Oh, yes, the food: Chef Jen Zavala, who's lived and worked from Connecticut to California (including Northern Liberties' Deuce and Silk City), is aiming for a northern Mexican experience with two separate menus: Texas barbecue on one, and Juarez-style staples, including her grandmother's refried beans and carnitas, on the other.
Price range is $3 to $22. Drink list will include many bourbons and tequilas (25-plus varieties of each).
What's new Jake's
in Manayunk has gone the BYOB-optional route at all times, for a $5 corkage. Owner Bruce Cooper had been offering the BYOB option on certain days. Cooper recently opened the casual Cooper's Brick-Oven Wine Bar next door.
Rylei has moved from Frankford Avenue in Mayfair to Bucks County's Mallard Creek shopping center (130 Almshouse Rd., Richboro). Jennifer Brennan-Vargas and her husband, Jose Vargas, are keeping its New American BYOB concept and phone number, 215-335-0414.
Ho Sai Gai, closed for nine years, has reopened at 10th and Arch Streets after an extensive redo. Its sibling near 10th and Cherry will remain.
The West Philly building housing Abbraccio
(847 S. 47th St.) has been sold to Benny Lai, owner of the Vietnam Cafe
and Fu Wah grocery store next door and Vietnam restaurant in Chinatown. Abbraccio's Roger Harman said the space was simply too large for the Italian restaurant. Abbraccio will remain through mid-February as Harman and partner Vincent Whittacre renovate a smaller place at 4800 Baltimore Ave. into a BYOB/coffee shop, which will be known as the Gold Standard. (That's the name of the previous operation owned at Penn by Harman and his late partner, Duane Ball.) The Gold Standard
is supposed to open in March. Lai said he would expand Vietnam Cafe and buy Abbraccio's liquor license.
Seasons 52, billed as a "fresh grill and wine bar," is aiming for a spring opening in the "Bistro Row" next to Nordstrom at Cherry Hill Mall, near a California Pizza Kitchen, a Maggiano's and a Capital Grille. This will be the eighth Seasons 52 and the first outside of the Southeastern United States from Darden Restaurants, whose brands include Bahama Breeze, Capital Grille, Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Running counter to steak-house/comfort-food trends, Seasons 52 focuses on healthful dining with a seasonal menu. It serves 60 of its 120 wines by the glass. See an overview at www.seasons52.com.
Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider.