Michael Schulson is the chef and restaurateur behind the Schulson Collective restaurant group whose imagination and vision have made him one of Philadelphia’s most successful hospitality professionals. Schulson is the owner of day-to-night destination Double Knot; the expansive Independence Beer Garden; Sampan and the adjacent Graffiti Bar; and serves as chef-partner at Izakaya at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. Schulson Collective’s portfolio also includes the new-American spot, Harp & Crown, in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, as well as contemporary izakaya restaurant, Monkitail, and cocktail lounge, Nokku, at The Diplomat Beach Resort... READ MORE
Michael Schulson is the chef and restaurateur behind the Schulson Collective restaurant group whose imagination and vision have made him one of Philadelphia’s most successful hospitality professionals. Schulson is the owner of day-to-night destination Double Knot; the expansive Independence Beer Garden; Sampan and the adjacent Graffiti Bar; and serves as chef-partner at Izakaya at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. Schulson Collective’s portfolio also includes the new-American spot, Harp & Crown, in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, as well as contemporary izakaya restaurant, Monkitail, and cocktail lounge, Nokku, at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida. Most recently, the notable Philadelphia restaurant Osteria was added to Schulson Collective as well as DK Sushi, the fine-causal sushi concept located at the University of Pennsylvania. Today, Michael teams with his wife, Nina, in their efforts to expand their business.
Schulson attended and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, working his way up the culinary chain of command in such acclaimed restaurants as New York’s Peacock Alley at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and David Burke’s Park Avenue Café, and Philadelphia’s Le Bec-Fin and Susanna Foo.
Before setting out on his own, Schulson helmed legendary kitchens in New York City (Buddakan) and Philadelphia (Pod) and traveled to Japan. He eventually learned the ability to speak conversational Japanese following his stints in prestigious Tokyo kitchens, among them Spago and the Four Seasons Hotel.
In 2008, Schulson opened his first restaurant, Izakaya, a modern Japanese pub in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. At Borgata, Schulson found himself among the likes of Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck, earning rave reviews and immense popularity. He opened his second restaurant, Sampan, in 2009 in Philadelphia’s bustling Midtown Village. The contemporary Asian restaurant and bar was promptly named one of Bon Appetit’s “Top Six places to Taste Asian Fusion,” and Schulson was named one of Esquire’s “Chefs to Watch” in their annual restaurant issue soon after.
In summer 2014, Schulson took on his biggest project to date with Independence Beer Garden, a 25,000 square-foot open-air drinking and dining mecca steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia’s Independence National Historic Park. The massive, largely outdoor space quickly attracted huge crowds and became known as one of the city’s best places to enjoy a beer, snacks and fun with friends.
In 2016, Schulson introduced restaurants Double Knot and Harp & Crown to the Philadelphia scene. Double Knot is a bi-level speakeasy that offers a modern Japanese dining experience highlighting sushi, sashimi, robatayaki, and a combination of small and large tapas. Double Knot has received numerous accolades including “three bells” from The Philadelphia Inquirer, three stars and the title of “2016 Best New Restaurant” from Philadelphia magazine and was named one of the “15 Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2016” by Zagat. Schulson Collective’s Harp & Crown offers guests a menu highlighting seasonal ingredients and global cuisines with delicate yet complex flavors. It was named one of the “Most Beautiful Restaurants of 2016” by Eater National. Harp & Crown also features a cocktail bar and two-lane, reservations-only bowling alley beneath the main room where cocktails, pizza and charcuterie are served.
In spring 2017, Schulson brought his modern Japanese fare to The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida with the opening of Monkitail. The restaurant’s menu is a contemporary take on the classic izakaya, featuring sharable small plates and sushi as well as an array of specialty cocktails and saké. Surrounding an open robatayaki kitchen in the heart of the restaurant is a 15-seat sushi bar and a private dining area overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Tucked away beyond Monkitail is Nokku, a discreet cocktail lounge with four private rooms, each having full karaoke capabilities. Monkitail was the winner of USA Today’s “Best New Restaurant in 2017.”
In 2018, Schulson Collective opened their first fine-casual concept, DK Sushi, at the remodeled food hall at the University of Pennsylvania. DK Sushi is a spin-off of Schulson’s lauded sushi bar and izakaya, Double Knot. Chef Kevin Yanaga created a menu of a la carte items and signature sushi sets that are made-to-order as guests make their selections from the touch-screen kiosks. In addition, Schulson took over the critically acclaimed Italian restaurant Osteria with co-owner Chef Jeff Michuad. Michaud’s classic take on Italian cuisine presented the perfect addition to the restaurant group. Osteria’s award-winning menu includes antipasti, homemade pastas, house-cured salumi, authentic Neapolitan and Roman-style pizzas, wood-grilled meats, seafood and decadent desserts.
Schulson has starred in two original series, TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off and Style Network’s Pantry Raid, and has also appeared as a guest on TODAY, The View, The Rachael Ray Show and FOX News. He has been featured in a wide range of publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Men’s Fitness.
Twitter/Instagram: @michaelschulsonREAD LESS