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Triangle Tavern Serves up Serious South Philly Staples With a Twist

Triangle Tavern Serves up Serious South Philly Staples With a Twist

Even before the rumors were confirmed, there was a whole lot of excitement around the prospect of Dave Frank and Stephen Simons reopening the Triangle Tavern. After all, these were the guys who breathed new life into the Khyber Pass Pub, put Passyunk Avenue on the map with pitchers of margaritas and bottomless bowls of chips at Cantina Los Caballitos, and made the Royal Tavern an instant classic neighborhood bar. If anyone could revive this beloved South Philly institution, it was these guys.

Taking over a business that had been a South Philly staple since 1933, the duo walked into the bar and restaurant knowing exactly what they wanted to do — keep the old school vibes intact while adding a few of their signature touches such as a serious beer selection and a well-stocked bar to execute killer cocktails.

Cristina Tessaro, who oversees all of the company’s bars and opened Triangle Tavern, explains that writing the food and drinks menus didn’t require a ton of thought. “The original Triangle served plates of mussels, carafes of wine and cheap beers so the menu kind of wrote itself.”

Well, not exactly. In addition to mussels and meatballs, the Triangle introduced vegan takes on Italian-American classics like meat- and cheese-less roast pork sandwiches and vegan lasagna. Decor-wise, the new crew headed down to the basement and unearthed a treasure trove of old photos that originally graced the walls. Now, photos of everyone from Frank Rizzo to Frank Sinatra grace the walls along with vintage shots of various staff members’ parents.

Triangle’s kitchen has been getting plenty of early praise of their reimagined red sauce fare, but the bar program is where they’re really shining.

Keeping with the frozen drinks programs that most of Frank and Simons’ bars have in place, the Triangle is pouring Adult Water Ice, a vodka-and-lemon-based slushy that can be flavored with Italian syrups in flavors like cherry, peach and hibiscus.

When thinking about cocktails, Tessaro’s first inspiration was Italian amaros. Titled “The Bitter The Better”, there are four takes on a classic negroni along with an Italian Americano with Carpano Antica and Campari and the Passyunker which blends Zucca Amaro, Orchard Apricot, and Buffalo Trace bourbon.

There are several spirits served on the rocks with a twist, something that Tessaro is particularly excited about since the Triangle bought a shaved ice machine that churns out delicate flakes of ice to compliment everything from Lillet to Cocchi Americano.

If strong and bitter aren’t your thing, there is a selection of lighter riffs on classics, like a Rum Sizzle that’s ideal for summertime sipping.

Triangle installed a shiny new draft system upon opening, and they’re pouring everything from Ballast Point and Deschutes to Rolling Rock and Yuengling. Tessaro says that the more familiar beers are some of their best sellers, but that’s not only because of the price point. “We have a brand-spanking new draft system, so the beer tastes like the freshest of the fresh,” she explains.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be an Italian-American restaurant without carafes of wine, but you won’t find any dusty jugs of Carlo Rossi hiding behind the bar here. Instead they’re pouring a Pinot Noir and a Vermentino from Hybrid by Peltier Station out of Lodi, California at a very friendly $7 a glass and $36 a liter, prices even your Italian grandma can get behind.

Triangle Tavern is open daily from 4 PM to 2 AM.

Triangle Tavern; 1338 S 10th St., 215-800-1992

Photos by Caroline Russock

 


Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Food, Spirits, Wine
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