A new venture for the proprietors Chef Greg and Julie Vernick, Vernick Food & Drink at 2031 Walnut Street in Philadelphia opened in May 2012 to offer a uniquely American gourmet dining experience in a contemporary atmosphere.

Vernick called on Lighthouse Architecture to realize their concept for a venue that would appeal broadly to the cosmopolitan Rittenhouse Square clientele, without sacrificing individual attention and personal interactions with staff and dining partners.

Unique features include a show kitchen and chef’s counter allowing diners to eat directly along the cooking line, showcasing the culinary attributes of the chef.

Café windows on the first floor at the bar and in the second-floor dining room open to “bring in the energy of the street,” while keeping the atmosphere intimate and relaxed. A new open steel-and-wood staircase to the dining room contributes to the function and appeal of the space.

“We exposed the texture of the historic brick party wall,” explains Lighthouse Architecture’s principal AIA architect and owner, Pete Porretta, “and we added to that with wood-impression porcelain plank flooring” for a warm, inviting atmosphere.

“The biggest design challenges were in the geometry of the space,” Porretta notes, “with its low ceilings and narrow footprint.”

Customer reviews have glowingly dwelt on the “stunningly beautiful space,” praising the “casual but romantic dining room … overlooking the hustle and bustle of Walnut Street, historic churches in eye shot.” Overall, Vernick Food & Drink is “a welcome addition to the Rittenhouse Square food scene.”

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