Now that more newly eligible food service workers in Philadelphia are being vaccinated for COVID-19, many restaurants that had gone into hibernation through the winter are beginning to reopen. Mercurial March weather is seeing a slight warm up, and as a result, bars and restaurants are resuming indoor and outdoor dining after months of keeping their doors closed and their staff members safe.
The current citywide coronavirus restaurant regulations require that restaurants open at not more than 25 percent for indoor dining capacity; restaurants can expand up to 50 percent capacity if they pass a mandated ventilation inspection. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. For updated information on coronavirus cases in Philadelphia, please visit the city’s tracker.
For those food service workers that are still hunting for a vaccine appointment, a dedicated restaurant workers vaccination clinic led by Save Philly Restaurants opened this week at Centennial Pharmacy in Fishtown. Appointments can be made online.
Open in March 2021
East Passyunk Avenue’s Le Virtù had been closed for outdoor and indoor dining since November, only offering takeout and delivery for its pasta-hungry devotees. Now, the restaurant’s famously bucolic outdoor garden is open again for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Reservations are recommended. 1927 East Passyunk Avenue.
Down the street, Fond is open after a full year of pop-ups, community meals, and bake sales held by chefs Lee Styer and Jessie Prawlucki-Styer. The restaurant has limited indoor dining, outdoor seating, and a continuation of its takeout program. Styer spent the winter grilling on the street outside the restaurant: “I’m just glad to be back in my kitchen, and not freezing my ass off at the street-side grill,” he says. Reservations are highly recommended. 1537 S 11th Street.
Styer’s other restaurant, the Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired breakfast and lunch spot the Dutch in Pennsport, is now open for expanded indoor and outdoor dining. All the familiar takeout options are still available for pickup, and Sweet Dutch Babies can now be enjoyed outside or indoors. Order online for takeout or walk in for on-premises dining. 1527 S. 4th Street.
Vaunted beer emporium Monk’s Cafe in Center City is now open since closing in November, offering takeout and delivery on beer and food until they reopen for indoor seating at the end of March. Keep an eye on social media for updates on that front, and order takeout and delivery by phone at (215) 545-7005. 264 S 16th Street.
The Moshulu, the rigged historic ship sitting in the Delaware River near Old City is open now for indoor and outdoor dining on the deck of the boat after it had closed down for hibernation in November. Reservations are recommended. 401 S Christopher Columbus Boulevard.
South Jazz Kitchen hosted its first live jazz dinner on March 18 after months of offering takeout and delivery. Reservations for limited indoor dining and tickets to jazz performances can be found through the website. 600 North Broad Street.
R&D Cocktail Bar in Fishtown officially reopened its doors after a year in the beginning of March, with less than 25 percent capacity and some outdoor seating. There are no reservations as of now but orders for takeout bottled cocktails are available online. 1206 Frankford Avenue.
Not quite closed for cold weather, Federal Donuts in Center City nonetheless had to vacate its former Sansom Street flagship location due to demolition happening on the block. As of Wednesday, March 17, the donuts are back in a new temporary home at the former Rooster location down the street from the flagship. Preorders for donuts and chicken can be made on Federal Donuts’s website, or by walking in. 1526 Sansom Street.
Northern Italian restaurant Osteria in Spring Garden reopened in the beginning of March after being closed since December. It’s operating currently with 25 percent indoor capacity and with heated tents on outdoor patio seating. There’s even a new pizza dough recipe to try. Reservations can be made on Resy. Takeout and delivery can be ordered online. 640 N Broad Stree.
Though Nick Elmi’s Laurel on East Passyunk Avenue has been open since February for indoor dining, on March 27 it will expand to a streetery in front of the space for outdoor dining. Hopefully by then it will be nice and warm. Reservations recommended. 1617 E. Passyunk Avenue.
Silk City’s spacious back garden and indoor diner will reopen on March 31, according to Instagram. It closed back in December. Takeout food and cocktails will be available, as well. Check social media for updates on reservations. 435 Spring Garden Street.
Day by Day, the lunch and brunch mainstay in Center City, has plans to reopen for indoor dining around April 1. Keep an eye on Day by Day’s social media for updates. In the meantime, takeout and outdoor dining are available, as well as the occasional dessert pop-up. Order pies online or place takeout lunch orders by phone. 2101 Sansom Street.
Jose Garces’s Mexican street food and taco restaurant Distrito in University City will reopen on April 1 after being closed since the beginning of the year. The restaurant has an 80-seat patio for spring outdoor dining, and La Bodega, the Latin speciality foods market next door, will reopen as well with salsas, meal kits, and more. Check the restaurant’s website for information on reservations upon reopening. 3945 Chestnut Street.
La Peg at Fringe Arts right under the Ben Franklin Bridge will reopen its outdoor seating on April 1 for beers, burgers, and classic the views of the Delaware River.
Society Hill’s popular Israeli restaurant Zahav will reopen for indoor dining on April 6 after a winter of outdoor yurt dining. While the so-called “Yurt Village” will stay until May 1, reservations are now open for limited indoor dining on Resy.