April 26, 2009 |
Put the craft on draft, and they will come. In Philadelphia these days, great beer really does seem to have such transformative powers, where a changing of the brews at an old-time tappie can open the door to a new world of customers and a new source of energy for neighborhood life. Take, for example, the case of the Lucky 13 Pub, which after just seven months has become the latest "old-man bar" to change hands, upgrade its beers, and become a full-fledged player in South Philly's rising gastropub revolution.
January 29, 2009 |
For nine months, with his own two hands, Laurentiu Muras has been redoing the former Cafe Habana on 21st Street into a gastropub called Slate . Work was finished in December, says Muras, a Romanian-born longtime bartender at such Center City establishments as Valanni, Jack's Firehouse and El Vez. All he had to do was iron out staffing issues. The wrinkles are gone, Muras says, and Slate (102 S. 21st St., 215-568-6886) will open tomorrow. It'll be open daily at 5 p.m. Chef Eric Paraskevas, formerly chef de cuisine at Lolita, says they're aiming to be an inviting neighborhood place, with appetizers from $7 to $9, sandwiches from $10 to $12, and entrees from $18 to $21. Paraskevas' background at Lolita exposed him to Mexican food, but he doesn't want to pigeonhole his cuisine.
January 15, 2009 |
Darlene Boline Moseng, who did catering and private chef-ing, is into her third week of A La Maison (53 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, 484-412-8009), a rustic French BYOB in the Main Line storefront that was Jewel of India. Moseng, a graduate of the Restaurant School, is keeping it traditional on a blackboard menu - coq au vin, short ribs, steak frites (dinner entrees: $21 to $28). She's backed in the kitchen by Maurice deRamus (Zen in Northern Liberties, Kujaku on the Parkway), and Marabella's alumna Lori Sexton is running the front of the house.
December 21, 2008 |
Everyone knows a pig can't fly. But what about a "pabbit"? The mythical creature has certainly given a charmed lift to Pub & Kitchen, the new gastropub at 20th and Lombard whose creamy brick exterior sports the high-soaring silhouette of a rabbit-headed pig. More likely, the hour-long waits and endless blogger buzz that's been stoked by this replacement to Chaucer's is due to the presence of Philly's hottest young trick chef, Jonathan McDonald....
November 2, 2008 |
A glittering snow of confetti fluttered onto my lap at Izakaya as I opened the menu - when suddenly the waitress snatched it away. Too late. A closer look at the confetti (and its very naughty X-rated theme) made me realize why she was blushing red. "Bachelorette party last night," she sighed sheepishly, meticulously checking a new batch of menus before handing them over. As I settled into a sparkly banquette in the Borgata's sultry new Japanese gastropub, I poured myself a cold junmai ginjo shot of "Root of Innocence" sake and shrugged: What happens in Atlantic City stays in Atlantic City . That old Vegas slogan certainly applies to our own gaming playland, where the anything-goes celebration dinner has helped fuel the growing restaurant scene.
October 16, 2008 |
A tied house, in the traditional sense, is a pub that buys its beer exclusively from one brewery. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board does not allow them. When father-and-son William and Chris Leonard of the General Lafayette Inn, a Lafayette Hill brewpub, sought to open such a gastropub downtown, they relied on William's wife, Rose, and son Jonathan to obtain the restaurant license. So that's why the General Lafayette and the cozy Tiedhouse - which opened last week in the ground floor of the CityView Condos near the Art Museum (2001 Hamilton St., 215-561-1002)
August 24, 2008 |
Every great trend hits a moment of sudden saturation when the buzz of novelty wears off and expectations ratchet up to a higher level. That time has come for the gastropub, the exuberant hybrid of hipster bar and neighborhood restaurant where craft beers coexist with serious cooking. It's been a signature trend here for years, helping Philadelphia to secure its growing national reputation as one of America's beer meccas. But a gush of recent newcomers has flowed into the city so fast that the concept's limits are being tested, like a pint of ale frothing over from a hasty pour.
April 27, 2008 |
There's sure to be a beautiful story behind a place called The Ugly American, the new South Philly gastropub that revels in dishes like "the garbage plate" and upscale hot pockets. But owner Kevin Kelly is the first to burst any false pop-culture-inspiration bubbles. He can hardly tell you Marlon Brando's best lines from the 1963 movie of the same name, let alone remember the original book's author ("It's like William Lederer, I think," he said, correctly, when pressed). So that tattered paperback posed atop the maitre d's stand isn't bedtime reading?
August 5, 2007 |
They're buying more baby booster seats at Monk's Cafe. Kids are welcome well into the evening at the Standard Tap. And the hostess gives crayons and paper to children who wander into London Grill. Since the citywide smoking ban went into effect in September, dazzling young - very young - urbanites are making the night scene in so-called gastro-pubs (bars that serve dinner, or restaurants with bars, take your pick). "The number of children we see here has quadrupled," says Tom Peters, co-owner of Monk's Cafe in Center City "I'm getting more baby seats.