One local establishment has found a way to show Philadelphians how suite life can be.
Walnut Street Café, the acclaimed eatery located inside Philly’s own “vertical neighborhood” in the Cira Green building, has recently introduced a new way for households to enjoy indoor dining that is completely safe, and delicious. With the Walnut Suite Café, diners can reserve three-hour slots for a multi-course meal and beverage pairing to be enjoyed in AKA’s residency suites outfitted with fully functioning kitchens for a hospitality-forward and COVID-safe experience. This new service marks Philly’s first-ever in-suite dining partnership, which came as a creative response to the restrictions set in place due to the pandemic.
This idea has taken some hold nationally, but in the City of Brotherly Love, Walnut Street Café is pioneering the idea.
What diners can expect is a gourmet experience 730 feet from ground level inside FMC Tower at Cira Centre South. The suites themselves offer a feast for the eyes with views of the city, a sleek and eloquent design, and also a few areas to kick back and relax. It’s not a dinner that keeps you nailed down to your seat, instead, you and your quaranteam will be able to treat the suite as your own within the allotted time which allows a much more laid-back experience with the upscale edible courses sprinkled in. With the suites already designed for extended stays, Philadelphians will really be able to make use of their dining areas complete with fully appointed kitchens, dining tables, flatware, glassware and everything you need to comfortably enjoy a high-quality, in-room meal.
“In-room dining can sometimes miss the care and attention of truly ingratiating hospitality, and this is our response to that notion,” said Branden McRill, CEO and Founder of Fine-Drawn Hospitality, which owns and operates Walnut Street Café, The Post, and Sunset Social in Philadelphia said in a statement. “This isn’t sitting on the edge of your bed with a lukewarm burger in a hotel room. Rather, you’re sitting down at a dining table with your family for a proper meal that is elevated and you can still stay safe and sound in your ‘COVID bubble’ while enjoying an evening out.”
Philly has always been a city that holds a mecca of opportunities for foodies, and they can now really reap the benefits of this without having to bundle up or request a heat lamp brought closer to their table.
Now onto the tastiest part of the experience.
Walnut Street Café will be providing the dishes for the occasion, and the hotspot is not holding back in terms of quality. Think a multi-course, elegant dining experience in the form of hamachi crudo, a shaved brussel salad, braised short ribs, slow-cooked pork shoulder, chocolate ganache, pomegranate sorbet and more. The three-course meal is catered to the guest’s choice and comes out to be $65 per person. In addition to the dishes, Philadelphians can also purchase spirited additions including bottled craft cocktails, a curated list of beer and wine by the bottle and glass and non-alcoholic beverages. Dishes and drinks will arrive via room service with serving instructions to keep the experience contact-less for guests.
However, the fun doesn’t have to stop once your meal ends. If you want to stay the whole night, that can be arranged. Private rooms for three-hour dinner bookings come with a $50 fee and if guests decide to extend their stay to overnight, that fee can be directly applied to the cost of a hotel room for the evening. Suites are equipped with stoves, microwaves and fridges, making any reheating and leftover prep the next day seamless. Diners don’t have to decide right away, they can even make the decision during dinner and request the room for the night then.
“Our accommodations are designed as flexible self-sufficient sanctuaries, and now with the addition of world-class dining experiences available on-demand, there’s truly no need to leave your suite for a night out,” said Evan O’Donnell, Managing Director at AKA University City, in a release. “While the current restrictions have changed the way we dine together, we’re excited to merge AKA’s signature hospitality and design-forward accommodations with the forward-thinking culinary team at Walnut Street Café to create this one-of-a-kind dining model.”
The release also states that there will be safety precautions put in place to ensure that everyone can dine without worrying. AKA continues to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitation in all areas of its properties and have taken additional measures to ensure procedures are even more rigorous, including strict adherence to an extensive 100-point cleaning checklist, state of the art sanitation and disinfection procedures, contactless payment, and more. All restaurant employees wear PPE provided by Fine-Drawn Hospitality, submit to daily temperature checks, observe social distance and practice frequent hand-washing in accordance with CDC direction.