Hacking Rittenhouse: Nicole Marquis opens Bar Bombón
A sequel to the highly popular HipCityVeg, Bar Bombón presents a new venue for vegan-friendly eating in the Rittenhouse neighborhood of Center City, courtesy of Temple-made puertorriqueña and Philly native Nicole Marquis.
A bookend to a row of trendy takeout spots, Marquis’ latest culinary venture, which opened in late August, sits nestled at the corner of 18th and Moravian. The restaurant offers Latin American–inspired cuisine with touches of “Old San Juan,” serving comida callejera “just like abuela did.”
Well, save for the hefty cuenta. Between the veggie and soy-based Gardein ingredients and the Rittenhouse rent, the prices should come as no surprise. Bar Bombón’s menu conforms to the standard price range in that neighborhood—two tacos for upwards of $14, guacamole for $12, and if you’re ordering drinks, forget about it.
Either way, it’s a fitting addition to an already solid block of eateries: the aforementioned HipCityVeg handles the daily lunch crowd quite smoothly, while Le Bus Bakery tempts morning commuters with flaky croissants and coffee. Bombón is accessible and casual, in contrast to the more “posh” places like Tria and a.ktichen+bar, where you best have a reservation and be ready to hear about the tapa-sized portions, which are “ideal for sharing.”
Bombón has been branded as “a delightful bar on a popular corner,” from “café to cocktails, cocina to corazón — all is veg-based and love-based.” The menu ranges from entradas such as as rellenos, empanadas, and plátanos, to tacos de pollo, pescado, chorizo, or carne, all made from non-genetically modified soy and organic ingredients.
While you’re not yet able to order drinks if you’re dining outside at Bombón—“it has something to do with the liquor license”—you can step inside to the bar, order your sangria, caipirinha, margarita, etc., pay for it on a separate tab, and then return to your outdoor table with your paid bebida in hand. Because taking a field trip for a beverage is in now.
All joking aside, Bar Bombón expects to have its outdoor liquor license soon, and there are plenty of concoctions to choose from, including an extensive menu of “juice proper,” elixirs, and aguas frescas.
The bar and restaurant is only a few weeks old, but we’re willing to give it some time to simmer before sampling the cuisine again. If we had to guess, the cocktails will be the main draw, especially during happy hour, which goes until 7 p.m. on weeknights. Take-out is also an option for the Center City lunch crowd, although we doubt it will overshadow HipCityVeg.
If the success of Charlie was a sinner and HipCityVeg is any indication of Marquis’ culinary talent and business savvy, we can see Bar Bombón evolving into a well-liked happy hour spot in the Rittenhouse neighborhood, especially if they keep the elixirs flowing.
[ photos: Rachel Mancini ]