Nick Kennedy always loved food, but it wasn’t until he got his first restaurant job as a garde manager (pantry chef) in New Jersey that he fell in love with the food industry. Since 2015, the Culinary Institute of America grad has called Philly home and now serves as the executive chef and co-owner of Root Restaurant & Wine Bar in Fishtown. The 37-year-old tells us where to get the best clam chowder in the city, how to get the “full experience” at culinary treasure Zahav and where you can eat scrambled eggs and sea urchin.
Best late night meal?
Honestly, after a long day I just like getting home and pouring a glass of Scotch.
Best meal under $10?
Andy’s Chicken (2001 Memphis St.) in Fishtown has amazing Korean fried chicken, and their hot and spicy chicken is downright addictive.
Best hidden foodie gem?
Stock (308 E. Girard Ave.) in Fishtown. Their food is pure and focused with a complexity and clarity of flavor that’s hard to find. They also don’t hold back on the chili. A few dishes I suggest are the prahok kee and Thai style green papaya salad, as they are always part of my meal.
Best place to dine alone?
Oyster House (1516 Sansom St.) is the best place in the city for raw oysters, especially when you wash it down with a pint of Yards Nitro Stout, followed by a cup of clam chowder. It’s the perfect solo lunch.
Place you always take out-of-towners?
Michael Solomonov’s take on modern Israeli cuisine at Zahav (237 St. James Pl.) is exciting. Everyone I take here wishes they had one in their hometown. If you want the full experience, I recommend the “Mesibah” tasting menu.
Go-to date spot, hands down?
Cheu Noodle Bar (255 S. 10th St.) is fun and loud and I’ve never had a bad meal here. It’s really hard not to order everything on the menu, which is what we usually end up doing.
Best place to catch up with friends?
Vernick (2031 Walnut St.) has unsurpassed service with a great wine list but I usually can’t resist trying a few of their cocktails as well. I prefer to sit at the bar and work my way through the menu. The scrambled eggs with sea urchin is mind blowing.
Most Instagrammable restaurant?
Fork (306 Market St.). Their creativity and attention to detail is inspiring. Each time I visit it’s a new experience.
For more information on Root Restaurant & Wine Bar, visit: rootrestaurant.com.