A hot chef coming to Rittenhouse

Chef Gregory Vernick traveled the world for former boss Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and now the Cherry Hill native is coming home to open his own restaurant.

The project, in a brownstone that he and his wife, Julie, bought at 2031 Walnut St., came up Tuesday night before the Center City Residents' Association.

Vernick, 30, told the neighbors that the unnamed restaurant would be a good fit for the area: upscale and energetic, serving small plates designed for sharing.

Food would be locally sourced and seasonally driven, and -- this is what the neighbors really like to hear -- no takeout or live bands. The Vernicks -- and from what I hear, she is in advertising and will help run the business -- hope to open in the first half of 2012.

Greg Vernick is a 2005 Culinary Institute of America grad with a bachelor's from Boston University. His last stop was Restaurant Tocqueville in Union Square, where he was executive chef, and previously spent five and a half years under Vongerichten, last as a corporate chef trainer and before that as sous chef at Jean Georges, Nogatine, and Spice Market.