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Stephen Starr's Route 6

A Nautical Escape on North Broad
Stephen Starr's Route 6

A much-needed nautical escape on North Broad Street? Unlikely as it seems, that’s where you’ll find it. I had high expectations for Route 6, and Stephen Starr’s stylish new seafood restaurant surpassed them by miles.

The bright neon crab on the exterior of the restaurant might reel you in, but the ambiance and the food are what will keep you coming back. Growing up, my family and I took a few trips down (the real) Route 6 on Cape Cod, and Starr Restaurants got the decor down to a T. Glass cabinets filled with shells and coral surround the restaurant, slow paced mellow reggae music plays through the speakers, and aromas of seafood fill the air.

Instead of regular ceilings are wooden beams, criss-crossing in front of a skylight, and in warm weather, you could can outdoors in their picnic area. At the back of the restaurant is an open kitchen, fronted by a bar stools-lined raw bar. The main dining room has several sections, including an elevated lounge and bar that greets you when you first walk in, perfect for a few drinks and snacks. The lounge is cozy with candles and wood floors and tables, dotted with themed blue and white touches. The comfy couch and friendly service had me sitting there with my friends for hours; this is perhaps my new favorite hot spot.

A great selection of cocktails includes the Cape Codder, the Fairweather, and – my favorite – the Nor’ Easter.  This combination of Maker’s Mark, maple syrup, lime, and ginger beer goes down smooth yet spicy.  A few of these and you’ll really be feeling like you’re on a boat, in the best way.

As soon as you sit, complimentary homemade oyster crackers and horseradish are offered – be careful not to ruin your appetite with this addicting treat. Instead, hold out for the fried Ipswich clams with homemade tartar sauce, or the Johnny cakes, a slightly sweet indulgence of griddled corncakes with maple bourbon butter. My favorite dish was the crab deviled eggs, made with fresh,flavorful and light blue crab, with a welcome kick. It might have been the cocktails talking, but by the end of the evening I could almost hear and smell the ocean.

Route 6 would work well for a plethora of social endeavors – a date, a night out with coworkers, girls night, or even by yourself. If you want an upscale, relaxed, shore-like atmosphere in the heart of Philadelphia, go to Route 6. You won’t regret it.

Photos by Danya Henninger

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