Vernick Fish will reflect what the 2017 James Beard Award winner (and Craig LaBan's chef of the year for 2016) calls an "organic next step" as he's found his patrons are eating lighter and ordering more seafood and vegetables. (His Walnut Street restaurant celebrates wood-fired cooking.)
"I love the idea of exploring a new neighborhood in Philadelphia where I'll be able to create a restaurant with a linear focus," he said. "I'm most excited by being able to source seasonal, sustainable, high-quality, unique seafood, and grow our Vernick team." The difference in concepts — and its location near Logan Square — justifies two restaurants about six blocks apart.
In addition to cocktails, Vernick Fish's bar will concentrate on sparkling and white wines. All told, the restaurant will accommodate 160 people inside and 40 on an outdoor patio.
Adam Tihany of Tihany Design — whose who's who of restaurants include such landmarks as Per Se and Daniel in New York City — is going the refined-industrial route with a partially exposed ceiling and use of bronze and antique brass details. A terrazzo floor, speckled with what will look like crushed white shells, will offer what the project overseers call "a subtle hint to the sea while echoing the natural color palette throughout the venue." The white terrazzo will extend along the back wall, where the chef's kitchen will be set against a backsplash of blue and cream ceramic tile, evoking a school of fish. There will be an oyster bar.
The Four Seasons, which will occupy the top floors of the skyscraper, also will house a to-be-named restaurant and lounge by globe-trotting chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, for whom the Cherry Hill-bred Vernick worked around the world before he returned to Philadelphia. Vongerichten's restaurant holdings include New York's ABC and Mercer Kitchen, as well as restaurants bearing his name in Las Vegas, London, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Vernick's next major project, however, is a second daughter with wife Julie, expected in September. He's also going next door to the Walnut Street flagship Vernick to add private dining.