Chef Randy Rucker doesn’t want to step in the same river twice at his new BYOB on East Passyunk Avenue. The South Philly restaurant, River Twice, opens Thursday, October 10, with a seasonal, new American menu that uses local ingredients and changes all the time.
The menu “will constantly be evolving” and “reflect what’s happening around us,” Rucker says — when Eater checked in with him recently for the list of most anticipated fall restaurant openings, he was hesitant to name specific dishes even a few weeks ahead, since he wanted to wait and see what made-in-PA items would be available.
The goal, he says, is “connecting guests with the surrounding mid-Atlantic region through thoughtful consideration of source and ingredients.”
For now, that means oysters from the Atlantic (with gelled sea lettuce mignonette), short ribs from Wild Rose Ranch in central Pennsylvania (served with potato confit, charred onions, shaved celery, and bordelaise sauce), and sourdough bread from Machine Shop Boulangerie in the Bok building.
Rucker says he loves working with seafood, but being from Texas he also has a passion for meat, like in the short rib dish. On the opening menu, also look for Japanese-style blue crab egg custard with yuzu and marigolds, a Dutch baby pancake with trout roe, maple anglaise, and scallion, and dry-aged duck with cider, honeynut squash, and mustard greens.
The chef, who made the James Beard Awards semifinalist list for Bootsie’s Heritage in Tomball, Texas, is opening River Twice with his wife, Amanda Rucker. They spent time on Martha’s Vineyard and then in Mystic, Connecticut, before landing in Amanda’s hometown of Philly. She took the lead on the look of the new restaurant, working with local crafters for pieces like the tables, chef’s counter, and bar stools, all custom-made by Philadelphia Table Co.
River Twice, at 1601 E. Passyunk Avenue (Passyunk and Tasker), is in what was formerly Izumi, Lynn Rinaldi and Corey Baver’s sushi spot, shuttered this past spring after a decade. Take a peek at what the space looks like now:
Starting Thursday, River Twice serves dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday and from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are through Resy. There’s a bottle shop on the same block.