In the New Year we make lots of resolutions, so why not make it a point to go outside of your comfort zone when it comes to dining out? We’ve got just the place to add to the top of your list. Mad Rex is a meeting place, locally sourced dining haven, and watering hole for revelers from “all walks of life.” This urban outpost decked out with graffiti, weapons displays, mannequins in survival wear and other “artifacts” treats its guests or “survivors” to indulge in a truly one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Experience the virtual reality chamber along with many more surprises in this post apocalypse land where food, culture, community and ART still thrive.  Mad Rex truly aims to transform you to another world with its 8,500-square-foot space, seating up to 225, including dining room, bar, stage, lounge, private event space and outdoor patio.

Inside, Mad Rex is decorated like a shrine to apocalypse survivors with so many Instagram-worthy touches. There’s graffiti, weapons displays, mannequins in survival wear, skull light fixtures, and a pilot’s ejector seat for selfies and other “artifacts”.

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What is one of the most unique experiences is the Virtual Reality Lounge. Mad Rex is the first restaurant to fully infuse VR technology into their concept in Philadelphia. Survivors can escape their normal life and immerse themselves in augmented reality. The more private Virtual Reality Chamber is also available to rent and comes equipped with a lounge throne, private locker, and table service. For hands free drinks check out the cocktails served in an IV bag!

When you’re looking for something to quech your thirst we’d recommend the Mad Mehmet made with Woodford bourbon, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon simple syrup, dash of hot sauce, bitters, and macerated apple slice. This drink has got a great seasonal flavor. Both the bar and kitchen at Mad Rex pull from locally sources. Beers from Evil Genius, Victory, Southern Tier Brewery, Flying Dog, and Yards are served on draft and by the bottle. Hard liquor is provided by Philadelphia Distillery, Dads Hat, and Stateside. We love the Hunter cocktail mixed up with Stateside vodka, citrus liquor, fresh lime, passion fruit puree, jalapeno simple syrup, and garnished with a lime twist. And of course we had to try the Flame Thrower, because a drink with a name like that can’t possibly be passed over. Its made with vodka infused with pineapples and cucumbers, mint, lime, pineapple juice, and to finish it off a flaming lime.

The kitchen at Mad Rex is run by executive chef and butcher Peter Rule, whose background includes stints at Brigantessa, Fork, and Avance, is focusing on fresh ingredients, including meats from the neighboring George L. Wells Meat Co. The menu at Mad Rex is a variety of Modern American cuisine based around classic world techniques with new and old world flavors. The focus is on high-quality locally sourced ingredients; fresh vegetables, highest grade of organic meats, and spice blends from our neighborhood Italian market.

Some of the newest additions to the Mad Rex starters include the Roasted Grape, Rosemary, & Brie Flatbread, Korean Fried Turkey Leg, and Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto. We absolutely loved the turkey leg and found it to be a very appropriate dish served given the restaurants theme (although we devoured it with a fork and knife versus with our hands.) The lunch menu during the week from 11 am to 3 pm includes the signature Mad Rex Burger which has a 8oz short rib, chuck, & sirloin blended meat patty cooked to your liking and topped with caramelized onion, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, house made pickles, and garlic aioli, on an onion poppy seed bun.

But the dishes on the “Survivor Menu” are sure to be what everyone is buzzing bout when they come to Mad Rex. This section of the menu allows guests to select a protein and cook it themselves on a pre-heated 500 degree lava rock to finish seasoning their food tableside. Believe us when we tell you- this rock is HOT! Even though we wasted a lot of time melting butter and squeezing lemon juice onto it, you could feel the heat radiating off the stone till long after we were finished cooking our meal. Protein options for the hot rock include a 14 oz. NY strip, 10 oz. filet, 7 oz. tuna steak, 7 oz. salmon, and more. This method, combined with the juiciness of taste, and health benefits of simply grilling on the stone ensures that the diner has an unforgettable culinary experience.

Mad Rex also offers guests a more classic approach to dinner with classic entrees cooked in the kitchen. Some of the new and most popular plates include the Pan Seared ½ Green Circle Chicken made with  free range chicken, artichoke, broccoli, potatoes, and a lavender chicken au jus. The House Made Lobster Ravioli are served with a pumpkin marinara, Parmesan, and arugula, and the Pan Seared Scallops are bather in a seasoned thyme butter, celery root puree, white caponata, apples, and seaweed.

And you best save room for dessert because Mad Rex is offering another exciting opportunity to make your own ice cream sundae in a Pink Himalayan Salt Rock Bowl. Found in only one part of the world, Himalayan Pink Salt is a pristine form of salt containing over 84 minerals. This salt is known to have magical healing powers such as balancing your body’s PH, stabilizing your hydration levels, and improving digestion. The salt provides a complex and amazing flavor without being overbearing.

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Now Mad Rex is also serving late night happy hour and breakfast! Stop by on Friday and Saturdays after 10:30 pm to enjoy some great deals on plates like Party Wings with Mad Rex hot sauce or Mad Rex BBQ Sauce, Hand Cut French Fries, Survivor Steak & Eggs which offers a NY strip on lava rock with choice of eggs, Egg, Bacon, Cheese, & Tomato Sandwich on baguette, Rock Charred Pancakes with vanilla cream and bourbon syrup, Survivor Omelet filled with cheesesteak, whiz and American cheese,
caramelized onion, and hot peppers. They’re even serving a Chicken & Waffle Sandwich and Sausage, gravy, & biscuits with house made pork sage sausage, house made biscuits, creamy béchamel sauce.And be sure to stop by for Fallout Friday every Friday and Survivor Saturdays every Saturday from 10 pm til 2 am for live entertainment and guest DJ’s.

Photo credit: Exterior image by Society Hill Films. Ice cream and additional drink images by Kory Aversa.

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