Things are really getting flavorful in Midtown Village—the opening of Bodega Bar and Kitchen is exactly what the city needs to heat up in the bitter cold. This Latin inspired restaurant, bar and live music venue will be bringing zest, energy and plenty of spice to the City of Brotherly Love, and it all kicks off this week.
Bodega Bar and Kitchen is the brainchild of brothers Alex and Stavros Vasiliadis, along with George Karagiannis. This is the first concept from the culinary duo in nearly a decade. Philadelphians may recognize the brothers from other successful restaurants and bars in New York City and Philadelphia as well—including the famous Monkey Bar, Bump and Pandora’s Kitchen in Philly.
“Bodega is a true labor of love for me and my brother that is five years in the making,” said co-owner Alex Vasiliadis in a release. “We wanted to bring to Center City and Midtown Village a tantalizing blend of Latin inspired cuisine, unique handcrafted cocktails and world house music to warm your soul. We are a restaurant made by locals for locals with a strong focus on community and accessibility.”
Bodega’s flavor-packed menu comes from Executive Chef Shain Wancio, who has been serving up appetizing cuisine in the City of Brotherly Love for over a decade. Mouthwatering menu items being offered from Wancio at Bodega include rutabaga hot hummus (with broccoli, radish and tehina,) tasso y corn beignets (with red-eye ice cream and powdered bacon fat), pretzel fried pastrami chicken (with house pickles and ferments and a sage cheddar waffle), duck pot pie (with root veggies, duck jus, winter peas and a kohlrabi “everything” pie crust), glazed pumpkin “ribs” (with 21 sticky BBQ, whipped feta and spicy relish), a hot and cold cinnamon roll (with 12 bananas foster cream cheese icing, cinnamon ice cream and candied pecans) and much more.
This whole article could honestly be marveling over the overwhelmingly delectable sounding food, but Bodega has so much more to offer.
To wash down your spectacular meal, the new hotspot is offering classic and unique cocktails and an extensive wine program that complements the kitchen’s offerings beautifully.
According to the release, Bodega aims to serve different types of wines that aren’t offered anywhere else in the city from far reaches of the world: Chile, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium and beyond. They will be offering 20 wines by the glass and 17 wines by the bottle to start. All selections were chosen by Alex Vasiliadis and General Manager Patrice Caron. If beer is more of your beat, Bodega will also be serving cans and bottles of Southern hemisphere inspired lagers and ales, plus cider and seltzer.
If the beer and wine selection set the stage, the cocktails really steal the show at Bodega. A few highlights include the Bodega Margarita (made with Campo Azul Blanco, lime juice, Luxardo Triple Sec and lavender-honey syrup), The Diplomat ( made with Conniption Gin, Rosolio di 12 Bergamotto Liqueur, lime juice and a dash of Peychaud), The Bourbon of Seville (made with Back Country Bourbon, 12 Amontillado Sherry, grenadine, orange bitters and lime), the Cuban Cappuccino (made with Bebo Cuban Coffee Liqueur, 12 Galliano Liqueur and cream of coconut), and much more.
The electrifying cuisine and libation offerings are tied together by the welcoming local cantina vibe. The atmosphere is intended to induce a sense of easement and refuge that allows guests to relax, sip on incredible drinks, eat mouthwatering tapas, all while simultaneously making new friends and memories. The brothers achieved this exotically comforting atmosphere after a year-and-a-half of construction, and the care that went into the planning truly shows.
According to the release, the interior vibe and design aims to pay tribute to Post-revolutionary Cuba. All materials were either sourced locally or came from Southern Hemisphere countries where they would otherwise have been neglected. Other unique materials include artwork taken throughout the owner’s travels; bricks and tile from Mexico and Spain; and back bar tins and copper panels sourced from estate sales.
“We wanted to dazzle you the second you come in the doors. You can see the life and energy from the outside through the giant full-length windows that will open to Walnut Street. We wanted you to get a taste of what is inside, but have you enter another world once you set food inside,” Alex said in the release.
As of now, Bodega offers an expansive 19-foot bar and dining room seating for up to 50 people on high-tops and low-tops, with chairs and banquet style seating options. Once the warmer months hit, Bodega will also be offering outside seating with sidewalk views on Walnut Street, and later in spring and before summer, there will also be an expansive and ornate outdoor oasis, garden and patio to debut behind the restaurant with seating for dozens more, and of course, an outdoor bar.
Bodega (1223 Walnut St.) will officially open to the public this Friday at 11 am. To learn more, visit bodegaphilly.com