SOMO offers cocktails, American cuisine
MANAYUNK » A delicious and approachable menu, fantastic cocktails and a comfortable atmosphere are the aim of SOMO, a Manayunk restaurant and bar serving an eclectic selection of drinks and American fare.
SOMO is a relatively new establishment, opening earlier this year at its location on 4311 Main St. The restaurant is a new venture for owner James Morrissey, who runs Morrissey Design LLC and MArchitects LLC, a locally based interior design studio. Morrissey has designed other restaurants in the area, but this is the first of his own that he has opened.
He had been looking into moving his offices from their Flourtown location to Philadelphia and was searching for a neighborhood that would make sense for his cli- ents. After finding the right building for his studio, he decided to move his business to Main Street Manayunk. Meanwhile, he had always had an interest in opening his own restaurant.
“Given the proximity to Center City Philadelphia and the vibrancy of Main Street, Manayunk was a perfect fit. At the same time, while working for one of our clients, I learned that a space was available in the heart of Main Street Manayunk. Immediately following a walkthrough of the space and discussions with the building owner, I knew this was a tremendous opportunity to create something special and be a part of a community,” Mor- rissey said.
The restaurant is named for Morrissey’s 6-year-old daughter, Sophia (SO) Morrissey (MO).
“[It’s] pretty simple, but meaningful to me, my family, and has a coolness factor that felt right,” Morrissey said.
The interior of SOMO features a mix of traditional and industrial-style design features, which manager Max Rose calls “classy yet casual.”
Rose said SOMO provides the neighborhood with a cool, relaxing place to get a drink.
“It’s not a stuffed shirt type of place,” Rose said, adding the restaurant has something for everybody.
It’s a great place to bring a date or to just have a drink and watch a game, he said.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say that Manayunk needed a cocktail bar,” Rose said. “That’s a hole we’ve filled.”
“The overall design intent is meant to create a warm, inviting space that can be a destination for any occasion and still feel appropriate or relevant, and I think we’ve done that not only with a great physical space, but complete with an amazing team both front of house and back of house who care and want to define hospitality,” Morrissey said.
The relaxed, modern vibe of the restaurant goes hand in hand with the menu. There’s 24 beers
“I’ve heard a lot of people say that Manayunk needed a cocktail bar. That’s a hole we’ve filled.” — Max Rose, manager, SOMO
on tap and a constantly rotating menu with items designed to pair naturally with the drink offerings.
“We’re an American gastropub ... the atmosphere is casual chic. It’s comfortable without being pretentious,” said Chef Eric Hall, adding the food is “simple and approachable, yet still very tasty and nuanced.”
SOMO isn’t tied to any one style of cuisine, which allows Hall to have fun and create an eclectic menu. Also, the dishes are affordable enough that someone living in the neighborhood could dine at SOMO several nights per week, he said.
Some of the most popular menu items include lobster mac and cheese; hot chicken and waff les, which features buttermilk fried chicken with rainbow slaw and hot sauce; and seared diver scallops, served with vegetable risotto and lemon aioli.
Because beer is central to the menu, SOMO offers a lot of different starters that pair well with drinks, from wings to roasted brussels sprouts with bacon to lettuce wraps with ginger chili aioli-marinated chicken.
Two recent additions to the menu are the buddha bowls, which include a vegan option: the veggie buddha bowl, and a protein-packed option with a title that’s a play on words: the mother and child bowl, which has chicken and a fried egg.
Other notable dishes in- clude the shrimp and grits, which has chorizo instead of the usual bacon, and the bacon and egg pappardelle, which is their take on pasta carbonara and one of the chef’s personal favorites.
The menu also includes an array of handcrafted cocktails with clever names, like the popular Ginger Rodgers, Respect your Elderf lowers, Sling Blade and El Abuelo.
SOMO is open for dinner on Monday and Tuesday, lunch and dinner Wednesday through Friday, and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant hosts happy hour Monday through Friday, as well as late-night happy hour every night from 1011 p.m. In addition, the kitchen is always open until midnight.