Restaurant notes: Sneak peek time

Opa's exterior, 1311 Sansom St.

  • Opa, the modern Greek restaurant-bar coming to 1311 Sansom St., will be part of Saturday's Midtown Village Festival. Siblings George and Vasiliki Tsiouris are targeting November for the opening, and they'll have a tent to show off renderings and hand out genuine Greek evil-eye bracelets. They also will raffle off gift cards.
  • The all-vegan Blackbird Pizza is soft-opening at 507 S. Sixth St., just off South Street, where Gianna's Grille and Levis hot dogs were. Owners-buddies Mark Mebus and Ryan Moylan are sticking to pizzas, sandwiches, and a few salads, building the menu as they go. Hours are 3-ish through 10-ish daily except for Mondays. Best bet: Call 215-625-6660 to verify that it's open before you come out. Mebus cooked at the nearby all-vegan destination Horizons, as well as at Candle 79 and Blossom in New York City. Mebus says he's happy with his "pedestrian-friendly" fare. "Though fancier fare is far more exciting, I like the physical interaction with the customers," he told me. He uses Daiya vegan cheese, which every vegan chef knows is superior; it's not a soy-based product and melts properly. His sandwiches include a cheesesteak made of seitan and Daiya; a roasted vegetable grinder topped with Daiya and baked in the oven; a barbecue portabella mushroom sandwich for which he breads the mushroom, Southern-fries it, and slathers it in sauce, coleslaw, and peppers; and a variation of a chicken or tuna salad grinder that has chickpea filling. (Click on third image to see a slice of a white pizza.)