Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Looking up at the Hotel Monaco

Independence Mall will get its first restaurant in modern times next week. Here is an early look at Red Owl and its rooftop lounge, Stratus.

Looking up at the Hotel Monaco


Two completely different vibes are at work at the two dining options at the Hotel Monaco, due to open Oct. 4 at the corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets, in the former Lafayette Building.

The Red Owl Tavern - with its wide-open, industrial look (pulleys, white steel girders, reclaimed barn siding) - will serve locally sourced American fare and cocktails. There will be a to-go counter (called "on the fly") for lunch with sandwiches and salads, and desserts in the evening. Not counting the cafe at the Bourse, it's the first restaurant along Independence Mall in modern times - outdoor seating is in the works. Many seats look out into the mall - particularly those on a mezzanine.

There's a chef's table in the basement next to the building's original vault. Average check: breakfast around $12, lunch $19 and dinner $47. Cocktails for both Red Owl and Stratus in the $8-14 range. At opening, it will serve breakfast and dinner. Lunch starts the week of Oct. 15, with weekend brunch to follow shortly thereafter. Dinner menu is here.

Stratus - on the roof deck, 11 stories up - has a more contemporary look and feel. Its main bar, to be open year-round, is discreetly tucked behind roll-up garage doors, which open to a patio with comfy furniture and a 30-foot wall of fire. Two oversized steel wings form the back of a bar. It looks quite private; you get sky but not skyline. Small windows in two rooftop rooms afford the only real views of the city - a design shortcoming that has been attributed to building regulations.

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Guillermo Tellez Cruz, executive chef at Square 1682 at the Kimpton-owned Hotel Palomar at 17th and Sansom Streets, also is chef for Red Owl Tavern and Stratus.

The 268-room hotel is also due to open Oct. 4.

Staff Writer
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein Staff Writer
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