Chef Dave Conn Breaks Out On His Own With Alice, An American Bistro

Alice, named for Conn's mother, will open in the spring/summer of 2022.
Chef Dave Conn Breaks Out On His Own With Alice, An American Bistro - Photo 1
Photo: Rendering
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A dream is too precious to be rushed. That’s why it took Dave Conn, executive chef of Center City’s El Vez, five years to find the perfect location for his first restaurant. But when he finally did find 901 Christian St., he knew it was the one. The corner building in Philly’s Italian Market with knee-to-ceiling windows was “beautiful,” just like his late mother, who he named his restaurant after. Alice, a 1,500 sq. ft. American bistro on the northeast corner of 9th and Christian Streets, is expected to open in the late spring or early summer of 2022.

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“My mother is strongly behind the roots of my cooking. She was an excellent cook, and she’s an inspiration to me,” Conn told What Now Philadelphia. “I think it’s a beautiful name, and it’s not a bad title for something I intend to be extremely passionate about.”

Conn, who grew up outside of Baltimore, came to Philadelphia in 2002 as a line cook. The now 39-year-old chef went on to spend over a decade working in various Jose Garces restaurants like Village Whisky and JG Domestic in various roles. He also appeared on Food Network’s “Iron Chef” as one of Garces’ assistants. After serving as an executive chef at Philly’s El Vez and Palm Springs’ Tinto and El Jefe at the Saguaro Hotel, Conn said opening a restaurant of his own was “the next logical step” in his career.

“I want to be able to do something that involves self-expression in everything I do,” said Conn, who is excited to showcase his personal culinary vision in Philly. “I am also motivated from a business perspective to take a step and venture out on my own.”

Conn said he was attracted to the neighborhood’s energetic pulse and to be among restaurants he admires, like Kalaya Thai Kitchen, Fiorella, and Ralph’s Italian Restaurant.

“I do feel there is a lot of momentum in that neighborhood. I’m a huge fan of some of the other spots down there. There’s a lot of drive there,” Conn said.

Alice’s menu will feature contemporary seasonal cuisine that is both simple and refined, made from the freshest ingredients of the highest quality, and cooked in the open kitchen’s charcoal oven. Alice will also serve innovative cocktails, premium craft beer and ciders, natural wines, and a subdued amount of swank.

“Alice will be causal and approachable, yet elegant and sexy,” Conn said.

The restaurant’s design is not finalized, and alterations will need to be made to the space before it opens. However, Alice is expected to have about 40 indoor seats with an additional 30 seasonal outdoor seats.

Chef Dave Conn Breaks Out On His Own With Alice, An American Bistro - Photo 2
Photo: Rendering


D.G. Sciortino is a journalist, digital media specialist, and founder of Westchester Woman. She has over a decade of experience and has been published on sites like Patch, Reader’s Digest, and Sweet and Savory. D.G. is a fan of comedy and rock and roll and loves crafting works of fiction that inspire love and humanity.
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