January 9, 2015 |
When it comes to restaurant trend forecasts, there's sometimes a tendency toward the frivolous: Is kale finally wilting? Are doughnuts the new cupcakes? Will this be the year crickets become a mainstream protein? But when chefs and forecasters look to 2015, they see more substantive changes ahead. Those have less to do with what's in fashion than with evolving technology, looming concerns about sustainability, and a pressing need to manage costs as restaurant workers seek higher wages.
January 9, 2015
VEGAN restaurants tend to share an origin story: Earnest vegans, cooking food to nourish the heart, soul and planet, share their culinary activism with the public at large. Sometimes it works, sometimes there's more sincerity than cooking aptitude. But in Jenkintown, the new Flora is a novel case: a vegan restaurant started by nonvegans (with a nonvegan chef) on the notion that it's good business. "Yeah, in-between Blue Sage [Vegetarian Grille, in Southampton] and Center City, there weren't a whole lot of vegan dining options," explained Dan Brightcliffe, a co-founder who also doubles as low-key host and waiter for the cozy, 16-seat venue, on Old York Road between Greenwood and West avenues.
December 23, 2014 |
YESTERDAY marked a week since Vito Maglio, 69, mysteriously disappeared after leaving a restaurant in his Northeast Philly neighborhood, and although investigators and relatives have searched feverishly, a police source said yesterday that no new clues have surfaced. But things aren't looking good. On Thursday morning, Maglio's car was found - torched - near a field along a seedy stretch of Beechwood Street near Grange Avenue, in East Germantown. Investigators have said they found no indication that Maglio had been in the vehicle when it was burned.
December 16, 2014 |
R OBERT IRVINE is getting people buff in Philly for the Food Network. My spies spotted the "Restaurant: Impossible" host at the Sporting Club at the Bellevue last week working out with a hefty partner. Sources tell me that Irvine is working on a new show called "Fitness: Impossible" that will get a Food Network debut next month. I hear it's "a cooler version of 'The Biggest Loser.' " The show is being filmed all over with Philly, Bucks County and New Orleans as locations.
December 12, 2014
ONCE IN a great while, too many cooks in the kitchen is a good thing. Earlier this month, a gaggle of South Philly chefs showed up, knives in hand, to work in the line at Lynn Rinaldi's modern Italian restaurant and wine bar, Paradiso. And, though their culinary styles and cooking proclivities pinged multiple points on the map, they shared a straightforward goal: satisfying a sold-out room full of diners celebrating Rinaldi's 10th year in business on East Passyunk Avenue. The menu of 10 distinct dishes (a course for each year, of course)
December 1, 2014 |
At a time when most foreign news is unremittingly grim, I have a good-news story to tell - about the first women-only restaurant in western Afghanistan, called the Scranton Restaurant. That name reflects the fact that the restaurant is a joint project of a noted woman activist in Herat, Afghanistan, and her counterparts in Scranton, Pa., who raised $20,000 to get the restaurant started. The Scranton Restaurant is a rare place where Afghan women, young and old, can socialize outside their homes in safety.
November 8, 2014 |
When the restaurant bearing his name opens Friday, former Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino will be doing what he does best - holding court - as front-door host of the posh Italian spot in Boca Raton, Fla. His lawyers, meanwhile, have turned to a court of a different sort, hoping to keep their client out of prison long enough to see the eatery past its first few weeks. The 52-year-old dapper don, who recently appeared in federal court in a sharp gray suit and purple tie, is due to report Nov. 24 to a South Florida prison to serve out a four-month sentence for a probation violation.
November 8, 2014 |
OUTSIDE THE courthouse last month, Joseph Merlino laughed off his upcoming prison stint as an opportunity to take his workout routine to the next level and "get my sixpack back. " But, come on, do you really think "Joey Sixpack" wants to spend four months doing crunches in a jail cell? Lawyers for the ex-mob boss are asking for a postponement of his sentence while they appeal a judge's ruling that he violated the terms of his probation while living in Florida. At a court hearing on Oct. 24, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick ordered Merlino to report to prison on Nov. 24 after detectives testified that he'd been spotted with John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini in a Boca Raton cigar bar in June.
November 6, 2014 |
Bar/restaurant plus butcher Across the street from the artisan work at the new La Colombe Torrefaction flagship in Fishtown, restaurateur Michael Pasquarello and butcher Bryan Mayer are behind the new Kensington Quarters (1310 Frankford Ave., 267-314-5086). It's a bar/restaurant with a butcher counter and classroom built in. Mayer, one of the godfathers of a new generation of butchers, ran the show at Fleisher's Grass-Fed & Organic Meats in New York. A chance meeting with Pasquarello - who with his wife, Jeniphur, owns Cafe Lift, Prohibition Taproom, and Bufad - sent him, his wife and daughter to Philadelphia.
November 4, 2014
G ARY CARDI, 39, of Wayne, is a partner in Public House Investments (PHI), which provides management services to restaurant/bars in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. He also owns two City Tap Houses, in University City and Logan Square, and Field House and Pennsylvania 6 in Center City. Q: How'd you come up with the idea for PHI? A: That's the management company. Each restaurant is individually owned by me or one of my three partners. The management company supplies managers to all 16 restaurants that each partner owns.