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Outdoor restaurant Harper’s Garden opens this week near Rittenhouse

By Caroline Coral

Whether it’s kicking back with a cocktail on one of Philly’s rooftop bars, cracking a cold one at a seasonal beer gardens or simply pouring a glass of rosé to enjoy on your patio, this city’s residents are positively itching to get outside.

This season welcomes another addition to the alfresco scene, with the opening of Harper’s Garden. Brought to us by the good folks of FCM Hospitality, the masterminds behind some of Philly’s favorite summertime dining and drinking destinations, such as Morgan’s Pier and Parks on Tap, Harper’s is upping the game with some serious talent—both in the kitchen and behind the bar.

This is the outdoor area at Harper's Garden in Center City Philadelphia.
Outdoor area at Harper’s Garden
Photograph: Courtesy FCM Hospitality

Bartender Jesse Cornell outfitted the bar with a 30-line draft system that is home to not only beer but a selection of ciders, wines, kombuchas and coffees. Cornell has crafted a lineup of classically inspired cocktails with a summerly lean, including daiquiris and a tequila- and jalapeño-spiked lemonade. A well-considered wine list has plenty of warm-weather favorites like an Austrian rosé and lightly effervescent Txakoli. And for those interested in on-trend sipping, Aperol spritzes and a Spanish pét-nat will please.

Harper’s Garden is setting itself apart from other outdoor operations with an ambitious, seasonal menu from chef Ben Moore. Having put in time at lauded Philly institutions such as Le Bec Fin and La Croix, Moore’s menu of shareable plates are rooted in seasonality and technique. Hand-pulled mozzarella is marinated and served with spring artichokes, smashed and fried new potatoes come with a tangy goat cheese sauce, and tiny ravioli are filled with green peas and leeks.

This is a plate of baby potatoes served at Harper's Garden in Center City.

Photograph: Courtesy FCM Hospitality

Joining forces with Moore is Alex Bois of the newly opened Lost Bread Co. An alum of the Fork family, Bois brings beautiful baked goods to Harper’s Garden, making for a killer lineup of sandwiches, toasts and flatbreads. Look out for a beet-rye bread topped with ricotta, radicchio and a lemon marmalade.

The indoor-outdoor space, just south of Market Street on 18th, is designed by Tallulah and Bird Interior Design, and features plenty of plants and flowers, twinkling lights and all of the other elements that make for picturesque summer nights in the City of Brotherly Love.

The official grand opening is Wednesday, May 16, with full service seven days a week to follow.

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