While Philadelphia restaurants shift to takeout and delivery models during the coronavirus pandemic and test the waters of outdoor dining, a handful of newcomers are joining the local food scene with beer, bao, and pizza.
Callowhill/Spring Arts — Four Philly breweries are teaming up for the weekends-only Spring Arts Beer Garden, set up in the area of Callowhill that local businesses are calling the Spring Arts District. The beer garden is next to Love City Brewing at 1023 Hamilton Street, in what was a parking lot owned by neighborhood developer Arts & Crafts Holdings. Love City is collaborating with Roy Pitz, Triple Bottom, and Yards; they’ll all be serving their beers in the space. Food trucks are setting up on the site too. In keeping with city guidelines, everyone has to wear a mask unless seated at a table, and everyone has to be seated while drinking — no standing around. It opens Saturday, June 27, and runs through Labor Day, Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m.
Rittenhouse — The family behind rolled ice cream chain Sweet Charlie’s, which first opened in Philly in early 2016 and has since expanded to several cities, is turning its attention to bao for what they’re describing as a Latin-Asian-American version of the steamed bun. The menu at Bao Nine includes buns with crispy chicken, buffalo sauce, and blue cheese and one with pastrami and cabbage slaw, among other combos, plus build-your-own noodle, rice, and salad bowls. Chef Hugh Moran, whose resume includes Buddakan, Pod, Sampan, and Double Knot, consulted on the menu. Bao Nine opens for takeout and outdoor seating — there’s room for 30 outside — at 38 S. 19th Street on Thursday, June 25. Hours are noon to 9 p.m.
Narberth — In the suburbs, Royal Cafe Narberth replaces brunch spot Cafe Lift at 724 Montgomery Avenue, with a menu of what the restaurant is calling “elevated comfort food,” like poutine with shaved rib eye, whiz, gravy, and fries, plus wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza, beer, and cocktails. Josiah Richmond, who was the executive chef at Cafe Lift, is one of the partners. It’s open for takeout and outside dining, with 75 patio seats. Hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 4–9 p.m.