If 2012 was any indication of what’s to come in the "City of Brotherly Love," then diners are in for an equally delicious set of new options in 2013.
While ramen and Southern-style barbecue restaurants were the most popular type of restaurants to open last year according to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation — Nom Nom Ramen in Rittenhouse Square, Market 16 Noodle Bar and Ramen Bar in University City, Hiro Ramen House in Washington Square, and Terakawa Ramen in Chinatown all opened in 2012 — the popularity of pit-smoked meats is poised to continue in 2013 with the opening of three new barbecue restaurants.
While pit-smoked meats have been gaining popularity in Philly for some time, a new influx of barbecue joints in 2012 brought a more artisanal twist to Southern fare, for example with the opening of Rex 1516, which serves spins on classics like savory shrimp-stuffed beignets and pork chops over rosemary grits. More barbecue restaurants have opened this month, including a second location of Reading Terminal Market favorite Beck’s Cajun Café, which just opened in 30th Street Station, and soul food stand Ms. Tootsie’s 2Go, which opened at the Reading Terminal Market where it serves the same comfort food from its original outpost on South Street East like chicken and waffles, candied yams, and mac and cheese. Rubb BBQ is slated to open its first restaurant in Manayunk.
But menu items aren’t the only trend in town; many of the restaurant openings in 2012 and those slated for 2013 are being opened by chefs from outside Philadelphia who are moving in (or in some cases moving back) to the city. 2012 saw the opening of Fette Sau, a Brooklyn barbecue spot opened by New Yorkers Kim and Joe Carroll that sells meat by the pound, The Mildred, a British-inspired bistro helmed by Ohioan Michael Santoro, and the revamp of Le Bec-Fin by former French Laundry general manager Nicolas Fanucci.
Up next is Noord, a Dutch concept from Chicago chef Joncarl Lachman, slated to open on Tasker Street off East Passyunk Avenue, and Serpico, the latest project of Peter Serpico of New York’s Momofuku fame and Stephen Starr, of STARR Restaurants, which will open on South Street. One-time local chef Chris Lee has returned to Philadelphia to work on Sophia's, a new restaurant that will share the double storefront with recently revamped American bistro Salt & Pepper on Passyunk Avenue. Let the feast begin.
Lauren Mack is the Special Projects Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.