Around Town

Fond Farewells, Friendly Hellos & A Focus On The Future: Recapping Recent Developments

2024 kicked off with new comings and goings, so here’s a handy dandy recap along with a look at the future.

We’re thinking Center City – and the Rittenhouse area itself – has been lucky.

After what feels (and was) a looooong post-pandemic recovery, new restaurants, experiences, buildings, and more have been opening, leading to increased foot traffic. All of this is good for everyone who lives here, the students who come to learn, and the people who enjoy visiting the city for a great time. But life’s normal desire for yin and yang means we get both the good – New restaurants! New stores! – and also the bad – like no more kitchen goods for us!

Welcome to our new monthly feature where we’ll do a quick roundup of who’s left us, what’s opened up, and what’s on the horizon.

Fond Farewells:

Kitchen Kapers | 📍213 South 17th St

Kitchen Kapers’ Rittenhouse location closed in January but the nearby Chestnut Hill and Cherry Hill locations remain open. It was a pity because that corner of Chancellor and 17th JUST came to life, thanks to the pretty Greek restaurant Almyra. They also had the most helpful staff who could find you ANYTHING so we’ll miss them deeply, along with the fact we no longer have a place to run to for finding any kind of kitchen gadget, appliance, or baking pan.

Jester Castle | 📍2102 Market St (2nd floor)

Jester Castle, the tiny comedy club above Kook Burger that opened last summer was sacrificed but NOT in vain as it’s been creatively transformed into a beach with more seating (and games!) for now.

Outdoor Voices | 📍1723 Walnut St

Over a year later the Philly Outdoor Voices unexpectedly shut its doors. The brand itself is going through some challenges as its Nashville and LA stores also closed their doors. It was a nice, small store with lovely staff as well.

Bella Turka | 📍1700 Sansom St

It’s hard to describe what Bella Turka was, exactly, because it was a small space that packed in a LOT more than just jewelry. For example, we bought a gnome at Christmas that was one of maybe 25 other gnomes. It was a small, adorable, and had lovely window displays.

Ateethi Indian | 📍2046 Sansom St

📷: Yelp

This small family-run Indian restaurant recently shut its doors but it looks like a new curry restaurant is cooking in its place (sorry, couldn’t resist the urge to pun.)

Garces Trading Co. | 📍2046 Sansom St

📷: Metropolitan Accoustics

The Philly Inquirer broke the news that Garces Trading Co., the small coffee stand within the Kimmel Center, had closed and also hinted at Volver’s impending demise. Apparently, “The cafe was not generating adequate shared revenue for the partnership to remain financially viable.”

Rite Aid |📍1628 Chesnut St.

When Rite Aid initially declared bankruptcy they had not mentioned closing the Rittenhouse location. Then they quietly stopped stocking the store, and employees working there knew it was going to close but not when.

The building facade and the interior are lovely but it’s a big space to fill so, we’ll keep an eye out for news.

Atmos |📍1509 Walnut St.

📷: Google Maps

You always knew if a major Nike or New Balance drop was happening, and how important it was in the sneaker world based on the length of the line outside of the shop. Unfortunately, parent company Foot Locker closed the Atmos US locations (New York, Philly, DC), with now the sole remaining Atmos store being in Tokyo.

The Outdoor Structures @Parc |📍Locust St

A small fire demolished one of the outdoor structures at Parc, and they removed the one next to it as it was also slightly damaged. This is such a pity because it’s always hard to get into Parc and they were able to accommodate more people (and dogs!) with the outdoor structures.

We recently stopped by to see if they could fit two people in and the wait was two hours long. Can’t wait for spring to finally arrive so more people can use the cafe tables.

Friendly Hellos:

Alo Yoga |📍1608 Walnut St

While the Retail Gods took one athleisure brand they (thankfully) gave us another: Alo Yoga opened up after months of construction. It was a big space to fill but the new store is spacious and very pretty to shop in.

Dizengoff 📍1625 Sansom St

📷: Dizengoff

Like Jester Castle, Abe Fisher’s sacrifice was also not in vain as it gave way to an expanded, and very sleek, Dizengoff. Per the Philly Inquirer, “Unlike the moodily lit Abe Fisher, whose menu captured the foods of the Jewish diaspora, Dizengoff has bright colors, a modern vibe, and “a very Tel Aviv look that piggybacks off of the original Dizengoff design.”

Long story short: you definitely should add this to your list.

Midnight & The Wicked |📍1500 Sansom St

First came Vinyl. Now there’s an even fancier new club in town – Midnight and The Wicked – with not one room (so 2023) but four – four! – different spaces in one spot. Apparently, midnight is the lounge part and “The Wicked” is the club part.

Looks super fancy so dress up and bring your wallet because the lounging and clubbing will cost you because here you won’t be able to forget about the price tag. It also has a real vault like Del Frisco’s, so be sure to also get hot pics.

Lucy’s Bar |📍1720 Chestnut St

Hearts broke when Lucy’s Hat Shop in Old City closed. It was a great space with good vibes and even better times. Yeah well, sorry, it’s not back. This is a NEW Lucy’s that’s been reenvisioned as a sports bar at 1720 Chestnut, replacing the old Philly Team Store from FCM Hospitality, sandwiched nicely between Jacobs Music and MattressFIRM.

It’s not a bad idea, as the bulk of the sports bars feel like they’re in Washington Square West, so we’ll keep her.

Banh |📍2102 Chestnut St

We were going to list Banh as coming soon but it’s already now in a soft launch so – yay, it’s here! Banh replaces Maple Japanese Ramen and joins a slew of other Vietnamese restaurants in Center City overall, like Bahn Mi & Bottles and Miss Saigon, and the nearby Pho Mi that’s best for takeout and delivery.

Focus on the Future:

Tequilas |📍1602 Locust St

📷: Google Maps

Soooooo…it’s been over a year since we lost Tequila’s to a fire. The area has missed the classic Suros hospitality and remains anxiously waiting for its emergence. We know it will rise like a phoenix from the ashes, and we can’t wait to see it just hopefully soon as it’s been way too long.

Puttshack |📍1625 Chestnut St

Opening on February 24th is Puttshack, one of the mini-golf chains that they say combines good food and drinks to go along with a great tech-infused mini-golf experience. And it’s a BIG space which makes it perfect for Liberty Place. What were windows featuring mannequins wearing JCrew lined down Chestnut Street are now windows where you’ll see bars filled with people enjoying drinks.

A little bit of alcohol. Swinging some sticks. Sounds like a party and we’re here for it.

Vuori |📍1625 Chestnut St

Outdoor Voice’s sacrifice was also not in vain as Vuori, another popular D2C athleisure brand, is definitely launching soon, replacing Scotch & Soda (RIP, the store smelled so good).

Construction is coming along nicely as you can see from the latest pic. They did message us to let us know they don’t have an official opening date as of now but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a March opening.

Walnut Garden |📍1708 Walnut St

📷: Walnut Garden’s Instagram

We were excited when this beer/cocktails garden opened – then bummed when it closed – then excited again when it reopened. It’s a great idea, even if it’s probably a ton of headaches for the operator. Who wants to deal with a food inspector?! But we like the creativity that Walnut Garden brought, like Christmas trees for sale plus a fake snow blower for some hot Instagram pics. So we’re hoping they come back (please come back!)

Know of anything else coming or in the works? Shoot me an email here so we can watch their progress together.