Student Spotlight with Nate Adler

KITCHEN AT PENN: Nate Adler is a foodie at heart. And his love is not for just any food—but grub that’s local and fresh. To that end, Adler has started Kitchen at Penn, a delivery/takeout joint that features freshly made, home cooked, simple food. “‘Fresh’ is the most important word in the vocabulary of Kitchen,” says Adler.

Nate Adler

Mark Stehle

Student Nate Adler

TASTY OFFERINGS: Adler and Chef Jordan Miller have created a menu that makes the most of seasonal ingredients. Everything is made from scratch—from the bread for the sandwiches to the bread pudding for dessert. Kitchen features a variety of stick-to-your-ribs entrees, including chicken pot pie, meatloaf and schnitzel, as well as vegetarian lasagna and vegan bastilla. Miller also makes his own pasta, and offers Caesar, spinach or farmer’s market salads. Sandwiches include pulled pork, West Philly Banh Mi and vegan burgers, and the sides include macaroni and cheese and tater tots (made from scratch, of course).

TO ORDER: Kitchen at Penn food is available by delivery to anyone who lives between 30th and 45th streets. Prices run between $8 and $12, and entrees come with one side. Kitchen at Penn is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Order online at www.pennkitchen.com.

THE BEGINNING: Adler has long been interested in food, and has fond memories of searching for fresh, local ingredients to cook with his dad. He once cooked a leg of lamb with a Moroccan spice rub and apricot salsa for a dinner party hosted by his parents. This past summer, while stuck in a consulting internship in New York City that made him miserable, Adler says he spent much of his time and money on food. “Everywhere I would go, I’d take notes [on] what I really liked, what I disliked,” he says. “I wasn’t thinking about doing this.”

TAKING SHAPE: Back on campus, Adler pursued an independent study in restaurant management with Eric Clemons, a Wharton professor of operations and information management. In conversations with Harley Miller, the other student in the independent study, the idea for Kitchen began to take shape. Adler saw a need for better food on campus, especially for students who don’t have the time or inclination to leave their dorm or library cube to run to a restaurant.

A KITCHEN FOR KITCHEN: Adler found industrial kitchen space for rent at 45th Street and Springfield Avenue, and posted an ad on Craigslist to find a chef. After bringing in some of his friends for a tasting (chicken pot pie, a side dish of local vegetables and a salad), Adler was sold on Jordan Miller’s skills. “His food was great,” he says.

MORE INFO: To check out Kitchen’s whimsical, hand-drawn website (which includes a full menu and ordering instructions), go to www.pennkitchen.com.

Originally published on February 17, 2011