When it comes to cozy neighborhood joints in Philadelphia, Lou Bird’s located in Graduate Hospital on 20th and Lombard has certainly made a name for itself.
Originally opened in 2016 (and named after owners Norris and Debbie Jordan’s daughter), this bar and eatery has become a staple for those who live in the area, and for those who are traveling through. But with an updated menu from new Chef Eli Field, the establishment has recently revamped their elevated fare to include comfort options that add to its quaint atmosphere, and that help finish out the cold months in the city on a tasty note.
The building and bones of the restaurant have been around for a century (1915 to be exact), and when walking through Lou Bird’s, you get to see the remnants of its history thanks to the work done years ago when this South Philly spot first opened.
The Jordans gutted the venue and redesigned it to have an updated feel without losing the personality of the original design. They also added in antique add-ons to the space, sourced from other local entities as redesigned fixtures. With this being the second venue opened by the restauranteur couple—the first being The Happy Rooster in the Rittenhouse area—you could say adding coziness to a space is something they specialize in.
Menu-wise, Lou Bird’s also underwent a transformation in December of last year. When Chef Field took over, he brought his own spin to already-elevated American cuisine that the establishment was known for. Fields came from Bistrot La Minette where he worked as the Executive Sous Chef under Chefs Grant Lloyd and Peter Wolsey. And with the inspiration of his past French cuisine, the new Executive Chef tackled some updates to the winter offerings here.
The food is split into different categories on the menu, with small plates now including options such as the French onion soup, chicken empanadas, ricotta meatballs, buffalo shrimp and chicken teriyaki dumplings. As for shareable options, Philadelphians can find a cheese board, fried Brussel sprouts, tzatziki with pita bread, an assortment of flatbreads and more on the menu.
Large plates span pan-seared salmon, lobster mac and cheese, NY strip steak, pasta bolognese, chicken milanese and the staple chicken pot pie (which looks as good as it tastes). There’s also an assortment of sandwiches (think burgers, fried chicken, a Maine lobster roll and more) and sides (such as mashed potatoes, fries, seasonal vegetables and more) to choose from.
Overall, the offerings at this local eatery are meant to change with the seasons. Visitors can expect more of Field’s French influence to come in with the spring menu, but what you’ll find no matter what time of year you come here is that the options remind you of home-cooked meals.
For Valentine’s Day, Lou Bird’s is also offering an option for love birds with a three-course meal for two people, which comes out to be $90. First course is a caesar salad, the main is an 18oz ribeye (with steak diane sauce, a twice baked sour cream and chive potato, creamed spinach and roasted mushrooms), and a few different options for dessert (think crème brûlée, a walnut cookie or warm apple crumble, and vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.)
There’s also a brunch menu available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with options spanning eggs benedict and florentine, silver dollar pancakes, cinnamon French toast, avocado toast, a croque madame sandwich and much, much more.
Drinks-wise, although this venue is low-key, the bar program is quite elevated. The establishment offers a fully bar stocked with beer, wine and a few inventive cocktails. The Western for example boasts Western Son Prickly Pear vodka, lime, angostura and a mint garnish, while Back to Square One features Square One Bergamot orange vodka, chamomile, lemon, sugar and cinnamon.
There is also Lou Bird’s own spin on an espresso martini, margaritas, a whiskey sour, a cinnamon hot toddy and a mezcal cocktail. Plus, Philadelphians can also find a rotating frozen cocktail on the menu along with a vast wine and beer selection.
Guests can flock to this neighborhood spot to watch a game, partake in Happy Hour (weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m.) or to simply have a nice meal in a comfortable atmosphere. Lou Bird’s offers indoor and bar seating, with outdoor seating also available for nice weather.
More information can be found at loubirds.net