We need a little Christmas … right this very minute!

Craft Concepts Group and owner Teddy Sourias are debuting America’s first socially-distanced Christmas open-air restaurant and eatery on Friday, July 17! Tinsel in July will take over a portion of 12th Street in Midtown Village including the area in front of Finn McCools, Tinsel, the former Midtown and Penn Six and Go Popcorn. Guests can look forward to socially-distanced cafe seating, frozen and ice cold Christmas cocktails, boozy Grinch pops, a brand new eatery, holiday decor and festive tunes.

“Tinsel in July was designed to bring light, hope and joy to Philadelphia residents during these darker times,” said Sourias. “We wanted to remind everyone that better days are ahead and we all need to continue to work hard, mask up and see some light at the end of the tunnel. While our bars are closed, outdoor seating is the only safe and healthy option right now in Philadelphia. We wanted to add a joyful and positive spin to what outdoor dining means. We recently opened up our other restaurants and brought back our staff. This project entirely driven by their ideas and initiative – and it was a great way for them to stay positive, stay strong and find some personal joy and light right now.”

Sourias added, “Originally we were going to operate for twelve days in honor of the twelve days of Christmas, but instead we are now going to be open all summer long until Labor Day – or until the interest dies down. While we open this weekend, there’s no need to rush – Tinsel in July will be the gift that keeps on giving for you to see when you are ready and comfortable anytime in the next six to seven weeks. We are also pleased to announce we will feed hospital workers with a portion of sales from our popular Canned Goods cocktail. Merry Christmas (in July) and we hope to see your smize behind your masks this summer.”

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

It wouldn’t be the holidays without delicious food and drinks! Enjoy a full dinner menu of Philadelphia and bar favorites outside of Finn McCools, including the well-known Philly Cheesesteak Eggrolls. Outside of the 114 S. 12th Street property, look for the grand debut of Luka Ma – featuring traditional Greek Loukoumades – little fluffy sweet honey balls, deep fried to golden perfection, and topped with your choice of eight different toppings. These are inspired by the authentic Greek holiday desserts inspired by Sourias’ own childhood with his big Greek family. This new sweet shop will also feature dessert empanadas, fried Oreos and other tasty Christmas (and Christmas in July) inspired treats.

For cocktails, look for a selection of naughty and nice Christmas creations – including frozen mint  “hot” chocolate, plus Grinch boozy pops. Ice cold craft beer, standard cocktails and other beverages will also be available.  The popular Tinsel cocktail called Canned Good will return with a portion of the proceeds going to feed hospital workers as the country enters the second wave of the global pandemic. Several select drinks will arrive at tables safely in a Santa’s boot, a snow globe and other souvenir vessels.

You can also order cocktails and food to go from Finn McCools, Tinsel and Luku Ma. Look for a new system to debut soon where patrons can place their order online and pick-up at a the Luku Ma window.

For guest seating, parties of four and six can reserve socially distanced cafe seating outside Finn McCools and Tinsel in the heart of the decorations. For seating in front of Luku Ma, look for tables of two for smaller groups looking to enjoy sweets and cocktails. For the grinches in the group, non-decorated full service dining on the Samson Street side of Finn McCools is available featuring oversized shaded umbrellas.

Reservations are required for all full service dinner tables to ensure time limits, social distancing and to avoid any lines and ques. Seating at Luku Ma is first come, first serve.

Hours will run from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, and Noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Deck the Halls

While all CCG venues will work hand in hand with each other, they each have their own uniquely themed designs designed by interior designer Anne White of AGW Interiors.

Finn McCools, the oldest venue of Craft Concepts Group, has a more traditional Christmas theme with beautiful wreaths, vintage sleds from White’s own childhood, and Santa inspired garden gnomes. Tinsel property is inspired by a Dr. Seuss Christmas with a winter cottage facade. Santa’s elves can be found playing around on the cottage’s fence. The seating area is lined with 7′-0″ tall Christmas palm trees and 8 north poles decorated with ribbon, garland, and bells. White Christmas trees are scattered throughout. Luku Ma, the new sweet tooth venue serving desserts, has a bright and colorful design. It is decorated with oversized Christmas lights and over 25 oversized Christmas candies throughout. Santa’s elves have switched gears from wrapping presents to making delicious desserts for all to enjoy. Background music will be a collection of familiar and quirky holiday tunes curated by well-known DJ Robert Drake.

Tinsel in July was an exciting and challenging project as I have never designed such a unique outdoor dining space,” said White. “Come on over and let this special environment bring you some Christmas Joy! The staff and team here worked really hard to bring this together – and we hope you are able to enjoy some of the sparkle on 12th Street this summer.”

Spread Cheer, Not Germs

For health and safety, Santa requires all guests must wear masks unless they are at a table, with absolutely no exceptions, otherwise they will make Santa’s naughty list and be asked to leave. Additional safety protocols include staff temperature checks, the mandatory wearing of masks, socially distanced tables, new cleaning procedures, and other new systems.

Tinsel in July was originally slated to debut for 12 days in July but CCG announces this will be open to the end of August or as interest remains – so that people don’t need to rush down. Sourias wants everyone to enjoy this hopeful and joyful project during this very stressful time.

“Don’t leave home for Tinsel in July without your mask,” said Sourias. “Masks are 100% required and the new normal for Tinsel in July and all of our properties. Also, remember, we are hear all summer long, so make your plans for July and August – and come when you are ready. We hope to lift up your spirits and have you leave with a big smize.”

Photos provided by Aversa PR.

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