A new Oyster House opening on Sansom

Owners Sam Mink, left, and his father, David Mink, at Oyster House, set to open tonight. The restaurant is a redo of the Sansom Street Oyster House.
Owners Sam Mink, left, and his father, David Mink, at Oyster House, set to open tonight. The restaurant is a redo of the Sansom Street Oyster House.
Posted: June 04, 2009

Tonight is the scheduled opening of Oyster House - representing the top-to-bottom redo of Sansom Street Oyster House - at 1516 Sansom St. (215-567-7683).

It's open for dinner Mondays through Saturdays. Lunch, same days, will follow in about 10 days.

SSOH, under different ownership, closed last summer.

Founder David Mink, who owned the bricks, is behind the moderate-priced seafooder with his son, Sam, who most recently was a manager at Distrito and Amada.

A little history: David Mink opened SSOH in 1976, the year that Sam was born. David's father, Sam, got into the seafood biz in 1947 - the year David was born - when he bought Kelly's on Mole Street. (The younger Sam has no children.)

Kelly's, just off Market Street near 16th Street, closed in 1969 to make way for Centre Square. Kelly's briefly moved into 1620 Ludlow St., now beneath One Liberty Place. David Mink sold the business to Cary Neff in 2000. Mink took it back after the business filed for bankruptcy protection last summer.

For Oyster House, Brett Webber Architects gutted the interior down to the wainscoting. The space is wide open and vaguely industrial (thanks to exposed steel), with a white-subway-tile-backed drinking bar and oyster bar toward the front. The white bar and oyster bar tops are made from marble landscaping salvaged from Independence Mall. Whitewashed brick walls are adorned with the Mink family's collection of oyster plates. Tables and part of the floor were made from 19th-century oak salvaged from the roof of the Academy of Music.

Chef Greg Ling has a rotating selection at the L-shaped raw bar (where some original shuckers are working), plus updated classics: grilled sardines with slow-cooked tomato, sea-urchin butter, and crostini; "dirty shrimp" steamed in beer and Chesapeake-style spices; grilled bluefish with cucumber salad, skordalia, and roasted lemon sauce. Dishes will be served at the raw bar between lunch and dinner.

What's new

After a year and a half of construction, Demetri and son Mike Maroulis have opened Demetri's Mediterranean Cuisine at the southwest corner of 45th and Chestnut Streets (215-386-1824). Philosophy is diner, but the look is nothing like one - plush banquettes, lots of drapery, hardwood floor. It's open for breakfast daily from 7 to 11 a.m. with pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and eggs. The all-day menu reads like a mash-up of the Manhattan, Philadelphia, and Athens phone books: soup, pizza, panini, burgers, cheesesteaks, hoagies, ribs, stromboli, pastas, chicken/seafood/veal entrees, and Greek entrees. Specialties: salmon with lemon ginger and butter sauce ($14.95), and anything with rose sauce. Entrees are under $20.

Pond and Bistro Cassis in Radnor have stopped indoor dining in favor of alfresco. Prix-fixe menus are offered as one or two courses. At lunch, Wednesdays through Fridays, it's $13 for one course, $19 for two. At dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays, the two-course option is $29; entrees are $21, and a starter is $10. The starter also can be done as an entree ($15). The garden room is used during inclement weather. Pond is now focusing on private dining.

Expanded days

Winnie's Le Bus in Manayunk is open at 7:30 a.m. for weekday breakfast.

Sullivan's Steakhouse in King of Prussia just started Sunday brunch.

On Sunday, Varga Bar at 10th and Spruce Streets starts daily lunch; same menu will be served all day.

What's coming

Mom's Kitchen will be the name of the comfort-fooder planned for late summer at 505 Haddon Ave. in Collingswood. Joseph Tucker, chef-owner of Joe Pesce (down the street and in Center City), envisions it as a 1960s/1970s-themer that will offer TV-dinnerlike platters; entrees $10 to $16. In addition to lunch and dinner hours, it will serve breakfast/brunch Fridays through Sundays. Opening is planned in late August. The space was last a Curves. How fitting.

Azie on Main will be the name of Win Signature Restaurants' new Asian fusion eatery, opening midsummer on the upper level of what was Maia in Villanova. Win and Sutida Somboonsong also own Teikoku, Mikado Thai Pepper, and Flavor on the Main Line. The Somboonsongs also are working on Parker's Prime, a steak house at the former Roux 3 in Newtown Square. Flavor, incidentally, has become a BYO again, as its license is bound for Azie on Main.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. Get real-time restaurant news at http://go.philly.com/insider.

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