New American Cuisine in
The story of America was written in its colonial taverns, where future revolutionaries gathered to trade ideas and engage in spirited debate over hearty meals and cold drinks. Being that we’re smack in the heart of the cradle of liberty, Red Owl aims to revive that classic tavern experience, with a distinctly modern touch. The restaurant's superior details—hand-crafted cocktails, house-cured charcuterie, butcher-shop cuts of steak—make it a neighborhood respite. We do our best to accommodate the individual tastes and preferences of our guests with a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu options. That’s how Red Owl manages to be old, new and free-thinking all at once. Just like Philly.
Meet the Team at Red Owl Tavern
Executive Chef Robert Surdam
Chef Robert “Bobby” Surdam has worked in restaurant kitchens, in virtually every job, since the young age of 17. He’s held every post from prep cook, to butcher, to executive chef.
Originally from the Washington D.C. area (Fairfax County, Virginia), The L’Academie de Cuisine graduate fell in love with cooking early on in life. What he loves about the cooking, is that no matter how many times you create a dish, there’s always a new variable to consider. Each dish is unique.
Surdam has worked under Chef Robert Weidmaier as Sous Chef and later Executive Sous Chef. Before returning to Red Owl Tavern as Executive Chef, Surdam headed up culinary operations at Ashlar Restaurant and Bar at D.C.’s Morrison House Hotel, winning accolades in Washingtonian Magazine, Zagat, DC Eater and other respected publications. He also was Executive Chef at Philadelphia’s Square 1682 and Executive Sous Chef at Red Owl Tavern. Surdam is excited to be back at Red Owl Tavern. He says he loves the energy of the busy restaurant on Independence Mall.
When Surdam is not in the kitchen, he is most likely out walking his Lab-mix dog “Cash,” spending time with family or watching his favorite hockey team, the Red Wings.
Lead Bartender Kyle Darrow
Red Owl Tavern’s Lead Bartender Kyle Darrow is the type of person who obsesses about what interests him. When unable to find the right tattoo artist for a traditional Japanese Tebori tattoos, he researched, practiced, and even tattooed himself. When doing research to develop new cocktails and beverage offerings at the popular Old City bar and restaurant on Independence Mall, Darrow is the same way. He goes deep and he loves what he does. And he reads a lot.
With more than a decade of experience, Darrow has an ability to understand what a guest is looking for - even if they don’t - and craft just the right variation to hit their imagination with a little extra on top. The cocktail program at Red Owl Tavern combines the classics as they were meant to be with new creations inspired by Kyle’s vast cultural experiences.
“Our team aims at taking the things our guests want and utilizing our knowledge to give them something that exceeds their expectations,” Darrow says.
Darrow has worked and traveled all over the world and draws on knowledge gained in his travels to Colombia, Japan, Germany, France, Czech Republic, the UK and elsewhere. And though he spent time living in Rome, he was happy to return to his native Philadelphia. One thing frequents Philadelphia’s ethnic restaurants and draws inspiration from all of the cultures, cuisine, and history in the city. Darrow holds a degree from Virginia Tech. He recently became a dad for the first time and is excited about being a new parent. His and wife promptly applied for a passport for their infant son so he’s prepared for their next adventure.