Three unique offers to Wm. Son of Mulherin + HIROKI, Philadelphia – COOL HUNTING®
In the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, near the Market-Frankford Line train, a building that was a 19th century whiskey blending and bottling plant (and later a motorcycle repair shop) is now the glorious Wm. Mulherin’s sons. Inside, visitors find a stunning four-bedroom hotel and two restaurants. Each of the three offerings couldn’t be more different, especially the two restaurants, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons and HIROKI which just opened.
The Wm. Mulherin’s Sons Restaurant is a bright, airy, Italian-inspired space that is a local favorite for wood-fired pizzas and big brunches. HIROKI is another story. “I think ‘transcendence’ is the key word for HIROKI,” says Daniel Olsovsky (creative director at Method Co, who owns and manages the property). “While Mulherin’s hotel vibes are more ‘sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.’”
Opened in June, HIROKI is named after its chef, Hiroki Fujiyama (who worked with Masaharu Morimoto at Morimoto in Philadelphia for a decade). HIROKI offers sophisticated omakase style meals. The exterior is radically different from the rest of the Wm. The Mulherin’s Sons building is brutalist in style, with a large 10 foot front door that was locally handcrafted using the ancient Japanese technique of Yakisugi. Inside, it’s dimly lit, with a neutral yet warm palette, and exposed beams, all inspired by Gion, a neighborhood in Kyoto.
Many concepts for the restaurant came from Olsovsky and Fujiyama’s trips together in Japan. “Hiroki was born and raised in Kyoto, where we spent most of our time,” Olsovsky explains. “Most of the time, we didn’t really have an agenda. I brought a Leica camera and documented everything… The trip changed my life completely. We’ve done everything from visiting fish vendors at 4 a.m. at Tsukiji Market to an eight-hour trip to a rural sake distillery in the mountains of Yamaguchi Prefecture. Inspiration for interior design and architecture was taken from the most visible representation of old Kyoto, which still exists today in the form of thousands of traditional Machiya-style houses dotting the cityscape.
Method Co worked with Stokes Architecture on a set consisting of reclaimed Southeast Asian teak floors, as well as a subtle use of raw concrete, bronze and stone. The result is sober, but rich. “Being obsessed with design details is important,” says Olsovsky. “A dense visual identity and linguistic material. Now combine that with a killer architecture firm, and you are able to build a symbolic marker. We wanted to remind those who enter to step into the present moment. ”
With just 26 seats (14 at the tables and 12 at the counter) and several chefs at work, the mood for the 20-course omakase dinner sessions (two per night) is buzzing. Every dish, from zensai to crispy fish, is a little adventure, and the wine and sake pairings are generous. Music is also intrinsic to HIROKI. Olsovsky tells us: “I pulled a ton of inspiration from hidden record bars in Tokyo and Kyoto. The musical narrative is built around the notion of East against West: Japanese psychedelia meets Summer of Love. Ultimately, the the music should to takee you travelling. A transcendental mix of pastoral folk, psychedelic ragas, cosmic vibes, heavy sitar and 70s rock, transposed to a soul Japanese landscape.
Upstairs, the hotel also focuses on music, with bespoke record players and plenty of vinyl included in the four huge rooms. Each looks like an apartment rather than a hotel suite: there is no lobby, no concierge, and each room has fully-functional kitchens, washers and dryers, and more. Plus, there’s so much light and space (they average 725 square feet), records to play, and books to read, that guests will want to spend a lot of time there. With polished concrete floors, exposed brickwork, antique rugs, original artwork and custom wallpaper by artist Stacey Rozich, the hotel is exquisitely decorated with many nods to mid-modernism. of the century.
“Each room is truly romantic and tell their own stories. We have tried to restore and keep as much detail as possible, but also to layer more modern touches like custom wallpaper, furniture, Frameless walnut kitchen cabinets and soapstone countertops, ”Olsovsky explains. From the hotel to the two restaurants, Olsovsky explains that despite their differences, there is a strong commonality: “We believe that good design is timeless design.
Images by Matthew Williams