Fishtown is for foodies

A hand­ful of res­taur­ants are set to open in the com­ing months as Fishtown be­comes a choice loc­a­tion for food in­dustry novices and vet­er­ans.

  • Tommy Up channels the spirit of The Yatchsman in his official press photo for the tiki bar. PHOTO COURTESY OF TOMMY UP

  • A variety of icings and flavors will be available at Cake Life Bake Shop when it opens at 1306 Frankford Ave. this summer. PHOTO COURTESY OF DOMINIC PERRI

  • A four-tier cake in shades of pink custom-made by Cake Life Bake Shop. PHOTO COURTESY OF DOMINIC PERRI

  • Butcher Bryan Mayer and executive chef Damon Menapace will collaborate daily to serve up locally-sourced fare at Kensington Quarters. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES NAROG

Hanker­ing for a Hof­bräu la­ger and some schnitzel?  Don’t have time to travel to the Middle East for genu­ine hum­mus? Need a shot, or 80, of whis­key to wash it all down?

Look no farther than Fishtown, where all of the above is avail­able, thanks to the res­taur­ant boom that has swept the 19125 zip code.

Amid the fan­fare re­cently about Philly’s un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated res­taur­ant scene, Fishtown has be­come a reck­on­ing force in the field.

Soon to join the ever-ex­pand­ing loc­al res­taur­ant scene are sev­er­al more unique eat­er­ies, in­clud­ing a tiki bar, a Vi­et­namese pho-fo­cused res­taur­ant, a com­bined butcher shop and res­taur­ant, a cup­cake BY­OB and a com­bined caf&ea­cute; and dis­til­lery. With so many new bars, cafes, and res­taur­ants com­ing to Fishtown in the up­com­ing months, you’ll be hard-pressed to find your­self hungry in the River Wards.

The Yachts­man

Loc­al res­taur­ant part­ners Tommy Up and Sarah Brown, who were be­hind North­ern Liber­ties bur­ger joint P.Y.T. and rum bar Em­manuelle, will open shop in Fishtown in the com­ing months.  

Their latest ven­ture, The Yachts­man, will be loc­ated at 1444 Frank­ford Ave. and will pay homage to the 1950s style tiki bars.

With two suc­cess­ful res­taur­ants and P.Y.T. set to ex­pand in­to fran­chises, why travel to Fishtown?

“We’re creatures of where we live and work,” Up said. “We want to be part of the com­munity.”

Up grew up in Fishtown and Brown cur­rently lives there.

So, what should vis­it­ors ex­pect at the latest col­lab­or­a­tion?

“We’re def­in­itely tip­ping our hats to the ori­gin­al tiki bars that people com­ing back from World War II would go to get that Poly­ne­sian feel in the U.S.,” Brown said.

The duo traveled in and out of the coun­try two years ago, scour­ing still-stand­ing au­then­t­ic tiki bars for in­spir­a­tion.

“While there will be touch­stones [of the ori­gin­al tiki bars], this is our take on an au­then­t­ic tiki bar,” Up said. “It’s a pro­ject from our hearts.”

The tiki bar will fea­ture a naut­ic­al d&ea­cute;cor theme, com­plete with a second-hand Queen Eliza­beth ship di­orama that emits smoke. There will also be an ex­tens­ive drink menu craf­ted by Phebe Es­mon and Chris­ti­an Gaal, the mix­to­lo­gists be­hind Em­manuel, with tra­di­tion­al tiki-style drinks, in­clud­ing scor­pi­on bowls, a mix­ture of rum, vodka, and fruit that is served on fire.

The Yachts­man will also serve a small se­lec­tion of food and a pig roast for Sunday brunch.

Oth­er not­able fea­tures of Fishtown’s first tiki bar in­clude a lei for every pat­ron and the Fishtown Yacht Club, an up­scale mem­bers-only bath­room.

The Yachts­man will have seat­ing for ap­prox­im­ately 45 and will be open sev­en days a week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The grand open­ing is sched­uled for Tues­day, April 15.


Fishtown res­id­ents and hus­band and wife Tyler Akin and Nicole Reigle are plan­ning to open their first res­taur­ant, Stock, a Vi­et­namese spot with an em­phas­is on pho and ve­get­ari­an friendly op­tions, this April at 308 E. Gir­ard Ave.

“The pho will be made with mush­room broth, our take on ve­gan pho, and we’ll of­fer a couple of dif­fer­ent salads every day and small ap­pet­izers, in­clud­ing whole fish,” Akin said.

Al­though the menu will abound in ve­get­ari­an choices, the name it­self, ac­cord­ing to Akin, is a ref­er­ence to the base in­gredi­ent of pho: beef stock.   

Fishtown’s first pho-based eat­ery will also be BY­OB. Al­though the spot is small, with in­side seat­ing for 20, Stock has already been ap­proved by the city for out­door seat­ing in the back­yard. Ac­cord­ing to Akin, this would add ap­prox­im­ately 10 more seats, but wouldn’t be set up un­til next sum­mer.

Ini­tially, Stock will be open from Thursday to Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for din­ner and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat­urdays and Sundays for brunch.  

“We’re def­in­itely in­ter­ested in adding every­day lunch ser­vice and a sixth day of op­er­a­tion,” Akin said.

With oth­er food friendly neigh­bor­hoods in Phil­adelphia, sim­il­ar to the own­ers of The Yachts­man, the Stock res­taur­at­eurs want to be in­volved in their com­munity.

“We moved here [Fishtown] about two years ago and really want to stay for the long haul and hope­fully this lets us do that,” Akin said.

“There is so much change go­ing on in the area and we hope to be a small part of that.”  

Akin ex­pects a mid to late April open­ing, pending in­spec­tions. There’s no web­site yet, but photo up­dates are be­ing pos­ted to Stock’s In­s­tagram ac­count @Stock­philly.

Kens­ing­ton Quar­ters

Mi­chael and Jeniphur Pasquarello, the hus­band and wife duo be­hind Bu­fad, Cafe Lift, and Pro­hib­i­tion Tap­room 13th, are part­ner­ing with vet­er­an butcher Bry­an May­er to bring Fishtown a butcher shop-res­taur­ant com­bin­a­tion, Kens­ing­ton  Quar­ters, at 1310-12 Frank­ford Ave.

With much suc­cess on 13th Street, Fishtown still holds a spe­cial place in their heart.

“Jeniphur and I bought a house on Day Street [in Fishtown] about 8 or 9 years ago and lived there for quite some time,” Mi­chael Pasquarello said. “We’ve al­ways really loved Fishtown. I just felt really com­fort­able open­ing a busi­ness there. The people are so open-minded and in­to try­ing new things that I think the concept we are com­ing with is ex­cit­ing for the com­munity.”

After con­tact­ing May­er to learn more about whole an­im­al butchery for his latest res­taur­ant, Pasquarello and May­er de­cided it made sense to com­bine the butcher shop and res­taur­ant.

While a butcher shop and butcher-cent­ric res­taur­ant may be a new idea in Fishtown, the tra­di­tion of butchery dates back cen­tur­ies and Pasquarello, May­er and ex­ec­ut­ive chef Da­mon Mena­pace all plan to pay homage to that tra­di­tion.

“We’re cook­ing with sol­id fuels much like they would have cooked back in that time peri­od,” Pasquarello said. “We’re us­ing a wood-burn­ing oven and a wood–fired grill. We’re try­ing to use those old world pieces of equip­ment to cook this old-world food.”  

Kens­ing­ton Quar­ters will also serve food that is loc­ally sourced. You won’t find straw­ber­ries at the res­taur­ant in Novem­ber, Pasquarello said.

May­er said that with loc­al food, “what you get is a much fresh­er and, in my opin­ion, a bet­ter tast­ing product.”

While the menu is still be­ing de­veloped, it will be sea­son­al and farm-in­spired.

In keep­ing with the idea of whole-an­im­al butchery and sus­tain­ab­il­ity, the res­taur­ant will fea­ture meats from the butcher shop.

The res­taur­ant will seat about 100 to 120 people in­side, with 40 ad­di­tion­al seats in the back­yard. An up­stairs loft will serve as a classroom space, where May­er and oth­er culin­ary ex­perts will show­case their skills.

“We want it to be a space where we can cov­er any­thing in the culin­ary world,” May­er said. “There will be butcher classes, but it’s not lim­ited to that. We’ve got ideas for pasta classes and fer­ment­ing classes and cof­fee classes.”

The space, equipped with two large com­mun­al din­ing tables, will also be used to cre­ate a more in­tim­ate din­ing ex­per­i­ence, where Mena­pace will come out and serve vis­it­ors.

So, when can res­taur­ant go­ers and meat-eat­ers plan to stop at Kens­ing­ton Quar­ters?

Ac­cord­ing to Pasquarello, the team is an­ti­cip­at­ing a late spring open­ing, some­time in the months of May or June.

The butcher shop is sched­uled to be open sev­en days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The res­taur­ant will also be open sev­en days a week from 4 p.m. to mid­night.

A month after open­ing, the res­taur­ant will add brunch hours on the week­ends. The long-term goal is to add lunch hours.

Classes will be ad­ded ap­prox­im­ately a month after the grand open­ing.  

For the latest up­dates on Kens­ing­ton  Quar­ters, check out May­er’s Twit­ter @Bry­bass01 or one of the fol­low­ing In­s­tagram ac­counts: @Kens­ing­ton Quar­ters, @Bry­bass01 or @13th­streetkit­chens.

Cake Life Bake Shop

Cake Life Bake Shop, cur­rently loc­ated in Frank­ford, will bring its Food Net­work Cup­cake Wars-win­ning cup­cakes and pastries to 1306 Frank­ford Ave. in Fishtown this sum­mer.

While there are already a couple of oth­er baker­ies and cake shops in and around Fishtown, Cake Life Bake Shop own­ers Lily Fisc­her and Nima Etem­adi prom­ise a unique bakery ex­per­i­ence.

“It’s go­ing to be something of a bakery and a caf&ea­cute;,” Fisc­her said. “Dessert and booze are two peas in a pod. We are in the pro­cess of be­com­ing a BY­OB.”

Fisc­her and Etem­adi en­vi­sion the BY­OB bakery as an in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tion to Fishtown, of­fer­ing people a place to en­joy dessert and an after-din­ner bever­age .

While Fisc­her and Etem­adi staked their claim to fame win­ning Epis­ode 2 of Food Net­work’s Cup­cake Wars, the duo plan to broaden their bakery ho­ri­zon bey­ond cup­cakes.

“We are plan­ning an ex­tens­ive pastry pro­gram with scones, tarts, crois­sants, cook­ies, pies, and even break­fast sand­wiches,” Etem­adi said.

Days and hours of op­er­a­tion are still be­ing de­cided, but both agreed that the bakery would be open late on First Fri­days.

“We identi­fy as be­ing artists even though we are us­ing but­ter and sug­ar,” Fisc­her said.

Fisc­her and Etem­adi are gear­ing up to open some­time this sum­mer, but the date hinges on when renov­a­tions will be com­pleted.

With a loc­a­tion already open in Frank­ford, why move the bakery to Fishtown?

Aside from the lar­ger space, Fisc­her and Etem­adi wanted to be a part of the chan­ging neigh­bor­hood.

“Nima lives in Fishtown and there is just so much hap­pen­ing,” Fisc­her said.

Etem­adi ad­ded: “We are ex­cited to be part of Fishtown and the com­munity that has so much spir­it and a his­tory of crafts­man­ship.”

For more in­form­a­tion, vis­it cakelife­

Fishtown will also be home to an­oth­er cof­fee shop, but with an onsite rum dis­til­lery.

Phil­adelphia-based cof­fee roast­er La Colombe will open its latest cafe at 1335 Frank­ford Ave. in spring 2014, ac­cord­ing to The In­quirer’s Mi­chael Klein.   

There will be an on-site bakery and the ma­jor­ity of the dis­tilling will be com­pleted at the Port Rich­mond loc­a­tion.

La Colombe’s web­site, la­, lists the Fishtown loc­a­tion as “com­ing soon.”

Fans of Steph­en Starr will have to settle for Fette Sau or Frank­ford Hall if they’re look­ing for one of his res­taur­ants in Fishtown.

Re­becca Dub­lin, a spokes­wo­man for Starr, con­firmed via email that the 1526-30 Frank­ford Ave. res­taur­ant col­lab­or­a­tion between Starr and Aimee Olexy, part­ner with Starr of Talula’s Garden and Talula’s Daily on Wash­ing­ton Square, “is not go­ing to hap­pen.” ••

Melissa Ko­mar can be reached at mak0721@ve­r­i­

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