The Callowhill neighborhood, north of Vine Street, is up and coming, and you might say the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is getting in on the ground level.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 10, it will open the PHS Pop Up Garden at the Viaduct Rail Park (10th and Hamilton Streets), on the street level next to the old Reading Viaduct, which is being repurposed into an elevated park similar to the High Line in Manhattan. I'm told that it's possible that the pop-up will be relocated upstairs to the rail park in a future year.
Enter at the southwest corner of 10th and Hamilton, which is a block south of Union Transfer.
There is plenty of seating. The PHS has set up orange shipping containers that have been fashioned into a kitchen/bar/serving window, as well as semi-enclosed seating. Most of the ground is pressed wood chips, so wear comfy shoes.
Chefs Jason Cichonski (of Ela and Gaslight) and Sylva Senat (Dos Tacos and Maison), working with restaurant operators HFA Bridge, have created a menu of steamed buns: Guac (smashed avocado, lime, black truffle cream, kim chi salsa and chips); Buffalo Chicken Nugget Boa (crispy chicken, hot sauce, Bayley Hazen blue cheese and celery); Tikka Masala Curry; and Warm Churros (with ginger-cinnamon-sugar and salted sweet sesame dulce de leche).
The bar will feature six taps and canned beers; wines; and refreshing cocktails including Blood Orange Margarita, Fish House Punch, Pimm’s Cup, and Summer Sangria. Reggae bands will play on Sundays, and there will be a bloody Mary bar on Sunday, June 12.
The PHS is working with the Friends of the Rail Park and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Landscape artist Walter Hood, of Oakland, Calif., set it up, incorporating native plants in the design. At the entrance, the HSP set up archival images of the Reading line. The pop-up also has the new ball toss game Stones, created by the Philly Stones League, which borrows from bocce, chess and other games.
Hours will be 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.