Coffee and axes: 5 newest businesses to launch in Philadelphia

Photo: Vernick Coffee Bar/Yelp

Itching to get to know the newest restaurant and retail additions to Philadelphia? From an Italian restaurant to an upscale breakfast and brunch spot, read on for a rundown of the newest hot spots to debut around town.

Giuseppe & Sons

1523 Sansom St., Rittenhouse
Photo: melissa p./Yelp

Giuseppe & Sons is an Italian restaurant. Husband and wife duo Michael Schulson and Nina Tinari created Guiseppe & Sons, which was inspired by South Philly's Termini Brothers Bakery, according to the restaurant's website.

For lunch, expect sandwiches like the Sicilian tuna with capers and red peppers drizzled with olive oil, or roast pork with broccoli rabe, provolone and chili. For dinner, look for starters like meatballs and gravy or braised tripe, greens, handmade pasta and plates of chicken and seafood. On the dessert list, look for hand-rolled cannolis. (See the menus here.)

With a three-star rating out of nine Yelp reviews thus far, the new spot is off to an uneven start, but it's still early days.

Taryn F., who reviewed it on Nov. 30, said, "The food reminded me of having dinner with my family on Sunday. Everything was delicious. We had the crab and macaroni and the gnocchi. Service was outstanding."

Dan K., however, noted, " I can't remember the last time I went to a restaurant in Philly and being disinterested by the menu alone. I get that this is supposed to be a classic Italian restaurant, but still, the menu is a bit boring. This wouldn't be the end of the world if the food was well executed, but, unfortunately, this is far from being the case."

Stop by and welcome the new eatery to the neighborhood: it's open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-midnight on Friday, 5 p.m.-midnight on Saturday, and 5-10 p.m. on Sunday.

Mainstay Independent Brewing

901 N. Delaware Ave., Northern Liberties
Photo: michael f./Yelp

Mainstay Independent Brewing is a brewpub. The newcomer is a collaboration between Brian O'Reilly, formerly of Sly Fox Brewery, and Andrew Foss, formerly of St. Benjamin Brewing, according to Philly Voice. It's also the first of three businesses set to open in the space previously occupied by Yards Brewing Co.

On the menu, look for snacks like hummus and cheeseburger sliders or larger plates of grilled cheese and pulled pork sandwiches. Wash those down with a craft beer like the Glow Spice, a beer infused with flavors of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg, or a handcrafted cocktail, wine or non-alcoholic beverage.

With four reviews on Yelp, it has four stars, indicating fair reviews.

Jennifer P., who was among the first to review it on Nov. 19, wrote, "We absolutely loved the beers, service and food! Would highly recommend the crab dip. We will definitely be back!"

Billy K. added, "Staff were friendly and the bartender was knowledgeable and happy to engage in beer small talk. Food was served quickly."

The new brewpub is open from 4 p.m.-midnight Wednesday-Friday, noon-midnight on Saturday, and noon-8 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)

Mazhu Axes

9806 Bustleton Ave., Bustleton
Photo: B K./Yelp

Mazhu Axes is an axe throwing spot.

The National Axe Federation notes that urban axe throwing is on the rise with an estimated 20 million axes thrown to date, according to NBC News. At Mazhu Axes, first timers and veteran axe-throwers are welcome, and a coach will guide you through the activity. Other activities include a pool table, shuffleboard and more. Guests are welcome to bring their own food, beer and wine.

With a five-star rating out of two reviews on Yelp so far, the fresh addition has been warmly received by patrons.

Jaison K., who was among the first Yelpers to review the new spot on Nov. 15, wrote, "The hosts were excellent and made sure we were taken care of. The instructor explained everything well and electronic scoring is very neat."

B K. added, "I was a little intimidated as this was my first time, but the staff here was extremely friendly and knowledgeable."

Mazhu Axes is open during walk-in hours from 3-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1-7 p.m. on Sunday. Reservation hours vary.

Shake Shack

105 S. 12th St., Unit 1-01, Washington Square
Photo: sue h./Yelp

Shake Shack is a traditional American spot, offering burgers and fast food. This is the chain's fourth outpost in Philadelphia.

On the menu, look for offerings like a single or double ShackBurger cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce; a SmokeShack burger with applewood smoked bacon and chopped cherry pepper; and a fried portobello mushroom burger, filled with melted Muenster and cheddar cheeses. Hot dogs, a chicken sandwich and shakes are also available.

The new location has a 4.5-star rating out of nine reviews on Yelp so far.

Karim H., who reviewed it on Oct. 24, said, "Great location, interior is nice, electronic kiosks for self-ordering. Takes about 10 minutes to get your food. Had the cheeseburger and pie-oh-my. Overall, like other Shake Shacks, good quality food!"

Deborah T. added, "The food was absolutely delicious and fresh! Upon entry, there was staff available to assist with ordering if you needed it."

The new spot has yet to post its hours online.

Vernick Coffee Bar

1800 Arch St., Floor 2, Logan Square
Photo: Vernick Coffee Bar/Yelp

Vernick Coffee Bar is an upscale breakfast and brunch spot. This 40-seat modern coffee bar and cafe is a partnership between James Beard award-winning chef Greg Vernick and the Four Seasons Hotel at Comcast Center, according to its website.

For breakfast, look for the smoked salmon and buckwheat crepe or the wild mushroom avocado grain bowl drizzled with green dressing. For lunch, expect chilled shrimp, soba noodles and sesame salad, or a premade selection of sandwiches and quiches at the barista bar. If you're in the mood for sweet treats, there are croissants, muffins, scones and gluten-free cookies.

It's off to a good start with eight Yelp reviews giving it 4.5 stars.

Yelper Jonny R., who reviewed it on Oct. 24, wrote, "Dynamite food, good coffee, great service. And surprisingly great environment, right in the huge high rise. I got the breakfast sandwich and it was great. Vegetarian too. Could use some textural contrast, but otherwise perfect."

Sarah A. noted, "Although it was pouring outside, Vernick Coffee Bar remained light and airy inside due to the building's soaring ceiling, indoor trees and sculpture and windows galore. Service was impeccable--polite and attentive."

The new spot is open from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. (It's closed on weekends.)
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