Michael Schulson and Chef Leo Forneas upped the game at Independence Beer Garden for its second year, and not just because they brought in ping pong tables and shuffleboard.
"When we opened IBG in 2014, we didn't have much food and it wasn't that healthy," Schulson says, laughing. "This year, IBG's on another level."
There are still craft beers, including one created by Yards exclusively for IBG that's a light wheat brew. Food-wise, the menu now includes hearty items like Lancaster-raised chickens with coleslaw, mac 'n' cheese and baked beans, fish and chips, grilled beef ribs, or lighter choices: beet and arugula or kale and raisin salads.
"IBG's not just a place to drink," Schulson says.
It's open all summer and closes for the season in September.
DOUBLE KNOT SNEAK PEEK
The Japanese spot next to Schulson's Sampan at 13th and Samson will have an "antique Japanese decorative vibe," he says.
He’s describing the venue as a mixed-use coffee shop and bar with a hidden Japanese speakeasy serving sushi and robatayaki (grilled, skewered menu items). It opens in September.
UPCOMING: HARP + CROWN
Schulson also just got approval to build the two floors of Harp + Crown up the street at 15th and Sansom; construction should start next week.
The Harp and Crown menu will be Southern comfort-themed, with items like pickled watermelon and country ham n' rice. It’s slated to open early next year.
"Philly demands more," Schulson says of his new projects. "We'll make sure they get it."