Philadelphia

DANIEL STERN’S R2L REACHES FOR THE STARS AND SUCCEEDS – Opening Night Party Photos

Daniel Stern’s 2nd concept of Rae is a smashing success. I can’t gush enough about this space, the samplings of food were delicious and I can’t wait to see the full menu. R2L it’s a catchy title with an eye catching entrance.

This is what R2L looks like when the room is filled with tables, but for the opening night party the tables were removed to allow the 600 guests to mingle and enjoy the space. I took this photo last Saturday night.
This is a shot from the opposite side of the room looking in the same direction with the tables removed and replaced with cocktail tables. There’s a wonderful sculpture that accents the room and is now my 1st favorite on replace the wok bowls in the convention center.

I think it’s safe if I call it the Forks, Knives and Spoon sculpture as this is it up close. Isn’t it awesome.
This is a shot along the southside of the room, 37 floors above Chestnut Street. The foreground will have a few tables nicely spread apart so guests are not on top of each other while dining. The far room is reserved for special occasions as well as rental for parties. The windows face East and the Delaware River. It was here that the R2L gusts enjoyed the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. (I found a menu from an earlier party and snagged it)

So you could have an idea of what will be served. I did hear that apps would run $6 to entrees around $25. I look forward to trying out the menu, the desserts were delicious too.
Turning around looking towards the bar and Liberty Two. 10 spacious booth’s face the west and the setting sun high above Rittenhouse Square. The bar is in the front of the house
where the kitchen is. At R2L the show isn’t the kitchen, it’s the view and no doubt the who’s who dining in this utra luxe relaxed setting. Philly finally has it’s own space that allows the general public to enjoy fine food and vistas without having to be invited to a party or a member of the club.
Nicole Cashman & Associates was very instrumental in executing the list for tonight’s party. It’s no secret that she has a rolodex filled with all the right names to showcase a new place for future business. Here she is between Holly Dean and Ellie Kosarek. Nicole tells me she is just about packed and ready to head to Sundance to prepare the “Philadelphia Lounge” and showcase our City in hopes of bringing business back. We look forward to updates and tidbits of their daily activities. Follow them along on Twitter as they report about the going on’s in the lounge. John Legend and The Fray just RSVP’d http://twitter.com/PhilaIndustryLg (There is a national PR Firm but I don’t recall the name. The women were very nice though.)
Ryan Davis is the Beverage Director for all of Daniel Stern’s restaurants. With him is Brian Freedman, is a food and wine writer, wine educator, and food and wine consultant (not pictured, Stefi Freedman who was close by. Stefi is the co-chair of the Donors are Heros Gala April 16 at the Bellevue.) He is Director of Wine Education at The Wine School of Philadelphia Before Ryan joined us, Brian was giving me a tour of the wines, saying that Ryan is a rainmaker (considering I’m in law I knew exactly what he meant). Ryan has the expertise and intuition to pick a wine and know that it’s a winner, Brian told me. He’s eclectic, smart and intelligent. I was really impressed with his choices as well as the wine cooler too.
A few drink selections from last night. So excited to run into these girls who I haven’t seen forever. CBS3’s Anne-Marie Green, who tells me married life is blissful, City Rep Deputy Erica Atwood and Inquirer Fashion Writer Elizabeth Wellington. (Sitting with them was Cort Day & his lovely wife Jeweler Kate Egan) I’ll miss Elizabeth at the NYC Fashion Week this year as I am visiting mom in Florida at that time. It’s the first time I have missed NYFW in 10 seasons.
Another beauty, I’m so in love with this place. They could serve spam and I would eat here. I think I was getting on the servers nerves, every time he brought by a tray I would ask is that on the menu, is that on the menu and it was. We had shrimp cocktail, which was delicious. Risotto with a truffle sauce, yum, mini cheese steaks, which were so-so, I really would have to try them off the menu. The reason I wasn’t head over heals was they were crispy, but maybe they are supposed to be, then there was the salmon, very good and OMG Truffle Pizza. You’ll have to check my twitter feed for that shot as I took it with my phone. iphillychitchat is my Twitter name.Eric Grilly and girly hawt Maria Valetta. We just met Maria a few weeks ago at a “press dinner” at Percy Street BBQ. Maria is author of Sips, Bites and Sites, which is a very clever name and used to be the host of the weekly Food Show: The Philly Dish at Philly.com until recently. Eric Grilly was president of Philly.com for Philadelphia Media Holdings, but left last year and moved over to Comcast. Hello free cable, internet and rubbing elbows with possibly Ann Curry sounds great to me.

Another resident of Liberty Two is Steve Thorne with Arthur Kade. Also at the party was Tony Rufo, who did his fair amount of ribbing with me after I posted his mug on PCC wearing a tierra. He swears to me it was the first “feminine” article he’s ever tried on. Trust me I quized him. (Nearby I found Where Magazine publisher Laura Burkhardt, Editor Karen Gross and CCD’s Michelle Shannon. Later in the evening Laura, Chris G, Sarah V & Dan Gross retired to the Ritz to visit with Top Chef in our eyes Jen Carroll. Jen thanks you for your prayers for her mom as she recovers from brain surgery)Photographer about town Christopher Gabello (ie he did the Varga Bar calendar , cover of Del Frisco’s menu here et al), Sarah Van Aken just opened her new store SAVA at 1700 Sansom last year, Lily Connor and a fav Erin Elmore. (Brett Perloff stopped by to say hay. Later in my evening I stopped by his club Strongbox, which was quiet when I got there at 11PM, but filled up quite nicely as I left at 12AM. The Good Boys Jackim Wright & Reggie Barry were throwing another smackdown party.)
Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver and current radio sports commentator Michael Quick. So honored that Mike Quick reads Philly Chit Chat and told me so, with Stacey Kracher. Stacey just threw a fabulous party for her TWINNN Ann Nikolaus last week. It will be on PCC next week as I got so behind this week. Stacy is a joy to photograph, always stylish and seriously sweet.

KJ and Erica Heilman make the scene. (Also spotted Michelle Malin, Dan Gross, Hacina Saadi,)
Paula Aranda, aspiring film maker Michael Durkheimer, recently engaged couple Jasan Duran and Casey Anderson with Happier Founder Andrew Rosenthal. Saturday I will be joining Andrew and U of Penn Alumni in celebrating Ben Franklin’s 203rd Bday at Noble.
A very happy bunch Mark Munley, Sharyn Tehranll, and seriously I can’t read the rest of the writing and when I tell you this the very last picture I took after the 3 hr party you will know why. I will say they were very excited as one of their relatives is party owner of R2L, Suzie Mahoney, and guess what I would be excited too, as you know I love the place. Kristin Foote, Kaci Mitz, Erica Heilman and Lindsay Kravitz. Next week 1/21 Kaci and Lindsay will be “celebrity” models in the Top Dogs on the Catwalk event benifitting PAWS.
John and Alice Maguire very nice folks, they enjoyed the sunset with me.

Chuck Peruto, Jr, Kimberly Palmer and Cianel Palmer with Ron Hansen (Also in the house Nina Tinari, but it was a quick hello then off to meet friends.)
I already mentioned the view didn’t I?
Andy Henning , Elaine Graber, Michael Smith, Jill Rizen, Joey, Sabrina Tamburino, Kristen Foote and another leopard wearing guest. I guess leopard is in. (Nearby I saw Jill Jacobsen who just threw a fab party for her husband Tal over the weekend. SO many bdays in January. So Jill tells me they were going to have a room painted, so she had all her guests write on that wall. Guess what the paint wouldn’t cover the writing and they had to primer the wall and then paint it a darker color than originally planned.)
The bar area, not too shabby eh. R2L is an oasis in the sky. A private enclave for VIP’s and folks like me looking for a quiet place for a drink, and a room with a view. You do know it’s all about the view for me. I love a good sunset and night scape. But alas R2L plans to be open for lunch starting in the SPRING and you will enjoy the bright sunshine as you dine high above the greening city. R2L is open Monday thru Saturday, and on special occassion Sunday’s like Valentine Day or Mother’s Day. I can’t remember if I showed this picture yet, I guess I would have to come quite often to have that far corner table reserved for me?

American Association for Cancer Research Inc Danielle Tripplett and her man Ted Reid. Always a pleasure running into Danielle. I had a nice time catching up with Steven Lagos. From a distance I saw Sharon Pinkenson and Joe Wiess.
CBS 3, The CW Philly, KYW Newsradio 1060, 98.1 WOGL, 94 WYSP, SportsRadio 610 WIP and The Big Talker 1210 AM WPHT — are teaming up once again under the “Operation Brotherly Love” banner to use their combined voices for a good cause – to raise funds for the American Red Cross relief effort for Haitian Earthquake victims. Volunteers and on-air personalities from the stations, the Red Cross and Brotherly Love campaign partner Wawa will staff a phone bank tomorrow, January 15th from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the top of every hour and in news segments on CBS 3 and The CW Philly to take pledges for the Red Cross International Response Fund. To contribute, viewers can call 1-877-KYW3-ASK (1-877-599-3275). Details on how to donate can also be accessed on-line at www.cbs3.com or through any of the stations’ websites.
Stephanie Stahl & Jim Donovan will join in the effort. So won’t you help too. (Stephanie says hi to our mutual friend Donna Coghlan and Jim Donovan says hi to Mike. We met Jim on a cruise to Canada about 9 years ago.)Don & Renee Freeman of Freeman Interiors and Founders of Donors are Heroes which has their big fundraiser April 16. Great organization, often overlooked. I’ve been working closely with that organization filled with amazing people like the Spains, Freeman’s, Brian Kappra and Nicole Cashman who all donate their time. My co-worker Jared Soloman has volunteered on the sponsorship committe and could very well be calling you for a donation, so even though times are tough help out with what you can. Thanks.W. Kirby Mallon VII and Amber Kealey
Lane and Denise Fike. Denise tells me she has several exciting projects coming up. Currently she has several pieces for sale at Behind Closed Doors at 752 South 4th Street. Ask for “Dirty Dishes” you won’t be disappointed. And Thank You to Denise for never dressing boring. She always is styling it, and has a hat.Kayce Cashman, Scott Barnes, Holly Dean and Christa Guidi. On Monday Scott starts with Starr Events. Saturday night Christa will be with BRODY JENNER AT DUSK as he makes his 2nd appearance at the club. TONIGHT there is no resting for Cashman & Associates, they were tapped to do the logistics on the a PUMA Party being held tonight in conjunction with the Women’s Soccer Association at the convention center.
Congrats to new mommy and daddy Paige Wolfe and Mike Bedrka. Tonight they got a sitter and made an appearance at one of the best parties in awhile here in Philadelphia. Bar with a view. i love the industrial feel of the ceiling. You would never know that sometime in the near past this was office space. They really pour some money and thought into the design. I will update the blog with all that info soon.Chuck Peruto, Jr and Patti Klein center, Brenda Mendte on the far right and crew. I didn’t get their names as I was chasing down a person I needed a shot of.
Thom Cardwell and his sister Janice. Thom senses a NYC vibe with a clubby lounge feel. He’s glad that a restaurant of this caliber has opened with views of the City will be available and enjoyed.
No doubt a Daniel Stern restaurant means quality good delicious food, but they could serve spam and I’d be back for the views alone. Silly me completely didn’t get his picture this evening. Thank god I work for me, that would have been a fireable offense.
This time next year R2L will no doubt hold the title of Best Restaurant for Proposals whether it be business or marriage. Which reminds me Philadelphia Magazine’s Larry Platt was in the house as was Philly Mag Photo editor Jessica Hawkes and beau world traveler Scott Webster.
(Sadly I can no longer take everyone’s pixs at an event, but if I see you I will mention you in the piece. I hope you will understand and know that the next time I see you, there’s a good chance you will be in that entry. It was so good to see so many people, and I so appreciate your kind wishes and gestures regarding my sister.)