Nick Elmi, the Top Chef Season 11 champ behind the always-booked Laurel on East Passyunk, is opening a bar in Old City with restauranteurs Stephen Simons and David Frank. Elmi also has ITV, a bar next door to Laurel where the snacks — like beef tartare with cured egg —are given as much thought as the craft cocktails and wine list. The to-be-named Old City venue will follow that path, with Simons telling Michael Klein at Philly.com it will be “chef-driven.”
The new bar is going into 52 S. Second Street in a space that’s been Glam, Live Bait, and Rib-It reports Philly.com. It’s bi-level, with a 50-seat dining room and a 25-seat bar planned for the main floor and a large private dining room upstairs.
Simons and Frank own Khyber Pass Pub in Old City, Royal Tavern in Queen Village, Cantina Los Caballitos and Triangle Tavern on East Passyunk Avenue, and Cantina Dos Segundos in Northern Liberties — all lively bar/restaurant combos with good food.
They also own Royal Izakaya, the first-rate sushi spot in Queen Village from chef Jesse Ito. According to Alex Tewfik at Philadelphia magazine, Royal Izakaya’s success was the impetus behind partnering with Elmi for another project that’s something of a departure from their usual ventures.
Philly mag also reports the new bar will offer charcuterie and a raw bar, with a menu devised in collaboration with chef de cuisine Steven Forte. It’s going for a late summer or early fall opening.