East Coast chain Barcelona Wine Bar is opening its first Philly location this summer with Chef Paras Shah at the helm on East Passyunk Avenue. At 4,400 square feet, Barcelona will be one of the biggest eateries on the restaurant-heavy South Philly strip. It’s going into what was clothing shop A Man’s Image at 1709 East Passyunk Avenue, in one of the diagonal street’s triangle-corner properties — like the buildings housing Bing Bing Dim Sum and the aptly named Triangle Tavern.
Executive Chef Shah’s résumé include time in the kitchens of acclaimed restaurants El Bulli, Per Se, and Momofuku Noodle Bar while he was a student at the Institute of Culinary Education. In 2015, he opened Kat & Theo in New York’s Flatiron District. Kat & Theo has a Mediterranean influence that should come in handy at Barcelona, which serves Spanish tapas alongside an extensive wine list and some very appealing cocktails.
Barcelona’s menu at one of the two Washington, D.C., locations includes a large charcuterie and cheese section, around 30 different tapas plates from marinated olives to beef empanadas, salads, and a handful of bigger dishes made to share. The brunch tapas menu looks intriguing, with its chilled red wine soup with berries, yogurt and granola, duck and waffle with truffle honey, and chorizo and grits with quail egg, plus mini-Benedicts.
According to an article in the Passyunk Post a year ago — shortly after news broke that Connecticut-based Barteca Restaurant Group was planned to open a Barcelona in Philly — the East Passyunk location will have outdoor seating but it can’t take up any sidewalk space at the intersection. Inside, it could have up to 110 seats, not counting the bar.
The staff will be “Philly natives” who are currently training at other Barcelona locations, according to the restaurant. There’s no set date for the opening yet beyond “this summer.” Stay tuned.