Philadelphia Restaurant Brings the 1980s to Life
A DeLorean is no longer necessary to return to the golden age of MTV and the Brat Pack.
Instead, Chef and owner Kevin Sbraga invites guests to be instantly transported to the 1980s at Juniper Commons, his new restaurant on South Broad Street in Philadelphia.
Bringing the spirit of the decade to life with quintessential American dishes from Chef Sbraga and Executive Chef Greg Garbacz, the restaurant will boast an extensive gin list, reimagined classic cocktails, and a soundtrack of the greatest hits from the 1980s.
“The entire idea for Juniper Commons was born from a 1980s playlist that came on during a road trip with the Sbraga team. Everyone knew each song’s lyrics by heart,” says Chef Sbraga. “We wanted to translate that experience into a restaurant—a place you instantly feel a connection to because it stirs something in you from the past.”
Chef Sbraga worked with Chef Garbacz to create a menu of recognizable dishes from the 1980s, updated for modern tastes and executed with quality ingredients. Peel n’ Eat Shrimp Cocktail, a Shellfish Tower, Caesar Salad for Two prepared tableside, and a make-your-own Salad Bar are just a few of the ways to begin the Juniper Commons experience.
Guests can then move on to roasted selections from the open kitchen’s Grillworks Grill, such as the Wood Roasted Chicken and prime rib dishes, available daily, or one of the rotating specials featuring Duck a l’Orange, Branzino, and Suckling Pig.
For the grand finale, indulge in Harvey’s Old Fashioned Cheesecake (inspired by the bakery of Chef Sbraga’s father), Chocolate Cake, or one of the Seasonal Pies, just to name a few. Additional dishes from the dinner menu include:
- American Caviar Service- warm blinis, toast, crème fraiche, chopped egg, parsley, red onion, and lemon
- Stuffed Flounder- blue crab imperial, beurre leger, and green beans
- Chicken Pot Pie- puff pastry and root vegetables
- Surf & Turf- half of a grilled Maine lobster, ribeye steak, drawn butter, and house steak sauce
- Baked Potato - marrow butter, parsley, bread crumbs, and crème fraiche
- Grilled Poached Artichokes - lemon aioli, cilantro, oregano, and parmesan bread crumbs
Gin is the spirit of choice for the beverage program with a collection of more than 150 bottles of the spirit available. General Manager Tom Pittakas has created several house made tonics to complement the wide gin selection including Hopped Orange Tonic, Juniper Tonic, and Root Berry Tonic.
The spirit also takes center stage on the cocktail list of modernized classics from the 1980s, such as the Sand in Your Shorts, a riff on the Sex on the Beach, which is updated to include Deaths Door Gin, cranberry water, peach liqueur, and orange juice. Additional cocktails include:
- Aces High- Aviation Gin, sloe gin, and lime
- Easy Like Sunday Morning- Hayman’s Gin, herbal tea, spiced syrup, lemon, and bubbles
- Flying Caucasian- Aviation Gin, Elixer Coffee Syrup, touch of cream
Not forgetting one of the most memorable aspects of drinking during the decade, Juniper Commons offers red and white seasonal wine coolers, which are made and bottled in house. The current selection features pinot noir, apple brandy, blackberry, and pomegranate for red, and chardonnay, gin, roasted pear, ginger, and vanilla for white.
Chef Sbraga enlisted Philadelphia design firm Eimer Design, responsible for designing Sbraga and The Fat Ham, to bring his 1980s vision to life at Juniper Commons. Wood paneling, brass toned metals, angled patterns with modern lighting, finishes, and upholsteries are used to create a warm and familiar space.
The restaurant’s private dining room seats 18 and doubles as the Sbraga dining bakery during the day, where the housemade breads and desserts for all three of Sbraga Dining’s restaurants are created.