Around Town

Fond Farewells, Friendly Hellos & A Focus On The Future: The June Edition Is Coming In Hot

Hot chicken, hot retail, hot foodie spots, , and a ton more as neighborhood activity and construction continue their hot streak.

The heat’s on and so is the neighborhood activity.

We have one hot chicken place that opened, one that may or may not be opening (it’s a fun mystery that’s waiting to be unpacked), new retail that opened up almost as fast as the window clings went up, and just a few stores that went under due to financial issues at the corporate level.

Then, there is the activity our fellow ramblers are very interested in: The Taco Bell Cantina, the new Starbucks, the closed-for-renos Starbucks, the new Yoga place, the progress made on Levain, Reformation, and Aritzia, plus a fast-casual taco place that replaces a former bank (!!).

So buckle up – it’s our most up-to-date and collaborative edition created with equal parts curiosity and iced coffee.

Fond Farewells:

Bonobos | 📍1519 Walnut St

One of the unfortunate casualties of Express filing bankruptcy, that caused the Express Edit at 1521 Walnut to close? Bonobos, is one of the the few men’s clothing stores on Walnut St (sorry guys), and one of the original boutique-style men’s stores.

Express Edit | 📍1521 Walnut St

It was a great run but we guess it had to end – Express, the fave of many a club fashionista in the 2000s, tried to make their outside-of-the-mall “curated” stores a thing but struggles at the brand level meant that some stores across the country have to close, and unfortunately affected this Rittenhouse located one.

OCF Coffee House | 1745 South St

📸: OCF Realty

If you imagined a local coffeehouse being a few baristas who know you by name, an extensive array of drinks, old wood tables, a bulletin board with fun flyers for dog walkers and local events, a drop-off bin for clothes donations, and co-working people, then you’d have described OCF Coffee House to a tee. The unusual local coffee chain from OCF Realty closed its (3) locations abruptly this month, and its absence is being felt deeply.

Volvér | 📍300 S Broad St

In other good runs that come to an end: Volvér, Jose Garces’ restaurant in The Kimmel Center closed after a decade. Their COO said the restaurant was shuttering as their contract “concluded.” Make of that what you, will but Garces is pretty amazing so hoping he opens a new concept here in Rittenhouse as we know, with all the foodies in town, it’ll be a hit.

Friendly Hellos:

Amourette @The Art Alliance |📍 251 S 18th St

In recent and surprising news that made foodies rejoice, Amanda Shulman and Alex Kemp – the chefs and owners behind Rittenhouse darlings Her Place Supper Club and MyLoup unveiled Amourette, a pop-up at The Arts Alliance that will run until October. The project was in the words before the closing of The University of the Arts, so props to them for staying committed to the project.

It sounds absolutely lovely: a menu that “offers seasonally focused, light fare reminiscent of French and Italian farm-based cuisine,” and “refined, relaxed, yet elegant vibes.” Reservations ARE OPEN but may be tough as it’s open only from 4 — 10 pm on Wednesday through Friday evenings.

Fishtown Seafood |📍 333 S 22nd St

Dropping anchor on June 1st was Fishtown Seafood, which took the place of the old Anima space, opposite The Goddard School. They bill themselves as a new school fish shop, and their Instagram is filled with helpful tips and knowledge for the home chef. phlspecial mentioned they will possibly be holding classes like oyster shucking 101, so if you’re looking for fun, foodie things to do, add this to your list. Oh, and every Friday AND Eagles game day they offer $1 oysters!

Full Circle Yoga x Wellness |📍 1611 Walnut St, 4th Floor

This news was well known amongst the local Yoga community, per fellow Rambler angiecage, so our apologies for sharing this news late: Popular and local Yoga instructor Dave Hem has opened up his new studio, Full Circle Yoga x Wellness at 1611 Walnut aka the “works on paper gallery” building that also houses lingerie brand Third Love. It’s on the top floor but the building has an elevator so you don’t need to work out on the way to your workout (can’t help ourselves, sorry).

Glowbar |📍42 S 17th St

There’s something really special happening in Rittenhouse where we’re getting a nice plethora of options for skincare. In this case, it’s Glowbar, the hot fast facial chain that’ll deliver a custom facial in just 30 minutes, with enough time to grab coffee at the Swedish Konditori next door. Or a sub from Jimmy John’s – RTO demands good skin + sustenance, after all.

Happy Rooster |📍118 S 16th St

After a crazy road repairs gone bad incident that caused the neighborhood’s friendliest bar The Happy Rooster to suffer a main water break AND electrical fire, it’s slowly but surely returning to the neighborhood. Sansom Street continues to stay closed so this is the only time we’re hoping it continues to stay closed until The Happy Rooster is back 100%. For updates, be sure to follow phillychitchat.

Hangry Joe’s |📍28 S 20th St

Mmmmm…chicken. Fittingly, this location of the Virginia-based franchise, Hangry Joe’s replaces the long-closed Chix & Bowls, and giving the neighborhood its first Nashville hot chicken place plus another choice for wings.

M.M.LaFleur |📍1700 Sansom Street

Before we could even get around to including this well-known women’s power-dressing brand in our May roundup, M.M.LaFleur opened up a stylish shop on Sansom, in the Bella Turkish jewelry space which has closed in January. In addition to being a boutique, the brand plans to run private events, meet-ups, and local collaborations, making it a true community space. See the space here.

The Elephant | 📍 261 S 17th St

This themed cocktails and food place from Craft Concepts is kind of ingenious. Scratch this: it’s VERY ingenious, and we wish we were the first ones to think of it. The seasonal themes and decor have made the various “Elephants” a fun and attractive place to hang out. Currently, The Elephant is an espresso and fruit-infused martini bar. Combined with a restaurant-wide happy hour, a “sit where you want” plus TVs to watch the Phillies AND pop music, it’s easy to see why The Elephant is always so busy.

Uni Japanese Cuisine | 📍1900 Pine St

Replacing the “no-nonsense interior” (lol) of Towne’s Pizza & Sub Shop is Uni Japanese Cuisine, a collab and BYOB between Brian Wang and Robby Ming offering “a lineup of sushi, sashimi, noodles, Japanese omelets, and bento boxes” plus hibachi-style options.” Early reviews are positive so we’ll be checking it out, and possibly often (big sushi fans here!).

Vita | 📍 261 S 17th St

Our favorite gelato, sorbet, and all-around-awesome people Vita had been dropping hints and all was unveiled in late May. You can read our story here but in short: behind the Ferrari red door was an entire restaurant, making it the first Italian speakeasy in the area.

Reservations have been hard to get as seatings are limited and the restaurant is open only Thursday through Saturday. In our opinion based on in-person research conducted numerous times, it’s worth the wait. Reservations can be made here.

Focus on the Future:

Aritzia |📍1725 Walnut St

Would you believe that Aritzia‘s arrival was announced back in June of 2022? The fashionable Canadian brand that offers “beautiful clothes in aspirational places” has a store in King of Prussia but this neighborhood loves having great brands within walking distance of lunch, brunch, and dinner so we’re not kidding when we say that Aritzia’s opening is going to be a BIG DEAL.

The wait will be worth it as the brand seems to be doing a complete revamp of what was a second H&M (the first was on Chestnut St). In the meantime, we’re all going to have to make do with AritziaTok.

Ayat |📍2021-23 Sansom St

The New York to Philly (and vice versa) love continues with the impending arrival of Ayat, a Palestinian restaurant, to the long-vacant Roxy Theatre space. This will be their seventh location, and second in Pennsylvania. There had been an attempt in the past to demolish the building but it’ll be good to have another restaurant on that stretch of Sansom next to Bolo.

Borromini* |📍1809 Walnut St

We placed an asterisk by the Borromini name because it’s more commonly referred to as the new Stephen Starr restaurant and rightly so: it’s been a while since we had a new Starr restaurant in Philly, let alone Rittenhouse, replacing the local cultural icon that was Barnes & Noble.

This is a highly anticipated launch that sadly won’t be coming until 2025, but it is a bottom-to-top complete rebuild, as you can see from our most recent photo.

Chip City Cookies |📍1909 Walnut St

Not going to lie – Miel Patisserie is MISSED (ignore the 3 stars on Yelp). They had great croissants, cakes, coffee, macarons, and staff – what else could you possibly want? Guessing another spot for sweets because this NY-based and Bethenny Frankel-endorsed cookie company, Chip City is coming to town.

Their cookie (per their site-going to have to do some research in person when it opens!) is a croissant baked with cookie dough so we’re going to proclaim Chip City as a worthy replacement for Miel. The tentative opening ETA is mid-July.

Dave’s Hot Chicken |📍1731 Chestnut St

Alright so…the sign that first appeared at the former South Moon Under boutique that closed pre-Covid said Dave’s Hot Chicken, the known national Nashville hot chicken chain across the US. Then, that sign disappeared. Recently a NEW sign has popped up BUT, as you can see in the pics, it lists their KoP and Willow Grow locations, which according to media outlets, are the original three that were slated to open in the Philadelphia area.

So this sign in our opinion means one of the following: (1) They are opening an unannounced 4th location or (2), The person or brand moving in let them post the flyers, or (3), They went rogue to promote their OTHER locations, to drum up business. Genius marketing move? Hoping to hear back soon to confirm one of these theories!

Equinox |📍1909 Walnut St

A lot of New Yorkers’ favorite go-to gym for eucalyptus towels, Equinox, is finally opening up a Philly location in Rittenhouse (yeah, we’re biased, but this is 100% the correct place for them to be) and it looks hot! It’s opening this fall in the newish condo/rentals building The Laurel, and they’re offering virtual tours as construction progresses.

FIGS |📍 1625 Walnut St

Construction continues to HUSTLE at the previous, lovely home of Free People (which moved across the street). While FIGS are considered the Lululemon of scrubs, the store may be more than just clothes: their first-ever retail store in Santa Monica is also a community hub which they plan to replicate here in Philly. ETA is this fall.

Flight Club Darts |📍1417 Walnut St

Billed as an “eatertainment” the UK export Flight Club Darts is luckily coming to Rittenhouse. Luckily, because Philly IS fun but until the recent arrival of mini-golf’s Puttshack to join ping-pong brand Spin, and 5 Iron Golf, Rittenhouse hasn’t had many all-in-3, i.e., activity, food, and drink, places. Hoping that this is just the beginning of more to come (hint, hint). Updates to come.

Garage Bar 📍1501 Spruce St

The news back in September 2023 that a 3rd Garage Bar was going to open in the long-closed Fox & Hound space was received with open arms. It would be the biggest one by far “clocking in at 6,500 square feet plus a large kitchen” and bring all the fun things the neighborhood could use, with skeeball machines, pinball, billiards, and more Eagles watch party options. And another “eatertainment” would fit in nicely with SPIN, Five Iron Golf, Puttshack, and the soon-to-come Flight Club Darts.

However, it’s been a bit quiet on that corner for a while now but we’ve reached out to them and will keep an eye on that corner because we could use some more indoor activity options in this heatwave.

JD Sports 📍1530 Chestnut St

We think that the area could use more shoe options. So when the signs went up for JD Sports in the former H&M space we were super happy, although we did have to Google the brand. The stores look spacious, somewhat minimalist, and carry cool shoes and brands. The store in Times Square has an Adidas MakerLab where you can customize your clothes and shoes. So really hoping this location has something equally if not more fab. It’s a pretty large space with over 2 levels and 25K (!!) square feet.

This would be their 2nd Philly location as they have one in the Northeast. Launch timing is TBD as we haven’t heard or seen any news just yet.

Jordan Brand’s World of Flight |📍1617 Walnut St

There’s a reason why Sneaker Con happens every year here in Philly as this city LOVES its sneakers. So when news dropped that the Jordan Brand was opening up its first US World of Flight store after Tokyo, Seoul, China, and Milan – let’s just say people got excited. There’s no open date that’s been announced BUT construction is well underway. Watch the construction unfold here.

Levain |📍1518 Walnut St

Of the many cookie places hitting Rittenhouse, this is a crowd favorite! The New York staple that’s been slowly expanding across the country, Levain Bakery’s lusciously huge cookies will occupy the space formerly occupied by My.Suit, hopefully this fall.

Little Water 📍261 S 20th St

Foodies were caught off-guard when Twenty Manning announced they were closing. What was also surprising was the fact a brand new coastal restaurant called Little Water was going to open in its place, from hip restauranteurs Randy and Amanda Rucker who own East Passyunk restaurant, River Twice. The team is doing something fun: they’re sharing their journey to opening on Instagram so be sure to follow them for a look behind the hospitality curtain.

Neuhaus Chocolates |📍 1616 Walnut St

Rittenhouse has quite a few stores but what we don’t have is a chocolate shop. That’s going to change with Neuhaus coming to town. The home of decadent Belgium chocolates has leased an intimate space across the street from the new Jordan store, the Apple store, and next to Paper Source, so you’re covered on every gift front. If you need to check out the goods in advance, know they have a KoP store.

Reformation |📍 1723 Walnut St

Imagine one area on Walnut and 18th in the city where Anthropologie, Artizia, Madewell, Lululemon, AND Reformation all exist by Rittenhouse Square. That’s what’s in play as construction is underway for the popular LA sustainable fashion. We’ll be doing our best to keep up, peek in, and share updates – The last we heard from them was that they’re aiming at a late June/early July opening, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

Skin Laundry |📍 123 S 16th St

Rittenhouse denizens will have ZERO excuses to not have glowing skin as the neighborhood will have another facial option, joining Glowbar, LaserAway, Heyday, Rescue Spa, and more. Skin Laundry, a subscription laser facial chain from New York, will be coming to the store formerly occupied by Kimberly Boutique (RIP). Work is well underway so we’ll keep you posted!

Starbucks |📍2 Logan Square

📸:  @evamacek

This space has been empty for a long, long, long, long, long time because pre-Covid months are kind of like dog years, right? So, when we heard via fellow rambler Eva that the former 2-Yelp stars Au Bon Pain space at 2 Logan Square was going to be a Starbucks, we were super happy. The space is fairly big and hoping that there will be tables and other amenities for visitors.

Starbucks |📍1900 Market St

Thanks to a tip from fellow Rambler and coffee fan evamacek, we discovered that the small but always busy Starbucks at 20th & Market had closed. A sign on the door notes that it is in the midst of renovations, which we heard were much needed. They have some of the nicest staff who gave out generous puppucinos so we’re anxiously awaiting their reopening next month on July 17th.

Taco Bell Cantina |📍1634 Chestnut St

The empty storefront between Dig and Uniqlo is not going to be empty anymore as the Philadelphia Business Journal shared the neighborhood is getting its first Taco Bell, and a Taco Bell Cantina at that! It’ll replace 4 Seasons Food Court that was there for 15 (!) years, although there was a brief moment Chestnut Diner was open (2020 was a very tough year).

Taco Bell Cantinas are known for being upscale and serving alcohol, although this location is TBD for the moment. Because antiquated liquor laws and all that couldn’t possibly be a challenge. We hear their boozy Mountain Dew slushies are fun. Hoping this Cantina is able to make that happen so we can all judge how fun those are for ourselves. ETA is by the end of this year so we’ll be doing a few drive-bys to check on the progress.

Tacodelphia |📍2051 Walnut St

Fellow Rittenhouse rambler jessierose1 tipped us off that a new food place was coming to the former Chase location at 21st and Walnut, which philly_junebug confirmed was Tacodelphia, a fast-casual restaurant that was formerly known in the area as Illegal Tacos. The reviews are pretty damn good for their 427 S Broad Street location so we’re looking forward to checking these out personally.

Taylor Chip |📍1809 Chestnut St

The neighborhood is still waiting for Taylor Chip, the Lancaster-based cookie store that was supposed to open last year, to arrive. But life is busy when you make the Forbes Under 30 list and opening a store in general is ALWAYS challenging, however, we heard that they are aiming to open THIS SUMMER which makes us super happy as this location will also have ice cream, giving us and you something else to scream (nicely) about.

Teddy Sourias Project | 📍 1515 Market St

📸: Yelp

We’ve been waiting for more details on this but they’re still pending, so we’ll share what (little) we know: Teddy Sourias, the founder of Craft Concepts Group, who has many restaurants you’d recognize in Center City including Uptown Beer Garden, is planning a Japanese-inspired restaurant at 1515 Market that includes a 4,000-square-foot patio.

Tequilas |📍1602 Locust St

📸: Google Maps

Still anxiously waiting for Tequila’s, the only place you can find a rose margarita in the neighborhood since it closed due to a bad fire. Owner David Suro has been doing anything BUT resting: he’s been focused on the family tequila brand, Siembra Spirits, and authoring the book Agave Spirits. Rumor has it that in addition to having a tasting room and cafe, the opening could be as soon as this fall.

The Sugary | 📍 251 S 21st St

Soon, everyone who lives near Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will have a very chic dessert boutique option in the neighborhood, The Sugary. It’s a custom dessert place from East Falls that is opening up its first storefront where Latimer Dry Cleaners was, and we’re down with it because they’ll be offering desserts, specialty treats, cakes, and coffee. And judging by their stunning cake designs, we’re 99.9% sure this will be a very popular place to find your holiday sweet treats.

Topside Tavern | 📍 10 S 20th St

We have many things in Rittenhouse but not too many rooftop restaurants: we have 2 Because you can never have enough of a good thing, the owners of Thanal Indian Tavern are transforming the long-closed Farmer’s Keep into a tavern – ETA is this summer, and judging by these recent photos, it looks like that opening is on track!

Undisclosed @The Bards | 📍 2013 Walnut St

It was in the neighborhood for 26 years but hospitality is tough and the pandemic unfortunately forced The Bards to close. The Philadelphia Business Journal noted that the Bards’ building and the Irish Pub + Cafe were up for sale but no buyer was noted. Now there’s an alcohol application up and work is being done so we’re going to track this one closely.

Undisclosed | 📍1619 Walnut St

Not sure what’s going on at this location BUT after years of the fluorescent lights staying on day and night, crews moved in and construction has been in full swing. It’s zoned for retail and it’s a GREAT location with tons of foot traffic and the Jordan store coming in so we’re hopeful this work is for a new tenant (all of our fingers are crossed!)

UPDATE 6/25 – Hearing that New Balance is moving over BUT it’s not confirmed!

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