Saturday, January 31, 2009

Recessionary Dining: Table 31's Plaza Cafe To Rock 'To-Go' Menu Too

tableFirst it was Susanna Foo, who last week introduced ‘Gourmet To Go’ at her Walnut Street restaurant of the same name — a special menu of take-out and delivery items from Susanna Foo’s four-bell kitchen at "neighborhood" prices.

Now comes word that Table 31 will soon be expanding their offerings to include a 'To-Go' menu as well.

High-end restaurants offering less expensive (presumably) To-Go menus in order to pad sinking revenues (presumably) … this could be viewed as one positive consequence of the recession.


From a Table 31 rep:
Table 31's Plaza Cafe is the outdoor cafe located in the plaza of the Comcast Center. It is only open during the warmer months (generally April-September). The Plaza Cafe (not Table 31) had intentions of facilitating a To-Go Menu/Service and off-site catering during the off-season.

Due to the on-going construction/repair to the Plaza Cafe, this was not possible this season. We have hopes of starting this additional service soon. Table 31 remains an upscale dining and special events destination with the off-site catering as a service available through our special events department. For more information, please contact Table 31 at or 215-567-7111. Thank you!

Table 31 [ Official Site ]
Get the door… it’s Susanna Foo [ The Insider ]

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daily Candy Philadelphia Finds A Soul Mate: Thrillist Coming To Philly

And just in time for Valentine’s Day too…
Thrillist, the daily email newsletter for dudes, is launching in Philadelphia next month, its tenth city. Last week, it launched in Atlanta.

So how's business?

Founder Ben Lerer tells us the company now has more than 30 full-time employees and is weathering the ad recession well.

The company, which is already profitable, will bring in somewhere between $5 million and $10 million in revenue this year.
Would not have guessed that.

(However, on the bright side: at least some companies aren’t hemorrhaging jobs.)

Thrillist Raking In Big Bucks, Launching In Philly Next Month [ Silicon Valley Insider ]
Thrillist Philadelphia Coming Soon
[ Official Site ]

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ask And Ye Shall Receive: Restaurant Week Extended!

As Foobooz reported earlier today, Restaurant Week has just been extended to last two weeks.

As well it should have been.

Jan 25-30 and now Feb 1-6.

Kudos to the CCD for once again showing why they are, by far, the most agile and purposeful economic development-oriented agency in this fine city.

Center City Restaurant Week Extended [ Official Site ]

Urban Dispatch: New York Restaurant Week Set To Expand, May Last Entire Month; What About Philly's?

Beer Week Spawns Envy, Imitators; Sincere Flattery Not Always Included

Even the New York Times can't help but love Philly's Beer

Proving that there is, in fact, some value to the combination of good marketing AND good product, Philly Beer Week, which sprang to life in 2008 with a very successful (and well covered) debut, has officially become the envy of cities across the country.
Bay Area to answer Philly with big week of beer events

Have you heard about SF Beer Week? It's a Bay Area celebration of great craft beer beginning Feb. 6 with the tapping of a special barrel at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and ending 10 days later with a festival of more than 60 breweries in Oakland.

In between are dozens of events, including more than a few in the South Bay: beer dinners, beer-and-cheese pairings, meet-the-brewer nights.

So what's this all about? Blame Philadelphia. Last spring, craft brewers and fans of good beer in Philly held a week of beer-related celebrations; they called it "Philadelphia Beer Week." It was a great idea — but they went too far. They proclaimed Philadelphia "the best beer-drinking city in America."
But the author has a good outlook on the whole thing:
Bottom line to all this: It's fun, but it's folderol. The important point is that the craft beer revolution has gone so far that two great, American metropolitan areas — and let's not forget Portland and Denver — can have a friendly quarrel over good beer.

It shows how far we've come from the time when most beer was brewed in a handful of big beer factories and mostly it tasted like water. Three cheers for SF Beer Week, and hats off to Philadelphia, too.
We’ll drink to that.

Meanwhile, it’s not just San Fran.

Other cities have jumped on the bandwagon and are trying to replicate the success of Philly Beer Week — New York, Baltimore and Seattle have all created official Beer Weeks over the past year, with Chicago supposedly trying to create one as we speak.
I love the growing trend of entire weeks devoted to celebrating local beer or at least beer in a specific place. This is a terrific trend that should be encouraged, and I say that not just because I’m involved with organizing SF Beer Week.
As far as I can tell, there are now nearly a dozen “official” beer weeks and at least three more “unofficial” ones. And I also understand a Chicago Beer Week is being discussed.
Well, to that we say: they can take our lives ideas, but they will never take… OUR FREEDOM BEER AWESOMENESS.

Bay Area to answer Philly with big week of beer events [ San Jose Mercury News ]
Beer, A Week at a time [ Brookston Beer Bulletin ]
Surfacing: Breweries of Brotherly Love [ New York Times ]
Philly Beer Week [ Official Site ]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Urban Dispatch: New York Restaurant Week Set To Expand On Account Of Economy, May Last Entire Month; What About Philly’s?

Center City Restaurant Week starts this Sunday and runs for six days, Jan 25-30.

Up in NYC, they are all set to expand their Restaurant Week from a week to a month in an effort to maximize its impact on the local economy.

From Crain's:
Restaurant Week extended to February

Record program participation and slumping eatery revenues make extension likely.

Restaurant Week has not even begun yet—it starts on Sunday—but its organizers are already considering extending the popular promotion through February, according to a board member of NYC & Company, which sponsors the event.

“I think that our restaurants would do it,” said Tracy Nieporent, chairman of the tourism bureau’s restaurant committee, and a partner in Myriad Restaurant Group. That willingness comes on top of the fact that this year’s program has already been expanded to include Sundays for the first time ever.
It is important to note both that while Restaurant Week is not necessarily a huge profit-maker for the participating restaurants, it does at least help.
The recession has hit the industry hard, with two major restaurants, Fiamma and Ruby Foo, closing just this week.

While Restaurant Week is not necessarily a huge profit-maker for the industry, it helps to keep eateries busy in the normally slow winter months.

"It’s better to be busy and have the volume even if the profit is down,” said Mr. Nieporent, whose company owns Nobu, Tribeca Grill and other well-known restaurants.

After the promotion ends, customer traffic usually falls off even if a restaurant decides to continue the program on its own, added Mr. Nieporent.
So while a month-long restaurant week would probably not be a great idea for Philadelphia, extending it officially from one week to two weeks (or from six days to 12 days) would probably be beneficial to all involved.

We know some restaurants elect to keep the deal going themselves, but that is not as effective as officially extending the promotion to all participants. And extending the corresponding promotion of the event.

But we have a feeling that the Center City District is more than happy to leave well enough alone… you know, with Restaurant Week already being a relatively big pain in the arse to organize/manage. (Or so we've heard.)

But that doesn't mean they shouldn't at least try to get a little more bang out of their promotional buck, right?

Just sayin'.

Restaurant Week extended to February [ Crain’s New York via Grub Street ]
Center City Restaurant Week [ Official Site ]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama’s Pre-Inauguration Philadelphia Hotel Of Choice? (Meh) The Sheraton City Center

president elect obama at 30th street station in philadelphiaSo where did Obama sleep Friday night for his one night stay in Philadelphia before embarking on his whistle-stop tour to the Inauguration festivities in D.C.?

The Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel.
Four days before his inauguration, President-elect Obama slipped into Philadelphia amid bitter cold and tight security, arriving at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel downtown late this afternoon where hotel guests, mixing with bomb-sniffing police dogs, found themselves in the potentially fortunate position of getting a pre-inauguration glimpse.
Fair enough.

Hopefully, they at least gave him the Presidential Suite.

Obama’s In Town [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Obama arrives for trip to D.C. [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

Stephen Starr's Top Chef Appearance To Air Tomorrow; ‘Starr Events’ Catering Arm Lands Another Big Gig

Good for Stephen. He was deemed important enough to the New York dining scene to have been invited to appear on Top Chef as a “celebrity” judge. Bully for him. The episode, "Restaurant Wars", airs tomorrow.

Here’s a clip promoting the episode, in which Stephen appears to choke on something he was served. Uh oh.

Meanwhile, we hear that Starr Events, the catering arm of the Starr Restaurant Organization, has landed another big Center City law firm client. (One of Starr Events' first corporate clients was the law firm of Pepper Hamilton, a top-100 firm in the county.)

We’re hearing that Duane Morris, a slightly bigger Philly-based top-100 law firm, has also just inked Starr Events to run the first floor café and catering operation at it’s Center City headquarters. (Recession be damned.)

Stephen professes that no mall food courts are next on his agenda.

And how.

Hot and Bothered [ Grub Street – New York Magazine ]
Special events, catering added to Starr menu [ Philadelphia Business Journal ]
Starr To Judge Top Chef [ The Insider – Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Restaurant Chat: Stephen Starr discusses inspirations, regrets and plans [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

[ Image via Grub Street ]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rouge Burger To Compete In Rachel Ray’s Burger Bash At The South Beach Wine & Food Fest In February

rouge in philadelphiaRouge’s Executive Chef Matthew Zagorski will be taking the famed Rouge Burger to the Amstel Light Burger Bash at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival next month to compete against the likes of NYC's Shake Shack, Rick Bayless out of Chi-town, and Michael Psilakis among others.

From a Rouge press release:
The restaurant’s signature Rouge Burger has garnered a slew of national press; GQ cited it number four on their “20 Burgers You Must Eat Before You Die,” and Oprah featured it on her show as among the best burgers in the country.

On February 19, Chef Zagorski will compete against other ‘best burger’ contenders at the Amstel Light Burger Bash, hosted by Rachel Ray, at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami.
Good luck Rouge. Make Philadelphia proud.

Oh, and Masaharu Morimoto will also be competing. In the Burger Bash.

Really? We were not so much aware that Morimoto liked to rock a burger. Never saw it on the menu…

(Note: Morimoto, we'd route for you too if you'd show Philadelphia some goddamn love already…)

Amstel Light Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray – South Beach Wine & Food Festival
[ Official Website ]
The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die [ GQ ]

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dept. Of Positive Thinking: Tampa Super Bowl Rental Ads Hit Craigslist Foreshadowing The Inevitable

And so it begins…
Date: 2009-01-12, 11:15AM EST

Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Sq Footage: 1050
Parking: 1 Dedicated
Pet Policy: No pets

Fully Furnished Condo with Granite counters, Hardwood floors, Stainless Steel Appliances, Washer and Dryer, Resort style amenities available for your Super Bowl stay in Tampa.

Different packages available, You will be working with the owner directly!!!
Be like Donovan; make your travel arrangements early.

IMMACULATE 2BR FURNISHED CONDO IN TAMPA FOR EAGLES FANS!!! (15 Minutes from the Stadium) [ Philadelphia Craigslist ]
Donovan McNabb Attempts To Make Travel Arrangements From Giants' Sideline
[ The 700 Level ]

Friday, January 09, 2009

Baltimore Ave To Get Upgraded With New Pedestrian-Scaled Lighting

Between 45th and 50th Streets (what up Dock Street?):
Work is about to get underway on the installation of new pedestrian lights on Baltimore Avenue. The goal is to improve public safety and increase business activity along the corridor through better lighting.
Well done, University City District.

Baltimore Avenue Pedestrian Lighting [ University City District ]

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Weave Bridge Update: As South Street Bridge Comes Down, Weave Bridge Goes Up

Plan Philly has a nice update on the Weave Bridge going up on the eastern edge of Penn’s Campus.

Video reporting below, full article here.

Should be finished soon.

Exclusive UPenn Weave Bridge Coverage
[Plan Philly ]
Weave Bridge set for completion in Nov. [ Daily Pennyslvanian ]

Official Preemptive Illadelph Crush: Penn's Weave Bridge By Cecil Balmond

[ Photo via Plan Philly ]