Two months ago The Flying Carpet Café and Bar, a new dig with a Mediterranean twist, opened at 1841 Poplar Street, the site that was once home to New Janie’s Lounge before it closed due to unpaid taxes. On a bright afternoon its calm vibe and green and purple walls could make you feel like you’re in a breezy beach café in some coastal town, not just one block from Girard Avenue. Owner Kevin Young says his eclectic menu caters to palettes colored by the flavors of the world. “The neighborhood desperately needed a friendly meeting spot that represented the diversity of the neighborhood,” says Young, an eight-year Francisville resident and the founder of Urban Realty Works. URW bought, designed and renovated the first-floor bar (the second floor remains vacant) during a slow three-year construction process. Because city records incorrectly list the building as three separate buildings, instead of one complete structure, Young was forced to leap new hurdles each time he went for another permit. Now clear of setbacks, Young and his staff serve up everything from vegan falafel sandwichs, to roast beef with horseradish and cheese, to tapas and Baklava seven days a week. “Our philosophy is for neighborhood transformation there needs to be a neutral place to meet,” says Young.
Young wants to keep the cafe local and simple with open mic nights, karaoke and local art being displayed. Flying Carpet will be serving 14 varieties of organic tea and 30 different house wines from New Hope, and the cafe’s staple beer will be Victory Brewery’s Golden Monkey. According to Young, the cafe will also be the only Philly bar that carries National, a top-shelf Russian vodka. While Fairmount Avenue might be the established street for bars, at Poplar’s Flying Carpet there’s a laid-back scene with the quirky menu to match its off-the-radar location. Plan for some new dishes here in the upcoming months, as Young just hired a chef from the Western Culinary Institute in Oregon. —-Lou Mancinelli