Rarest is closed after 5 months; new concept is coming

Rarest - chef Anthony Marini's ambitious American bar-restaurant at the Franklin (Ninth and Chestnut Streets) - is done.

It closed Saturday, April 15, after 5½ months. The website shows a photo of the dining room with the words, "Thank you. There has been a slight change of plans."

Marini's partners, Thomas and Stephen Finley of Finley Catering, said they plan to re-envision the space, which includes the Horace Trumbauer-designed lobby of the landmark building that once was the Ben Franklin Hotel.

It will reopen shortly after very light redecorating with a new name and more of a pub menu devised by Marini.

"Everyone loved the food," Tom Finley said. "But when we asked the residents upstairs and the people around Jefferson [Hospital], they said they'd go once a month. They were hoping for a more casual place, and a lunch place. It's not like we were underwater, but we knew we had to make a change."

Rarest, which opened Nov. 1, 2016, served dinner only.

The closing, for now, dashes a dream of Marini, a Culinary Institute of America-trained restaurant veteran who for years had been working on the idea of a restaurant serving a seasonal menu and offering a raw bar specializing in crudo, ceviche, tartare, and charcuterie. In 2015, Marini won an episode of the CNBC show Restaurant Startup by "selling" the concept to hosts Tim Love and Joe Bastianich.

"Originally, I had envisioned Rarest to be a much smaller space but the opportunity was presented at 834 Chestnut Street," said Marini. "While I was thrilled to meet many people who enjoyed the restaurant, foot traffic and visibility were issues," Marini said. "While I am saddened, I am determined to fulfill my original goal."

Asked if he had any doubts before Rarest opened, Finley said he, his brother and his landlords - the Kormans - were impressed by the food. "I didn't think it would be too much," he said.

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