6 Recent Restaurant Openings in Philly You Need to Check Out
A well-loved food truck puts down roots, bakeries expand their offerings, and more.
Winter typically brings a slow period for restaurants, but the beginning of 2022 has given us an onslaught of new openings that shows no signs of slowing down. Even with COVID-19 cases creating across the city, restaurant owners are unveiling projects that began to come together when vaccines brought in a wave of hope.
With Philly’s indoor vaccine mandate in full effect and takeout and heated outdoor dining options expanding by the day, there are more ways than ever to check out old favorites and exciting new openings in our city. So here’s a roundup of the best restaurants to open in Philadelphia over the past few months.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
Jeni’s landed in Philadelphia in December with a splash, opening not one but two scoop shops in the city. Everyone loves owner Jeni Britton Bauer’s ice creams, and she’s famous for flavors like Gooey Butter Cake and Strawberry Pretzel Pie, a collaboration with Dolly Parton that came out over the summer. Head to either scoop shop to taste flavors beyond what the brand offers at grocery stores nationally.
After years of running Juana Tamale as a pop-up, Jennifer Zavala is now selling her birria tacos and ramen from a brick-and-mortar spot in South Philly. The menu drew lines and would sell out often when she would pop up all over town, but now there’s a dedicated space at the southern end of Passyunk Avenue to order tamales, birria tacos, and ramen, as well as rotating specials like a recent pozole verde. Zavala has also been outspoken about the importance of paying her employees well and giving them regular time off to make the restaurant industry a more sustainable career path, which only makes us love the restaurant that much more. So check it out, but go early—she sells out often.
Kyushu Ramen and Sushi
Kyushu’s arrival in the Italian Market may be an indication of what’s to come in that neighborhood. An area that was once dominated by Italian grocers, butchers, and restaurants is increasingly becoming a multicultural hub, and Kyushu is just a small part of that evolution. The team is focused on Japanese fare, with sushi and ramen as the stars of the menu. Sushi offerings include classic rolls like California and spicy tuna, alongside more than 25 chef’s creations including one roll with shrimp tempura, avocado, and cucumber topped with spicy lobster that is the restaurant’s namesake. In addition to rolls, sashimi is available a la carte. On the hot side, six varieties of ramen are available from tonkotsu, shoyu, and miso, to a vegan option made with vegetable stock and sesame oil and topped with vegetables.
Machine Shop Philly
Emily Riddell and Katie Lynch started Machine Shop as a wholesale-only bakery in 2017 , supplying pastries to coffee shops across the city like Menagerie and Elixr. But during the pandemic they began selling directly to customers via pre-orders, which eventually led to the gorgeous new space that recently opened inside the Bok Building. Go early for French inspired pastries like quince-filled kouign amann, everything spiced croissants, pointy baguettes, and much more.
Mighty Bread Cafe
There’s always been a lot to love about Mighty Bread’s bread, but with their expansion into a sunny, dine-in space next to the old bakery, they’ve shown that they can also do breakfast and lunch food that’s worthy of a special trip. Breakfast sandwiches are served on sweet potato buns, salads are topped with perfectly fried eggs and handfuls of herbs, and their ham and butter sandwich is sure to become a city favorite.
Ocho Rios Parrilla
In a neighborhood that is dominated by New American spots, Ocho Rios is a welcome new option. Partners Lisa Wilson and Krisna Mcgeachie have created an affordable, casual Caribbean restaurant named for an area of Jamaica that is known as “one of the birthplaces of Caribbean cuisine.” Now at this South Philly spot, you can stop by any time of day for specialties like oxtail stew, coconut shrimp, and a selection of cocktails with a notable bent toward rum.