The already impressive Collingswood dining scene has a new hook to hang its hat on. Porch and Proper is now open, serving modern American dishes under veteran restaurateur Jason Simkins and chef Ryan McQuillan. Featuring a unique interior design by Hillary O’Carroll, the eatery evokes a modern, contemporary vibe.
Simkins has experience working at restaurants like Philadelphia’s Alma De Cuba, Buddakan, Morimoto and Parc; meanwhile, McQuillan’s background includes time spent working at Le Bec-Fin and Mercato, also in Philly.
Porch and Proper Comes to Collingswood
“Collingswood is definitely a thriving restaurant town,” says Simkins. “We were excited for the opportunity to join such a vibrant community of chefs and restaurateurs.”
Porch and Proper sits in a 100-year-old building with historic charm. “We definitely didn’t want to disturb any of the integrity of the building’s character,” Simkins explains. “We updated finishes and took down walls inside the building but left the majority of the existing integrity intact.”
The space is decorated in rich walnut, warm leather and crushed velvet. In addition, you’ll find gardening prints, farmhouse tables and wooden antiques throughout. The interior seats 50, with a bright and airy vibe thanks to pendant and track lighting. The broad front porch – for which the restaurant is named – can host 20 or so.
“We thought of the name Porch & Proper once we toured the space,” says Simkins. “The porch, which is viewable both from inside and out, is so beautiful and full of greenery that we knew we wanted to showcase it in the name.”
Their lush outdoor garden provides herbs as well as flowers that chef McQuillan uses in many dishes.
As for the “proper” part of Porch and Proper, Simkins has an explanation for that too. “’Proper’ refers to the experience. We wanted people to know that when they join us we have everything covered,” he says. “It’s a proper dining experience from beginning to end.”
Fine Dining Done Different
Simkins says his restaurant has thoughtful dining, not fine dining. “Fine dining can oftentimes be stuffy and put on,” he feels. “We genuinely care about our guests and want them to feel at home when they’re with us. The food is absolutely on par with the best of fine dining. However, our service and ambience is focused on care and anticipation of needs. No white tablecloths here.”
Porch and Proper features a contemporary, seasonal menu that draws from various regional farms and vendors. The chef sees what’s in season and goes from there, meaning the menu changes regularly. “We want to always represent exactly what is freshest and bountiful,” says Simkins. “Our vendors bring us goods from local farms and our direct relationship with these farmers allow us to feature the absolute best in what is happening around us each season.”
For example, their menu includes pastas like sweet potato agnolotti, and cavatelli with pork sausage, black truffle and cream. They also serve smoked cauliflower steak with farro and pumpkin seed risotto, black kale, paprika and roasted garlic. Likewise, desserts are handmade daily in house. Particularly, they specialize in a malted chocolate and beet cake that has pecan praline and Chantilly cream.
Although the restaurant is BYOB, you can buy a bottle off a short list if you forget to bring something. (Thanks to a partnership with a nearby local winery.)
You can visit Porch and Proper at 619 West Collings Avenue in Collingswood. For more information, call 856-477-2105 or visit their website.