Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Starr Sends Burger Deal To Florida, Where The Steak 954 Burger Is Now Only $9.54

steak 954 burger at w fort lauderdale
The Steak 954 Burger with aged cheddar and sautéed onions | Photo via SRO

After the success of the Butcher Burger lunch deal at Butcher & Singer, Stephen Starr is trying a similar, if less dramatic promotion at his Steak 954 at the W Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.

Steak 954 is now running a lunch special on its signature burger. Normally priced at $16, the Steak 954 Burger is now priced at $9.54 for a limited time.

Starr appears to have the recession under his thumb.

Deals at Steak 954, Red, Petite Rouge, FIU [ Miami Herald ]

Update: Starr Not Messing Around With Butcher & Singer Burger Promotion

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Village Whiskey Shifts Menu More Mainsteam, Regrettably Ceding To Rittenhouse Blandness

village whiskey bar philadelphiaThe opening menu at Village Whiskey was pretty much a thing of beauty.

But not even a month into it, they've already yanked a few items that have proven to be less popular than hoped.

And that's a shame.

Gone is the amazing Smoked Hot Link, which came with house-made Texas toast, baked beans and cole slaw.

In its stead, is a pulled pork barbecue sandwich — or a "Sammy" — which, while popular and on menus everywhere, is no substitute for something that's both delicious AND original.

Also KO'd from the opening menu — the very tasty Spicy Clam Strips. They've been replaced with Popcorn Shrimp of all things.


But overall, Village Whiskey is still fucking fantastic. They just need to be careful about caving in so easily.

Village Whiskey [ Official Site ]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lots Of Recycled Furniture At Pizzeria Stella — Is Stephen Starr Going Green?

Look at how Starr chose to outfit the brand new Pizzeria Stella:

- Reclaimed planks from the Coney Island Boardwalk for the tables inside.

- Reclaimed folding chairs from the old Philadelphia Civic Center for the outdoor seating.

- Reclaimed chairs from a Pennsylvania elementary school for the tables inside.

More likely emblematic of cost-cutting and time-saving measures than anything else — a) they got this recession on and b) at five months, this was one of Starr’s fastest openings to date — however, it’s nonetheless cool to see.

Moreover, Starr was an early Obama supporter, so we take that to mean he likes to be green whenever he can.

Like, with biodegradable faux-plastic cups at Square Burger.

Pizzeria Stella in Pictures [ Meal Ticket ]

And Now The Actual Opening Menu For Stephen Starr's Pizzeria Stella

[ Photo via Meal Ticket ]

Jose Garces Preview Clip From The Next Iron Chef

Here's the 'Meet the Chef' video clip of Jose Garces from The Next Iron Chef, which premieres on the Food Network this Sunday.

After screening episode one, Grub Street New York says Garces has a decent shot of winning the whole thing.

And here's a preview of the show.

The Next Iron Chef [ Official Site ]

Sunday, September 27, 2009

And Now The Actual Opening Menu For Stephen Starr's Pizzeria Stella

pizzeria stella opening menu by stephen starr
12 pies, one of which is clam.

Hat tip on the menu to Michael Klein.

Pizzeria Stell opens this Tuesday, September 29.

Pizzeria Stella's menu [ The Insider - ]

Sneak Peak At Early Working Draft Of Menu At Pizzeria Stella

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Matthew Levin Lands Massive New Mobile Smoker For Rubb; Will He Use It To Unleash The Barbecue Beyond Manayunk?

rubb bbq mobile smoker philadelphia
Rubb BBQ's new mobile smoker at the Linc last Sunday | Photo via Rubb

We certainly hope so.

Last week, in a stroke of unadulterated genius, Chef Matthew Levin got a giant mobile barbecue smoker delivered from Missouri.

The smoker, in theory, will allow him to get Rubb barbecue in the hands of more people than just those that will visit the Rubb storefront on Main Street in Manayunk when it opens in a few weeks.

So far, he's using the mobile smoker at Eagles home games for massive tailgate sessions. For example, home game #1 this past Sunday vs. the Saints: 30 lbs of ribs and 30 lbs of brisket, plus pork belly for good measure. Free samples were given out to passers-by and fellow tailgaters.

And he's doing it again this Sunday (in Lot K) for the Eagles game against the Kansas City Chiefs — how fitting.

Might be worth a trip even if you don't have tickets to the game.

Meanwhile, our hope is that the smoker finds its way into Center City during the work week. Using it for tailgates and other special events is awesome. But imagine if it also set up shop a few days a week in Center City, feeding the hungry, twitter-addicted masses.

Surely, there's room for a new barbecue food truck in town.

Case in point: look what happened when the new Picnick Smoked barbecue truck opened up in the Financial District in New York in August. It was mobbed. Instantly.

Which is probably a good thing.

Rubb BBQ [ Official Site ]
Downtown Lunch: “Picnick Smoked” Will Goldfarb’s New BBQ Truck [ Midtown Lunch ]
Ravenous FiDi Mob Storms Picnick Smoked Once More! [ Eater ]

Gourmet Discovers Delicious Food Truck Vendors In Philadelphia

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sneak Peak At Early Working Draft Of Menu At Pizzeria Stella

Note: This menu is NOT Stella's opening menu. It's a early working draft of the menu. It does not have several of the pizzas that Michael Klein already reported would be on the opening menu. Nonetheless, it's worth looking at and gives a rough idea of price points to expect when Stella opens next week.

pizzeria stella draft opening menu
Where's the clam pie?

There will be 12 pies on the menu when Stella opens. Only 8 are actually shown above — two are printed twice: the Roma and Soppressata. (Also, the mozzarella, tomato and basil salad is repeated three times in the salad section of the menue. And two apps are printed twice each.) Among the pies missing are the clam pie and the pistachio pie. And if Team Starr is hyping the pistachio pie on Facebook, you better believe it's going to be on the opening menu.

Moral of the story: take the info on the menu above with a grain of salt. It was an early working version.

That said, six days and counting.

Stephen Starr Will Open Pizzeria Stella On September 29

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Man Vs. Food Philadelphia Airs Wednesday, Adam Richman Attempts To Eat A 5 Lb. Cheesesteak At Tony Luke's

In July, Adam Richman of the Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food visited Philadelphia to film an episode for his show. He stopped by the Reading Terminal Market (for a roast pork Italian at DiNic's), Franklin Fountain and Tony Luke's.

At Tony Luke's, he attempted to eat a 5 lb. cheesesteak.

Tune in tomorrow night at 10 pm to see how that worked out.

Man V. Food - Philadelphia [ Travel Channel ]

Freddie Mitchell Can't Catch A Break, Loses Barbecue Restaurant In Florida

freddie mitchell in brothers' bar-b-q in lakeland
Freddie Mitchell at Brothers' Bar-B-Q in Lakeland, FL | Image via

A judge in Florida just ruled that The People's Champ had to turn over the keys to the barbecue restaurant in Lakeland, FL for which he had signed a lease-to-purchase agreement in 2008.

The restaurant, Brother's Bar-B-Q, was a Lakeland landmark, one that Mitchell had patronized since he was a kid. Mitchell bought the restaurant after moving back to Lakeland in 2008 with hopes of giving back to the community and sponsoring youth athletic teams, in addition to making delicious barbecue.

freddie mitchell at brothers bbq in lakeland fl
Freddie Mitchell on the roof of Brothers' Bar-B-Q in 2008 | Image via

Unfortunately, like so often in the restaurant business, it did not work out.

We wish Fred-Ex well with whatever is next.

Ex-NFL Star to Lose Lakeland Eatery [ Lakeland Ledger ]
Former Football Star Tackles New Endeavor [ Lakeland Ledger ]

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gourmet Discovers Delicious Food Truck Vendors In Philadelphia

penn food truck philadelphiaJohn T. Edge checks in with a solid piece for Gourmet about street food in Philadelphia.

Among other things, he had this to say:
For the past year, I've been researching a truck food book. Early in my research, I fell hard for Philadelphia.

If Los Angeles is the citadel of the postmodern American truck food phenomenon, where every vendor gets 15 minutes of Twittered fame, and New York City is where street food adopts the public relations budgets and marketing tropes of restaurant service, then Philadelphia is the black sheep among the gazelles, the bruiser of a city where honest vendors work quilted metal carts and battered trucks, dishing the fuel of workaday life.

Sure, there are sophisticated eats to be had here, but even the hippest of the new-guard Philadelphia vendors are more focused on food than folderol.
Pretty on point. (Remember, Stephen Starr does not have a food truck yet.)

Edge goes on to spotlight eight food trucks, all located in University City. Which is only natural because, let's be honest, the food trucks over there are plentiful and seem to be a lot more diverse and creative than what's offered in Center City.

Oh, and Bui's gets a shout out.


Like you even need to ask.

Eight Great Street-Food Vendors in Philadelphia
[ Gourmet Magazine ]

Stephen Starr Is Considering Doing Food Trucks In Philadelphia

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stephen Starr Will Open Pizzeria Stella On September 29

pizzeria stell by stephen starrBack without missing a beat, Michael Klein reports that Stephen Starr will open his Society Hill pizzeria project, named Pizzeria Stella, next Tuesday, September 29th. Klein got a behind-the-scenes tour on Saturday, which included a sneak preview of the 12-pizza menu.

Note: there will, in fact, be a clam pie.

As for the question as to who will be overseeing the kitchen, Klein reports that "the search for a pizzaiolo seems to have been suspended" and that Starr culinary director Chris Painter and Stella chef Shane Solomon (previously of Washington Square) are in charge.

Stella! [ The Insider - ]

Keith McNally Lands A Name Chef For His Pizzeria, Who Will Stephen Starr Go With At Stella?
Will Stephen Starr's Pizza Restaurant Have White Clam Pies?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ryan Howard Gets A Behind-The-Scenes Tour Of The White House Kitchen Garden

Is Ryan Howard the Phillies resident foodie? If so, good for him.

The Phillies visited the White House in May to be congratulated by President Obama on winning the 2008 World Series. During the trip, Ryan Howard got a behind-the-scenes tour of the White House's new kitchen garden by assistant chef/Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass.

The video of the tour, which includes Howard talking about his off-season weight loss as well as several quality RyHo sound bites, is below. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Square 1682 Teaser: An Item Off The Opening Menu

Serrano ham with saffron, tomato bread, manchego cheese and lentil shoots | Image via Square 1682

Grub Street had a shot of this earlier, but it warranted repeating.

Opens for dinner October 15 14, 2009.

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia [ Official Site ]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obama To Visit Philly On Tuesday, But Will He Stay For Dinner?

President Obama created a bit of a stir today when he and former President Clinton had lunch at Il Mulino in Manhattan's West Village (at right).

Meanwhile, President Obama will be attending a fundraiser for Arlen Specter in Philadelphia on Tuesday to be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 4 p.m.

Which, in theory, could mean he'd be finished in time to enjoy an early dinner here in Philadelphia. And that would obviously be a godsend for the lucky establishment that would get to host him.

So even though Obama is incredibly busy and the likelihood of him actually stopping for dinner in Philadelphia is probably very small, we're hoping he eats out. Or at the very least, grabs a snack for the road before getting back on Air Force One.

Three quick sit-down candidates:

- 10 Arts: Presidential setting and a Top Chef slayer in the kitchen.

- Butcher & Singer: Obama could indulge in a recession-friendly $18 24 oz. rib eye.

- Osteria: Yes, Obama ate Italian on Monday. But Osteria is great. And they have pizza. Plus it's not participating in Restaurant Week.

In the case that the President does not have time for a sit-down dinner in Philadelphia after the reception, we hope he makes a pit-stop somewhere in town for some delicious road food to bring with him on the plane.

And if he leaves the fundraiser after 5 p.m., many of the merchants in the Reading Terminal Market (conveniently located right next to the Convention Center) will be closed. So he'll have to go elsewhere.

Three quick road food candidates:

- Square Burger: Obama appreciates good burgers. Not only does Square Burger makes a fine burger and a delicious milkshake, it's across from the National Constitutional Center and on the way to I-95.

- Tony Luke's: It's a classic and not that far out of the way. Obama should opt for the Roast Pork Italian over the cheesesteak.

- Paesano's: Worth the detour. However, the President's aides will want to call ahead to ensure Paesano's doesn't run out of ingredients.

Obama coming to Philadelphia tomorrow [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Obama & Clinton Lunching at Il Mulino RIGHT NOW [ Eater ]

Monday, September 14, 2009

Todd English To Host A Philabundance Benefit Dinner With Douglas Rodriguez At Macy's Center City On Wednesday

A Restaurant Week sanctioned "Dinner Party" will feature celebrity chef Todd English, along with three Center City District Restaurant Week chefs: Brian Wilson from Le Castagne, Douglas Rodriguez from Alma de Cuba, and Olivier De Saint Martin from Caribou Cafe.

There will also be samplings from Bistro St. Tropez, Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse, The Plough & The Stars, Porcini, Public House at Logan Square, Joe Pesce, and D'Angelo's Ristorante Italiano and Lounge.

Admission is a reasonable $25.

Todd English Dinner Party: Macy’s Come Together Campaign [ Philabundance ]

Strongbox Holds Firm, Reveals Re-Opening "Tweaks"

(And we're back.)

Quick recap: after opening in March, Strongbox closed in June for the summer "to complete renovations and tweaking of [their] product."

Some wondered what kind of tweaks they were planning. Maybe they would make some changes to adjust to economy and the more low-key direction of nightlife? Maybe they'd try to do something to make the place a little more accessible?

Um, no.

The grand re-opening teaser:

"Strongbox - Experience the premier bottle-service lounge and nightclub as it reveals brand new state-of-the-art audio/visual technology and luxurious decor that will take exclusive clientele to the next level of Philadelphia nightlife."

Still bottle-service. Still luxurious. Still exclusive.

Good luck.

Strongbox To Reopen On Friday With DJ Jazzy Jeff, Recess Lounge To Debut Following Night [ Grub Street Philadelphia ]
Strongbox taking a breather [ The Insider - ]
Low-key bars replace New York's high-wattage clubs as the place to party [ New York Times ]

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Look: Renderings Of R2L And MidAlantic, Both By Chef Daniel Stern

A rendering of the The Liberty Bar and Lounge area at R2L | Image via R2L

Built on the belief that everything modern needs firm roots in the past, R2L recalls the elegance of a bygone time and celebrates the excitement of what's to come. With a nod to tradition, R2L's design reflects the Art Deco look of its building's exterior and pays tribute to the mood and essence of that time.

With an eye to the future, Chef Daniel Stern takes the tradition of classic cocktail cuisine and brings it up-to-date with a modern twist—using his always-unexpected interpretation of American food.

A rendering of the MidAtlantic Restaurant and Tap Room | Image via MidAtlantic

MidAtlantic Restaurant and Tap Room:
Urban and Rustic. Past and Present. Tradition and Renewal. This is the essence of MidAtlantic, Chef Daniel Stern's latest culinary surprise. MidAtlantic celebrates the best of what was and what is to come, with a focus on reinterpreting the roots of traditional Philadelphia foods and Pennsylvania Dutch flavors. Here, the menu brings back the tastes, seasonings, spices and produce of the bustling and vibrant city market that once made its way from City Hall down to the Delaware River.
R2L [ Official Site ]
MidAtlantic Restaurant and Tap Room [ Official Site ]

* Also, posting will be a little light here this week — we're holding down the fort at Grub Street Philadelphia while Kirsten is on vacation. Stop by.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Buddakan NYC To Make A Cameo In The New Season Of Gossip Girl

buddakan new york city
The show filmed at the massive Chelsea restaurant last week | Photo via Buddakan

Gossip Girl filmed scenes for an upcoming episode at Stephen Starr's Buddakan in New York City last week, according to Starr Restaurant on Twitter. The show's third season premieres on September 14th. The scenes shot at Buddakan on August 26th would likely be for a later episode.


[ @StarrRestaurant ]

Thursday, September 03, 2009

End Of Summer Eating: The New England Clam Bake For Two At Oyster House

The Clam Bake For Two At Oyster House Philadelphia
Oyster House does a Clam Bake | Photo via

While the Crab Feasts may have passed, it is comforting to know that Oyster House still has the New England Clam Bake for Two on the menu.

It's $50 and that gets you a whole lobster, steamed clams, mussels, new potatoes and corn on the cob.

If it helps make summer last a little longer (or at least feel like it is), we're all for it.

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

Oyster House [ Official Site ]

Oyster House Crushes It: Introduces Tuesday Night Crab Feasts, Now Through August

Like The Lobster Roll At Oyster House, The Lobster Roll At Village Whiskey Does NOT Use A Split-Top Bun

Traditionally, Lobster Rolls are served on split-top buns, which are top loader buns, rather than side loader buns, which are normal hot dog buns.

Two of Philadelphia's newest Lobster Rolls are going against that grain.

See visual evidence of the Village Whiskey lobster roll (with applewood bacon) here, by Meal Ticket.

Image of the Oyster House lobster roll at right.

Both seem to be using a buttered and grilled side-sliced Martin's potato hot dog roll.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

- OH SNAP: Village Whiskey Jumps In On The Fried Chicken Action With Kentucky Fried Quail
- Summer Eating: Tracking Down A Delicious New England Style Lobster Roll In Philadelphia

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Shank's Original Working On Second Location, This One To Be On The South Philadelphia Waterfront

shank's original pier 40 philadelphia
A rendering of the Shank's at Pier 40 along the Delaware River | Image via

Unbreaded tips us off to the news that Shank's Original is currently working on a second location. It is to be located right on the Delaware River at Pier 40, with the closest intersection being Christian Street and Columbus Boulevard.

They're shooting for an opening later this month.

Shank's Original at Pier 40 [ Official Site ]
Shank's: A Philadelphia Original [ Unbreaded ]

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Opening Beer List At Village Whiskey

Here's a look at the all-American craft beer list at Village Whiskey, which is scheduled to open later this week.

On draft:

- Philadelphia Brewing Co. Kenzinger ... $5
- Lagunitas Czech Pils ... $5
- Sixpoints Righteous Rye ... $6
- Ommegang Hennepin ... $6
- Founders Dirty Bastard ... $7
- Bear Republic Imperial Stout ... $6

Cask conditioned:

- Victory Uncle Teddy ... $6

Bottle (12 oz. unless otherwise noted):

- Straub Light ... $4
- Straub Special Dark ... $4
- Ace Apple Cider ... $5
- Ace Pear Cider ... $5
- Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale ... $5
- Sly Fox Pikeland Pils ... $5
- Allagash White ... $5.5
- Oskar Brewing Dale's Pale Ale ... $5.5
- Avery 14ER ESB ... $6.5
- Lagunitas Maximus IPA ... $6
- Bell's Kalamazoo Stout ... $6
- Northcoast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout ... $8
- Stone Smoked Porter 22 oz. ... $15
- Sly Fox Saison VOS 25 oz. ... $18
- Farnum Hill Farmhouse Cider 25 oz. ... $20
- St. Somewhere Lectio Davina 25 oz. ... $22
- Allagash Curieux 25 oz. ... $25
- Brewdog Paradox Imperial Stout ... $25

Not a Miller Lite in sight.

(Though, it could maybe use a Porkslap.)

Meanwhile, Meal Ticket has a sneak preview of some key menu items, including the burgers, the Kentucky fried quail, the lobster roll, and the hot links.

Meal Ticket is also reporting that Thursday's stated opening might now be delayed.

Village Whiskey [ Official Site ]

- OH SNAP: Village Whiskey Jumps In On The Fried Chicken Action With Kentucky Fried Quail
- Jose Garces Beats Stephen Starr To Rittenhouse Gastropub; Will Only Serve Craft Beer, Figuratively Decimating Every Other Bar In Rittenhouse