Pop-up dinners burst onto Philly food scene

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The soon-to-open Tela’s is popping up at JG Domestic.

If food follows fashion, then the proof is in the pop-up. You’ve probably heard the term used before with pop-up shops, which are generally boutique-style collections that suddenly appear, either inside another store or as a street vendor and then are all too quickly dismantled.

The Philly food scene has taken a page from fashion’s book and generated a few pop-up dinners that usually involve a small crowd sharing a table, and getting the opportunity to sample a chef’s most impressive dishes.

Among those doing the carnival kind of setting up and breaking down of short-lived but well-remembered meals is Tela’s Market & Kitchen. Haven’t heard of them yet? That may be because they haven’t opened, and won’t open until sometime next month. But the soon-to-be full scale market and kitchen has found a creative and admittedly alluring way to reach potential customers: pop-up dinners at JG Domestic.

This month Tela’s will host its second pop-up dinner at Iron Chef Jose Garces’ restaurant in the Cira Centre.

“These pop-ups show off what we’ll be doing at Tela’s,” says executive chef Chad Williams. “The items we use on the menu are a reflection of our products and will be available at the market.”

Williams sees these types of meals as a way to not only flex some gastro muscles, but also as a chance for chefs to have fun and to reach new people. It’s a trend he hopes to see more of. “Philly is missing that whole pop-up culture,” says Williams. “Anybody can throw a pop-up and get 20 people to come. When I was in San Francisco, there would be three or four of them each weekend.”

We’ve noticed a few more of these dinners making it onto our radar, but we’re with Williams – we’d love to see more. The pop-ups provide “a comfortable, familial dining experience,” as Williams puts it, but it also lets chefs present something new, or meander down a completely new culinary path.

What we know about Tela’s Market & Kitchen:

  • It’s slated to open sometime in October, possibly mid-month.
  • It will be located at 1833 Fairmount Ave.
  • The restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch daily, but Williams sees room for weekly chef’s table dinners that will echo the pop-ups with seating for 12 to 14 guests.
  • Williams says that they hope to invite other Philly chefs into the weekly dinner mix.


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