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April 23, 2015

11 great area restaurants opening this spring and summer

Philadelphia's food scene is in full bloom

Food Restaurants
Besito Mexican Besito Mexican/for PhillyVoice

Besito Mexican's Panquesito de Jaiba.

April showers bring May ... restaurants? The spring and summer seasons are bringing warm weather and new and exciting food concepts. From popular chain brands working their way down the east coast to a cult-favorite snack getting its own shop, local foodies will soon have a full plate of dining options. 

Take a look at the list below for a sneak peek at the newbies on our to-do list. Whether you're looking for a casual lunch spot or your next happy hour hangout, you'll find it here. 

Guild Hall Brewing Company

Guild Hall Brewing Company
Early June at 208 York Rd. in Jenkintown.
The team: Husband and wife team Former General Lafayette Inn head brewer Owen Hutchins and wife, Jennifer McGuire. They're filling this 80-year-old building (which used to house the Jenkintown Antique Guild) with a beer hall.
The vibe:  They're combining the building's history with the community-centered atmosphere of Western European beer halls for the name and vibe. Located next to the Hiway Theater, both GHBC's food and beer will use seasonal, simple ingredients. Look out for local artisanal cheeses, sweet orange honey wings and the Germantown Blonde Ale (a Hutchins specialty). But don't worry, this is no craft beer experts-only club. Light beer fans will find solace in GHBC's approachable selection and Pennsylvania wines, meads and ciders will be available, too.
For fans of: Frankford Hall and small business.
In short:  The brewpub for people who hate (but will now love) brewpubs.

Besito Mexican

Besito Guac
Opening: Early this summer at 105 Coulter Ave. in Ardmore. 
The team: This popular chain restaurant winding down the East Coast comes courtesy of national restaurateur John Tunney. 
The vibe:  The authentic Mexican cuisine has been a hit in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts and now Suburban Square is getting its own installation. Its high-end menu features Mexican cuisine classics like iron skillet tacos, a selection of enchiladas and fresh guacamole made right at your table (above). The restaurant's interior will include a dining room for private parties and outdoors guests will find seating for tables of two.
For fans of: Chipotle and adulthood.
In short: Mad Mex for the Main Line.

Tired Hands Fermentaria

Tired Hands Fermentaria
Friday, April 24 at 35 Cricket Terrace in Ardmore.
The team: Jean Broillet, who opened Tired Hands Brewing Company's Brew Cafe just two years ago. Needless to say, it's doing well as Broillet opens up a new location just a hop, skip and a jump from home base. 
The vibe: The Fermentaria will aim for the same intimate feel and kooky decor as the cafe, but with much more seating, including a huge "Viking table" for large parties and future brewery tours. The menu will include plates to share of Mexican staples -- think crudos, ceviches and tacos -- but with a Tired Hands twist. Of course, house brews will be on tap but there will also be cold brew coffee on draft because Philadelphians love their coffee. 
For fans of: Dock Street Brewery and funky cartoons.
In short: Bigger Tired Hands.


Brick and Mortar
late spring at 315 N. 12th St. 
The team: Ex-Franklin Mortgage & Co. partner and Lemon Hill alum Michael Welsh broke out on his own to open BRICK AND MORTAR, an American tavern in the Loft District with a menu for the bar and dinner crowds. 
The vibe: With exposed concrete, plenty of graffiti and textile details, the decor won't let diners forget the building's rich industrial history. Perhaps most exciting is the eatery's bar program. There will be a dozen beers and four wines on tap, plus a selection of bottled and session cocktails. Bottled cocktails, which have a more effervescent mouthfeel, are quite trendy on the West Coast. Session cocktails have a lower content of alcohol by volume, allowing cocktail fans to drink like their beer-loving friends without getting hammered. You can thank Welsh in advance.
For fans of: cocktails and hangover-less Sundays.
In short: Eraserhood, without the mind-erasers. 

Whetstone Tavern

JEremy Nolen
Opening: this summer at 700 S. 5th St.
The team: Chef Jeremy Nolen (above) is famous for his take on German cooking -- just ask fans of Brauhaus Schmitz or the happy reviewers of his new cookbook with wife, Jessica. It may come as a surprise then that Nolen's next project, Whetstone Tavern, is focused on American cuisine. 
The vibe: Whetstone will be a rustic take on classic tavern fare with a seasonal menu made of local ingredients whenever possible. Since Philly has such a rich history of bars and taverns, Nolen wants Whetstone to feel like it's always been part of the scene. Other than that, he's keeping the rest under wraps. But we're betting it's worth the wait.
For fans of: Brauhaus Schmitz and surprises.
In short: A place that already feels really familiar, in a good way.

MOD Pizza

MOD Pizza
in May and June at 289 E. Swedesford Rd. and 522 W Lancaster Ave., Wayne.
The team: This Seattle-based company is like the Shake Shack of the pizza industry. Created by one couple in 2008, MOD Pizza is quickly taking over via chain and franchise setups. 
The vibe: The "MOD" stands for "modification;" it's a build-your-own-pie kind of place with 30 different toppings and pizzas are cooked in three minutes. They also have pre-configured combinations for indecisive eaters. MOD became a bicoastal venture when they opened in Willow Grove this year and now they'll open two more in Wayne. The first hits Gateway Wednesday, May 6 and the second opens in Lancaster Wednesday, June 24.
For fans of: Pizzeria Vetri and choices.
In short: An excuse to eat pizza and still feel like a grown-up.

Bud & Marilyn's

Bud & Marilyn
Opening: late spring at 13th & Locust streets.
The team: Serial restaurateurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. You know them from their 13th St. takeover.
The vibe: The new concept will be Turney's take on American cuisine and is named for the chef's grandparents. Bud and Marilyn Briese owned a restaurant called The Spot in Ripon, Wisconsin in the 1950's. The mid-century theme is clear in Rohe Cretive's inspiration board for the space (above) and the eatery's Instagram which features retro finishes, vintage textiles and custom geometric wallpaper. If it's anything like the pair's seven other businesses -- or those sell-out budino donuts -- Bud & Marilyn's will find a loyal fandom quickly.
For fans of: Barbuzzo, Little Nonna's, Jamonera, Lolita, Verde, Grocery, Open House....
In short: world domination, Turney-Safran style.


Tangier 18th& Lombard
Opening: in late May at 1801 Lombard St.
The team: Peter Hwang and chef Clara Park -- a James Beard Award-nominated, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert-knowing, Osteria- and momofuku ko-cooking "Chopped" champion -- are reviving the space formerly known as Tangier (above). 
The vibe: SouthGate wants to fill in the huge gap of Korean food in the Philly market. And they're not just adding kimchi to a burger and calling it a day. The pair will combine Korean techniques and ingredients with American pub standards in an effort to make Korean cuisine more accessible and exciting to Philadelphians. Serving as an entryway to Rittenhouse (hence the name, which also pays homage to a famous Korean monument), SouthGate is looking to be the perfect spot for the neighborhood to have a drink, kick back and meet new friends.
For fans of: adventurous eating and a lively atmosphere.
In short: a Korean pub. Wait, what?

Farmer's Keep

Farmer's Keep
Opening: in early May at 10 S. 20th St. 
The team: Joshua Bullock, an owner totally obsessed with giving diners fresh, healthy food, and Chef Ian Natowsky, a seasoned Starr Events alum.
The vibe: This fast-casual healthy lunch and dinner spot will serve a selection of pre-composed salads served up marketplace style and paid for by the pound. Not only does it aim to be cheaper and fresher than similar eateries, but it is totally gluten-, dairy-, nut-, shellfish-, and egg-free. Farmer's Keep will start off with indoor and sidewalk seating but will eventually expand to seating at its rooftop garden and bar -- with gluten-free beer and fresh juice cocktails, of course. As if that weren't enough, they also plan to host running clubs, yoga classes and healthy living education events.
For fans of: honeygrow and GOOP.
In short: a lifestyle.

SawTown Tavern

SawTown Tavern
Opening: in early May at 4717 Princeton Ave. in Tacony.
The team: This collaboration comes courtesy of Troy Everwine and Michael "Scoats" Scotese, owner of Hop Angel Brauhaus and Grey Lodge Pub -- you know, that bar that made Esquire's list of the best in America a few years back.
The vibe: The team is opening a two-story tavern in the place of the Prince Cafe. Once they get the keys to the place it will remain open for business while they renovate the kitchen, add a wood oven for craft pizza, put in additional seating upstairs and make space for a game room. (Until the upper level is done darts and pool will be open on the first floor.) They'll have just six taps, one of which will rotate seasonally. The five house beers will be collaborations between SawTown and local breweries like Sly Fox and Naked Brewing. The first two of these will be tapped during Philly Beer Week. 
For fans of: craft beer and slow opens.
In short: beer geek heaven.

Scratch Biscuits

Scratch Biscuits
by late May at 1306 Chestnut St. 
The team: South Street's Supper owner Mitch Prensky. You may have seen him floating around his homemade biscuit ideas at pop-up events and fairs for the past few years. Now, they're getting all the attention.
The vibe: Line up and choose your toppings for a customized breakfast, lunch or dinner biscuit sandwich or try out one of Prensky's pre-selected flavor combinations. If the rumors are true, you can't really go wrong. Both regular and gluten-free biscuits will be available alongside Rival Bros. Coffee and Sip N Glo juices. Toppings include everything from scrapple to kale and the combinations have names like The Willie Nelson and The Jonny Paycheck. Dessert biscuit puddings are on the menu and the shop will open up in the back for late night $5 snacks sandwiches for the McGillin's/BRU crowd.
For fans of: Southern cooking and happiness.
In short: a gift from the gods.