restaurants replace modest row homes and family-owned businesses.
Fishtown's transformation is especially noticeable along the booming Frankford Avenue business corridor, where JSC Real Estate has reportedly acquired 13 different properties in the last three years, including the three-story building that the Nut Hut has long occupied.
The business partnership behind the revamped bar and restaurant includes Benjamin Albacete, another alum of Chef Jose Garces' restaurant group, former Recess Lounge owner Marc Mattera, Landis, who also is a co-owner of Cherry Hill's Chick's Deli, and Joseph Danfield, a partner at Old Salem Equities, LCC.
Operating hours at the revamped establishment will be 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.