The Tastemakers: A.Kitchen

a.kitchen, at AKA Rittenhouse Square, is AKA's first full-service restaurant, opened in 2011. Larry Korman, AKA's president, wanted a place for our residents to enjoy, and had a vision that the restaurant needed to be part of the fabric of the city, with soul, authenticity, and quality.

a.kitchen operates under the careful guidance of Ellen Yin, a multiple James Beard award nominee for US 'Restaurateur of the Year.' Ellen also oversees a.bar, our smaller, cocktail-focused boite. Here, Ellen is photographed in the 50-seat dining area of a.kitchen on 18th Street. Ellen, one of the industry's most-respected veterans, owns High Street Hospitality Group which includes Fork restaurant and High Street on Market in Philadelphia, as well as High Street on Hudson in New York City.

a.kitchen was designed by New York-based architect Edward Asfour, of Asfour Guzy Architects. The carefully planned, intimate space, with a Scandinavian aesthetic is made of timeless, natural materials, including oak and marble, quarried in Vermont. In nice weather the full facade of a.kitchen opens to the sidewalk, integrating the space into the activity of the city.

a.kitchen was one of the first restaurants in Philadelphia to focus an extensive wine list on so-called 'natural' wines. These are wines made by dedicated vignerons who farm their own grapes either organically or biodynamically, and then craft the wines with native yeasts and limited amounts of sulfur. In short, these are wines made with minimal chemical or technological interventions. To serve our red wines by the glass at proper cellar temps, we created a custom wine shelf, which is actually an open refrigerator, as part of the back bar in order to both display and cool these wines.

In nice weather, a.kitchen opens its floor to ceiling doors, creating an indoor / outdoor vibe, incorporating the vibrant pedestrian scene along Rittenhouse Square's 18th Street.

The chef at a.kitchen is Eli Collins, whose cooking style is his updated take on soulful rustic French cuisine. Collins, who spent several years learning with Frenchman Daniel Boulud in New York City, before heading to Philadelphia, makes certain that seasonality is at the heart of the dishes.