NFL star to join Somo founder in opening a second restaurant, in South Philadelphia

Jahri Evans, a standout at Frankford High, is now an All-Pro right guard with the Green Bay Packers and wears a Super Bowl ring from the New Orleans Saints’ win in 2010.

At 34, he’s about to face a challenge perhaps just as daunting as the blitz:

The restaurant business. He and his wife, Takia, are joining designer/restaurateur James Morrissey in opening Somo SoPhi, a larger offshoot of Morrissey’s Manayunk yearling, Somo. The couple also has a stake in the Philadelphia Soul.

They’re renovating the former Medora’s Meccca, a landmark Italian restaurant at 13th Street and Packer Avenue, near the stadiums and the I-76 approach to the Walt Whitman Bridge. A spring opening is the target.

They’re going for chic at this restaurant/bar/lounge, which will take three levels and include two outdoor dining/lounge spaces.

The first floor will be a 50-seat replica of the Manayunk location, with a relaxed vibe, TVs showing sports, and an American menu. Also on the ground floor will be a lounge and a large al fresco cafe/sidewalk seating area open seasonally

Morrissey, whose design work includes Bala’s B2 Bluefin and Chestnut Hill’s Paris Bistro, Chestnut Hill Hotel, and Market at the Fareway, describes the second floor’s look as “sexy eco-chic,” and he’s designing a 100-seat dining room, open chef’s kitchen, cocktail bar, and a covered outdoor terrace. Idea is to offer upscale dining/lounge action during the week and nightlife on the weekends. The wine and champagne selections will include offerings from Onehope Winery, the Evanses’ charitable partnership with Napa’s Onehope Winery.

Up on the third floor will be the partners call “the ultimate chef’s table” — a private dining space with a whiskey bar and private chef’s kitchen where guests can request customized menus.

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The former Medora’s Mecca at 13th and Packer Avenue will become Somo SoPhi. Among the owners is Green Bay Packers tackle Jahri Evans.