In a surprise move, the two lead chefs of Restaurant Aleksandar tells Eater Philly they’ve moved on to now head cuisine at the highly-anticipated Eleven Social in Old City that’s set to open this summer.

Montana Houston will be the executive chef of Eleven Social and Ja’mir Wimberly-Cole will be their chef de cuisine. The new restaurant, co-owned by Phillies legend Jimmy Rollins, is focused on contemporary New American cuisine. After nearly two years at the helm of the European-inspired cuisine of Restaurant Aleksandar in Rittenhouse Square, the two chefs say they’re looking forward to new opportunities.

Two Black male chefs talking to one another at a restaurant.

Chefs Montana Houston and Ja’mir Wimberly-Cole at Restaurant Aleksandar

“I’m honored and blessed to be able to showcase another side of my culinary talents at Eleven Social,” says Houston, age 27. “The past year has been filled with many surprises, and this role is just another sign to keep going.”

In December 2023, Houston was named Eater Philly’s Chef of the Year for “applying his flavorful approach to every dish” as Restaurant Aleksander’s executive chef. This June, he will be an Iconoclast Dinner Honoree chef at the James Beard House.

“Montana has invited me to join him at Eleven Social as his chef de cuisine and I’m thrilled to collaborate with him again,” says Wimberly-Cole, age 24. “We aim to create a contemporary New American fine dining experience, reminiscent of the wonderful dinner we had at Crown Shy during a trip in NYC.”

Wimberly-Cole, who was formerly the chef de cuisine at Restaurant Aleksander since its opening in August 2022, will also be launching the Modern Trail Supper Club this summer.

“The pandemic put my initial plans for the Modern Trail on hold, but I’m eager to revive it,” Wimberly-Cole says on “gathering insights and refining my vision for the club.” “I plan to host private dinners featuring themed menus inspired by various cookbooks and share my journey as a young chef exploring innovative techniques. My goal is to host these dinners monthly or bi-monthly.”

As for Eleven Social — located at 117 Chestnut Street (the former 2nd Story Brewing Company) — Houston says the menu will be looking at “the Afro roots of all the places, as well as highlighting the region’s culinary favorites.”

“It will be elevated cuisine at this new restaurant and big bold flavors without white table cloth,” Houston adds. “So all the good service and food of an upscale, high-end, fine dining restaurant without the stuffiness of having to wear suit jackets and sit a certain way.”

The new restaurant’s soft launch is currently slated for the third week of July (around the 15-18th).

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