It’s no secret that Philadelphia is a foodie city, and in 2021 there were a few new additions to the ever-evolving list of impressive eateries — even with a pandemic occuring.
Ember & Ash
In January, East Passyunk’s Brigantessa was transformed into a new eatery, Ember & Ash. After spending time in New York City and Philly, chef/partners Scott Calhoun and David Feola, along with GM/partner Gianna Spatoulas, came together to launch a concept that they all felt was “missing from Philadelphia’s culinary landscape.” Ember & Ash serves what the partners refer to as a modern approach to a lost art or “global peasant food,” with menu items being cooked in a custom-built, wood-burning hearth. The culinary team takes cooking back to its basics, and menu standouts feature ingredients that are often overlooked.
1520 East Passyunk Ave., emberandashphilly.com
In the fall of 2017, the original Bridget Foy’s caught ablaze overnight, and by the time the sun came up, the restaurant no longer stood. The eatery opened by John Foy four decades ago was first known as East Philly Café and then was renamed in 1982 when his daughter, Bridget, was born. However, in February, Bridget Foy helped to reopen her namesake three years after the original went up in flames. The new Bridget Foy’s holds the same neighborhood type of aesthetic the original eatery took on, but with an updated look and menu. The site can seat patrons in the new dining room, by the bar and outdoors with heated options available along South Street. Sticking with the theme of keeping things in the family, patrons can see the original’s owners mark on the walls — and quite literally. For the new menu, Foy wanted to bring back the big classics and stand-outs from the original menu with other selections of American comfort and elevated pub food.
200 South St., bridgetfoys.com
Sometimes opposites attract and the results can be delicious — just take a look at Rittenhouse Square’s eatery Bar Poulet, which opened earlier this year in May. The new concept located in the old location of Walnut Street’s Tria brings an upscale French attitude mixed with a traditional comfort-food styled twist in the form of fried chicken, champagne, and so much in between. Myerow and partner Dave Kwass own and operate the wine and cheese hotspots Tria around the city, and this latest concept still holds a place for vino lovers but also tackles numerous varieties of champagne and a bevy of draft cocktails that actually taste freshly made. As for the cheese, they still have a selection of tasty fromage but also with the added addition of fried chicken and some vegetarian options as well. The vibe matches the food: Chic and elegant in one respect, and comfy in the other. The French aesthetic is simple and clean, but diners can sit in a dimly lit booth and look out into the bar area or right onto Walnut street while enjoying their meal. The floors of the previous Tria taproom have been reclaimed, the walls now have a Venetian feel and the antique fixtures surrounding the whole layout tie everything up nicely.
2005 Walnut St., barpoulet.com
Stephen Starr’s latest venture opened up earlier this year in October in Fishtown. LMNO features an authentic Baja-inspired menu centered around a custom live-fire grill — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg at the eatery, which also acts as an art gallery, a bookstore, and an intimate music venue, all under one roof. This multi-purpose concept will allow artists, musicians, and creators to showcase work alongside a rich, authentic culinary and beverage experience. The Baja-inspired cuisine comes from the coasts of Mexico, and diners will get to sink their teeth into a selection of aguachiles, ceviches, and coctels that are made with the freshest raw product. Flavors range from all across the board thanks to Starr’s collaboration with Chef Javier Plascencia, a noted ambassador of Mexican cuisine.
1739-1749 N Front St, lmnophilly.com