Saturday, October 31, 2009

Morimoto May Guest Chef At Yankee Stadium, But Stephen Starr Makes Sure He Supports The Phillies With A Special Edition Gourmet Cheesesteak

chef morimoto at yankee stadium
Chef Masaharu Morimoto at the new Yankee Stadium | Photo via The New York Times

So Morimoto may have been a guest chef at the new Yankee Stadium earlier this season, but Stephen Starr is making sure his namesake restaurant in Philadelphia is staunchly supportive of the Philadelphia Phillies. And rightfully so.

Morimoto Philadelphia now offers a special gourmet Kobe Beef Cheesesteak that sounds reminiscent of the now-disappeared $100 cheesesteak at Barclay Prime.

It's a slightly less extravagant version, being without foie gras or lobster. But that means at $35, it might actually be a reasonable price. (If you really like Kobe beef.)

Regardless, good to see Starr staying true to the home team.

[ @StarrRestaurant on Twitter ]

Morimoto To Guest Chef At The New Yankee Stadium
Stephen Starr Adds Foie Gras Back To The $100 Kobe Cheesesteak... For The Steak 954 Version In South Florida

Fox 5 New York Nominates Stephen Starr As One Of Philadelphia's 10 Biggest Jerks, Projecting New York's Own Dining Insecurites On Philadelphia

stephen starr philadelphiaFox 5 New York tries to call Stephen Starr one of Philadelphia's 10 biggest jerks and we're not buying it.
MYFOXNY.COM - Our "friends" to the south decided to ask people to vote for the biggest New York City Jerk.

We decided to return the favor. Philly is just a small town next to New York but it does have its share of "jerks."
Stephen Starr: The restaurant owner has made millions off selling "hip" drinks and under-sized portions to suckers in a series of Philadelphia hot-spots.
Whoa, now. We're the suckers?! Check yourself, Fox 5 New York.

A.) Your mom sells us hip drinks.

And B.) Stephen Starr's two highest grossing restaurants anywhere are in New York City, where Buddakan and Morimoto are numbers 7 and 53 respectively in the top 100 highest-grossing independent restaurants in the country.


If anyone is guilty of "selling 'hip' drinks and under-sized portions," it's every single trendy restaurant in New York City between 1998 and 2009.

You can thank Sex and the City for that.

(Also, for the record, Starr does good business precisely because his portions are not undersized.)

As for the poll, Starr is not "winning" the race for the Biggest Jerk. That would be Jon Gosselin. Starr is holding down second to last place.

So at least he can be happy about that.

10 Biggest Philadelphia Jerks [ Fox 5 New York ]

Stephen Starr's New York Buddakan And Morimoto Doing Just Fine

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sarcone's Franchising, To Open Next Franchise In Delaware

sarcone's philadelphiaThe original Sarcone's Deli opened at 9th and Fitzwater in 1997. (The bakery has been around for much longer.)

Recently, the owners of Sarcone's Deli decided to try out franchising their deli concept.

They now have Sarcone's franchisees in Newtown, PA, Medford, NJ and, coming this winter, Delaware.

And the location on Ninth Street has a new storefront.

Sarcone's Deli Expands into Delaware [ PR Web ]

Monday, October 26, 2009

Denim Lounge Combats Recession With Porn Stars

denim lounge pornoweenWhile rumors of its sale and/or imminent demise linger, Denim persists.

And how.

The club's latest high jinks: porn star Gina Lynn will host Denim's Halloween party this Saturday — "Pornoween."

Naturally, it will be 70s-themed.

PORNOWEEN at Denim, hosted by Porn Superstar Gina Lynn [ Official Site ]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Davio's Cheesesteak Spring Rolls Now Sold At Patriots' Gillette Stadium And Your Grocer's Freezer

davio's philly cheesesteak spring rollsThe Philly Cheesesteak spring rolls are now sold at New England Patriots games.
[Steve DiFillippo, the owner of Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse,] laughs when he thinks that a spring roll with Philly cheese steak filling has become one of the more popular menu items at his restaurant chain, and now a fast-selling product in about 900 supermarkets in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

A frozen version of the Philly Cheese Steak Spring Roll that was originally created by a Davio’s chef in Philadelphia six years ago is now being manufactured for retailers at Yankee Trader Seafood on Oak Street in Pembroke.

“Twenty-four years of owning a high level restaurant and I’ve become the ‘Philly roll guy,’” said DiFillippo, who is 48. “With all my training, being a restaurateur and chef, it’s really funny. I get more e-mails about the Philly roll than I do about the restaurant.”
Apparently, they are sold at Giant Supermarkets here.

Davio's Cheesesteak Spring Rolls [ Official Site ]
Davio's "Philly rolls" being manufactured at Yankee Trader Seafood in Pembroke [ The Patriot Ledger ]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zagat Ranks Rouge Burger As Philadelphia's Best Burger, Osteria As Philly's Best Pizza

rouge burger philadelphiaThe results of Zagat's 2010 America's Top Restaurants survey were released today on and they included Zagat's calling out the best restaurants for certain cuisines in various cities including Philadelphia.

Rouge won best burger. Osteria for best pizza. Bomb Bomb Bab-B-Q for best barbecue. (Really?)

Philadelphia also retained its title as the best tipping city in America.

Hard Times for Restaurants Good Times for Diners [ PR Newswire ] via AHT

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Union Trust Reportedly Makes $150,000 For Five Days Of Filming Rudd/Witherspoon Movie

union trust steakhouse philadelphiaSo reports The Gossip on

The restaurant was closed to the public for five days while the untitled James L. Brooks comedy filmed scenes in the restaurant a couple weeks back. Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon were both there. And Union Trust itself, a steakhouse, had to play an Italian restaurant for the movie.

Meanwhile, no word on exactly how much Twenty Manning was compensated when it shut down for two days in September to accommodate filming for the same movie. Although, we imagine it was generous.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Inga Saffron Thinks The New Barnes Foundation Could Use A 'Tavern On The Green'-Like Garden Restaurant

barnes foundation rendering philadelphia
Saffron thinks a cafe could better activate the 20th Street side of the plan | Photo via The New York Times

Inga wants the 20th Street part (on the right side in the image above) of the new Barnes design to get a little more animated and people friendly. And she thinks one of the better ways to accomplish this would be with a cafe or garden restaurant located on the 20th Street side of the plan.
The Barnes design, by New York's Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, gets an 'A' in aesthetics and an 'F' in urbanism.

It's not too late to improve the situation, especially at the critical, downtown-facing 20th Street corner, since preliminary site work won't begin until November.
The [20th Street] corner may be beautifully composed, with an elevated fountain that will be studded with water lilies, but another passive green space is not what Philadelphia needs to draw people to a street that is supposed to be its Champs-Elysees. And the drop-off plaza is vastly overscaled to accommodate the turning radius of the two charter buses that are expected daily. Nothing there will encourage exploration of the surrounding neighborhood, and the inactivity could even discourage development of the tracts of surface parking on Callowhill Street.
Fortunately, the landscape plan for 20th Street is one of the easiest things to fix. For starters, the architects could eliminate the drop-off plaza and replace it with a sidewalk cutout that would allow buses to enter and exit in the same direction. Who needs a turnaround when 20th Street runs only in one direction?

Activating the corner plaza requires more thought. The default solution is a cafe or, better yet, a garden restaurant such as Central Park's Tavern on the Green. Right now, the museum eatery is secreted in the rear.
Sounds good to us.

Changing Skyline: Perking up the Parkway - Even before the Barnes arrives, major landscaping projects will transform the area to make it more pleasing to pedestrians [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pizzeria Stella Now Doing Take Out

pizzeria stella in philadelphia
Hopefully, the pizza boxes are made from recycled cardboard... | Photos via Stella

As Foobooz reported earlier this week, Pizzeria Stella is now doing take-out orders. Their pizzas are sent out into the world in the custom Pizzeria Stella boxes above.

(Looking for the menu? See it here.)

That is all.

Lots Of Recycled Furniture At Pizzeria Stella — Is Stephen Starr Going Green?
And Now The Actual Opening Menu For Stephen Starr's Pizzeria Stella

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ladder 15 Keeps It Classy With A Genre-Defying Over 23 Door Policy

ladder 15 philadelphia door policyWondering how Ladder 15 distinguishes itself from its rowdier siblings in Old City and Manayunk?

So much so that it has attracted the likes of Herc from The Wire, Ashton Kutcher and Rumer Willis, and even Mac from Always Sunny over the past six months??

Perhaps it is due to its atypical 'over 23 after 10 pm' door policy, which is displayed prominently at the entrance.

Anything to keep the kids at bay.

Ladder 15 [ Official Site ]

Eric Ripert Can't Guest Judge On Top Chef This Season On Account Of Jennifer Carroll Competing

jennifer carroll and eric ripertIn case you didn't realize that.

Eater sat down with Eric Ripert at this weekend's New York Food & Wine Festival. Top Chef came up, as Ripert has been a guest judge on Top Chef in past seasons.

But this year, his working relationship with Jennifer Carroll would have been a conflict of interest.

So no cameos.

But he's rooting for Carroll.

From the Eater Lounge: Q&A with Eric 'The Ripper' Ripert [ Eater New York ]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. Gives Arthur Kade His First (?) Lifetime Ban

franklin mortgage and investment co.Just FYI.

Grub Street Philadelphia today has an interview with Colin Shearn, a bartender at The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

Among the things revealed: that Arthur Kade has been banned from The Franklin for life.

No details on how or when. Just that he has.

Colin Shearn of The Franklin Likes His Customers Curious, Thirsty, Rich and Funny [ Grub Street Philadelphia ]
The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. [ Official Site ]

Wegmans Opens New Collegeville Store With Full Service Restaurant And Bar Inside

wegmans collegeville grand opening
The opening line at 7 am Sunday at Wegmans new Collegeville store | Photo via WHAM

On Sunday, Wegmans opened its newest store in Collegeville, Montgomery County.

While a new Wegmans is always good news, this opening is also noteworthy because it is the first Wegmans to have a full service restaurant and bar located inside the store.

Called The Pub (below), the restaurant is located in the store's Market Cafe area. It's modeled on a traditional Irish pub and serves wine, beer and liquor. It also has an open kitchen and customers are encouraged to observe and even ask questions of their chefs as the chefs prepare their meals.

They've got a few locals on draft (Yards and Victory). The food menu has calorie counts for each item.

Both food and drink rices are extremely reasonable. Downright recession friendly. And they ask customers not to tip — Wegmans covers it.

Wegmans is also planning on opening a second The Pub restaurant when they open their Wegmans Malvern location in summer 2010.

wegmans pub restaurant collegeville
The Pub at Wegmans new Collegeville store | Photo via WHAM

Check out the links below for more info.

Wegmans Collegeville [ Official Site ]
Wegmans Opens New Store in Pennsylvania [ WHAM Rochester ]
Collegeville Wegmans opening just grand [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Grocer Wegmans opens full-service restaurant [ Nation's Restaurant News ]
New Wegman's in Montco Has a Pub, Too [ KYW 1060 ]
Checking out Wegmans [ Times Herald ]
Wegman's Plans A Pair of Pubs as It Tests Full-Service Restaurants [ BNET ]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jose Garces To New York?

On Thursday night, Jose Garces was up in New York City to attend the Chelsea Market After Dark party for the New York Food & Wine Festival presented by the Food Network.

The New York Post was there and honed in on Chef Garces to ask him a few questions. Among them: would he open up a restaurant in New York City?

To which, Jose Garces coyly responded: "Maybe. If I win [The Next Iron Chef] I will."

Well, we hear that very outcome just may happen. So... stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Spilled drinks & hangovers at Chelsea Market After Dark [ New York Post ]

Friday, October 09, 2009

Jennifer Carroll And Jennifer Zavala Do A Double Interview, Reveal Their Favorite Places In Philadelphia To Eat

jennifer carroll top chefAround Philly just posted an interview with the two Philly Top Chef 'Cheftestants': Jennifer Carroll and Jennifer Zavala.

Among other things, they were each asked about their favorite places in Philly to eat.

Zavala shows off some street cred, naming both Porky's Point and the Taco Loco truck at Jefferson Square Park among her faves. (Propers.) She also dropped Paesano's, Sang Kee, El Camino Real, Vetri, Osteria, Zahav, Mémé, Amada and Distrito.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Carroll name checks the usual suspects: Zahav, Vetri, Mémé and "all of Jose's places." Oh, wow — look at that — she's on a first name basis with Jose Garces. No big deal.

We kid. Anyway, is it just us or do Vetri and Garces have a stranglehold on restaurants Philly chefs love to love?

And apparently David Katz is already a "chef to watch" here, getting votes of confidence from both Zavala and Carroll.

jennifer zavala top chefRe Top Chef, Zavala had a few choice soundbites:
Product placement for advertisers was a scripted addition and huge annoyance to Zavala. "'I'm going to use my GladWare® when I put away my mis-en-place.' Do I say that s*#! when I'm cooking everyday? No I don't." And the after-show interviews to pry out drama about women in the kitchen made no sense on a cooking show, says Zavala. "For me, it was a distraction from the competition. I don't care about drama, who's kissing, who's making out, GladWare®, cars. I don't care about that stuff. Let's focus on what we're here for."
All business.

As for the actual cooking challenges:
But for all her complaints, Zavala confirms that the cooking aspect of the show is far from fake. "The challenges, the situations, those are real," she says.

"27 seconds to shop for a five course meal at Whole Foods? That's absolutely real. Standing in front of the judges table and whatever, that's all real. Worrying that you're completely humiliating yourself on national television is real," she laughs.
Also, Zavala had this to say about what she'd have for her last meal:
"I would have fried chicken, that’s what I would have… like fried chicken, potato salad, corn, and homemade muffins or cornbread."
Talk about a girl after our own heart.

Philly's Top Chefs (Almost) Uncensored [ Around Philly ]

Good News: John Bucci Jr. Is Back Behind The Flat Top At John's Roast Pork

Unbreaded checks in on the sandwiches at John's Roast Pork and brings good news:
For John Bucci Jr. ("John John" to his friends) making sandwiches isn't just a job, it's a lifelong family tradition. But a recent battle with leukemia came close to ending it all. Thankfully, with the help and support from relatives, customers, and a successful bone marrow transplant, Bucci is back at the grill, building up his health, a few days at a time.
Well done.

Unbreaded says Bucci Jr. hopes to be back full time in six to eight weeks.

Meanwhile, the sandwiches appear to be as delicious as ever.

The Family Secret Lives On At John’s Roast Pork [ Unbreaded ]

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Morimoto Can Teach You How To Make Sushi With One Arm Tied Behind His Back

morimoto with arm in slingOr at least with one arm in a sling.

Morimoto is sporting a broken arm in a sling but he can still teach the shit out of a sushi class.

As evidenced by the class he just taught at the New York Culinary Experience this weekend, of which Serious Eats has provided visual and written documentation.

New York Culinary Experience: The Principles of Japanese Cuisine with Morimoto [ Serious Eats New York ]

Emeril Likes Philly Street Food, To Open A Burger Concept At PA Sands Casino In Bethelem

emerilEmeril Lagasse will open his first burger restaurant anywhere at the Pennsylvania Sands Casino in Bethelem on November 22nd.

The restaurant will be called Burgers & More.

It will be a full-service restaurant, featuring gourmet burgers made from a variety of types of meat.

If successful, it could prove to be a prototype for future Emeril endeavors.

(Emeril currently has 11 restaurants across the country, including one already at the PA Sands, Emeril's Chophouse.)

Meanwhile, Emeril only had nice things to say about Philadelphia to the Daily News:
Although Lagasse professed a deep and abiding love for the city and its cuisine, he said he doesn't foresee opening an eatery in Philly any time soon. But that won't keep him from returning as often as possible to sample its delicacies.

"The Italian places are great," he enthused, "and I like the street food Philly has to offer - and not just the cheesesteaks."
CasiNotes: Emeril kicks up the heat in Bethlehem [ Philadelphia Daily News ]
Emeril Lagasse to launch burger concept [ National Retail News ]

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Campus Dining At Penn Wants To Be 33% Locally Sourced By 2010

buy fresh buy local at pennPenn Dining is getting behind the Buy Local movement.

Now run by Bon Appetit Management Company (after spending the previous six years with Aramark), Penn Dining is focusing more on sustainability.

They're aiming to source 20% of their ingredients locally by the end of this academic year and 33% by the end of next year.


PhillyDeals: Penn sets its taste buds for local produce
[ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Dining goes local for a day - Bon Appetit's Eat Local Challenge is part of effort to be sustainable [ Daily Pennsylvanian ]
Penn Dining [ Official Site ]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Shake Shack Vs. Square Burger: Always Hungry Does A Head-To-Head Rundown

This is the first piece we've seen that does a sufficiently comprehensive comparison of Danny Meyer's Shake Shack in New York and Stephen Starr's Square Burger in Philly.

AlwaysInvestigating: Burger Square-Off, Phily vs. New York [ Always Hungry ] via AHT

Men's Jounal Ranks Philadelphia As One Of The Top Five Beer Towns In U.S.

men's jounal top 5 beer towns in u.s.Good to see national pubs recognizing what we already know.

The City of Brotherly Love boasts a huge crop of emerging microbreweries, an upsurge in beer-focused events, and a strong brewing tradition dating to before founding beer godfather Ben Franklin and the Revolutionary War. But what earns Philly its status as one of the country’s best beer cities is its abundance of truly world-class micro-pilsners.
The Top Five Beer Towns in the U.S. [ Men's Journal ]

Pizza Oven And Pistachio Pie At Pizzeria Stella Inspired By Famed Phoenix Pizzeria Bianco

pizzeria bianco rosaRick Nichols has a good piece on Pizzeria Stella, Stephen Starr's brand new pizza restaurant in Society Hill.

Among the details revealed: both the pizza oven (a Renato from Texas) and the pistachio pie (the pie that Starr-folk are trumpeting the most) are ideas borrowed from Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco, the famous and extremely popular pizzeria in Phoenix, AZ.

Nichols also extols how Stella did a respectable job of picking bits and pieces from different pizzerias Team Starr visited and combined them into something new here:
The Starr organization wasn't exactly reinventing pizza here. In fact, it was borrowing and, in the case of the estimable pistachio pie (with slivered sweet red onion and fontina), flat-out lifting, some road-tested pizza tricks of the trade.
Other echoes from the June pizzaland junket were in evidence. The subway-tiled kitchen recalled Pepe's, the New Haven shrine to the fresh-shucked-clam pie. (There's a clam pie here, too, the Vongole, though at Stella the fresh clams are oven-roasted to pop them open, then chopped with guanciale, the salty hog jowl.)

Watching the hand-grating of the Parmesan on individual pies, you might have been at Lucali's, the tour favorite on Henry Street in Brooklyn. Sitting at Stella's marble counter felt a lot like sitting at Franny's, the hip Park Slope pizzeria.
Meanwhile last week, Starr revealed to Philly Mag that the oven cost $20,000 and that he had to spy on one pizzeria's delivery to find out what kind of tomatoes they used for their sauce. Sounds like Lucali's.

Twinkle, sprinkle, rising pizzas - At Stephen Starr's new Pizzeria Stella, they're setting the pie bar high, from the crust on up [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Stuffing My Face at Pizzeria Bianco [ Slice - Serious Eats ]
Stephen Starr's Stella Secrets [ Philadelphia Magazine ]

Stephen Starr Courts Team Lucali, Is Rebuffed

[ Photo via The Washington Post ]

Monday, October 05, 2009

Esquire Names David Katz Of Meme A Breakout Chef To Watch

Esquire's annual list of Best New Restaurant's is out and no Philadelphia newbie made the cut. (Last year, two did: Zahav and Distrito.)

However, David Katz of Meme was named one of four Breakout Chefs To Watch.

The Bazaar, Danny Meyer Honored in Esquire's Best New Restaurant List [ Eater National ]

Square Burger Embraces Fall, Adds New Flavors On October 10th Including A Pumpkin Shake And Candied Apples

Just because putt putt and the carousel at Franklin Square are closed now during the week doesn't mean Stephen Starr is going to throw in the towel at Square Burger.

In fact, Square Burger will remain open for lunch Monday through Friday despite these other Franklin Square attractions being closed. An encouraging move, for sure.

Moreover, they're introducing new fall flavors this month, beginning October 10, including a Pumpkin Shake made with pumpkin ice cream ($4.25), homemade candied apples ($2); Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundae with warm apples, toasted walnuts, caramel sauce and whipped cream ($4.25); and Hot White Chocolate or coffee ($2)

Square Burger's October hours are: Monday – Friday, 11 am – 2 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am – 7 pm.

Square Burger, Fall Edition: now with shorter lines.

Franklin Square [ Official Site ]

[ Photo via Unbreaded ]

Friday, October 02, 2009

Jose Garces Will Watch The Next Iron Chef Premiere With You... For $35

jose garces next iron chef premiere promo
Team Garces milking it already

Distrito is hosting a The Next Iron Chef viewing party with Jose Garces for the premiere episode this Sunday. The price of admission: $35.

Garces will be in attendance, mingling with guests. And the $35 includes food from the Cantina and margaritas.

Still, it would probably be cooler if the Cantina hosted viewing parties each week that did not have a $35 price tag. Just sayin.

The Next Iron Chef Viewing Party [ Garces Restaurant Group ]

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Osteria And Supper Named To Top 50 Foodie Restaurants In United States By OpenTable

supper restaurant philadelphia on south street
Supper Restaurant is "Fit for Foodies" | Photo via Supper

OpenTable just ranked the Top 50 Restaurants in the country in the "Fit for Foodies" category and two Philadelphia restaurants made the cut: Osteria and Supper.
OpenTable [...] today announced the winners of its 2009 Diners' Choice Awards in the Fit for Foodies category. [...] The list of winners is derived from more than 3 million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for nearly 10,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"What the restaurants on this eclectic list have in common is that each is a real draw for adventurous and informed eaters. Local, seasonal foods are de rigueur at most of these establishments, but they are foodie meccas because of their commitment to cutting-edge techniques in cuisine and interesting ingredients," said Caroline Potter, dining expert, OpenTable.
Which is good, but are they fit for "foodiots"??

Top 50 Fit for Foodie Restaurants 2009
[ OpenTable ]