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overhead shot of pizzas, a burger, and fries
Emmy Squared, known for its Detroit-style pizza, is opening a Philly location.
Courtesy of Emmy Squared

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The 12 Most Anticipated Restaurants in Philadelphia, Fall 2019

Pasta, pizza, pita sandwiches, steak frites, and more from Philly’s top chefs

From Marc Vetri’s South Philly pasta bar to the first Philly location of Emmy Squared, plus two new restaurants from Zahav’s Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook, here are 12 highly anticipated eateries expected to open from now through November, listed in order of expected opening date.

Condesa, El Techo, and El Cafe

Location: 1830 Ludlow Street, Rittenhouse

Key Players: Greg Root, Al Lucas, executive chef Nick Kennedy, chefs de cuisine Alberto Sandoval and Jerome Skaggs, pastry chefs James Matty and Michal Shelkowitz, beverage director Aaron Deary

The Situation: Greg Root, Al Lucas, and Nick Kennedy of Defined Hospitality — the restaurant group behind Fishtown’s Suraya, Pizzeria Beddia, and cocktail bar R&D — are opening three Mexico-inspired spots at the new Pod Hotel. Named after a neighborhood in Mexico City, Condesa will seat 140 across a dining room, bar, lounge, and patio. Next to it is El Cafe (31 S. 19th Street), a coffee shop with sweet and savory breakfast items, drinking chocolate, aguas frescas, and the fermented pineapple drink tepache. Head up to the 11th floor for El Techo, a rooftop taqueria with a retractable glass roof.

Projected Opening: September

mexican-style dishware
Dishware for Condesa, a Mexican restaurant from the team behind Suraya
Katherine Lundberg


Location: 2121 Walnut Street, Rittenhouse

Key Players: Townsend Wentz

The Situation: Townsend Wentz is relocating his elegant, eponymous French restaurant on East Passyunk Avenue to Rittenhouse Square. The new Townsend, opening in what was Talk, has a bigger kitchen and a bigger bar than the original, giving the chef more room to experiment.

Projected Opening: September 15

Pearl Tavern

Location: 1123 Walnut Street, Midtown Village

Key Players: Townsend Wentz

The Situation: Along with the Townsend move (above), Townsend Wentz took over the building next door to his Spanish restaurant Oloroso for Pearl Tavern. The new gastropub is set in the former Irish Pub, with a bar and dining room on street level and a space upstairs for pop-ups, starting with the Halloween-themed Haunt.

Projected Opening: September

Emmy Squared

Location: 632 S. Fifth Street, Queen Village

Key Players: Founders Emily Hyland and chef Matt Hyland, Howard Greenstone, Ken Levitan

The Situation: The popular Brooklyn-born Emmy Squared, known for its Detroit-style pizza and double-patty burgers, is expanding to Philly and setting up at the new 30-room hotel at Fifth and Bainbridge.

Projected Opening: Mid-September

rendering of restaurant exterior with sidewalk tables and a sign that says gabi
A rendering of Gabi, a new French cafe from Peter Woolsey
Courtesy of Gabi


Location: 339 N. Broad Street, North Broad/Callowhill

Key Players: Peter Woolsey, Kenneth Bush, Brad Histand

The Situation: Bistrot La Minette’s Peter Woolsey is heading to North Broad for another French restaurant, bringing along La Minette’s executive chef Kenny Bush and La Peg’s GM Brad Histand. Gabi, going in the new Hanover North Broad building, will be an Art Deco-styled all-day cafe with sidewalk seating, a bar, and dishes like French onion soup, steak frites, duck confit, and escargot.

Projected Opening: October

rendering of italian restaurant
A rendering of Cicala at the Divine Lorraine
Courtesy of Cicala

Cicala at the Divine Lorraine

Location: 699 N. Broad Street, North Broad/Spring Garden

Key Players: Joe Cicala, Angela Cicala

The Situation: Chefs Joe Cicala, formerly of Le Virtu and Brigantessa, and Angela Cicala are working on Cicala at the Divine Lorraine in Philly’s rapidly changing North Broad Street corridor. The upscale eatery, set inside a historic hotel turned apartment building, will serve southern Italian fare.

Projected Opening: Early October


Location: 1218 Sansom Street, Midtown Village

Key Players: Michael Solomonov, Steve Cook, Henry Morgan

The Situation: Chef Henry Morgan of Dizengoff helms this upcoming venue from Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook, the duo behind Zahav, K’Far, Goldie, Dizengoff, and Abe Fisher. They’re describing Merkaz, named for the Hebrew word for center, as an “Israeli soul food cafe” with coffee and hot breakfast in the morning, pita sandwiches all day, and prepared to-go meals in the evening.

Projected Opening: October

River Twice

Location: 1601 East Passyunk Avenue, East Passyunk

Key Players: Randy Rucker, Amanda Rucker

The Situation: Chef Randy Rucker and Amanda Rucker are coming from Mystic, Connecticut, and before that Houston, Texas, but they’re going all in on the Delaware Valley with River Twice. At their modern American restaurant, set in the former Izumi space, the Ruckers plan to source as much as they can from local farmers and other purveyors for an oft-changing menu that “highlights the region’s rich bounty of ingredients,” Randy Rucker says. Look for both a la carte and tasting menus with dishes along the lines of fried quail with fermented honey and garlic, scallops with white soy and fermented citrus, and Dutch baby pancakes with caviar and maple créme anglaise, plus options for vegetarians and vegans.

Projected Opening: October

Michael Schulson, Jeff Michaud, and Ed Pinello are in the process of testing out recipes for Via Locusta, like this sweet and sour delicata squash.
Via Locusta [official photo]

Via Locusta

Location: 1723 Locust Street, Rittenhouse

Key Players: Michael Schulson, Nina Tinari, Jeff Michaud, executive chef Ed Pinello

The Situation: Chefs Jeff Michaud, known for Osteria, and Michael Schulson (Osteria, Double Knot, Sampan, Alpen Rose) head to Rittenhouse Square for Via Locusta, an Italian restaurant serving handmade pasta just off the park. Home Studios, which did the Schulson Collective’s showstopper Giuseppe & Sons, is designing this one too.

Projected Opening: Late October or early November

rendering of a restaurant exterior
A rendering of Fabrika, the dinner theater opening in Fishtown
Courtesy of Fabrika


Location: 1108 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown

Key Players: Ylia Dzlieri, Lasha Kikvidze, Alex Gritsyuk, Boris Khanataev

The Situation: Next up in Fishtown: a retro dinner theater set in a former ice cream machine factory. Fabrika, which co-owner Ylia Dzlieri says is modeled after dinner theaters of the 1930s and ’40s, will have live entertainment nightly and a small plates menu featuring a mix of Eastern European and other cuisines.

Projected Opening: Early November

interior of old fashioned butcher shop from the doorway
Marc Vetri is opening an Italian restaurant in what was butcher shop Fiorella’s.
Google Maps


Location: 817 Christian Street, Bella Vista

Key Players: Marc Vetri

The Situation: Marc Vetri of Vetri Cucina is turning a 125-year-old butcher shop near the Italian Market into a casual Italian eatery — well, as casual as it can be with a star chef behind it. Fiorella, which keeps the butcher shop’s name, will have no tables, just seats at a counter, and focus on pasta.

Projected Opening: Late fall

Laser Wolf

Location: 1301 N. Howard Street, South Kensington

Key Players: Michael Solomonov, Steve Cook, Andrew Henshaw

The Situation: Zahav’s Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook head to Kensington for Laser Wolf, an Israeli shipudiya (skewer house) named after the wealthy butcher in Fiddler on the Roof (they tweaked the name from Lazar Wolf). It’s led by Zahav chef de cuisine Andrew Henshaw and has a similar menu, with meat, fish, and vegetables grilled over charcoal, salads, dips, and fresh-baked pita, plus a full bar.

Projected Opening: November

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