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The Cage in Norristown Makes Dining out a True Experience

The Cage is an experiential mini-vacation with a jungle-like vibe, lively atmosphere and inspired menu.

The Cage
Photos by Ed Williams

The folks behind the Cage believe that dining out should be the total package—a solid menu, an inventive cocktail program, excellent service and, perhaps most important, a memorable vibe. This unique concept has now added a Norristown address to its original Warrington location. Widener University alum Niko Karolidis is running things. His family has been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years, with 20 restaurants in New Jersey and Maryland. “Most of them focus on a takeout model,” he says. “I wanted to introduce something that offers more of a dine-in adventure.”

Jumbo-shrimp risotto
Jumbo-shrimp risotto

He’s not kidding. An overseas design firm has transformed the onetime Bertucci’s location into a whimsical oasis with a jungle-like vibe. A large mural greets diners with vibrant anime-inspired graphics and floral scenes. To its right are comfortable booths and tables, a gas-fired oven, and bird cages of all shapes and sizes hanging from the ceiling.

House-made tiramisu
House-made tiramisu

In the main dining area, you’ll find a 20-seat bar, cage-inspired light fixtures, brass accessories, wicker stools, and ample artificial greenery punctuated by two trees anchoring each corner of the bar. The walls are filled with bottled spirits, and there’s a cage-like partition on one side replete with iron bars and overhead wicker fans. Think a more sophisticated Rainforest Cafe, minus the annoying animal sounds.

Owner Niko Karolidis
Owner Niko Karolidis

The Mediterranean-themed dining menu offers the perfect balance of culinary aptitude and showmanship. Our Korean tacos—with tender filet mignon strips, red cabbage slaw, kimchi, Japanese mayo and peanut butter sauce—combined a nice crunch with just a hint of heat.

Tuna poke tartare with marinated ahi
Tuna poke tartare with marinated ahi
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The Feta from Fira is billed as a sharable plate, but you’ll want to keep it all for yourself. Its generous chunks of sesame-crusted feta come with lemon tahini sauce, Greek honey, and a long sourdough crostini topped with grape compote.

Veal Parmigiana
Veal Parmigiana

The Cage’s inventive take on classic veal Parmigiana tucks rolled linguini between two breaded scallopinis, topping it all off with San Marzano tomato sauce and shaved Parmesan.

The One-Touch cocktail
The One-Touch cocktail

Straying from the jungle theme, the cocktails are soccer-inspired, with personalized toppings, glitzy garnishes, and ice stamped with the restaurant’s logo. “We make all the syrups, mixes and fusions in house and pair the drinks with dishes from our kitchen,” Karolidis says.

Lush (faux) greenery at the bar
Lush (faux) greenery at the bar

We sampled the One-Touch cocktail, with dragon fruit, pink grapefruit, strawberry-infused gin and a fun smoke bubble. The Lavender Lloyd is a tribute to Carli Lloyd’s historic hat trick in the Women’s World Cup final. It blends hibiscus/lavender-infused gin with a hint of lemon-lime juice and lavender smoke. Honoring Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, the Espresso Maestro Martini is topped with a dusting of espresso powder in a graphic of your choice. And there’s plenty of wine and beer options for the less adventurous.

A personalized Espresso Maestro Martini.
A personalized Espresso Maestro Martini.

Cost: $9–$35.
Atmosphere: Enticingly visual.
Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday.
Attire: Casual.
Extras: The exotic setting is perfect for private events.

The Lavender Lloyd
The Lavender Lloyd

The Cage
711 S. Trooper Road, Norristown, (267) 652-7777
thecagecocktailbar.com

Related: Daniel’s Restaurant + Cocktail Bar Shines in Conshohocken

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