Harper's Garden: Food and drink outdoors, in heart of Center City

Baby potatoes on the menu at Harper’s Garden, 31 S. 18th St

Center City is getting a new outdoor-dining/drinking destination as Harper’s Garden — from the crew behind Morgan’s Pier and Parks on Tap — opens for its preview weekend May 11-13 at 31 S. 18th St., a block south of Market.

Crumbled sausage flatbread at Harper’s Garden, 31 S. 18th St.

FCM Hospitality hired Karen Regan of Tallulah & Bird to do up a portion of the patio on the Duane Morris Plaza, just the block from Continental Mid-town and around the corner from Uptown Beer Garden.

The project has been on the books since December 2016; Tria initially had been a partner in what was to be a wine garden.

Harper’s Garden’s wooden veranda covers seating for 100 at full-service dining as well as high-tops for drinks/snacks. There’s also a smaller indoor space for year-round business, including a large bar, seating for 50 people, and a second-floor private lounge. The space last was a short-lived soup restaurant called Brodo.

Ben Moore, most recently of Wister BYOB in Old City, is executive chef, and his new-American menu is summery, including a full section of breads with toasts, flatbreads, and sandwiches sourced from Alex Bois of Lost Bread Co. Among the dishes will be white tuna crudo with citrus, black olive oil, and scallion; baby potatoes that are smashed and fried and made wth fine herbs and warm goat cheese sauce, a strawberry salad with baby spinach, rye crouton, goat feta, and strawberry-molasses vinaigrette; crumbled sausage flatbread with fennel, clam sauce, and spinach; fried cod bahn mi with Asian slaw and xo lime aioli; and handmade smoked malt bowties with charred asparagus, brown butter, Meyer lemon and garlic breadcrumbs.

Jesse Cornell, who helped develop drink programs at Sbraga and Skygarten, oversees the drinks. (Cornell is married to Arts & Lifestyle editor Molly Eichel. She did not assign nor edit this piece.) He has at his disposal a 30-tap draft system consisting of 14 wines, 14 beers, coffee, and kombucha all on draft.

Seating will limited from May 11 to 13. Starting May 16 it goes full speed. Hours will be 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. with food available from 5 to 10 p.m. Lunch will start on the weekends toward the end of May.

Harper’s Garden, 31 S. 18th St.