Thursday, June 10, 2010

HeadHouse in Philly


June 9, 2010
Profile Public Relations
CONTACT: Clare Pelino or Jennie Hatton
(215) 985-2106 /


PHILADELPHIA, PA – On Thursday, June 10 at 4:30 pm, Philly Beer Week founder and Museum Catering owner Bruce Nichols and established restaurateur Madame Saito will partner to debut The HeadHouse (122 Lombard Street, 215-625-0122), a stylish craft beer cafe in historic Society Hill. Featuring more than 100 bottled beers, as well as another 20 on draught, the restaurant will serve “beer-friendly cuisine,” designed to complement the bar’s extensive selection of ales and lagers.

“Beer is truly one of my great passions, and I am thrilled to open The HeadHouse to share that passion with our guests,” says Nichols. “We hope that food lovers, as well as beer lovers, will come to think of The HeadHouse as ‘their place’.”

Nichols first fell in love with beer while hosting tutored tastings with Michael Jackson, the world’s most respected beer authority. He hosted those tastings for 18 years, until Jackson’s passing in 2007. This connection led him to be one of three founders of the wildly successful Philly Beer Week. Drawing from his deep personal knowledge and top-level industry sources, Nichols created The HeadHouse’s list, with a core focus on the great craft beers that are brewed in the Philadelphia region and a variety of other selections from around the world.

“Our knowledgeable staff will assist guests and help lead them to interesting and unusual choices that complement our food,” says Nichols. “We are even introducing beer-based cocktails and Sangria on draft, a first in Philadelphia, as well as a full list of classic cocktails and wines.”

Menu items, ideal for pairing with a pint, will include: Spicy Pork Carnitas with pineapple, cilantro and lime; Fontina Fritters with tomato crème fraiche; Chicken Shwarma with cucumber, tomato and spiced dill yogurt, served with pita pockets and mixed green salad; Beer-Battered Fish with HeadHouse fries; and Seared HeadHouse Gourmet Crab Cakes with bacon-vegetable stew. Prices will range from $5 for HeadHouse Fresh Cut French Fries with Vietnamese curry mayo or ginger mayo to $23 for Boneless Braised Beef Short Ribs with brown ale jus and roasted potato wedges.

The HeadHouse will feature design elements such as exposed brick walls and ten-foot high wood paneling, giving the space a gracious, familiar feel. Custom black and white photographs of antique British ale glasses by Miami photographer William Stites anchor the sleek, black-accented color scheme. A distressed copper bar and rust-colored tiling add to the old-is-new feel and make the entire space a modern tribute to Society Hill’s storied drinking heritage. The second floor will include a versatile private event venue that can accommodate 150 people for a cocktail reception or 120 for a seated dinner, including an additional 12-tap bar that makes it one of the city’s premier spaces for beer-centric events.

Nichols’ catering company, Museum Catering, has been creating memories for every occasion since its inception in 1989, both at the Penn Museum and in other exclusive venues across the region, including events with Bono, Hillary Clinton and Chinese Premier Zhao Zhemin. His partner at The HeadHouse, Madame Saito, is a recognized master of Japanese, Thai and French culinary techniques. For nearly 30 years, she has owned Le Champignon de Tokio, which features both French and Japanese cuisine. She also owns the building next door to Le Champignon, which will become The HeadHouse.

“The HeadHouse is a natural project for me because so much of the food that I prepare comes from beer-loving cultures, and Philadelphians love that combination, as well,” says Saito.

Executive Chef Jimmy Chiu has worked with Nichols at Museum Catering for more than 11 years, and will continue to design and execute menus for them in addition to his work at The HeadHouse. Food and Beverage Director Tom Pittakis, formerly of Alison Two in Fort Washington, will lead the management team.

The HeadHouse will serve the Dinner and Bar menus Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 to 10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm to 1:00 am; Lunch will begin on June 21 and will be served Monday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm; Sunday Brunch will begin on June 27 from 11 am to 2:30 pm. For more information, please visit or call (215) 625-0122.

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