Time is a bold Philadelphia establishment that offers an impressive array of services and a top-of-the-line customer experience. It is challenging to put a label on what type of restaurant Time is because of their remarkably diverse food, beverage and entertainment options. While being unique, Time does well to maintain the welcoming and hospitable nature of this city.
The self-described, “restaurant, whiskey bar and taproom and live music venue” provides so much more for their guests than even this lengthy title can cover. After speaking with General Manager, Tim Heuisler, we fully comprehended the enormity of this hybrid entertainment colossus. It has three rooms – each with distinctly different atmospheres, a 7 course-tasting menu, a seemingly endless drink menu, nightly live music and a vibrant club on the weekends. Time is without a doubt an all-inclusive night out that anyone can enjoy.
This extraordinary Center City destination has left an inspiring impression on us and after spending some time with their staff we fully understand why Heuisler describes his job as “host[ing] a party every night of the week.”
The passionate, driven and Philly-loving GM shared his insights with us about the growth and evolution of Time since their opening in 2008, divulging the immense effort they put in to pleasing their extremely diverse clientele. We hope you enjoy the passionate way in which he shares his space with you.
“We definitely have more of a laid-back pub vibe, on one side of the restaurant we have our whiskey bar with… 20 rotating beers on draft, the crowd is always pretty eclectic because you can sit down and order anything from a $3 High Life to a $60 glass of Laphroaig. Off to the other side of our space, we have our dining room and jazz venue which offers live music seven nights a week with pretty much all Philadelphia based musicians playing jazz, blues, funk, soul, reggae, acoustic shows…we even do an open mic night. It is a pretty eclectic music scene. The second floor is more of a club scene, which is open on Fridays and Saturdays. We have Philly-based DJs, more of a dancing and party atmosphere. During the week we host private events up there as well, it is a pretty big space.
“We want to be able to provide something for everybody, which is why we have three different rooms. There is no such thing as your average guest here and we want everyone to be comfortable. Between the music, the drink and the food, we want something lively, seasonable and fresh. We just want people to enjoy themselves.”
“We offer two menus here. We have a bar menu with a lot of the standards that we’ve had on the menu for a long time now. The big staple items on the bar menu would definitely be our burger, the fried chicken sandwich and the mac and cheese. Everything is done in-house, we make our bread from scratch every day, we house-cure and smoke our own bacon for our burgers, the pasta for the mac and cheese is made from scratch… so although it is a bar menu, nothing is frozen, everything is fresh.
“Our full dinner menu is much more seasonably inspired. It’s always changing. We also offer a seven course tasting menu, where you come in and our chef Mackenzie Hilton, will just cook for you, [the kitchen staff] will find out if people have food allergies, any dietary restrictions, anything they love, anything they hate and they will just pump out a 7 course menu for them. It is definitely meant for people who want to sit back for a few hours and watch the band.”
“Some of the popular stuff on our dinner menu currently includes our awesome grilled octopus dish with smoked paprika aioli, crispy potatoes and a house-cured giardiniera. On the larger bites, we are doing a chicken valentine with waffles, not like your southern-style chicken and waffles but a more cleaned up version. Also, since our chef comes from a pretty strong Italian background, the pastas that we are doing are pretty awesome. We have a Pumpkin casarecce with pulled pork; it’s a hearty, fall style, pumpkin spice style dish that is really cool. We give chef a lot of freedom in the kitchen to do whatever she wants and put out a good menu. It changes often in order to maintain its local and seasonably inspired style.”
“Good service starts with hiring people that care a lot about food and beverage. When you have bartenders and servers that really care about learning…about the whiskeys and the food, that comes across to the guest. When the guests have questions about certain dinner menu options –the staff is on top of it. We give them the tools; they know what we are serving and that comes across. We have a lot of staff with a lot of longevity here; a lot of us have been working here since it opened in 2008. When you take a lot of pride in your job and a lot of ownership in what you are serving, that definitely comes across to the guest.”
“We offer a lot for our guests, we host special events in our upstairs space such as sit down dinners for up to 30 people, poetry salons, spoken word events, fundraisers, and company parties. Whatever our guests want to do with our private event space, we can accommodate.
“The live music aspect is definitely one of our trademarks. The jazz music history in Philadelphia is a rich one and there are not a lot of places doing live music every night, unfortunately. When you come in here on a Sunday through Thursday night there is always a band on stage, always something fun to watch.
“Another great aspect of Time is our diverse menu. If you are having a mellow night you can grab a beer for four or five bucks, but if you want to try the tasting menu and drink some nice wine, you can do that as well. I think the eclectic menu and the eclectic range of what we offer is the appeal to so many people.
“Also, being a whiskey bar, a lot of our classic cocktails are what people come in to order. Obviously we have the standard Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, which we do very consistently and very well. We stick to a lot of the classics but our seasonal drink menu is always changing. It’s fun for the staff to develop the drinks and its fun for the guests to come in and have something different. We have some fun drinks that we are featuring right now like our Crimson and Clover cocktail with Ketel Citroen, brut champagne, pear, sugar and clove tincture or our Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice cocktail, with cazadores reposado, grapefruit, sugar and spice. It’s never the same. We always have something different. We also serve Absinthe, that’s another thing that we are known for.”
One element of Time that really sets it apart from the crowd is the amount of pride that the staff takes in creating an amazing atmosphere and guest experience.
Hearing Tim Heuisler speak with such passion and enthusiasm about the services Time provides typifies just how much this business cares about exceeding customer satisfaction expectations. Heuisler also explained that Time enjoys being a positive model for Philadelphia and its amazing culinary and nightlife scenes, especially to their frequent out-of-town visitors.
He states, “I’ve been in Philly my whole life, so I feel like I am working from home. I am very comfortable in the city. People come to Philly and I think we give off this appearance of having a really tough shell but really we get along with everybody.”
He also sang the praises of Philly’s bar and restaurant community, citing the supportive and compassionate nature of the industry and the willingness of restaurateurs and staff members to participate in fundraisers and community service. Perhaps the best explanation of the amount of heart that these professionals have comes across in Heuisler’s comments about the general attitude of his staff. He explains, “[I]n Philly, people work in bars and restaurants because it is really what they want to do. It’s not just a paycheck…there are a ton of passionate people that make the bar and restaurant scene what it is in Philly. People take this industry very seriously.”
There you have it – a fresh, new and exciting dose of inspiration and a prime example of Philadelphia’s distinct flavor coming directly from the staff at Time. If you are looking for some fine dining, a new nightlife destination or a fun-filled club scene, head down to Time restaurant, whiskey bar & taproom and live music venue.
Time’s head Chef, Mackenzie Hilton is has an extraordinary professional reputation and has earned the esteemed status of a genuine Philebrity due to her frequent television appearances. Read up on her fantastic career and discover one more reason to visit Time. As if you needed one!
Written by Patrick Kaisinger (Mike McCann Team Blogger Extraordinaire)