Local Creative Incubator Announces the Launch of New Music Venue
Philadelphia – A new option for musicians and live music lovers will soon be available in Philadelphia. Local creative incubator, REC Philly, is excited to announce the launch of LIVE! at William Street Common, an independent music venue located near University of Pennsylvania’s campus at 3900 Chestnut Street.
LIVE! will serve to fill the void from the closing of popular Philadelphia music venue, The Blockley, in 2013. It will stand as an outlet for local musicians and entrepreneurs to gain experience and build their audience. “Since The Blockley, there’s been a lack of venues, specifically in West Philadelphia, that allow emerging national talent to perform in that intimate ‘first-show’ setting,” said REC Philly Co-Founder, Will Toms. “LIVE! fills this gap and gives entrepreneurs and artists a tool to grow their businesses.”
“Additionally, LIVE! stands apart by also developing a culture and safe haven for networking and collaboration,” REC Philly President and Co-Founder David Silver said. “Providing a resource like this to the Philadelphia creative community is exactly why REC Philly exists.”
LIVE! offers a unique capacity of 300 attendees, catering to an 18 or 21+ audience. The venue attracts emerging national talent and gives local entrepreneurs the space to curate their own experiences. The opening of this venue is in partnership with Philadelphia-based FCM Hospitality, owner of William Street Common, as well as Morgan’s Pier, The Dolphin Tavern and many of Philadelphia’s most popular venues throughout the last 20 years.
LIVE! at William Street Common will be open this Friday, December 2 at 8 p.m. and will feature REC Philly’s monthly art and music showcase, Underground POV. For more information, follow LIVE! at William Street Common on Instagram & Twitter -- @LIVEWSC.
Announcement: All Drinks, All $3, All the Time at Local Bar & Kitchen William Street Common! Includes craft beers, wine and cocktails
William Street Common is introducing a flat $3 price for everything on the drink list as part of its new pricing model - local and rare craft beers included. Anything on the following list is $3 a pint:
- Arcadia Witsun Ale
- Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter
- DC Brau Brau Pilsner
- Kenzinger Lager
- Manayunk Brewing Company Baby Got Hops IPA
- Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout
- Narragansett Lager
- Shiner Bock Holiday Cheer
- Sierra Nevada Otra Vez Wheat
- Sly Fox O’Reilly Stout (Nitro)
- Susquehanna Pumpkin Ale
- Yards Brawler English Ale
- Yards General Washington’s Tavern Porter
A new food menu featuring classic bar favorites with a twist complements our value drink prices and updated business model. The restaurant is stepping away from its former “no tipping” model and is implementing the $3 drinks, a la carte brunch and a menu of bar snacks and sandwiches, in an effort to be more accessible to the students, hospital staff and local customers who frequent William Street.
“Our goal is to be engaging and fair to people who visit William Street - to simply give them an enjoyable experience,” General Manager Dana Saltarella said. “With our new pricing and emphasis on value, we hope to accomplish just that.”
Additionally, William Street will be a stop on the ever-popular Erin Express coming through the neighborhood March 5th and 12th, with more details to come.
WILLIAM STREET COMMON DEBUTS NEW “ALL DAY” MENU AND BEVERAGE PROGRAM WITH ADDITION OF TALENTED CHEF DE CUISINE GENO BETZ
The University City indoor beer garden brings in the promising young sous chef, formerly of Stateside and Lacroix, to collaborate on a menu emphasizing fun, seasonal food backed by great technique.
(Philadelphia) – May 19, 2015… Summer is coming to University City – and not just because school’s out. William Street Common, the indoor beer garden at 39th and Chestnut, debuted its new All Day menu today, full of seasonal dishes to be enjoyed inside or on the just-built, 60-seat outdoor patio. The menu was co-created by new Chef de Cuisine Geno Betz, most recently of Paradiso, and FCM Hospitality Executive Chef David Gilberg.
Available for lunch, happy hour and dinner, the menu features fresh summer items such as the Melon Salad with compressed honeydew, fresh cheese and candied fresno chilies; Spicy Peel & Eat Shrimp with espelette pepper and lemon; and a Banh Mi Sandwich with chicken that’s brined in ginger and lemongrass, then braised and pulled before being served on an authentic Ba Le Bakery roll. Catering to the distinct palates of diners, there are also more locally sourced ingredients and increased options for vegetarians and gluten-free guests. The food is accompanied by an expanded beverage program that offers creative cocktails including three kinds of punch, New Fangled Old Fashions and a rotating draft list with 12 beers on tap as well as options for steins and table kegs.
“William Street Common is a different atmosphere for me – but that’s why it is so exciting and a welcome opportunity,” Betz said. “Creating this menu has been a chance to utilize my skills in a new environment, while having a lot of fun with the dishes.”
Although Betz is young, his resume is impressive, having spent time at some of Philadelphia’s most notable restaurants, including Lacroix, Stateside, Paradiso and The Mildred, as well as starting out at Le Bec Fin in November of 2010 under the direction of Chef Nicholas Elmi. Betz comes from a food family – his father was a chef at Tony Clark’s, Brasserie Perrier and The Saloon, and often taught him about cooking and the restaurant business while Betz was growing up. He has already been recognized for his talents, including two consecutive wins at the Chaine des Rôtisseurs Young Chefs Mid-Atlantic Region competition, and last month was named one of Zagat’s “20 Sous Chefs to Watch in Philadelphia.”
Betz and Gilberg’s seasonal menu is best served in the brand new outdoor patio along Chestnut Street, with space for up to 60 people, with picnic tables and strings of lights that extend the vibe of the indoor seating. For a more serene option, the patio offers an additional section along 39th Street featuring a row of Adirondack chairs.
William Street Common is equally known for its policy on paying employees $15 an hour and adding a fair wage surcharge to all items while refusing additional tips, as it is for its hybrid restaurant concept of elevated cuisine in a casual atmosphere.
William Street Common officially opens its doors February 26th
A New Concept in Hospitality Launches This Week as William Street Common, an Unconventional Bar + Kitchen, Opens in University City
Based on his experience with seasonal outdoor beer gardens, Philadelphia hospitality veteran Avram Hornik designed William Street Common as the prototype for a different style of service.
(Philadelphia) – February 24, 2015… While the communal tables made from turn-of-the-century storage locker doors, curated list of draft beers and inviting comfort food clearly indicate an indoor beer garden at William Street Common, this venue is much more than just that.
The new concept, which opens Thursday, February 26, at 3900 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, was designed by Avram Hornik, who owns Morgan’s Pier and concepted both Winterfest and the 2013 PHS Pop Up Garden on Broad Street. The lessons of how these seasonal beer gardens helped to generate the optimal social setting inspired Hornik to duplicate this environment and apply it to an indoor permanent location in the form of William Street Common.
The bar + kitchen operates with a different style of service, and acts as a prototype for Hornik’s future bars, beer gardens and venues. William Street Common employs several unconventional approaches to achieve this, such as simplified flat-pricing on all drinks and most notably, a new compensation model for employees in which tips are neither expected nor allowed, but a living wage is guaranteed. The venue also boasts a delicious comfort food menu by Chef David Gilberg, a three drink prix-fixe brunch for $22.33 and a variety of rooms to explore, along with a private meeting space. William Street Common is launching in several stages, open immediately on nights and weekends, adding weekday hours March 23 and making more rooms available in the coming months.
“After seeing trends of bistro-style, elevated food menus in a quick service format, I wanted to design William Street Common in a way that combined the best of these evolving service styles in a clear and simple system so that everyone can feel good about their experience,” Hornik said. “Employees are able to focus their efforts on customer service and guests are free to create that same level of social intimacy occurring in the seasonal beer gardens.”
The curated selection of craft beers, draft wines and specialty cocktails are $5 each at William Street Common, because the menu is designed with a flat pricing model that emphasizes simplicity and quality over quantity – choice products in each category were hand-picked, leaving no need to provide an excess of options. Instead of marking up prices based on percentages, as is traditionally done, William Street Common’s prices are calculated using a flat-rate method, creating an environment which is both affordable and authentic. Knowledgeable staff are incentivized to deliver excellent customer service without being influenced by how it affects their sales, and guests can be assured that their server’s recommendations are based on taste and preference – not on cost.
All employees are paid a house minimum wage of $15 an hour, as opposed to the standard restaurant server rate. This puts the onus of providing for the employees on the management, not on the guest. A 20 percent service charge is added to all menu items which is matched by the house, and after house minimum wages are paid out, the remainder is divided among the staff through a points system based on level of customer service. An additional five percent of sales is directed to employees for benefits and perks. The system ensures that employees are properly compensated, and is complemented by a training and development program which includes consistent schedules, cross-training and open feedback forums.
Chef Gilberg’s casual yet enticing dinner menu offers an assortment of shareable snacks and sandwiches such as Warm Pretzel Bites with beer mustard; Snack Bacon; Roasted Vegetables paired with chickpea pancakes and honey-cumin yogurt; two varieties of homemade pierogies and three options for macaroni and cheese; Bifana with garlic roast pork, sweet mustard and charred red onion; BBQ Short Rib with creamy horseradish and celery root straw; and for something sweet, Warm Apple Fritters with salted-caramel pudding.
Guests are free to find their favorite spot under a string of twinkling lights in the 100-seat Big Room, featuring communal tables and wall seats. They are also welcome to wander to the 50-seat bar area or dedicated vintage arcade space where they can play classics like skeeball and pinball free of charge. In the warmer months, William Street Common will open up its doors for outside seating, set up along the sidewalks of both 39th Street and Chestnut Street. A large private lounge that can accommodate up to 50 people seated (75 for a cocktail reception), is also available for meetings, celebrations and events. As part of the launch, the lounge is currently offering community organizations and nonprofits use of the space for no minimum rate. For guests on-the-go, there are also quick options including snacks, baked goods, pre-prepped sandwiches and take-out beer growlers at the counter.
Weekends feature the Three Drink Brunch. Perfect for a laid-back Saturday or Sunday, the Three Drink Brunch offers guests any three drinks of their choice, an entrée selection from the brunch menu, unlimited coffee and bottomless donuts for the table, for $22.33. The menu includes classic staples such as Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, three varieties of eggs benedict; Buttermilk Pancakes with orange honey-butter; and exciting additions such as Eggs in Purgatory with a spicy tomato sauce, smoked eggplant and feta cheese.
Brunch-goers from Center City and other Philadelphia neighborhoods will find William Street Common convenient for accommodating big groups and for easy access by public transportation – with stops off the 21 bus and Market-Frankford subway line, as well as plenty of nearby street parking, the short trip to University City is minimal compared to the alternative of a two hour wait.
The venue is rolling out its concept in stages and will initially open for nights and weekends, adding weekday hours and the vintage game room, date to be announced. Outdoor seating is expected to be available Wednesday, April 1.
About William Street Common
William Street Common is an unconventional bar and kitchen at the corner of 39th and Chestnut in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia. Before it was called 39th Street, William Street was part of Hamilton Village, laid out by developer William Hamilton in the early 1800s. The building constructed at 3900 Chestnut Street was originally Hotel Pennsylvania, designed by Clarence E. Wunder, and completed in 1922. In a similar gesture of hospitality, we invite the community in, to enjoy social conversation and create their own experiences.