Peter Woolsey’s new brasserie in the new FringeArts center isn’t quite ready to go, but it’s getting very close. Over the weekend, we stopped in for a quick look at La Peg as it prepares for an opening as soon as Monday, August 25. A big launch party to kick off the 2014 FringeArts Festival is set for Friday, September 5.
Kitchen build-out is complete, and the European-style open-sight cooking lines are buzzing with activity as Woolsey (who you may know from Bistrot La Minette) and his team perfect the large menu of French-inspired small plates, sandwiches and dinner platters.
A handful of bites are available for $3 (beets, lentils, potatoes), apps hover around $7-$9, large plates are $22-$27 and the $30 prix fixe includes three courses. See the full menu here. Nich Bazik (one of our 30 Under 30 honorees) is chef de cuisine, and Fitler Dining Room alum Andrew Farley is sous-chef. General manager is longtime La Minette staffer Michael Slavin.
A dining room that spreads across two levels has been built into the 111-year-old historic building, much of it constructed with wood reclaimed from the former fire pumping station. Huge arched windows fill the high-ceilinged room with sun, highlighting custom-fabricated tables, metalwork, woodwork and the large bar.
Outside, a dining area and beer garden will take over the patio that sits beside the anchorage of the Ben Franklin bridge, providing year-round open-air seating (weather permitting) and acting as a draw to the performance theater that takes up the other half of the building.
Flip through for an early quick tour, along with more details on menu and decor.
140 N. Columbus Blvd.; 215-375-7744
The outdoor patio and beer garden will enjoy great views of the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. You might even eventually see light shows dancing on the stone anchorages across from the terrace.
A gigantic photograph of the building prior to renovations extends your viewpoint once you step inside and look toward the kitchen and bar.
A view from the landing above the mezzanine. The main floor has a small stage in the back corner that will be covered will tables during the day and be open in evenings for cabaret performances. The bar is freestanding, and forms the divider between the restaurant and the foyer to the performance theater next door.
The eight-beer tap system was constructed from old pipes.
Chef de cuisine Nich Bazik stands with sous-chef Andrew Farley, who has apparently picked up the nickname "Pooky" (we didn't ask). Asked their favorite dish on the La Peg menu, both chose the bone marrow. It's sliced lengthwise and oven roasted, then sprinkled with gray sea salt and served with sauce gribiche, scrambled eggs and toast ($12).
Baguettes will be baked daily in house using a recipe from Woolsey's father-in-law, a renowned French baker, and served in mini metal pails, for free (to paying customers).
Next to the dining area on the mezzanine is a small lounge, with eclectic chairs.
From the lounge you get another great view of the Ben Franklin Bridge.