When Edward Bianchini first returned to Philadelphia after a 28-year extended vacation in the south of France, Tweed, the restaurant he opened earlier this month, was not at the top his list of things to do. After selling his Michelin-starred Hotel Les Muscadins on the French Riviera, he had planned to open a boutique hotel in Center City. “I ended up on 12th Street only by chance,” Bianchini told Grub Street. “Originally when I came back to Philadelphia I bought real estate at 7th and Chestnut, with plans to do a hotel along the lines of what I had in the South of France, but in an urban setting.”
After realizing that the hotel would require as much as three years of renovations, he took on his restaurant project as a diversion. “When I first found the space, I thought that since it was an existing restaurant, all I needed to do was a little decorating and some painting and I would be in business in no time,” Bianchini said. “Little did I know the place needed to be entirely gutted. The space and everything in it was crumbling away; it was in ruins.” So Tweed, which Bianchini misjudged as a turnkey operation, took nearly two years to complete. “Now that Tweed is up and running, I’m going to turn my attention back to the 7th and Chestnut project,” Bianchini said. The hotel, which he hopes to have ready to open by the end of next year will feature 18 rooms and a casual, European-influenced restaurant on the ground floor. UrbanSpaceDevelopment, the design team that created the interior at Tweed, as well as Capogiro, Noble and APO, will assist Bianchini in developing his hotel. “Every time I say to someone that I’m working on a boutique hotel, they tell me that, that’s what this city really needs,” Bianchini said.
Previously: Tweed Now Does Lunch and Brunch