Christopher Kearse is moving uptown.
Plan is to close Will BYOB on June 2 and to open Forsythia — after the Levittown street he grew up on and where he started cooking — on Aug. 24. That will be seven years to the day that he opened at 1911 E. Passyunk Ave. He will continue to work with Will general manager Ben Jensen-Rosen.
Kearse, 34, was a young buck of 27 when he opened Will. “I’ve matured,” he told me, “and I’m limited what I can do here.”
Forsythia, 60-seater (with a full 14-seat bar), will feature modern French cuisine with classic undertones, but with a larger-format menu including canapes, small plates, pastas (stuffed, baked, and extruded), vegetables, larger plates, and maybe an entree or two out of the big-bellied wood-fired oven. It’s all designed to be shareable.
Kearse cautions that he will not serve pizza.
Kearse is known as a chef’s chef. “Will” happens to be his nickname and also a character trait. In 2000, as a teen, he was a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunken driver. Over the years, he endured 37 surgeries, many to reconstruct his jaw.