SOMO of­fers cock­tails, Amer­i­can cui­sine

The Review - - Front Page - By Amanda Gal­lagher

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.

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