It's open at 4 p.m. for dinner; hours go later toward the end of the week. Lunch is a few weeks out.
See photos and menu here.
Jay Willard, a former manager in the Starr Restaurant orbit, and Jason Evenchik, owner of Time, Vintage, and Bar, have opened the beer-centric neighborhood pub Growlers, which replaces Vesuvio at Eighth and Fitzwater Streets in Bella Vista (267-519-3242).
They've brightened up the joint, keeping century-old architectural details but opening up one wall in the dining room and adding windows and outdoor dining to the Fitzwater Street side. Chef Jerry Donahue, a barbecue specialist formerly at Conshohocken's Spamps and the Blue Bell Country Club, is doing an easy-on-the budget menu that goes whole hog for bacon. Twelve rotating taps will focus on American brews, and there are growlers to go. Photos are here.
Ralph's, basking in its new status as the longest-running Italian restaurant in the United States, opens a branch Thursday at the new Sheraton Valley Forge (480 N. Gulph Rd., King of Prussia, 484-238-1990). The Rubino family is branding this location as Ralph's of South Philly. Much of the red-gravy menu is similar to Ninth Street's (though in a departure, chef Anthony Barone will offer fried calamari). The sleek, modern room has nothing in common with the circa-1900 digs downtown, and comes with a credit-card swiper. Ralph's tried the burbs previously - a spot in Ambler from 2002 to 2005. "That was a great learning experience," said fifth-generation restaurateur Ryan Rubino, 25, whose father, Jimmy Jr., is chef/co-owner downtown.
Old City comings and goings
Looks like another restaurant-lounge is on the way to Old City. The bilevel building at 312 Market St., which until spring 2010 was Patou, is being outfitted as a comfort-fooder prosaically called Fire & Ice. It is a few weeks from opening, a manager said.
Meanwhile, the restaurant planned for the corner of Front and Market Streets seems to be in limbo.
The crew behind Mad River Bar & Grille at 126 Chestnut St. has refashioned it into a seafooder called Craft & Claw - e.g. craft beer and crabs.
Sbraga (Broad and Pine Streets) makes Esquire magazine's list of the best new restaurants in America - the first Philly entry since 2008, when Zahav and Distrito landed on author/critic John Mariani's roster. Mariani praises Top Chef winner's Kevin Sbraga's four-course, $49 dinners.
Out and about
Iron Chef Jose Garces will talk with me about his new cookbook, The Latin Road Home, at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Free Library on Logan Square. It's free. Garces is everywhere. Catch him Saturday on The Sunny Side Up Show on Sprout, the kiddie TV channel.
Photos, menus, and additional details about these restaurants, plus dining news, can be found at www.philly.com/mike. Contact Michael Klein at email@example.com.