HeadHouse pub new on Lombard; new chef at Buddakan

A bartender inspects glasses as he stands in the arched walkway between the two rooms at the HeadHouse at 122 Lombard St.
A bartender inspects glasses as he stands in the arched walkway between the two rooms at the HeadHouse at 122 Lombard St.
Posted: June 17, 2010

If you're offering 100 varieties of bottled beers and 20 on draft, and your pub is less than 100 yards from Head House Square, the perfect name is right under your nose.

The HeadHouse (122 Lombard St., 215-625-0122) opened last week under Museum Catering owner Bruce Nichols, also a founder of Philly Beer Week, and Madame Saito Ai, who owns the bricks, formerly Zot.

They've lightened it up, and the industrial-ish, modern look includes stone and black-and-white photos of antique ale glasses by William Stites.

Alison two alum Tom Pittakas runs the front of the house, and Museum Catering's Jimmy Chiu's menu includes such dishes as fontina fritters with tomato creme fraiche; chicken shwarma with cucumber, tomato, and spiced dill yogurt; and various mussels priced by the kilo. Price range is $5 for fries to $23 for an entree of boneless, braised beef short ribs. Menu is at http://go.philly.com/headhouse.

It does dinner daily. Monday-to-Saturday lunch begins Monday. Sunday brunch starts June 27.

Chef chat

Scott Swiderski, executive chef at Buddakan since its 1998 opening and the creator of such signatures as the calamari salad and dry-aged beef, left last week. "It's time," Swiderski, 47, said. "I need a breather . . . with my wife and daughter [age 7], and get my golf handicap down." His next stop may be in the personal chef world, though it's possible he will land in a new restaurant, or even back with Buddakan owner Stephen Starr. New chef Mark Hellyar is a Johnson & Wales alum who studied with Michel Richard and has stops in Tokyo, London, and Washington, D.C.

The private Union League will open for a rare public peek on July 17 as chef Martin Hamann, formerly of the Four Seasons, will cook lunch and lead a tour, cosponsored by Philadelphia Hospitality. It's $55 a head. Reservations: 215-790-9901, Ext. 21.

On the way

Adsum, Matt Levin's forthcoming bistro at Fifth and Bainbridge Streets, has a GM: She's Heather Rodkey, formerly beverage and dining room manager at Rouge, where Levin is interim chef. He says Adsum will open later this month or in early July.

Downtown Wayne will get a Latin accent later this year. A casually upscale Spanish-Mexican hybrid called Matador is planned for 110 N. Wayne Ave., in the space that last housed the Freehouse. The team also behind Crazy Cactus/La Taverna in Phoenixville promises a well-stocked tequila bar and wine selection. Across the street at 103 N. Wayne Ave., plans are unfolding for an upscale Mexican restaurant-lounge called Xilantro (as in cilantro with an X) from the crew behind El Serape in Blue Bell and Los Serapes in Chalfont and Horsham.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at mklein@phillynews.com. Follow his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider and on Twitter @phillyinsider.

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