What University City needed — as chef Anh Vongbandith and Tory Keomanivong were thinking — was a cozy bar-restaurant, appropriately priced for students and the university community.
And so March 9 is Day One of Tipsy Bistro, at 3131 Walnut St. Vongbandith, who caters under the name of Das Good Inc., and Keomanivong, former partner in Fond in South Philadelphia, lightly redid the former Fat Ham space. The bar setup is the same; the liquor license is in the works and is expected to arrive shortly.
Vongbandith and Keomanivong are loosely billing it as a sports bar with a menu of stick-to-your-ribs grub served all day every day. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, with the kitchen open till 1 a.m.
You are advised to try Vongbandith's Asian lemongrass pork sandwich ($12), whose meat is marinated for 12 hours, roasted, and grilled over charcoal.
Don't be fooled by the name; it's really a terrific banh mi on a perfectly crunchy roll with the requisite pickled carrot and radish and topped with a nontraditional sweet aioli sauce.
The grits for the shrimp and grits on the brunch menu ($14) are mixed luxuriously with bacon and three cheeses: Cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano.
Poutine is topped with roasted duck and duck-fat gravy.
The wings, by the way, are breaded in rice flour, so they're gluten-free.
Eight beers on tap plus four draft wines: prosecco, rose, pinot grigio, and pinot noir. Ten cocktails ($9 to $12) include a mule, margarita, cosmopolitan, Manhattan, and old-fashioned.
There's a brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.