Last we caught up with Debra Ciasullo and David Hentz, the husband and wife team behind the soon-to-open Northern Liberties watering hole The Blind Pig, they were expecting to have their liquor license in hand today and be ready for a soft launch sometime this weekend. “We discussed it and we don’t want to have an official grand opening until we’ve been open for a couple weeks and have all kinks worked out,” Ciasullo told Grub Street. “We just want to unlock our doors and see what happens.”
The new spot, which is going in at 702 North 2nd St. in the former home of Kong, takes its name from prohibition-era slang for a speakeasy, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for one. “We’re not going to be a speakeasy or do the Prohibition-era thing,” Hentz explained. “We just thought it was a cool name.”
And in a neighborhood with no shortage of gastropubs, the two restaurant vets who met while working together at South Street’s long-gone Philadelphia Pizza Company — yes, as in the place that the Dead Milkmen sang didn’t serve hot tea in their hit “Punk Rock Girl” — back in the early ‘90s, would prefer not to be tied to that restaurant cliche either. “We’re trying so hard to not fit into any pigeonholes,” Ciasullo said. “We just want it to be a place free of pretenses, where people can be comfortable and enjoy some good food.”
Renovations were minimal. The two, along with family and friends, did much of the work themselves. Gone are Kong’s red leather walls, giant panda art and garish gold trim. The new look is more rustic, with exposed brick, distressed wood and handmade copper light fixtures.
The menu will feature a small selection large and small plates. A daily changing blackboard menu will focus on seasonal specialties. Homemade turkey platters, fried chicken and “killer” roast pork and roast beef sandwiches were some of the regular items they discussed. As was their “Thanksgiving Bites,” a croquette-like creation consisting of turkey, cranberries and mashed potatoes that’s breaded and deep fired, and poutine that will showcase cheese curds sourced from a friend’s small dairy farm near Reading.
Blind Pig, 702 N. 2nd Street, no phone yet