Chef Marcie Turney and partner Valerie Safran own a lot of restaurant real estate in Midtown Village. The Mediterranean Barbuzzo, the modern Mexican Lolita and the Spanish wine-and-food bar Jamonera line 13th Street, while their take on Italian-American fare, Little Nonna's, is a few blocks away on Locust. "This area has been very good to us," says Safran. The jewel in the crown, however — the corner of 13th and Locust — is reserved for their newest restaurant: the long-awaited retro-American comfort food kitchen, Bud & Marilyn's.
"Bud & Marilyn’s took us so long to open mainly because we wanted to get it all right," says Turney, referring to both the dishes and the subtle kitsch of the décor: mid-century Americana with golden eagles, marquee lighting, tree stump clocks, and a back bar with wood paneling, gleaming white tile and a 1940s-era television.
“Everything at Bud & Marilyn's will take you back, even if you weren't there in the first place," says Turney.
Safran and designer Kate Rohrer made sure every detail was on point, including matching the wall menu's brass lettering with the gilt on the drink glasses (ready to be filled with vintage-styled cocktails such as Sloe Gin Fizz and Planter's Punch).
The walls also feature old portraits, including caricatures of Turney's grandparents, Bud and Marilyn Briese, who ran The Spot in Ripon, Wisconsin. Tunnery spent time in their restaurant, and was inspired to make modern, chef-driven versions of their menu items for Bud & Marilyn’s, like the Marilyn’s Fried Chicken ("I swear you'll crave this again as soon as you're done" says Turney), and a Friday Night Fish Fry. That Midwestern tradition is one the Philly chef has updated to include fish batter-dipped in Bud's Pale Ale, a craft beer from Yard's created specifically for the restaurant.
Bud & Marilyn's opened yesterday.
Four dishes to order:
1. Start with the B&M Wedge with crisp Iceberg lettuce, Nueske's bacon bits and crispy onions
2. Share the Pork 'N' Pickles platter: cured and smoked hams, BBQ spiced pork rillettes, fermented beer mustard, pimento cheese and pickles.
3. And dig into the grilled meats on the Polynesian Pu Pu Platter.
4. For dessert, go for the Mile High Coconut Cream Pie, with toasted coconut, sesame praline and a curried sesame Graham crust. "We made 17 different versions until we got it right," says Turney.