September 08, 2023
Walnut Garden, the pop-up cocktail garden near Rittenhouse Square that was shut down in June for violating multiple city codes, reopened Friday afternoon after resolving the issues that resulted in its closure.
FCM Hospitality, the event management company that runs the garden, said Friday its doors would reopen at 5 p.m. The outdoor space at 1708 Walnut St. will now be open seven days a week from noon to midnight.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections and the health department confirmed Friday afternoon that FCM Hospitality had remedied problems with the establishment, including a lack of permits and unsecured dangerous materials.
In late June, Walnut Garden was plastered with red "cease operations" notices for numerous code violations, including operating without a food license or electrical permit and the "clear and present danger of an unsecured 200+ gallon tank of diesel fuel on premises." L&I said at the time that the tank required a proper enclosure and a hazardous materials license. Other missing permits and unsecured equipment also were cited among the reasons for Walnut Garden's closure.
The 11,500-square-foot garden originally opened on May 31 at a renovated space formerly occupied by a McDonald's restaurant and a Vans shoe store. Both of those businesses were destroyed in a 2020 fire that followed protests about the killing of George Floyd.
With room for up to 500 people, Walnut Garden has two bars and a kitchen that serves Asian-inspired street food and ice cream. Described as an "urban oasis," it has a large TV for sports and flower and plant arrangements.
The Rittenhouse Row property the garden occupies eventually will become a building that is currently being planned by the landlord. Walnut Garden intends to remain open through the summer and early fall.
FCM Hospitality, which also runs the city's Parks on Tap program and Liberty Point at Penn's Landing, hasn't said how long Walnut Garden will operate.