Arts

Sips & Eats: Oktoberfest, Halloween, brunch, and new fall menus

(Sunset Social //Courtesy Fine-Drawn Hospitality

Walnut Street Café’s New Fall Menu

(Photo courtesy Fine-Drawn Hospitality)

Walnut Street Café is debuting entirely new menus that channel the best of the season: pear, cranberry, Honeynut squash, fig jams, and yes, there will be pumpkin spice. Executive Chef Jack Peterson’s fall menu features nourishing and comforting dishes like the Buratta with chicory, pear, warm sage vinegar, bacon and sourdough, and the Harissa Carrot Salad that includes Thumbelina carrots, bibb lettuce, tabbouleh, and halloumi cheese.

Plus, the Honeynut Squash Carbonara with bucatini, bacon, squash puree and dandelion greens, and the seasonal iteration of their Lancaster Beer Can Chicken, now with red Russian kale, seasonal squash, cippolini onions, and pumpkin ale. For dessert, guests should try the coffee cake made with fig jam swirl and paired with vanilla ice cream or the White Chocolate Panna Cotta featuring cranberry compote and pumpkin spice crumble.

(Photo courtesy Fine-Drawn Hospitality)

Walnut Street Café also boasts an entirely new cocktail list further highlighting the flavors of fall. The new items include “I’ll Be Your Huckleberry” (blend of whiskey, huckleberry and thyme) and the “Chili Beet Negroni” (gin, Campari, vermouth, beet juice, and chili flakes) and plenty other options. If you’re feeling festive, you can try the new An Apple a Day cocktail that features a mix of apple cider, gin, chartreuse, black peppercorn, and honey. Walnut Street Café’s impressive list of wine by the glass and bottle remains.

To round out the fall transition, Walnut Street has brought fall vibes to their luxe outdoor seating area. Think: beautiful fall foliage, plus cozy blankets (sanitized between each use!) and warming heat lamps to ensure everyone’s comfort. In addition to the ample outdoor seating overlooking the beautiful Schuylkill River, Walnut Street Café is offering limited indoor seating, per local guidance, and CDC recommendations.

Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516 Team Up for Oktoberfest Pop-Up


Sojourn Philly restaurants, Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516 are teaming up to host an Oktoberfest pop-up in the picturesque Jet Wine Garden from Thursday, October 8-Sunday, October 11, featuring German fare, wines, cocktails, and beer.

Guests will enjoy a menu of traditional German cuisine, offered à la carte, from Culinary Director Lucio Palazzo and Rex 1516 Executive Chef Craig Meyers.

The menu includes:

  • Wurst Sandwich ($11) – Thuringer sausage, beer-braised kraut, stone ground mustard, served on a long roll
  • Spaetzle ($8) – paetzle, butterkase, carmelized onions, creme fraiche
  • Currywurst Fries ($10) – Thuringer sausage, hand-cut fries, curry ketchup
  • Potato Pancakes ($8) – traditional German potato pancakes, apple butter, creme fraiche
  • Apple Strudel ($7) – granny smith apple, golden raisins, vanilla ice cream

Imbibers can pair a selection of German wines and beer or a specialty cocktail with their food, including:

  • Riesling ($16 / $64) – winkeler hasensprung ‘goldatzel’ · Rheingau, Germany
  • Gruner Veltliner ($12 / $60) – brunn · Niederosterreich, Austria
  • Muller Thurgau ($15 / $60) – rainer sauer · Franken, Germany
  • Zweigelt-Blaufrankisch ($18 / $70) – pittnauer · Burgenland, Austria

As for cocktails and beer, guests can enjoy the following:

  • Oktoberfest Orchard Patch ($12.50) – honey whiskey, apple cider, ginger, pumpkin ale
  • Benediktiner – Weissbier 16.9oz ($6)
  • Bitburger – Oktoberfest ($6)

Jet Wine Garden is open Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday, 4-11 p.m.; Saturday, 12-11 p.m.; Sunday, 4-10 p.m. The celebration is first come, first served.

 Monster Mash Bloody Mary Challenge

(Anejo Philadelphia)

Northern Liberties Business Improvement District (NLBID) ushers in spooky season and sweater weather with a brand new event designed to highlight the great outdoor dining spots in the neighborhood, showcase all the outdoor brunch options – and crown the neighborhood’s winner for Best Bloody Mary!

Monster Mash: Northern Liberties Bloody Mary Challenge will debut on Saturday, October 10 at 12 restaurants.

The restaurants include: 

For every weekend in October following the event, patrons can come back and try the winners – and try the other restaurants.

(Photo courtesy of Kris Kennedy)

Each competing restaurant will have a special or feature Monster Mash themed Bloody Mary. Instead of a bar crawl or special event with a ticketed price for entrance, this event is free and pay-as-you-go – and patrons make brunch reservations to try the restaurant of their choice and help crown the winner.

Bring your sweater, your flannel, your hoodie and get out those pants – as this event is part of the citywide campaign Sweater Weather Philly – let’s support our restaurants, retails, neighborhoods and attractions as the cooler weather moves in!

Bring your ID, your mask, and your ability to social distance. Reservations suggested in advance. Food and drink pay as you go and pricing set by participants.

Visit explorenorthernliberties.org for a full list of details and updates. Plus find a list of other retail shops to share with your mates. They are doing the mash. The new Northern Liberties Monster Mash.

Brunch-O-Delphia

Brunch is the one reward we have for getting out of bed on the weekend. There are several hotspots in the city serving up delicious meals, bottomless cocktails, and flaky pastries. 

(Lobster and Avocado Benedicts Urban Farmer // Credits: Urban Farmer )

Devil’s Den: Devil’s Den, the South Philly spot for pub fare and an extensive beer selection, just recently introduced a socially-distanced street beer garden out front, perfect for outdoor weekend brunching. On Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. guests are invited to kick-off brunch with one of Devil’s Den delicious and rare beers or cocktails (each month Devil’s Den is offering a charity cocktail with 100% of sales benefitting No More Secrets) and indulge in fun pub food options such as Shrimp and Polenta with Shrimp, Mango Sauce, Sautéed Tomato, Onions, Peppers, Goat Cheese, Chocolate Espresso CheesecakeStrawberry Cream Tart, Quesadillas, Buffalo Falafel Wrap, and more. Devil’s Den menu is also available for pickup and delivery.

Grubhouse at The Bourse: Grubhouse at The Bourse, Old City’s modern artisanal food hall, is the perfect place for a quick yet delicious brunch in the city with a variety of options including Chicken and WafflesMr. Chicken’s Disco Biscuit with traditional or hot chicken on a biscuit with country gravy, Waffles, Pancakes, Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich, and Funky Monkey Cakes with chocolate chip pancakes topped with salted caramel, banana, whipped cream. Grubhouse’s brunch fare is available for indoor brunching, outdoor brunching, take-out, and delivery via your favorite third-party app.

The brunch menu is available Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

MilkBoy: Milkboy just recently reopened its South Street location after taking some time off to work on a safe COVID-19 response program. Guests are invited to brunch in MilkBoy South Street’s brand-new street parklet out front and enjoy brunch classics such as Loaded Nachos, Fried Chicken Sandwich, Crabcake Sliders, Brunch Burgers, and MilkBoy’s own Hard Seltzer. On the weekends, the city additionally shuts down the 400 block to provide even more safe and socially-distanced brunching space. All brunch options are available for pickup and delivery, too.

MilkBoy Chestnut Street’s breakfast and brunch hours are Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. MilkBoy South Street’s weekend brunch program runs Friday through Sunday, starting at 11 a.m.

Red Owl Tavern: Red Owl Tavern is welcoming brunch-lovers on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Additionally, the restaurant is offering daily breakfast options for those on the run from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. Menu highlights include Wagyu Double Bacon Cheeseburger with cooper sharp cheese, bacon, Double Chocolate Bread PuddingYoghurt Parfait and the Bacon Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, eggs, and cooper sharp cheese. The menu is available for outdoor and indoor dining. Not ready to dine out yet? Red Owl Tavern’s menu is available for pickup and delivery as well.

(Pancakes Royal Boucherie // Credits: Royal Boucherie)

Royal Boucherie: Royal Boucherie, Old City’s American-inspired brasserie from Top Chef winner Chef Nicholas Elmi, is the go-to place for brunchers looking for a flair of Europe and French-inspired cuisine. Each weekend, Chef Elmi and team are offering a weekly rotating brunch menu with Royal Boucherie classics such as the Boucherie Burger and Pancakes as well as new creations including a Foie Gras Croissant. The menu will be posted each Friday on Royal Boucherie’s Instagram story.

For now, guests can enjoy brunch in the restaurant’s streetery out front or inside Royal Boucherie’s beautiful second floor secret garden on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The brunch menu is also available for pickup and delivery.

Square 1682: Square 1682 is open for weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Menu highlights include Rittenhouse Omelet with bacon, spinach, onions, white cheddar, Pancakes, Chorizo Hash with caramelized onions, sweet peppers, potatoes, scrambled eggs, Cobbler French Toast with peaches, streusel, Pennsylvania Maple Syrup, and more. Guests can choose between brunching inside or in Square 1682’s streetery out front or order their favorites for pickup and delivery.

Stratus Rooftop Lounge: Stratus Rooftop Lounge is excited to launch a boozy brunch series, “Sundaze at Stratus Rooftop Lounge”, starting Sunday, October 4. From 2 – 8 p.m., guests are invited to check out the newly renovated rooftop lounge and cheers to Sunday with delicious bites and a personal Mimosa Bar boasting a bottle of Champagne and an array of fruit and juices including strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit juice, and orange juice. All personal mimosa bars come with an ice bucket table side and are available for $50. Not into Mimosas? Imbibers can also celebrate with a Bloody Mary Bar including fun garnishes for $50 as well.

The Twisted Tail: The Twisted Tail, the hub for virtual music events and elevated pub fare on Headhouse Square, is hosting brunchers inside its main dining room and garden streetery out front. On Saturdays starting at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m., guests can look forward to a sweet and savory brunch menu including Blueberry PancakesAvocado ToastStuffed French Toast with Dulce de Leche, Pineapple, Mint, Chicken & WafflePineapple Panna CottaFried ChickenCrab Benedict with Mustard Hollandaise, Poached Eggs, and more. The entire brunch menu is available for takeout and delivery as well.

Urban Farmer: Urban Farmer is not only known for its locally-sourced and grass-fed steaks but also its fresh and extensive weekend brunch menu boasting Lobster and Avocado Benedicts with house-made English muffins, Crab OmeletPancakes with apple compote, streusel, Waffles with vanilla honey yogurt, amaretti crumble, SandwichesCharcuterie Boards and more. Imbibers don’t want to miss the brunch cocktail menu including Farmermosa with Aperol, orange juice, Peychaud’s bitters, cava, Bellini with cava, peach purée, cointreau, and the Farmer #4 with Tito’s vodka, St. Germain, lime, and grapefruit.

Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on two outdoor patios and inside the main dining room. Delivery and pick-up are available, too.

Game Days and BBQs at Sunset Social

(Sunset Social //Courtesy Fine-Drawn Hospitality)

Everyone knows that the onset of fall means one thing: football season! Sunset Social, nestled atop CIRA Green’s 1.2-acre rooftop green space, is one of the best places in the city to catch a game.

Sunset Social’s rooftop boasts the largest TV in the state (you can literally see it all the way from the Schuylkill River Trail, across the river + on the ground!) and, thanks to the massive green space, allows for ample social distancing while watching the game. Sunset Social also offers a slew of fantastic game day snacks, from playful burgers like their new Cheesesteak Burger to their Really Long Hot Dog and, of course, ample beer + cocktail and canned wine options.

Sunset Social will also kick off an awesome two-night takeover this weekend. Dubbed Jack’s Smoke Shack and brought to you by Fine-Drawn Hospitality’s sister restaurants Sunset Social and Walnut Street Cafe, this event has something for everyone. Sunset Social is hosting and Walnut Street Café is doing the cooking. From Friday, October 9 – Saturday, October 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jack’s Smoke Shack will bring BBQ, cocktails, wine, and beer, and cozy, socially distanced fall vibes to one of the best views in Philly.

The Smoke Shack offerings will be available for pre-order here via Tock (highly recommend reservations as there are limited quantities on the large-format entrees and proteins). There will be walk-ins available with a limited a la carte menu.

Menu offerings feature some BBQ favorites and include a variety of Southern-influenced starters, sides, entrees, and even something for kids:

  • All the meats: Beef Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Smoked Chicken, and Spare Ribs
  • Classic sides, like Mac n Cheese, Memphis Rub Corn on the Cob, Beale Street Baked Beans, Cabbage Slaw, and Corn Bread topped with jalapeno and honey butter
  • A plethora of sandwiches and bites like Smoked Chicken Nachos and Walk the Line Fries topped with cheddar, bacon, and scallions
  • Veggie-based selections including the Chow Chow, a southern mixed vegetable relish
  • Offerings for the little ones, like Texas Toast Grilled Cheese and BBQ Chicken Fingers
  • The Elvis for dessert, a savory peanut butter, and banana ice-cream sandwich

Bank and Bourbon Happenings

(Bank and Bourbon)

Bank & Bourbon, an inherently American restaurant located in Center City is now offering some specials and promotions too good not to enjoy. So make your reservation on Resy, and thank us later.

Diners can take advantage of the following offers:

Prix Fixe Dinner: Sad your favorites from our restaurant week menu are no longer? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. Enjoy a three-course seasonal menu plus a glass of wine for only $40. Dining with a friend, coworker, or partner? Dinner for two comes with a bottle of wine and is available for $87.

$2 Off Draft Beer: For the month of October, get $2 off a draft beer in the restaurant and lounge including favorites from our Flavor by Loews Hotels partners Conshohocken Brewing Co. and more!

Sunday Breakfast: For the month of October, Bank & Bourbon will be serving its signature breakfast from 7:00 a.m. – 12 p.m. Guests can enjoy an entrée, including a cage-free egg omelet or cinnamon brioche fresh toast to name a few. Thirsty? Order any entrée with a mimosa for only $20.

Diners of Bank & Bourbon and the lounge can also take advantage of complimentary parking.

To view current hours and to make reservations via the Resy app, visit here.

Nightmare Before Tinsel

Philadelphia, your new Nightmare is ready. Nightmare Before Tinsel is back and this year will transform from a themed pop-up bar into a new style of Halloween restaurant with food, drink, and haunted art that is contact-free, self-guided, ticketed, and socially distanced.

Craft Concepts Group and Teddy Sourias, creators of some of Philadelphia’s most instagrammable restaurants and bars, has brought the frights back to Center City.

New and notable, Nightmare Before Tinsel will take on an asylum theme this year. Tinsel will also be a haunted restaurant with food, drink, and art installations. Guests will purchase a ticket in advance and will have a set amount of time inside. A brand-new haunted parkette will open outside with socially-distanced dining tables.

Next door, look for a brand new restaurant to pair with Nightmare to open in the coming weeks. Nightmare cocktails, beer, wine, and food will also be sold to go legally out of a take-out window – and follow all state and city guidelines.


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

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