Sunday, September 21, 2014
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The lowdown on the new Hotel Monaco

The luxury hotel on Independence Mall will have a restaurant and a roof lounge.

The lowdown on the new Hotel Monaco

Work continues at what will be Red Owl at Hotel Monaco.
Work continues at what will be Red Owl at Hotel Monaco.

The opening of Kimpton's Hotel Monaco, in the historic Lafayette Building at Fifth and Chestnut Streets across from Independence Mall, is about a month away. (Tentative opening is Oct. 4.)

In addition to 268 rooms, the hotel will house a street-level, bilevel restaurant right on the corner called Red Owl Tavern (modern American fare and craft cocktails) and a rooftop lounge (10 stories up) called Stratus.

Guillermo Tellez, now executive chef at Square 1682 at the Kimpton-owned Hotel Palomar at 17th and Sansom Streets, will also serve as chef for Red Owl Tavern and Stratus. (Incidentally, Tellez is now billing himself as Guillermo Tellez Cruz because there's a chef in Minneapolis who goes by Guillermo Tellez.)

Here are the particulars:

RED OWL TAVERN

  • Modern American gathering place or tavern serving rustic, simple farm-fresh fare from across the region.
  • Emphasis on simple, seasonal flavors, minimalist plates with a meat, starch, and vegetable. Meats will be sourced locally and butchered on-site with an emphasis on the entire cow. A lot of pickling, house-made sauces and preserves. Sausages, bacon, scrapple, hot dogs all made in-house.
  • NY-based designer Mark Zeff set it up as "refined Lancaster farmers' market" - decor replete with salvaged barn siding, white steel girders, mostly three-top tables (although a mix of deuces and four-tops on the mezzanine).
  • Chef's table next to the wine vault (set up in the building's original bank vault) and private dining for 25.
  • Average check: breakfast around $12, lunch $19 and dinner $47. Cocktails for both Red Owl and Stratus in the $8-14 range.
  • Open serving breakfast and dinner. Will begin serving lunch the week of Oct. 15, with weekend brunch to follow shortly thereafter.
  • There will be a to-go counter (called "on the fly") for lunch with gourmet deli sandwiches and salads, great for picnics on the mall.

 

STRATUS ROOFTOP LOUNGE

  • Sleek, chic rooftop lounge. Very different vibe than Red Owl — more cosmopolitan vs. rustic.
  • Sharable snacks. Nothing heavy — things like baked goat cheese with tomato jam and apple cider donuts. (Head to Red Owl for dinner not the lounge)
  • Inspired by its closeness to the sky and by birds, feathers and flying. Main features of the outdoor space: two oversized steel wings that form the back of a bar, 18-foot Japanese maple and a 30-foot glass fireplace. There are two enclosed pavilions, each seating about 25, with windows that overlook Independence Mall. The rest of the rooftop is open to the sky but does not overlook the street. Elegant but a little edgy, with lots of imprinted concrete (including a black concrete bar poured in place). Raw, structural and very organic with few straight lines.
  • LA-based Gulla Jonsdottir of G+ Design, who did the Double 7 in NYC's Meatpacking District and the Lilium lounge at W Union Square, set up the 300-seater.
  • Will be open daily with very few exceptions. Management is limiting buy-outs to ensure it's always available to the general public. Will be open year-round.
Michael Klein Philly.com
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. Reach Michael at mklein@philly.com.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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