Table Talk: Another link added to Cherry Hill's chains

Posted: April 10, 2008

Chain competition is heating up in Cherry Hill.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant opened last month on the Haddonfield Road side of Towne Place at Garden State Park. It's a moderate-to-upscale seafood chain based in Portland, Ore.

It also was a massive investment. Aside from the build-out, M&S needed a liquor license, which in Cherry Hill Township is among the most expensive in the world:

$1.5 million.

To maximize its return - and to stake a claim on potential steakhouse competitors (hear that, Morton's?) - M&S has opened William Douglas Steakhouse. The name reflects not a famed Supreme Court justice but M&S founders Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick. It occupies about a third of the M&S building at 941 Haddonfield Rd. (856-665-6100) and shares its kitchen and executive chef, Karen Mitchell.

Atmosphere is subdued and plush, and horsy artwork gives a nod (a shake of the mane?) to Garden State. Menu is a couple of bucks below most high-tier steakhouses': a 16-ounce strip is $37, a 24-ounce porterhouse is $39, a 6-ounce petite filet is $30. The menu also has a few seafood dishes - none of which is duplicated from M&S. Lots of single-malts. It's open for dinner only from 4 p.m. nightly.

What's coming

April 22 is the projected opening of LoBianco New American Cuisine, a 60-seat BYOB in Collingswood's Lumberyard (off Haddon Avenue, a block west of Collings Avenue), from Nicholas and Stephanie LoBianco. They formerly owned LoBianco Coastal Cuisine in Margate. Entrees will be in the low $20s.

Goodburger, a Philly version of the New York burger joint, is looking at "early May" at 1725 Chestnut St.

Mamaia, a gastropub coming to 102 S. 21st St. in several months, will have a Transylvanian twist. Owner Laurentiu Muras, a bartender about town, named it after a resort town in his native Romania. (Say it "mam-AY-ah.")

Two on the way for mid-May in Phoenixville: Paul Ryan of West Chester's Ryan's Pub and University City's Smokey Joe's is behind P.J. Ryan's, an Irish pub (231 Bridge St., next to the Colonial Theatre). Marly's, an American BYO bistro (entrees: $17 to $28), is under construction at 106-08 Bridge St. Chef Michael Favacchia, formerly of West Conshy's Gypsy Saloon, is partnered with Gypsy Saloon/Stella Blue veteran Anne Zimmerman and Samantha Hall, an alumna of Teresa's Cafe in Wayne.

John Gonzalez has left the general manager's job at Striped Bass to run Bistrot La Minette, the "city French bistro" (or bistrot) coming in May to the "Dalmatian" building on Sixth Street near Bainbridge in Queen Village. Chef-owner Peter Woolsey is a veteran of Washington Square, Striped Bass and Le Mas Perrier. His father, John Woolsey, is part of the team.

West Conshy's Bella Luna Pizza Kitchen has opened on Sundays (2 to 9 p.m.), expanding its delivery zone in the process.

One with

Filmmaker Ben Daniels will premiere This Is My Cheesesteak, his documentary homage to the Philly sandwich, at 7 p.m. Saturday at International House (3701 Chestnut St.) as part of the Philadelphia Film Festival. The screening will be dedicated to Daniels' mother, Carol, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Each ticket purchased will be redeemable for a cheesesteak at Jim's Steaks, Steve's Prince of Steaks, John's Roast Pork, and Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches. A portion of sales of Cheesesteak DVDs and T-shirts will be donated to cancer research in his mother's name, Daniels says.
Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/michaelklein and http://go.philly.com/foodanddrinq.

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