Heirloom aims to reintroduce early American cuisine to Chestnut Hill

A new restaurant planned for Chestnut Hill called Heirloom plans to bring American Regional Cuisine using many common ingredients used before 1951.

“The term heirloom encompassed, and really embraced what we’re trying to do here. If you look at the food of the American colonies, it’s different than the hybrid vegetables that started in the 1950’s. It’s really a movement,” said Heirloom chef Al Paris.

Heirloom plans to serve such dishes as charred heirloom tomato and burrata salad, diver scallops with pork belly, short rib of beef with sassafras glaze and heirloom grits crusted king salmon.

Paris will keep the early-American vibe going by doing his own pickling, curing and smoking, as well as crafting his own marmalades.

“This a chance for a chef to really get back into the essential romanticism of cuisine,” said Paris. “It’s a cookery in a hustle bustle world, and we’re doing things that people have lost sight of,” Paris said.

American Regional Cuisine

Heirloom’s co-owners and brothers, Robert and Benjamin Bynum, are no rookies in the Philadelphia restaurant scene. They also own Green Soul, a soul food cafe, Relish, a restaurant with a focus on southern dishes, and Warmdaddy’s, a blues club featuring southern cooking.

The Bynum’s have had success with their Southern-centric restaurants across the city. With Heirloom, they will explore “American regional cuisine,” including the food cultures of the South, West and New England.

“Al Paris’ food speaks for itself,” said Richard Pawlak, public relations representative for Heirloom. “He has a huge fan base and is a culinary innovator in Philadelphia.”

The Bynum’s have worked with Chef Al before at Zanzibar Blue, the now-closed jazz club on the Avenue of the Arts. They were also involved in North by Northwest (NXNW), a former Mt. Airy hot spot.

Why Chestnut Hill

Pawlak believes the dining scene is expanding in Chestnut Hill, and sees the area growing into a dining destination. He says the opportunity to open in Chestnut Hill made sense for the group, as both brothers grew up in the Northwest.

“It’s just a natural thing for them to do,” said Pawlak, “as the business climate changes, moving up the avenue makes sense.”

As a BYOB, the restaurant is conveniently located right next to a Wine and Spirits store. Also, with an Iron Hill Brewery opening in a few months down the street, beer growlers can be brought in to enjoy at any time.

“What’s driving the Heirloom concept is three things – recipes, regional ingredients, and an American application of the cuisine. From a patriotic standpoint, we really fit with the historic character of Chestnut Hill,” Paris added.

Heirloom located at 8705 Germantown Avenue. Is schedule to open next month in Chestnut Hill.

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