Get to know the chef behind R2L Restaurant & Lounge, Chef Daniel Stern.
R2L is a chef driven restaurant in Center City that delivers an upscale atmosphere, panoramic views, and New American cooking that is steeped in tradition and bold flavors. From the time the doors opened in 2010, R2L has hosted some of the highest profile events in the Philadelphia. At the same time R2L has been host to countless marriage proposals, milestone birthdays, closing dinners and celebrations.
Chef Daniel Stern is known for the commitment to excellence and creativity he puts into his American cuisine. For Stern, it is about cooking what you feel and taking a risk for your guests so that they may try something new and different. Classic cooking techniques at R2L’s chef driven restaurant in Center City pair with bold and unique flavors for an experience that exceeds guests’ expectations.
“Meet the Chef”
1.) What’s your earliest memory in the kitchen, or cooking in general? In other words, when did you catch the “cooking bug” that set you on this culinary course?
I always liked being in the kitchen, it was a part of my life since I was very young. My mom and her mom loved to cook/bake and I wanted to be in there with them making different things.
2.) How is R2L a culmination of everything you learned at Le-Bec Fin, and at Gayle, RAE, and MidAtlantic? What lessons or practical things did you take with you from those restaurants that were valuable to you in making R2L successful?
Truly I think that it is a constantly evolving education. Always being a curious cook, learning from colleagues and teammates. There were many practical/business lessons, such as the importance of location and the absolute need for a partner who brings as much passion to the business side of things. A good balance between creative and practical. There must also be a willingness to take risks and also learn from bumps in the road. Mostly how to work with people and be open to hearing and listening and then being able to make good decisions.
3.) What’s been your fondest community event you’ve been involved in since opening R2L? Similarly, how is the restaurant community in Philadelphia unique compared to other cities in terms of support, competition, or camaraderie between chefs?
There have been so many… a couple of my favorites have been the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Great Chef’s Event. I have been involved since it was a very small event at the Restaurant School and it is amazing to see how much it has grown. Another has been more personal––the ability to celebrate milestones with friends and family. One in particular was to be host to an 88th birthday celebration for Ed Weinrott, a true gourmand and all-around terrific man. Recently I had the honor of being a guest at his 98th! His friends and I have started a culinary scholarship in his honor.
4.) What are some essential foods for you in your home life outside of the restaurant? In a desert island scenario, what are three foods (besides mustard which I know you have a particular fondness for) that you would bring an endless supply of?
Spices! Is nachos one food? I think eggs and all sorts of veggies as well.
5.) Any favorite cuisines from other countries or cities that you’ve traveled to over the years?
I love Spain. And believe it or not the food in Stockholm is awesome. Good deli [pastrami, corned beef, etc], tons of regional American food. Italy was also fantastic, and Japanese has definitely been an influence as well…I also spent a year there when I was much younger. Middle Eastern food is great as well.
Roasted Tuna Loin w/ sweetbreads and harissa
Vegan Roasted Maitake + King Oyster Mushrooms w/ bean + mushroom tortellini, garlic broth
Roasted Chicken Breast w/ spice-glazed leg, butternut squash + ranch cream
When seeking the best Philly restaurant for entertaining, happy hour, a life celebration or a superb New American dining experience, R2L is the destination for a chef driven restaurant in Center City.
Call us at 215.564.5337 or visit Open Table to make a dinner reservation at R2L’s chef driven restaurant in Center City for a life celebration or business function. For private event inquiries call 215.564.3585. We look forward to speaking with you.