Question: Shola, Speck, Philadelphia?

Many of us were delighted by Chef Shola’s project, StudioKitchen, a modest house in Philadelphia where those in the know could go and pay in cash (in groups of TEN ONLY) for an unbelievable BYOB meal.

Shola always had the idea of moving from the single table concept to an actual restaurant. This was one of the most oft-postponed ideas I ever heard of. BUT it sounds like he has finally realized his dream and opened a restaurant called SPECK.

Does this place really exist? Has anyone eaten there? How many tables, what sort of prices? I am finding no specifics online. Is it BYOB (as StudioKitchen was)??

For those who do not know, Shola’s food was legendary, and I would put him near Thomas Keller as a chef with imagination and an ability to produce dishes which are delicious and intriguing. That’s why I am so curious about what he’s up to now.

Frank, I don’t believe it’s opened yet, but it’s “almost there” (although to be fair, it probably has been almost there for a while).

Thanks Bob. Do you know if StudioKitchen is still available??

I have been following this for what seems to be close to a year now. Was supposed to open months ago, but as could be expected, many delays. Shola seems to have put a lot into this and wants to do things right. You can follow much of it on his blog" onclick=";return false;

I work close to the restaurant location so every few weeks take a peek at the construction. The last I checked, about 10 days ago, everything matched up with the blog reports and the interior looks just about complete. I would expect an opening can be announced any day now…

BTW, Shola did a Studio Kitchen event during the last week of 2010. Speck will be a full service restaurant (including alcohol) and will have a seating area with view of the kitchen that will continue the Studio Kitchen concept.

It’s been ‘about to open’ for at least 3-4 months now. On the blog, Shola says that permits for a new location (as opposed to taking over a prev license) are the issue.

Apparently, there will be an 8 seat StudioKitchen within Speck - order off the menu @ Speck or eat a prix fixe tasting at the 8 kitchen-view seats.

There is full bar service (no wine list yet) but StudioKitchen only will allow BYO wine with a corkage fee.

This is all per the blog.

I don’t believe that there is any longer any other StudioKitchen option, though Shola has done a few special meals.

Hope that it all happens soon…

I went to three Studio Kitchen (actually IDSK - the dinners he did with Alex Talbott) dinners (they moved all over the place!) and have been looking forward to Speck/SK2.

Folks have filled in the key details above. Friends of mine (and Shola) visited the site a week ago and say that it looks like it is very close.

Shola has split from his backers and is locked out of Speck. There is litigation. There are rumors of him starting up the single table dinner thing again.

Shola’s food is unquestionably great. His ego, on the other hand,… I cannot imagine how anybody could enter into a partnership with him and, obviously, these guys learned that.

I am certain that Garces will be far easier to work with.

I’m expecting that we’ll see Studio Kitchen dinners again this summer.