There was always something missing about Medusa.
On the outside looking in, the Fishtown pizza palace has it all: gorgeous, inviting with a great location and a killer roof deck. But for whatever reason, the idea of authentic Italian fare never caught on as the restaurant catered to sparse numbers during its limited evening hours of operation on weeknights and found itself with too many empty tables on the weekends.
It was owned and operated by the Villico family, who already lay claim to a trio of longtime city pizza joints in Margherita Pizza (60 S. 2nd St.), Joe’s Pizza (122 S. 16th St.) and Ciao Pizza on 1709 Chestnut St.
But in February, Green Eggs Cafe announced that it was expanding its reach into the River Wards with the purchase of Medusa. With only a few cosmetic changes to its tables along with a revamp and unveil of a menu in March, the eclectic space is transformed into brunch by day and classic Italian pizzas by night. The concept is unlike any other at Green Eggs’ other locations.
It’s a concept that could be the soft opening for a slew of eateries coming to the beaches of Wildwood as it’s rumored that the Green Eggs brand is looking to open a number of hybrid day-night eateries – PW has learned that Green Eggs which hosts naming rights to Medusa is looking to open a second one on the Jersey Shore.
It’s a savvy and timely move.
Medusa’s location at York and Gaul streets is nestled on the border of where old Fishtown ends and the rapidly growing East Kensington begins, the immediate extension of what Forbes recently called “America’s hottest new neighborhood.” Like much of the city, this section on the Fishtown-Kensington border has seen immense development and increased foot traffic, making a spring launch into the summer season of outdoor dining appear a perfect time.
The Villicos reportedly noted the move allowed more of a focus back on other locations, but it’s a slightly different tune than the one sang in 2016 when they opened Medusa as a hopeful crown jewel of their empire, converting the old warehouse space into one of Fishtown’s most gorgeous and spacious eateries.
As for Green Eggs’ popular brunch menu, it hasn’t changed, and the price points remain the same as they do at many of its locations. So for those in love with the Cookie Dough Stuffed French Toast ($14), the Chicken and Waffles Benedict ($13) or the Vegan option of Pecan Pie French Toast ($14), which consists of a creme brulee batter, stuffed with pecan pie filling, vanilla streusel, chantilly cream and pecan pieces, then you’re in luck.
Almost neglected to mention: Green Eggs’ management is awaiting its liquor license. As of now, the location is still BYO, but license approval just in time for summer will bode well in an effort to accommodate those looking both for a speciality breakfast cocktail by day and a happy hour special on the roof deck by night.
YOU GOTTA EAT HERE
Summer transforms Philadelphia, especially its award-winning restaurant scene. Seating spills onto sidewalks, sun umbrellas become distinguishing features, and diners don’t mind waiting for a spot on the back patio. From East Falls to South Philadelphia, here are some restaurants worth visiting this summer.
Philadelphia native Chef Arthur Cavaliere combined his two favorite cities – Philadelphia and Naples – when conceptualizing In Riva. This East Falls Italian restaurant specializes in Neapolitan-style pizzas, homemade pasta, and other classic dishes from Southern Italy. The name “In Riva” translates to, “along the banks,” a fitting title for its location a few paces from the Schuylkill River. Their patio has 100 seats that overlook the waterfront, including a bar with an eclectic wine list. There’s a “Bikes Welcome” sign that can be seen from Kelly Drive, inviting cyclists to break for an Italian beer. Their “Pizza and Puppies” sign welcomes diners with dogs too. | 4116 Ridge Ave. in-riva.com/
The Revolution House
Located in historic Old City, The Revolution House is home to the neighborhood’s only roof-deck. The building was once the Quaker Friends Meetinghouse, and the original 1798 brick has been incorporated in the design. Vintage bottles hang from the bar, repurposed Philadelphia school doors are used as paneling, and antique skeleton keys are inlaid in the tables. Their menu features classics like chicken pot pie, a cheesesteak sandwich, and mac and cheese. A warm afternoon can be spent on the roof-deck, drinking a Yards Philly Pale Ale while looking out over Christ Church and the Ben Franklin Bridge. | 200 Market St. revolutionhouse.com/
This classic Irish pub can be found on Girard Avenue, right in the heart of Fishtown. Patrons drink Yuengling at the bar while watching the basketball game. There’s a dart board on the wall, a dimly-lit lamp shade attached to a bust of Elvis, and a few pieces of taxidermy. In the back is a tiny dining area, serving authentic Italian food. The chef comes straight from Puglia, Italy, and the food is so good that the wait is often one to three hours. Their chalkboard menu features handmade lobster ravioli, spaghetti, and veal Tortellacci (although the menu is always changing.) Their back patio has two picnic benches so guests can eat top-notch Italian food in a secluded backyard. | 202 E. Girard Ave. facebook.com/murphs.bar/
A Mediterranean cafe with an in-demand brunch, Aksum is a foodie favorite in West Philly. The dining space is intimate, clean-cut, airy, and filled with natural light. Guests can be seen through the large, open windows as servers open BYO bottles of wine. The menu features tastes from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Dishes like Tunisian Spiced Shrimp, Greek Lamb Chops, and curry tofu are accompanied by tapas like stuffed grape leaves, steamed mussels, and Roman artichokes. There’s a buzz around Aksum’s brunch, which features dishes like Turkish scrambled eggs and curry tofu scramble. Much of the menu can be converted into vegan or vegetarian dishes, giving all diners plenty of options. Their Moroccan chicken and waffles platter and almond crusted French toast have rave reviews. | 4630 Baltimore Ave. aksumcafe.com/
Bing Bing Dim Sum
This quirky, South Philly restaurant offers a small menu of Dim Sum, noodles, and rice dishes. They don’t claim to have authentic Asian food, but rather creative twists on their favorites. The restaurant walls are covered in black and white murals of Asian-inspired cartoons. Guests sit under red Chinese lanterns and string lights while snacking on pork soup dumplings, Sichuan cucumbers and Shanghai noodle soup. The summer breeze comes in through the open windows, and servers bring Thai tea and ginger-infused cocktails to the tables on the sidewalks. Owned by the same duo as Cheu in Fishtown, Bing Bing Dim Sum has the trendy, laid-back atmosphere you’d expect. | 1648 E. Passyuk Ave. bingbingdimsum.com/
– SHANNON ULLMAN | @LIVESABROAD1