Sweater weather is here and while outdoor dining is still having a record moment during the most challenging of years, Philadelphia region restaurants and attractions are getting creative to survive the cold weather. Starting this weekend, private heated individual greenhouses are taking over a Center City street outside Harper’s Garden. The Greenhouses at Harper’s Garden by FCM Hospitality will debut tonight with private seating for four to nine people. Over in Northern Liberties, plastic igloos that seat two, four, six and up to nine are popping up poolside at the former Vesper Dayclub that has pivoted to a year-round high end steak-house by Glu Hospitality. Over at Charlie was a sinner and Bar Bombón customers are being kept warm inside and out with hot drinks out of thermos bottles, and free custom blankets to put on their lap while they enjoy sweater weather – and that they get to take home. In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a few minutes from Philadelphia, Parx Casino has reopened their “shape-shifting” beer garden under a new name and layout. Liberty Bell Beer Garden is one of the largest outdoor spots in the suburbs, and with the press of a button switches from an indoor space to an outdoor space as the glass roof retracts and walls pull back. These are four ways hospitality operators in the Delaware Valley are getting creative as the global pandemic and cold weather threaten the entire food, drink and tourism industry.
PRIVATE HEATED GREENHOUSES TAKE-OVER CENTER CITY
FCM Hospitality and owner Avram Hornik announce the debut of The Greenhouses at Harper’s Garden starting this weekend. Starting Friday, and continuing through the end of October, look for private, heated individual greenhouses to change the entire landscape and visuals on 18th Street in Philadelphia’s Center City and Rittenhouse Row neighborhood. The Greenhouses at Harper’s Garden will feature at least ten private greenhouse dining rooms that feature a door, glass walls, tables and chairs, decor, twinkling lights and even heat on the cold days. They will be offered and available in two sizes, to either seat four to seven guests, or six to nine guests. They will be available to book for no additional fee by, and they are first come, first serve. Inquiries can be submitted online at www.harpersgardenphilly.com. Guests will be able to enjoy new fall seasonal dishes by Executive Chef Ben Moore, as well as brand-new fall cocktails and mocktails by award-winning Beverage Director Matt Deutsch. Harper’s Garden also debuts this week the addition of a second indoor dining space for safe and socially distanced indoor dining – in a new expansion in the former home of Replica Design. The Greenhouses and new dining room can be booked for private party celebrations upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All guests must wear masks when not seated at their tables. All guests should social distance and follow all safety protocols in accordance with city and state guidelines. Harper’s Garden follows all safety protocols for the health and well being of not only its customers but its staff as well.
“Restaurants are fighting for their very survival right now and we have worked with our teams for months to find safe, healthy and socially-distanced ways to continue to offer outdoor dining experiences for our community,” said FCM Hospitality and Harper’s Garden Owner Avram Hornik. “Harper’s Garden has always been a year-round, four-season celebration of nature and outdoor elements – including a rotating selection of food and drink by our team using local and farm-fresh ingredients. We have taken inspiration from our open-air veranda and created a brand-new way to enjoy a full outdoor dining experience that literally puts you inside your very own dining room where you can enjoy the stars shining overhead, while you enjoy and share in a great seasonal meal with your family and friends. Health and safety is at the forefront of our minds in everything we have done this year. We also take our responsibility very seriously in terms of being innovators in safe and healthy dining – and in offering the greater community experiences that bring some levity and specialness during these very challenging and mentally stressful times. We hope you enjoy The Greenhouses at Harper’s Garden. Our team at Harper’s Garden has worked for months to bring you a dining experience unlike any other in the state of Pennsylvania – and we look forward to opening their doors this weekend.”
The Greenhouses at Harper’s Garden will begin to debut this weekend with the opening of the first seven greenhouses, with additional greenhouses opening each week through October 31, 2020. The smaller greenhouses seat a party of four to seven, whereas the larger greenhouses seat from six to nine guests. They are all individual mini-dining rooms with ventilation, heat, decor, plants and flowers, tables and chairs, and a working door. Each greenhouse will be disinfected in between each party- as part of the new normal process that includes disinfected and sanitizing all tables and chairs.
The new greenhouses will offer a heated way to enjoy sweater weather and fall temperatures moving in – but they will also provide a chance to dine outside in the elements. The greenhouses will keep you warm and dry in rain, wind and snow.
Hornik said, “Rain is never a friend of an outdoor venue like the ones we are operating. The hardest obstacles this summer and early fall were rainy days we could not plan for, such as miscellaneous sun showers. We couldn’t operate outdoor dining in these cases for our tables and venues that didn’t have a covering. If any scheduled shifts are cancelled due to weather, employees (including tipped employees) are compensated an hourly rate. However, this means a loss of revenue and a challenge in terms of any restaurant’s survival with a reliance on outdoor dining. Navigating the pandemic, as whole, while keeping the priority of our employees and guests has been challenging.”
IGLOOS AND GHOST KITCHENS POP-UP IN NORTHERN LIBERTIES
Glu Hospitality was known for nightlife concepts prior to COVID 19 – and during COVID has turned their entire business model from top to bottom to turning away from their closed bars and nightlife concepts to transforming spaces into food-focused, safe and socially-distanced dining concepts. Glu first and foremost partnered with two New York City concepts to grand open Anejo in Northern Liberties in August, and SET NoLibs in Northern Liberties, also, in September. Both remain two of the most popular new restaurants in the entire region. Glu also reformatted and relaunched Germantown Garden into a full-swing dinner and brunch restaurant where on some sleepy Monday nights saw upwards of 200-300 diners vs. 2019 when you might have seen 25 to 75.
Next, Glu turned the well-known Vesper Day Club and pool into Germantown Garden Grill (1029 Germantown Ave). This is one of Philadelphia’s most out of the box pivots as Vesper never has remained open in cold weather, and now the frozen cocktails of 2019 have turned into steaks topping out over $50 a piece with dinner and dessert – and they even hired the company’s first formal pastry chef.
Igloos have started to pop-up now poolside along with dazzling beautiful heatlamps to make the steak-house experience next level – with igloos with plants, heat and decor for two, four and up to ten people. They started with some small sizes at 10 x 10 and 12 x 12, and have now opened their second deck that oversees the entire neighborhood – and they offer large group sizes – all in accordance with attendance set by the city and the state.
Inside the igloos you can get fare from the steak-house menu, but also from two ghost kitchens they have launched Hunnies Crispy Chicken and Tiny’s Burger Joint. Both ghost kitchens are in full swing with active delivery growing by the day on platforms like GrubHub.
TAKE-AWAY SOUVENIR BLANKETS FOR SWEATER WEATHER
Owner Nicole Marquis is keeping diners warm inside and out this winter! Her two Center City restaurants Charlie was a sinner. and Bar Bombón launched their Warm Up Cocktail Menu with some exciting surprises: New menu of hot drinks served in a thermos to keep them warm throughout the meal. Each drink comes with a cozy embroidered blanket to keep diners toasty while they enjoy lunch or dinner. The blankets are theirs to take home to get snuggly while they order takeout in bed or on the couch, or reminisce about their meals at their favorite plant-based restaurants. Marquis said, “We also have high-powered space heaters outside so diners can beat the chill and continue to enjoy meals outside throughout the fall.”
Parx Casino in Bucks County will provide one of the largest outdoor spaces for sweater weather and Eagles game day action in the region – their stunning Liberty Bell Beer Garden transforms from a closed indoor structure in winter to an outdoor beer garden with the glass ceiling panels and all the side walls retracting back during the nice days The entire beer garden will be transformed into an outdoor space for Eagles games this season. They are back open and have a full menu with drinks at the bar and food from Liberty Bell Gastropub. Enjoy a rotating selection of all-American craft beers, wines, and specialty cocktails at our all-season patio with fire pit. Featuring signature chef-inspired dishes and pub fare. The roomy 7,600-square-foot space features socially distanced tables – and is adjacent to two patios featuring greenery, modern furniture and 10-foot long fire pits. For game days, there are two giant LED TV walls in the beer garden and there are sports-betting kiosks for those who want to place a wager.
Parx takes the concept of a beer garden to the next level with this truly unique and state-of-the-art space. Overhead, take in the view as the entire glass roof retracts letting in the sunrays and the gentle outdoor breezes.
For those in the Philadelphia suburbs looking for a safe and healthy option for outdoor social-distance seating and game day viewing, Parx presents this as one of the largest outdoor options in the region!
CONTACT FOR EACH PROPERTY
31 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
1029 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Tiny’s Burger Joint
131 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
133 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
2999 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19022