If you were wondering what was behind the plywood at 1518 Sansom for the last 3 years, wonder no more. Willy Bouikidis ran Race Street Pizza at 13th and Race Streets from 1976 to 2006 with his brothers, when the Convention Center expansion took over the property.
Retirement wasn't easy for Bouikidis, a Greek who tells me he loves food, especially Italian. And the Italian/American menu reflects this with entree selections like Penne Bolognese, Mushroom Risotto, Grilled Kosher Chicken and Red Wine Braised Short Rib. There's also an extensive drink menu, including wines. (Willie told me the dishes were out so the chef can choose which ones to use, and the rest he will store for the future.)
The 80 seat restaurant will be opened 7 days a week 11AM to 2AM, adding to the excitement of the street which already has a few of my fave hang outs like Nodding Head, 500 Degrees, Ladder 15, The Oyster House and shortly the Grasso Brothers sports bar at 15th & Sansom Streets. (With Mark Marek's nightclub, RUMOR, opening in the basement.)
I liked the color and the vibe, yes I said vibe of this new eatery. The chairs were thoughtfully chosen for comfort and style, the floor porcelain tile to look like wood. I mentioned that the floor was similar to Marabella's Meatballs on Walnut Street, which started Bouikidis and I off on a restaurant chat for 40 minutes. He has the stories that will keep you entertained. Happy Hour is Monday thru Friday 5PM - 7PM. Each day brings a $5 price to a cocktail, and $1 off draft & bottled beers (Draft beers: Bud Light, Bed, Guinness, Heineken, Murphy's Irish Stout, Sierra Nevada, Yuengling, and Woodchuck cider to name a few.) Bottle: Domestic $4 and Imports $5. Non-Alcoholic brews $4. Appetizers for Happy Hour include Hummus, Calamari Fritto Misto, Mussels with White Wine Sauce and Salt and Pepper Wings.
Lunch will be served 7 days a week 11AM - 2AM, and include salads, yum like Roasted Beet Salad (oranges, Frisee, Sherry Vinaigrette, and Goat Cheese.) similar apps as Happy Hour, but adding the ever popular Pork & Lamb Meatballs. Sandwiches T.E.D (Thanksgiving Every Day) Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Brioche and mayonnaise; flank steak, tuna melt chicken cutlet and grilled portabello reuban all for $8.50 then a reasonable burger, The 1518 Burger $10. All sanwiches served with house salad or hand cut french fries. Now that's an affordable lunch. But we still have to wait, seems the delay has been paperwork, hearings and more paperwork. Willy says with in 3 more weeks, he hopes to be open by the end of the month. The restaurant is ready.