Summertime is here, and summer 2020 is all about outdoor dining. Not only does this offer a safe way to enjoy the city after spending months quarantining, it also is just an amazing way to enjoy the sunny-filled season. Philly in the past years has ultimately re-vamped their food scene as well, and with all this combined, it’s no surprise that a new eatery opening up might just be what the doctor ordered for some fun.
Añejo will be opening this Friday, July 31 at 4 p.m., at the Piazza in Northern Liberties. The 2,800 square foot Mexican restaurant and tequila bar was originally setting sights on March to open, but the pandemic ultimately had them push it back. However, it’s definitely better late than never with this new hotspot.
Añejo had been patiently waiting to open when indoor dining returned to Philadelphia, however, with news this week that indoor dining has been postponed once again, Anejo’s team quickly mobilized to look ahead and move forward. In the last 24 hours, their team has brought the space to life with the final construction on their expansive parkelette and open-air cafe seating area, plus they are continuing to ready the interior bar and dining space so that guests can get a preview of what indoor dining there will look like when the time is right. Añejo Philly is the company’s first big expansion outside of New York City. In fact, the owners fell in love with Philadelphia and its culinary scene so much that their new location here is nearly twice the size of their original location in Hell’s Kitchen and third location in Tribeca.
“Añejo is translated to mean aged. In the Tequila world it’s also used to define a category in which the Tequila has been aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 1 year. The term Añejo is significant to the concept because it embodies what we are in both concept and aesthetic. Upon visiting the restaurant, you’ll notice the use of reclaimed wood, exposed brick, concrete and weathered fixtures. We use these elements to further transport the guest to a time and place that we think is perfect for consuming what we offer,” said Ricardo Camacho, Executive Chef/Partner of Añejo in a statement. “Our plan has always been to expand Añejo out of NYC, when the opportunity was presented to us to open in Northern Liberties, we felt that the fit with the neighborhood was perfect. It’s an area that fits with our brand, and with a close proximity to NYC. The food scene in Philadelphia is great, and we wanted to be a part of it.”
Foodies and culinary lovers alike will love the fare that comes out of the hotspot, which uses classic Mexican ingredients in traditional and also unconventional ways. The chef himself commented on the establishment’s attention to detail to help craft the menu that holds dishes that you wouldn’t typically see at a similar joint. Highlighted menu items include duck enchiladdas, pork belly tostada (with guacamole, tamarind soda glazed pork belly. tomatillo pico de gallo, cilantro crema, built on nixtamalized corn chips), octopus tostada (with taro root puree, octopus in chipotle, pickled red onions, built on taro root chips) a plethora of tacos (think chicken al pastor, blistered shishito pepper, crispy cauliflower and lamb barbacoa) and more.
Beverage wise, the establishment will be serving up a spirited assortment of tequilas, margaritas, mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, specialty cocktails and sotol . However, the real draw will be the selection of agave spirits, which will feature some familiar favorites and also some lesser known, rare and premium offerings.
Safety is of course also at the forefront of everyone’s mind with the reopening. Temperatures will be taken on arrival, everyone must wear masks unless seated at a table and utensils, dishes, cups and bathrooms will be heavily sanitized.
Hours for Añejo Philadelphia will be Tuesday to Friday, from 4 to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 10 p.m. Philadelphians can look on Open Table for reservations (it will go live this Friday) or call 267-534-5746. For information and the full menu, visit anejophilly.com
Molly Given is a journalist who covers features and entertainment while currently residing in Philadelphia. Her love of interesting stories and compelling interviews is only surpassed by an affinity for spicy margaritas.