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Russet, Locally Sourced BYOB Set To Open In Rittenhouse Square, February 14th

Husband-wife team Andrew and Kristin Wood are on the brink of opening their farm-to table BYOB in Rittenhouse Square. (Photos by M. Edlow for GPTMC)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Andrew and Kristin Wood will open Russet, a cozy and casual BYOB on the first floor of a lovely brick townhome, the former home of Ernesto’s Cafe, just steps from Rittenhouse Square.

We got a sneak peek at the restaurant, and from the warmth of the chefs to the intricacy of the personalized decor to the attention to detail with the food, Russet will be on permanent rotation in our dining schedules.

Check out some highlights:

The Food

The Woods will serve a daily-changing menu (six appetizers, six entrees) sourced from Green Meadow Farm, Erdenheim Farm and other local purveyors within 100 miles of the restaurant. Andrew will continue his focus on whole-animal butchery, while his wife and Pastry Chef Kristin will prepare desserts.

Before his time at Philadelphia’s Fork, Andrew was part of the opening teams of the highly-acclaimed James and Maia. Kristin was the pastry chef at James.

One of Andrew’s favorite dishes on the opening menu is the gorgonzola ravioli topped with salsa de noche, made with toasted local black walnuts, cream, garlic, milk and white vinegar. One of Kristin’s favorite desserts is the pine nut olive oil cake with sun-dried cherries poached in port and rosemary, topped with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Charcuterie is one of Andrew’s specialties — he spearheaded it while at Fork. We got a peek inside Russet’s charcuterie closet, and diners are in for a treat. All animals are brought in whole and the chef will use every single part; they recently prepared a 380 lb. pig and there was only 6 oz. of waste.

Russet will serve Counter Culture coffee, brewed in a refurbished 70-80-year old manual Italian espresso machine.

The Decor

When redecorating Russet’s dining room, the repurposed parlor of a late 1800s townhome, the Woods stayed green wherever possible, using zero-VOC paints and laying marmoleum floors made from 100% natural elements. The hostess stand is made from barn floorboards.

Brilliant landscape compositions by Philly artist Anthony DeMelas adorn one wall, and the tabletops, chairs, light fixtures and many of the room’s decorative accents are antiques (actual Woods vintage family photos!) or made from reclaimed materials.

Fun fact: The color scheme is food-focused, with chocolate brown wood, butter-colored walls, bacon-esque booth and chair fabric (yellow, white and brown).

Even the official logo is quite personal, based on Andrew’s drawing of Kristin’s grandparents’ apple tree.

Past the main dining room is space for private dining as well as an outdoor seating area, both of which will be opened by summer.

Russet will serve dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Starting next weekend, brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Monday. Shortly after opening, lunch will be served three days a week.

1521 Spruce Street

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