Beer? Check. Garden? Where? New restaurant takes shape on Chestnut

Once Mitchell & Ness, soon to be Beer Garden

So far, 2013 looks like it’s shaping up to be the Year of the Delayed Restaurant Opening. A few weeks ago, we noted that work had actually begun on Pennsylvania 6, a new restaurant and raw bar in a South 12th Street space that has eaten several restaurants (most recent victim: Tweed) in Washington Square West’s Midtown Village-Gayborhood section; that restaurant had originally been slated to open last year.

Front view of restaurant location

So was this new eatery now being fitted out in the old Mitchell & Ness location in the 1300 block of Chestnut Street. There’s no clue from Chestnut save the liquor license application that work has commenced on what Philly.com’s Michael Klein reported last July will be a beer garden from Teddy Sourias, owner of Finn McCool’s Ale House and Room12 (formerly Prime) at 12th and Sansom streets.

Rear of building

So we went around back to see if we could find the beer garden – and didn’t see any sign of one there either. What we did find was a new garage door and rear entrance on the Drury Street side of the building. Through that door, we discovered that the refitting of the space is actually quite well advanced.

Interior construction in progress at Beer Garden

We estimate that the space should be finished in about a month. And since there’s a job posting for a chef for the restaurant on Foobooz, it shouldn’t be much more than another month before it’s ready for its soft opening. The want ad lists the establishment as “Beer Garden” and gives a projected opening date in line with our expectations. It states that the restaurant will be German-inspired with “a kitchen that is intended to deliver some of the best German food in the city.” (Brauhaus Schmitz, please copy.) Presumably, it will serve beers to match. But there’s still something missing, in our estimation. When we hear the phrase “beer garden,” we think “outdoor space.” Something like Frankford Hall, say. There’s not a square inch of outside space to be had on this plot. Perhaps the owner plans on installing planters just inside of that garage door? Of course, the garage door will no doubt be flung open in warmer weather, allowing some of the outdoors in.
Photos by the author