Arts

Sips and Eats: Rex 1516 reopens, the Franklin Square Summer Splash begins, and more

Rex 1516

Rex 1516 Reopens on South Street 

(Rex 1516)

Rex 1516, Philadelphia’s destination for elevated Southern-inspired cuisine, has reopened for in-person service for the first time since March with daily outdoor dining at a socially-distanced shaded streeterynew dishes, and more amid a bevy of health and safety precautions.

Beginning this week, Rex 1516 is open seven days a week from 5-10 p.m. for first-come-first-served outdoor dining at a beautiful plant-lined streetery with six tables boasting longtime favorite dishes from Executive Chef Craig Meyers and new additions including Lowcountry Seafood Boil ($24), Veggie Burger ($14) and Carolina Gold Risotto ($24) – plus cocktails.

“We are so glad to be back open for in-person dining,” said Heather Rodkey, Director of Operations for Sojourn Philly. “We will continue to do what we do best – offering Philly a taste of the South via thoughtful dishes and cocktails – with added health and safety precautions.”

(Rex 1516)

Rex 1516’s COVID safety precautions are extensive, including disposable serve ware, QR food, and beverage menus, frequent sanitizing of tables, chairs and door handles, strict mask policy, etc.

Fans of the restaurant can also order their favorite dishes for curbside pickup via the website or delivery via Caviar. Rex 1516 also offers an extensive catering menu, including their popular Southern classics, like the Grilled Beef Brisket, Crawfish Pot Pie, Shells & Cheese, and more. The full menu can be found here.

FFranklin Square’s Summer Splash 

(Franklin Square // Photos by Jeff Fusco and Cari Feiler Bender for Historic Philadelphia, Inc)

Franklin Square introduces the Franklin Square Summer Splash. There are new healthy activities, a new SquareBurger menu, new free and paid programs including FREE yoga, an extended Fountain Show schedule, the return of the Oasis Cocktail Garden, and safe fun for all. In August and early September, see the Fountain Show, hear Griot Storytelling from the African American Museum of Philadelphia, drink yummy adult beverages from the Oasis Cocktail Garden Franklin Bus, and taste delicious new 2020 menu items from SquareBurger operated by Cooperage, including the famous Cake Shake made with Tastycake© Butterscotch Krimpets. Philly Mini Golf, Parx Liberty Carousel, both playgrounds, and SquareBurger are open and following new safety protocols since the Square re-opened on July 6.

Food and Drink Options for Summer Splash

Oasis Cocktail Garden featuring The Franklin Bus – Visitors can enjoy a relaxing cocktail in the pop-up Oasis Cocktail Garden featuring The Franklin Bus operated by Cooperage.

Through September 5, Thursdays – Saturdays, 5 – 9 p.m.

Hand-Crafted Cocktails

  • Liberty Lemonade (blueberries, vodka, and lemonade) – $11
  • Rocky Rita, Strawberry Margarita (strawberry purée, triple sec, tequila, and margarita mix) – $11
  • The 1776, Gin Mojito (gin, cucumber and mint, lime, and club soda) – $12
  • Parkway Punch (rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice) – $11

Frozen Cocktails

  • Frosé (rosé wine, strawberry-infused simple syrup) – $12
  • Franklin Freeze, Piña Colada (coconut rum, cream de coconut, pineapple juice, and cream) – $11

Canned Cocktails: White Claw (assorted flavors) – $8

Draft Beer

  • Von Trapp Bohemian Pilsner – $7
  • Von Trapp Helles Lager – $7
  • Daisy Cutter Pale Ale – $6
  • Neshaminy Wayward Wheat – $7

Soft Drinks: Water Bottle – $2, Fruit Punch – $2, Lemonade – $3

Chicken Slider purchase is required for every transaction – $1

(Franklin Square // Photos by Jeff Fusco and Cari Feiler Bender for Historic Philadelphia, Inc)

All-New Squareburger Menu 

Food options are Big Ben Burger, Betsy Ross Veggie Burger, Race Street Jumbo Hot Dog, Square Cheesesteak, Crispy Chicken Tenders, Caprese Panini, Jumbo Pretzels, Crispy Waffle Fries, Nachos. Treats are Classic Thick Milkshakes including the legendary Original Cake Shake with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets®; Chocolate, Vanilla, or Black and White Shakes; Hurricane Flurry; Soft Serve Chocolate or Vanilla with Oreos or M&Ms; Classic Root Beer Float; House Made Ice Cream Sandwich; Soft Serve Twist with Chocolate Wafer Cookie; Ice Cream Cones; Ice Cream Sundaes with Choice of Chocolate Syrup, Caramel, Pineapple, Strawberry, Whipped Cream, and Cotton Candy. Drink options are Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mist Twist, Orange Slice, Ginger Ale, Root Beer, Lemonade, and Sweetened Iced Tea.

SquareBurger Summer Splash Lite Menu:

Chicken Salad Panini (House Made Chicken Salad, Roasted Peppers, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Ciabatta Bread) – $7

Strawberry Smoothie (Fresh Strawberries Blended with Ice) – $4.

Bluebird Distilling Celebrates 5th Anniversary 

(Bluebird Distilling)

Bluebird Distilling, Phoenixville’s award-winning grain-to-glass craft distillery, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with launch of expanded patio and pergola and the release of a new Jamaican Rum and Citrus Vodka this weekend – Friday, August 21 – Sunday, August 23

To celebrate five years in Phoenixille, the Bluebird Distilling van will be parked in front of the distillery all weekend with cocktails to-go or to-stay. Guests are invited to grab a tipple and enjoy Bluebird Distilling’s new open-air pergola and expanded outdoor seating area. The distillery will be open Friday 2-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-10 p.m.

“While we typically go all out for our anniversary parties, this year will look a little different,” said Jared Adkins, Bluebird Distilling Founder and Master Distiller. “We look forward to still celebrating with our regulars and fans of the distillery albeit safely and within the city and state guidelines. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Bluebird Distilling anniversary without some specialty spirit releases!”

Adkins is honoring the fifth anniversary by releasing two limited-edition spirits: Jamaican Rum ($59.99 / 750ml) and Citrus Vodka ($29.99 / 750ml). The Jamaican Rum boasts notes of clove, spice, and banana. The base spirit of this new release is Bluebird Distilling’s flagship Four Grain Bourbon which is aged for four years and then finished in Jamaican rum casks for one year. The Citrus Vodka is made from only the hearts (center) cut of each batch and then vapor infused with 80 pounds of tropical lemon and orange peels.

Both spirits will be available for pick-up at the distillery all weekend.

(Bluebird Distilling)

To ensure the safety of all attendees, Bluebird Distilling has properly spaced tables on the patio to accommodate 40 guests safely. All guests must be seated at a table after ordering a cocktail. Masks are required at all times unless seated. Tables are first-come, first served.

Bluebird Distilling is currently open for bottle sales seven days a week from 1-10 p.m. Beverage Manager Matt Giarratano and his bar team serve up cocktails to-go Monday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m., Friday 2-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-10 p.m.

Bottles of Bluebird Distilling’s award-winning grain-to-glass spirits, plus hand sanitizer and flask cocktails are all available for delivery state-wide via the distillery’s online shop here.

Summering in the City: Seafood Shacks + Lemonade Pop-Ups

(Micah Harrigan)

The young entrepreneur behind South Philly’s beloved Micah’s Mixx is hosting a lemonade pop-up at Walnut Street Market (the outdoor market launched this summer right outside Walnut Street Cafe’s doors).

On Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 10-year-old CEO Micah Harrigan will be serving his fresh-squeezed lemonade and iced tea outside for all to purchase and enjoy at the open-air Walnut Street Market (2929 Walnut Street). Micah offers an array of flavored add-ins to his lemonades and teas — from strawberry to blue raspberry — and also features a specialty flavor of the day. To support the young businessman, Walnut Street Cafe will be matching Micah’s sales for the day. Whether flavored or plain, we could also use a reminder to make lemonade out of the lemons that are seemingly constantly thrown our way as a society.

There’s also a Seafood Shack pop-up coming to Sunset Social (129 S. 30th Street), hosted by its sister restaurant Walnut Street Cafe. Think paper-lined tables, rolls of paper towels for napkins and, of course, stellar seafood from oysters, fried clam strips, and more — From food to ambiance, they’ll have everything you love about a seafood shack down the shore, without having to leave the city.

The Seafood Shack is making its debut on September 5 — just in time for Labor Day Weekend. The  Sunset Social is situated on the Cira Green rooftop, a 1.2-acre outdoor space allowing for ample social distancing while enjoying Sunset Social’s food and drink.


You can follow Candis McLean on Twitter (@CandisRMcLean) and e-mail her at candis.mclean@gmail.com.

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