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Jul 10, 2009 04:04 PM

PHL - Ansill closed, maybe permanently, AAARGH

I just read Michael Klein's blog:

I couldn't really believe it, Ansill is my favorite restaurant in the city, so I called Ansill just to make sure and also to see if maybe they were open tonight for one last night or something so I could go eat there one last time. David Ansill answered the phone. He said it was true, but that he hopes to re-open in the fall. I really hope that happens. This stinks.

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  1. Oh no! What a shame. We didn't get there often enough (neither did anyone else, it seems), but always enjoyed it, and I often recommend it to people. I've head a couple of restaurant folks say things have been really slow lately. I hope he can re-open in the fall.

    1. I know ansill gets much love on this board, but I'm not surprised to hear that it has closed. The first 4 or 5 times we were there it was good to very good. Over the last year & a half the quality level has dipped way down. So far down in fact that about 8 months ago (the last time we were there),/ they were out of 4 different bottles of wine we ordered and 3 or 4 menu items. The waiter actually told us they did not have enough money to pick up the wine/beer order. Crazy, I know... but true. The food we did have was way off, and at that point my wife & i put ansill on our death watch list. I'm surprised it has taken this long to tell the truth.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sanfrantransplant

        I'm surprised to hear that and I don't think many people would agree with you. The last time we were in (not too long ago) the food was as good as it always has been (very). I can believe the part about the wine/beer order. Things have been very slow at many restaurants because of the economy.

        1. re: sanfrantransplant

          "The food we did have was way off"
          Out of curiosity would you mind expanding on this comment? Additionally, did you post details about said meal here post factum? I don't mean to call the veracity of your comments into question, but I do wonder why I never heard about your experience until the announcement of the closing.

          Frankly, I think the city has lost a true gem: one that put us in the culinary ranks of cities like San Francisco and NY. Without David Ansill's cooking, the range of my culinary experiences would be significantly narrower than they are. His plates were clean, well-composed, and most importantly, delicious. While we were sunning at the beach last week, we had decided to approach David about hosting either our rehearsal dinner or even the reception to our wedding next year. I can't help but feel that without a dedicated outpost to his cooking, we are much worse off.

          I do understand why he closed for the summer, if in fact that' s (hopefully) the case: I've been in Ansill in the height of the summer with barely a co-diner outside of my party, but ultimately, the onus falls on folks like myself who only went on a bi-monthly basis. But let this serve as a reminder of just how important it is to support people like David Ansill, for without his willingness to push Philadelphia's food boundries, we may as well be anywhere else.

        2. I've never been to ansill however his last place, pif was WONDERFUL and he closed it to open ansill.....bibou is now in pif's old space what a shame

          1. I'm surprised this thread hasn't got a ton of replies.

            David - my staff and I thoroughly enjoyed our 3+ visits to Ansill on Sundays, our day off. You are in inspiration to me.

            I hope you are able to re-group and continue to share your expertise with the Philly crowd.

            1. NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I have been out of town and missed this news until this morning. If he can reopen in the fall I will be there on day one!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bigley9

                Me too. I tried to get there as often as possible, I guess I ignored some of the warning signs (the coupons, expanded BYO nights, the fact that the back room was always empty). I just can't believe that there isn't enough business out there to sustain Ansill, and yet there are many, many places just in that neighborhood that are nowhere near as good that are still in business.

                Maybe he'll reopen in another location, with less expensive rent? There's a vacancy on East Passyunk Ave!

                1. re: Buckethead

                  I do hope he stays on the scene in Philly. I wonder if he'll go the Johnny Mac route and drop some of the foodie-centricity and go more straight forward.

                  In any case, E Passyunk could use a serious gastropub option a la Pub & Kitchen (with Korean Tacos!) or a modern place similar Ansill but a bit less pretentious. I don't see the exact Ansill concept making it down there, but something creative, casual, and priced like the Cantina would be a great option on the Avenue.

                  1. re: barryg

                    I think with the new found gastropub scene in Philly, Ansill kind of just got lost in the shuffle. It isn't as hip as a center city location and it wasn't quite 100 percent neighborhoody. Speaking of neighborhoods, South Street and its immediate area has turned into a real dive. Its hard to get people to come out on a Saturday night when there are State Troopers on horses on every corner. Its like Beirut down thre on the weekends. He is a good chef and I hope he sees his way out of this, but I am not surprised at all. My next prediction is that we see Supper roll over by the fall.