Friday, July 31, 2009

Burger Hunt: The Union Trust Burger

union trust burger philadelphia
The burger at Union Trust | Photo via Union Trust

10 oz. USDA Prime Burger, served with house cut French Fries.

$12 on the lunch menu at Union Trust, which was just named Best of Philly Steakhouse by Philly Mag.

(But how does it stand up to the Butcher Burger?)

Union Trust [ Official Site ]

Vesuvio Is Back Online And Apparently Unrepetant

They started serving again on Wednesday after being shut down over the weekend by L&I as a nuisance bar.

Per @vesuviobar: "Is having $4 u call it drinks and beers all night every night!"

Bold.

Next Weekend: Stephen Starr Makes His First Move On Citizens Bank Park

stephen starr and garry maddox
Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox and Stephen Starr — like old time pals | Photo via Phillies.com

The Stephen Starr - Garry Maddox BBQ Challenge is coming up next Saturday, August 8. Starr is a new addition this year and he's already the co-host.

He's bringing four of his restaurants and their chefs:

- Barclay Prime (James LoCasico)
- Jones (Steve Petrecca)
- El Vez (Darren Carbone)
- Buddakan (Sylva Senat)

The event raises funds for programs to benefit at-risk youth.
The Barbecue Challenge is open to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. before the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Florida Marlins. The event features live music, performances by the Give & Take Jugglers, a classic car display, children’s entertainment and guest judging and appearances by Phillies alumni.

All proceeds from the Barbecue Challenge benefit the Youth Golf & Academics Program, an organization founded by Maddox in 2000 that is dedicated to the enrichment and support of children grades Kindergarten through 8 in troubled city neighborhoods.
You don't need tickets to the Phillies game that night to attend the BBQ Challenge. Which is good, because tickets to that game are basically already sold out.

Related:
Garry Maddox BBQ Challenge [ Official Site ]

Previously:
Stephen Starr Teaming Up With Phillies For Annual Garry Maddox Barbecue Challenge
Urban Dispatch: Mets New Citi Field Getting 4 Danny-Meyer-run Food Stands; Begging The Question When Will Stephen Starr Open Up Shop At Citizens Bank?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Urban Dispatch: The Signature Room Atop The Hancock Tower In Chicago

chicago skyline from the hancock tower
Will R2L have a view like this? | Photo by Brad Maule of Philly Skyline / Maule of America

The above photo is visual evidence of why it sucks that the Comcast Center doesn't have a observation deck and/or a public restaurant on its top floors.

Brad Maule of Philly Skyline (and, most recently, Maule of America) took this shot as he traveled through Chicago earlier this month.

It was taken from The Signature Room, which is a restaurant and bar at the top of the Hancock Tower where you can go and pay $12 for a martini (which is still cheaper than the $15 general admission to the Hancock Observatory) and look out on one of the best views of any bar in the United States.

As for R2L, we hope the views are half as impressive.

Related:
19 July 09: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
[ Maule of America ]
The UPdate on Daniel Stern's new restaurant [ The Insider - Philly.com ]

Previously:
Sure Comcast Center's Video Wall Is Great And All… But Where's The Observation Deck?

Fried Chicken Trend Quickly Picking Up Steam In New York, Mémé Still Flying Solo With It Here In Philly

fried chicken lunch special at meme
The fried chicken lunch special at Meme | Photo via the Philadelphia Inquirer

David Chang and crew just added a new fried chicken family lunch and dinner special at Momofuku Noodle bar in Manhattan. It's still early yet, but it looks like it's the start of a new trend up there.

Meanwhile, here in Philadelphia, David Katz introduced a new fried chicken lunch earlier this spring that has garnered plenty of well-deserved praise.

Unfortunately, it does not appear to have inspired any other rising Philly chefs to try out new fried chicken recipes in their own kitchens. (Yet.)

Which is a shame, mainly because fried chicken is fucking delicious.

Hopefully, a few of the newbies get on board. We're looking at you, Percy Street Barbecue. And you too, Resurrection Ale House.

Meanwhile, it's Thursday, which means it's the one day a week you can get the fried chicken lunch special at Meme.

See if they'll give you a whole bucket.

Related:
Butcher Bay Introduces Bar Menu, Fueling the Fried-Chicken Trend [ Grub Street New York ]
Mémé fries up a memorable bird [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Meme [ Official Site ]

Del Frisco's Stays With The "Sex Sells" Theme, May Have Graduated From Strippers To Escorts

del frisco's philadelphia marketingYowsers.

The original stripper/brass pole idea was kind of genius. (Refresher: Del Frisco's may or may not have solicited off-duty strippers, presumably, to make their bar area more appealing to, um, customers. After a Laban review, the GM said he was going to add a brass pole.)

And, apparently, Del Frisco's has decided to stick with the provocative angle, at least when it comes to their marketing.

The tagline (get it — "Get Friscy") may be a little cheesey but the ad is definitely fairly suggestive.

Meanwhile, what happened to her other shoe?

(For fun, feel free to write your own caption for the ad in the comments below.)

Previously:
Table 31's Marketing Is 'Simply Irrestible'
Craig Laban A James Beard Finalist Most Likely Because Of Amazing Lines Like This One

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spot Check: That Was Quick - Drinkers Is Back Online And Pouring Drinks

Game Changer: SliCE Headed To Rittenhouse Square

Seriously good pizza is coming to Rittenhouse Square.

Michael Klein reports SliCE is looking to have a storefront open at 1740 Sansom by mid-August.

If they're smart (and we hope they are), they'll introduce late night hours shortly thereafter.

Related:
SliCE coming to Rittenhouse [ The Insider - Philly.com ]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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

butcher and singer burger promotionEarlier, we surmised that the insane burger deal at Butcher & Singer that Stephen Starr just introduced was on account of the lunch service at Butcher & Singer needing a pick-me-up. As well as possibly a retort of sorts to all the Tommy Up smack-talking.

Now, after a spot-check at the restaurant and a day on the blogs, we're pretty sure that it's both.

A. Philly Mag just named the Butcher Burger at Burger & Singer the best gourmet burger in Philadelphia. And it's a fair designation. As we said earlier, this burger is worth every cent at $16. At $6, it's pretty much the best $6 you can spend in Philadelphia. (But that doesn't mean it was selling like crazy.)

B. Starr is serious about this promotion. It's not just on Twitter. He's designing creative (above). And they reprinted the lunch menus at the restaurant to reflect the new price. I.e. you don't have to know about it before you go and/or ask for it from your server.

C. A drop-in at lunch today proved that the promotion is definitely resulting in extra covers. The dining room was probably close to 60% full at 12:45 (as opposed to maybe 20% at a lunch not that long ago). And of those diners, we'd estimate a good 80% went for the burger.

D. The burger is still the real deal. It's still 10 oz. The meat blend is still rib eye, chuck and brisket. And it's still fucking delicious.

E. As to whether this could be an indirect response to Tommy Up? Most likely, somewhat. And in that way, it's a pretty brilliant tactical strike. When you can get the best gourmet burger in Philadelphia for $6 when it's normally $16, it's definitely going to shift the conversation away from the baiting of a would-be challenger that Starr evidently didn't want to address.

Why such a drastic price slash? Starr can obviously afford it. And maybe he doesn't take kindly to bullying.

As for the actual promotion itself, there is no time table set for when it will end except fine print saying that it's available for a "limited time only."

So with that in mind, you may want to get take advantage of it sooner rather than later.

Previously:
What The WHAT!? Butcher & Singer Burger Is Now Only $5.95

What The WHAT!? Butcher & Singer Burger Is Now Only $5.95

butcher and singer burger by unbreaded
Breaking: You probably will want to eat one of these. Like, IMMEDIATELY. | Photo via Unbreaded

This just in from the Department of Holy Shit: Butcher & Singer is now serving its famous Butcher Burger (above, courtesy Unbreaded) for a completely ridiculous $5.95.

Not some mini BS version. The real thing.

From the Starr Restaurant Twitter:
Believe it or not, $5.95 will get you a 10 oz. burger with fries for lunch at Butcher and Singer! @StarrRestaurant

@chef215 all you have to do is show up at Butcher and Singer and order it Monday through Friday from 11:30AM – 2:30PM! @StarrRestaurant
Now, remember, this burger normally retails at $16. And it's worth every cent at that price. To put it into perspective, the cheeseburger at Parc is $15, and the Butcher & Singer burger is easily twice as good as the Parc burger.

But Parc does gangbusters business in the summer. And on our last visit to Butcher & Singer for lunch, there were like maybe four tables occupied in the whole restaurant.

So we're assuming that in order to give the kitchen a little pick-me-up at lunch during the dog days of summer, SRO went ahead and introduced this borderline preposterous deal.

OR is this a warning shot across the bow of PYT?

Whatever the case, we'll take it.

And so should you.

Related:
Burgers & Cocktails: The Perfect Pair At Butcher & Singer [ Unbreaded ]

Previously:
Tommy Up Officially Throws Down The Gauntlet, Publicly Challenges Stephen Starr To A Burger-Off
Video: The Making of The Butcher Burger at Butcher & Singer

Monday, July 27, 2009

Drinkers Shut Down As Nuisance Bar, Avram Hornik's Grip On Rittenhouse Is Fading Fast

First to go was Bar Noir, which closed last year. It was sold and Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co. has opened in its place.

Next up was Loie, which Hornik will be shutting down for good any minute now. It will be replaced by Zama, a Japanese restaurant by chef Hiroyuki Tanaka.

And now comes word that Drinkers Pub was shut down over the weekend by L&I as a Nuisance Bar. A violation order which is not easy to come back from.

With those three gone, that leaves Hornik with only Noche remaining out of his original four Rittenhouse holdings.

Maybe it will inspire Hornik to bring some new energy to his other projects.

Like the new pizza restaurant and bar he's doing in University City.

And maybe there's a chance to take another look at the Jumbo, and somehow circumnavigate the idiot neighbors this time.

Maybe not.

Anyway, regarding Drinkers, if it is unable to reopen after this shutdown, and with Pearl shuttered too, CRAP may no longer be a suitable acronym for the area.

Aw.

Related:
And you thought your Monday morning was bad … Cease of Operations for Drinkers [ Foobooz ]

Summer Eating: $1 Oysters, Specifically Cape May Salts

oysters on the half shell
(Note: Adhering to the legend of only eating oysters in months with r is bollocks.)

Oysters are delicious.

More specifically, Cape May Salt Oysters, the oyster that is sourced locally from the Delaware Bay north of Cape May, are extra delicious.

Not too big in size and very flavorful, Cape May Salts are a refreshing summer treat.

But what about finding them for a dollar?

Especially as some local eateries that had previously offered happy hour oyster deals have shuttered — Ansill and Oceanaire, chief among them.

Well, here are a few places to try.

* Oyster House not only has excellent cocktails, an estimable burger, a massive lobster roll AND a newly introduced crab night — they also have a buck-a-shuck happy hour featuring an oyster of the day for one dollar, from 5-7 pm on weekdays. (However, they don't usually have Cape May Salts.)

* Meanwhile, Meal Ticket just dropped the news that Union Trust, the giant steakhouse on Chestnut, is now doing $1 oysters from 4-7 pm on weekdays. And they'll be offering Cape May Salts. Score.

* But perhaps the best spot for $1 Cape May Salts is Pub & Kitchen. They have $1 oysters from 4-6 pm on weekdays. And you can enjoy them inside at the bar or outside at their sidewalk seating, the latter being a nice summer bonus.

Related:
Heroes on the Half Shell - In search of the sustainable, local oyster. [ Philadelphia Weekly ]
Dollar oysters at Union Trust [ Meal Ticket ]
Dollar Oysters [ Foobooz ]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tommy Up Officially Throws Down The Gauntlet, Publicly Challenges Stephen Starr To A Burger-Off

pyt burger bar piazza at northern liberties in philadelphia
Inside PYT | Photo via PYT

As many of you have surely heard, earlier this week, Tommy Up tweet-challenged Stephen Starr to a "Burger-Off," putting his PYT Burgers up against those of Starr's SquareBurger.

In the days following, Up has gone on a full-on tweet assault at Starr, with several directly at @starrrestaurant.

Now, he's written a formal declaration that is way beyond the 140 character limitation of Twitter.
PYT VS Stephen Starr

"War is a continuation of politics by other means"
- Carl von Clausewitz

It's hard to say where the war started. If I had to guess, it would be when Stephen Starr smugly proclaimed, "I can't get really good pizza here in Philadelphia". But to lay that bit of blasephmy [sic] down as the sole cause would be too simple. I think it all started with the pajamas on servers and the conveyor belts for food.

I remember in high school, there was this wrestler who widely thought to be unbeatable. He was a brute. We all heard the stories of how his parents had flown him to Russia to train with the greatest combatants in the world and that he had won 1000 matches before he was 13. He was an unstoppable force and had dominated the state for years. Until he was stopped and pinned to the mat... by a previously unknown 17 year old child. The child had not believed the stories of this prodigy and he trained for a full year, alone, carrying monster truck tires up and down the stadium stairs with only one simple goal in his mind: I will win.

So Stephen Starr, we say to you, and to your legion of SRO minions all wearing identical black suits and black t-shirts that have been washed one too many times: we are your 17 year old unknown. We make a better burger than you and we will prove it.

Going after your latest venture, Nerdburger- sorry, SQUAREburger- makes the most sense. We are both new and are both focused on the burger. But it has been brought to our attention that the burger there is hardly worthy of a challenge. So we extend with confidence the challenge to any burger in any of your many, many venues. Burger VS Burger. Two burgers enter, one burger leaves. You get the picture.

Ignore this challenge if you will...like you have been ducking me all week ( See Foobooz or Grub Street ), but you can't duck the truth. I stand here, a simple man, without a conveyor belt or an army of giant buddhas, waiting to beat your burger into the ground. Pun intended.

Tommy Up
PYT
Impressive, right?

Tommy Up has taken exception to Stephen Starr being quoted saying he can't really get good pizza in Philadelphia in this interview with KYW.
What started this all BTW, was Starr claiming "you can't get good pizza" in Philly. My people at Tacconelli are too nice to speak up. @tommyup
However, for the record, the quote that didn't make the original article was what Starr said immediately after that where he qualified his comment saying, "Tacconelli's in Port Richmond is excellent but in Center City there's really not a great place to get pizza."

Which is not a completely egregious falsehood. (You can listen to the full interview here.)

So that should mean that Tommy Up doesn't have to worry about defending Tacconelli's honor anymore.

As for the "Burger-Off" — we're all for that.

Square Burger makes a very good burger. The four to five ounce patty is cooked to a nice medium. It's moist and well seasoned. The meat itself has a good flavor. It's on a delicious grilled bun. And the best part: unlike a lot of reasonably good burgers around (what up Five Guys), it doesn't have a lingering dead weight effect after consumed.

We have not yet had a PYT burger. We'll do that soon.

As for Stephen Starr accepting the challenge; he has yet to either acknowledge or comment on it, so we'll have to wait and see if anything ever comes of it.

Related:
P.Y.T. Opening for the Third Time Tonight [ Grub Street Philadelphia ]
Clubber Up and PYT [ Foobooz ]
Pretty Yummy Thing: Tommy Up’s Burger Lounge At The Piazza [ Unbreaded ]

Epicurious Names The Rouge Burger The Best Burger In Philadelphia

rouge burger from epicurious
Another accolade for the Rouge Burger | Photo via Epicurious

Epicurious got restaurant critics from around the country to pick their favorites burgers in their home cities. 12 burgers from 12 cities made the final cut.

Rouge was named Philadelphia's best.
Take a look at what diners are eating at the sidewalk café tables—any time of day—and you'll notice a phenomenon unexpected in a city that lends its name to another meat sandwich: People in startlingly high numbers downing the Rouge Burger. This 12-ounce hunk of well-seasoned beef comes with nutty Gruyère, caramelized onions, and a haystack of pommes frites. And the dish trumps any of the very fine burgers served at Philly's many gastropubs.

Rouge, indeed, is relatively glamorous. Overlooking Rittenhouse Square and, inside, posh, with cushy banquettes and booths and a central bar populated by beautiful people, it's a bona-fide Parisian café whose signature dish has become that perfectly proportioned combo of juicy beef, cheese, and bun. The cheesesteak, at least at this address, is all but forgotten. — Andrea Clurfeld, Asbury Park Press restaurant critic
Not sure why they didn't go with a Philadelphia critic, but the assessment is fair.

The 12-ounce, sirloin/rib eye/filet tip blend burger at Rouge is definitely one of the best around.

Related:
The Best Burgers in America - Recommendations from the nation's top restaurant critics [ Epicurious ] via A Hamburger Today

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spotted: New Liquor License Application Notice In The Old Astral Plane

For something like "Fish Restaurant, Inc."

Could this be a good thing?

Stay tuned.

Astral Plane closed in 2007.

Its successor, Astral Plane Millenium, closed in 2008.

UPDATE: Little Fish west.

Perrier: I Put Le Buger On Le Menu, Why Should I Not Put Le Cheesesteak??

That was Georges Perrier's response to Michael Klein's question about whether Perrier would put his cheesesteak recipe on the menu at Le bec Fin. See the video here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Square Burger Serves Milkshakes, Sodas And Floats In Greenware Biodegradable Cups

The cups (at right) are made from corn, environmentally sustainable, and 100% compostable.

(You can see visual evidence of a Square Burger Cake Shake in a Greenware cup in this photo by Unbreaded.)

About the cups:
The Fabri-Kal Greenware line is made from NatureWorks biopolymer, a polylactic acid (PLA) resin derived entirely from plants instead of oil. All Greenware products are created from domestically grown renewable resources and are manufactured in the U.S.A.

Greenware products break down into carbon and water, like other matter derived from plants, in properly managed composting facilities with mature compost, constant temperature control and specific relative humidity for good biological growth. Correctly done at 150F and 90% humidity, products will completely compost in approximately 50 days.
The Phillies were supposed to sell ALL their draft beer in these cups at Citizens Bank Park. However, that still has not happened.

So we are happy to see Stephen Starr taking steps to make Square Burger at least somewhat environmentally responsible.

It is located in a park, after all.

Previously:
Stephen Starr's Square Burger Now Open In Franklin Square; Early Reviews Are Promising

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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

steamed maryland blue crabs
Muy bien. | Photo via

This just in:
Join us for a Crab Feast!

Starting Tuesday, July 28th and every Tuesday in August

$19

- 3 Jumbo Hardshells
- Cabbage Slaw
- Corn of the Cob

Oyster House. 1516 Sansom Street - 215.567.7683
YES. PLEASE.


Smart idea.


Reasonably priced. (That's basically $6 per jumbo crab. Which is definitely fair.)

And five Tuesdays to work with.

Well done, Oyster House. Very well done.

Previously:
Summer Eating: Hard Shell Crabs In Philadelphia

Can Meritage's New Chef Help Pick Up Its Strangely Lonely Outdoor Dining?

Despite boasting a good location and above-average outdoor seating (not to mention the potential for spillover diners from the always crowded Pub & Kitchen across the street), the outdoor seating at Meritage is not usually as full as you might expect it to be.

This is especially evident when perched across the street amidst the bustle of Pub & Kitchen's outdoor tables, which are pretty much consistently full from 5-10 pm everyday.

From there, by comparison, the outdoor seating at Meritage always seems extremely lonely.

Which is probably a missed opportunity.

We're hoping that new chef Anne Coll can generate a little more demand for Meritage and its outdoor seating — and help make the corner of 20th and Lombard a truly vibrant, two-trick pony.

The minor renovation plans to open the windows definitely sounds like it will help.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the renovation planned for later this summer?

A. Well, we’ll be closed for two weeks in August to expand the bar — now it’s only 10 seats — repaint, open up the windows, install butcher block tables, and just generally make it a more friendly, less fine dining place.
Appear to be emulating positive aspects (longer bar, open windows) of Pub & Kitchen — smart.

That question is from an interview the new chef just did with Philly Mag, in which she also gives a sneak preview of Meritage's new menu.

We like where this is headed.

Related:
Exclusive: Anne Coll on Her New Gig at Meritage (Plus the New Menu!) [ Restaurant Club - Philly Mag ]
Meritage Philadelphia - New Menu [ Official Site ]

(Sub)urban Dispatch: Weekly 'Dining Under The Stars' Event On State Street In Media Is Amazing

azie on state street in media
Azie on State Street in Media | Photo via

We've got a soft spot for anything that takes streets back from automobiles and rightfully returns them to pedestrians.

So it should be no surprise that we're big fans of the weekly 'Dining Under The Stars' event in Media, PA.

Every Wednesday evening, the town closes four blocks of State Street in the heart of downtown Media to vehicular traffic and gives back the street to strollers, shoppers and diners, encouraging restaurants to extend their outdoor seating all the way from the sidewalk into the middle of the street.

It has become immensely popular.

From an article in the Delaware County Times:
MEDIA — When the stars come out on Wednesday nights in this Delaware County town, so do the diners, but so do those who just enjoy strolling down State Street in what has become the second “Dining Under the Stars” this summer.
[...]
She said the approach was to give Media a relaxed, European feel with the street closed down.

“People come out just to walk down the middle of the street,” she said. “It gives people a different sense of freedom about the town. This kind of stops the clock. People love it.”

From not worrying about finding a parking space to allowing kids to draw chalk figures on the street, the night has its own flair.

“It’s become more like a family night,” said Zubair Khan, executive director of the Media Business Authority, adding that a table of eight can easily afford a dinner at Dining Under the Stars.
[...]
Khan said hundreds packed State Street this past Wednesday.

“(Wednesday) night, it was like the boardwalk,” he said. “There were so many people.”

In addition, he said visitors are drawn to the outdoor seating. “People will wait 45 minutes to sit at a table outside,” he said.

Anthony Bellapigna of Fellini’s Café Trattoria is a Media restaurateur who’s ready to please the crowd.

He said he’s ready to hoist 80 granite tables to make customers have the ultimate outdoor dining experience.

“Last year, at one point, we put all of our tables out front,” he said. “There’s nothing like dining outside when the weather’s right.”
We would be inclined to agree.

And we'll add that it sounds fucking awesome.

Philadelphia's business improvement districts should take note.

Great candidates include: Baltimore Avenue in University City, East Passyunk Avenue around the Singing Fountain, Fairmount Avenue by Eastern State and 2nd Street in Northern Liberties.

This is how great cities take advantage of summer weather.

Get with the program.

(The new bike lanes on Pine and Spruce Streets are a good start.)

Related:
Dining Under The Stars in Media
[ Visit Media ]
'Dining Under the Stars' in Media a delicious summer hit [ Delaware County Times ]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Openings: PYT Overextends, Needs Week Off To Recover

After a weekend of social media outreach, this came in over the wire on Monday from PYT, early reviews of which have been largely positive.
Due to having our butts absolutely kicked (and us loving every minute of it), PYT is closed until the weekend. We need to restock and train on our new computer system. Unbelievable weekend.
Regardless, a burger and a booze-filled milkshake is a combo meal we'd gladly wait for.

Related:
Pretty Yummy Thing: Tommy Up’s Burger Lounge At The Piazza [ Unbreaded ]

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stephen Starr Overhauling Cocktail Programs; Continental And Buddakan First To Go Under The Knife

continental in philadelphia fries and buzz aldrin
The Buzz Aldrin and the Shoestring Fries at The Continental — was the Buzz Aldrin to famous to retire? | Photo via

With all the attention that is now spent on developing original cocktail programs at restaurants and bars of distinction (exhibits A., B. and C.), is it any surprise that both Continental Midtown and Buddakan have recently introduced completely revamped cocktail menus?

We think not.

Related:
Starr Restaurants [ Twitter ]

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eric Ripert Will Humanely Kill Your Lobster At 10 Arts

As opposed to simply throwing it into a pot of boiling water while still alive. That much, we've learned from this article and instructional video.

Surely, he's passed on this technique to Jennifer Carroll as well — as 10 Arts sports $5 mini lobster rolls in the bar/lounge.

Related:
Should Killing Lobsters In Boiling Water Be Outlawed? (VIDEO, POLL) [ The Huffington Post ] via The Feedbag
10 Arts [ Official Site ]

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Look Inside Brauhaus Schmitz, The New German Beer Hall On South Street

brauhaus schmitz philadelphia
Looking in at Brauhaus Schmitz from the entrance | Photo via

Brauhaus Schmitz is about three weeks old.

It that time, it's been doing gangbusters business.

A few vitals:

- 20 beers on tap, all of which are available to order in massive litre mugs
- House-made bratwurst
- Cured meats and sausages sourced from Rieker's in the Northeast
- $3 small bites menu, including a pickled red beat egg
- You can get a meter of the house-made bratwurst grilled in a coil.

Among other things, the käsewurst (knackwurst stuffed with Emmentaler cheese) is recommended.

As is the Schinkenplatte, which is the meat and cheese plate appetizer.

brauhaus schmitz philadelphia
A closer view of the bar | Photo via


The table settings feature barley and hops as part of the decor | Photo via

Related:
Brauhaus Schmitz [ Official Site ]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stephen Starr To Fix Mass Transit: DRPA Finally Willing To Re-open Franklin Square PATCO Station

franklin square philadelphiaIs the timing of this news a coincidence? Maybe. But probably not.

Over the past three plus years, Historic Philadelphia Inc. has done a pretty bang up job of giving new life to Franklin Square. But it wasn’t until Stephen Starr opened up a fucking burger shack that DRPA finally acquiesced to ongoing requests for it to re-open the Franklin Square PATCO stop. That’s clout.
The Delaware River Port Authority has taken the first step toward reopening a Patco station at Franklin Square at 6th and Race.

The Delaware River Port Authority commissioners have approved spending up to a $500,000 to hire a professional design consultant to begin the work needed to reopen the Franklin Square Patco station located at 6th and Race.

DRPA CEO and Patco president John Matheussen says a lot of work is needed to be done to the station which closed in 1979, including electricity, lighting, security, collection and handicapped accessibility.

"We'll be taking a careful look at all the work that needs to be done to make the station ready for the public, and hopefully, we'll have that done and have the station open and running maybe within the next two years."

A survey of Patco ridership indicated that most riders think reopening Franklin Square Station is a good idea.
No. Shit.

ETA: 2011.

Related:
DRPA Moving Toward Reopening Patco Stop at 6th & Race [ KYW 1060 ]

Previously:
Stephen Starr's Square Burger Now Open In Franklin Square; Early Reviews Are Promising

Spotted: Giant Smoker At Crafts Services Of Nicholson/Rudd Movie Currently Shooting Near Rittenhouse

smoker at crafts services in philadelphiaThe movie starring Jack Nicholson and Paul Rudd that’s currently shooting in Philadelphia set up shop yesterday and today near Rittenhouse Square.

There are a shit-ton of movie trucks and cranes along 21st around Spruce and Pine and on some of the alleys.

Crafts Services is set up at 20th and Rittenhouse Square (the street). And the giant smoker (right) is set up right in front of St. Patrick’s Church on 20th.

So the obvious question here is: is Jack Nicholson or Paul Rudd a huge barbecue fan? Are both? Maybe James L. Brooks?

And what meat is being grilled and/or smoked?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jealous Much? The Veranda At Stephen Starr's Steak 954

the veranda at steak 954
Jesus. The beach- and ocean-front veranda at Steak 954. | Photo via

That's going to be hard to compete with.

Steak 954 [ Official Site ]

Previously:
Stephen Starr's New Steak 954, Located In The Brand New W Ft. Laurderdale, Is Ridiculously Good Looking

Grub Street Philadelphia Previews The Village Whiskey Burger — Hint: It's A Monster

Grub Street Philadelphia launched this week and they're already dropping crucial knowledge.

Case in point: their round-up of 22 notable Philadelphia burgers.

Which includes a tantalizing preview of the burger at Jose Garces' yet-to-open Village Whiskey:
Meat Blend: Sirloin, chuck eye roll, chuck
Meat Source: Sustainable beef from Wolfe's Neck at Pineland Farms in Maine
Patty Weight: 12 ounces
Cooking Method: Charbroiler
Roll: Guinness potato roll, baked in-house
Toppings: Rogue Creamery smoked blue cheese; sautéed foie gras; applewood-smoked bacon and maple bourbon glazed cipollini
Price: TBD
12 ounces? Chuck blend?? House-made potato roll??? Bacon???? Foie gras?????

Fuck. This thing is going to taste like heaven.

(ETA: a few more weeks.)

Related:
The Burger Register: Philadelphia's Twenty-Two Notable Burgers [ Grub Street Philadelphia ]

Previously:
Philly Mag Confirms: The Burgers At Village Whiskey Are Going To Be Worth The Wait

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stephen Starr's Square Burger Now Open In Franklin Square; Early Reviews Are Promising

square burger philly dog
Don't miss the Philly Dog or the Cake Shake | Photo via Unbreaded

Stephen Starr finally settled on a name for his Franklin Square Burger Shack. The name is Square Burger.

But you probably already knew that — there has already been plenty of coverage.

Long story short:

- Impressive burger. (Made from a proprietary 80/20 blend from Indian Ridge Provisions.)

- Impressive hot dog. (Hebrew National wrapped in salami.)

- And the Cake Shake, made with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets.

Which also qualifies as impressive.

Related:
Burgers, Dogs and Fries For All: SquareBurger Opens In The Park [ Unbreaded ]

Previously:
Starr's Franklin Square Burger Shack Slightly Delayed, Still Nameless

Talula's Table Is Still One Of The Most Difficult Reservations In The Country

Grub Street New York ranks the top five toughest reservations in America.

Talula's Table comes in at #3.
3. Talula's Table, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Something of a cult hero on the reservation-hunter circuit, Talula's serves one single table of eight to twelve diners a night and releases said table 365 days out, every day at 7 a.m. They give the whole table to the first person to nab it, and that one individual is responsible for filling the rest of the table’s seats. Capitalistic instinct would suggest that some of these seats might pop up on eBay or elsewhere, but they don't.

One bit of encouragement: While the restaurant doesn't maintain a public waiting list (there are rumors of such a list existing for VIPs), they do sometimes (and at random hours) post cancellations on their website.
About that bit of encouragement: On their website, Talula's Table has posted that they currently have cancellations for July 25, August 9, September 5, and September 16.

So you might want to think about going ahead and scooping up one of those dates with the quickness.

Related:
The Five Toughest Reservations in America [ Grub Street New York ]
Talula's Table [ Official Site ]

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Restaurant At Kimpton's Hotel Palomar Philadelphia Will Be Called 'Square 1682'

Square 1682 will have a door on the northeast corner of 17th and Sansom | Photo via Kimpton Hotels

That's the word from Team Kimpton.

Some additional details about Square 1682:

- Bi-level
- Contemporary American small and shared plates
- Open "exhibition" kitchen
- Expertly mixed cocktails
- Wall-to-floor wine display on first floor
- Intimate booths on second floor
- ETA: November 10, 2009

We're assuming that the name, Square 1682, refers to the year that Thomas Holme and William Penn created the original plan for the City of Philadelphia, which included five main squares, Rittenhouse being one of them. (Though it wasn't named Rittenhouse until much later.)

More info to come as we receive it.

UPDATE: Chef will be Guillermo Tellez.

A rendering of a guest room below.

Related:
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia [ Official Site ]

Previously:
Introducing Center City's First Green Hotel: A First Look At Kimpton's Sure-To-Be-Awesome Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

A guest room at the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia | Photo via Kimpton Hotels

Stephen Starr Teaming Up With Phillies For Annual Garry Maddox Barbecue Challenge

garry maddox phillies barbecue challenge
Stephen Starr will co-host the Barbecue Challenge with Garry Maddox (above) this year | Photo via

UPDATE: Stephen Starr is co-host.

Turns out, Stephen Starr is making a move on CBP.

Kinda.

Last year, El Vez participated in the Phillies Garry Maddox Barbecue Challenge. This year, Starr is sending "Chef James LoCasico of Barclay Prime, Steve Petrecca of Jones, Darren Carbone of El Vez, and Scott Swiderski of Buddakan."

They'll be two divisions, a Restaurant/Catering Division and a Pit Master Division.

It all takes place on Saturday, August 8th on Citizens Bank Way, from 4 to 7 before the Phils take on the Marlins that night.

Meanwhile, could this be an early sign of Starr increasing his interest in CBP?

It definitely could be.

Related:
Phillies and food [ Philly Burbs ]

Previously:
Urban Dispatch: Mets New Citi Field Getting 4 Danny-Meyer-run Food Stands; Begging The Question When Will Stephen Starr Open Up Shop At Citizens Bank?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Eating: Dinner On A Farm... In The City

outstanding in the field texas
The 'Outstanding in a Field' dinner series | Photo via

So Greensgrow Farm in Fishtown North is emulating the 'Outstanding In A Field' traveling farm dinner series.
Greensgrow Farm announces its first FARM DINNER!

Chef Corbin Evans has returned to Philadelphia and agreed to man the grill (oven/prep table/garde manger [sic]) and prepare a five course feast in homage to our region's best and freshest food.

Thursday July 30 at 6:30 PM at Greensgrow, the farm table will be set amidst the greenery and under the stars (and maybe the Local police helicopter-it is Kensington after all) for Chef Evan's fantastic treatment. In the mode of Jim Denevan's Outstanding in The Field dinners (http://www.outstandinginthefield.com), our guests will sample a seasonal heirloom salad, house smoked fish appetizer, fresh fruit and local cheese, main course and fresh roasted coffee and dessert.

All diners will be asked to change their seats halfway through the meal to meet the other guests. BYOB to allow you to pair your favorite libations with the Chef's creations.

This $45 dinner will benefit Greensgrow's Kensington Community Kitchen, creating new food opportunities in our neighborhoods. RSVP to Erik@greensgrow.org.

First come, first serve. This is a very limited seating. The final menu will be available for preview next week.
Cool idea. Keep 'em coming.

outstanding in a field chicago
A view of the 'Outstanding in a Field' dinner in Chicago | Photo via

Related:
Greensgrow Farm [ Official Site ]

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Grub Street Coming To Philadelphia

Curious why Philadelphia Menupages Blog went dark last month? Apparently, to prepare for the imminent switchover to Grub Street Philadelphia.
Grub Street, nymag.com’s popular food blog, is going national.

Starting Sunday, the expanded Grub Street will cover food culture and news in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago, in addition to its original New York-centric blog. Visitors can access the blogs through the new grubstreet.com URL, as well as via links on nymag.com and the menu listings Web site MenuPages.com.
Related:
Grub Street Goes National in Online Food Fight [ Wall Street Journal ]

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Stephen Starr's Pizza Research Gets Him A Plug In The New York Times

the margherita pie at lucali in brooklyn
The margherita pizza at Lucali in Brooklyn, favored by Team Starr | Photo via New York Times

Shrewd.

Inviting Rick Nichols to shadow him on a recent pizza-eating research trip to Connecticut and New York.

That's good PR.

And The New York Times noticed.

Today, Frank Bruni, their chief restaurant critic, comments on the current pizza craze and "assesses eight of the notable artisanal pizzerias that have sprung up in recent years around New York City — a town obsessed with pizza."

And Starr got a mention.
The flashiest restaurateurs want in on pizza; so do some of the most classically trained, critically acclaimed chefs.

Stephen Starr, the owner of Buddakan and an owner of Morimoto, two of the grandest and gaudiest Asian restaurants in downtown Manhattan, has lately spent much of his time in New York eating his way through the city’s older and newer pizza parlors, on a gut-busting mission to figure out what works best and how to replicate it in Philadelphia, his base.
Bruni also weighs in on why upscale pizza places are so popular right now. And for that he turns to a familiar source.
Over recent weeks I visited those restaurants and others that belong to this current chapter in pizza worship. [...] I paid special attention to places less than a year old. There are scads of them.

Why?

“The economy the way it is, pizza’s perfect,” said Mr. Starr, who noted that pizza is relatively gentle on the budgets of consumers and providers.

“I have training at high altitude, with all these big restaurants,” he said, “and this seems a lot easier — less money, less pressure. You’re concentrating on one thing rather than sous-chefs and pastry chefs.”
Stephen Starr dropping know how. No big deal.

Related:
Critic’s Notebook - The Cult of the Artisanal Pizza [ New York Times ]
The New Generation of Pizzerias [ New York Times ]

Previously:
Stephen Starr Does More Pizza-Eating Research For His Forthcoming Pizza Restaurant In Philadelphia

Table 31's Marketing Is 'Simply Irrestible'

table 31 promo in philadelphia
The knives may be a little questionable, though | Photo via

We already saw PYT sample a little Carl Jr's in their marketing.

Table 31 has upped the ante, however, channeling a little Robert Palmer in all his irresistible glory.

simply irresistible by robert palmerAnything but typical.

Related:
Table 31 [ Official Site ]

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Summer Eating: Tracking Down A Delicious New England Style Lobster Roll In Philadelphia

oyster house lobster roll in philadelphia
The $26 Lobster Roll at Oyster House | Photo via

Lobster Rolls are not exactly pervasive in Philadelphia. However, there a few good ones out there.

One of definite note: the lobster roll at the recently opened Oyster House.

Unbreaded recently stopped by and indulged in the sandwich, learning that the lobster is flown in daily and each roll has about one and a half lobsters packed into it. Which should make it worth the price of admission: a hefty $26.

(Wait, what happened to lobsters getting cheaper?)

Meanwhile, here are a few other places with lobster rolls worth trying this summer.

- London Grill ($13)
- Time ($16)
- Gayle ($20)

Know of another good one? Feel free to share.

Related:
Oyster House: Seafood And Sandwiches Are A Family Tradition [ Unbreaded ]
Stop, Drop, And Lobster Roll
[ Phoodie ]

Starr's Franklin Square Burger Shack Slightly Delayed, Still Nameless

starr burger shack franklin squareMichael Klein brings word that construction on Stephen Starr's tiny Franklin Square Burger Shack (right) is slightly behind schedule.

Originally, Starr wanted to open in time for the July 4th weekend, but he's had to push that back to an ETA of July 10 for a soft opening. And then a full opening sometime the following week.

It won't be until this permanent structure debuts, apparently, that the full menu (including specialty burgers) will be rolled out.

Meanwhile, Starr has yet to settle on a name for the establishment.

What, not big on Starr Burger?

Related:
Starr's burger joint delays its rollout [ The Insider ]
First Look: Starr Burger Shack In Franklin Square [ Unbreaded ]

Previously:
What Are The Burgers At The Franklin Square Burger Shack Going To Be Made Of?

Summer Drinking: The Dark 'n' Stormy

dark 'n' stormyIn making the rounds this summer, perhaps you've noticed a few more Dark 'n' Stormy cocktails on drink menus around the city. We certainly have.

But we're not complaining — a good Dark 'n' Stormy is a great summer drink.

So it's no wonder that the New York Times noticed it as well.
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare famously asked. In the case of the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, a Bermudan cocktail that’s been making a quiet resurgence in New York City bars and restaurants in the last couple of years, it’s two ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and a fizzy hit of ginger beer.

And, by law, nothing but.

That’s according to two trademark certificates on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which — in an exceptionally rare instance in the cocktail world — dictate the precise ingredients and amounts required to call a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, well, a Dark ‘n’ Stormy.

“We defend that trademark vigorously, which is a very time-consuming and expensive thing,” said E. Malcolm Gosling Jr., whose family has owned Gosling’s since its founding in Bermuda in 1806. “That’s a valuable asset that we need to protect.”

But a trademark-protected drink — especially one as storied and neo-classically cool as a Dark ‘n’ Stormy — seems anathema to the current bartending practice of putting creative individual spins on time-tested drinks. Drinks like this one undergo something like a wiki process: a tweak here, a substitution there, and the drink is reimagined.
So that's something.

A few places at which you can sample a top-tier Dark 'n' Stormy locally: Pub & Kitchen, Southwark, Chick's and an off-the-menu version at Oyster House.

Related:
Shaken and Stirred - The Dark ‘n’ Stormy from Bermuda Comes With Directions [ New York Times ]

Monday, July 06, 2009

Georges Perrier Blows A Gasket Over Philly Mag Ranking Le Bec Fin #46

Dan Gross relates a humerous anecdote from a charity event last week at the Hyatt Regency.
Guests at last week's Chef's Dinner to benefit the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society are still talking about chef Georges Perrier's profanity-laden rant directed toward Philadelphia magazine president David Lipson.

Perrier, at the Hyatt Regency Penn's Landing event cooking on behalf of Le Bec-Fin, approached Lipson to complain over Le Bec-Fin's ranking (46) in Philly mag's recent list of Top 50 restaurants. Observers said they feared Perrier would have a heart attack as he cursed and screamed at Lipson, who calmly heard the fiery Frenchman out
.

When we reached Lipson several days later he defended Perrier, saying "Georges is very passionate. He's done a lot for Philadelphia, he put us on the culinary map. It was just Georges being Georges," said Lipson, who went to Le Bec-Fin for lunch with father Herb, Philly mag chairman, the next day where he and Perrier resolved their differences.
Perrier is known to be super intense at times.

And right now he's basically putting everything he's got into making sure Le Bec Fin survives this recession intact.

So this outburst is not exactly shocking.

That said, Perrier should probably be happy that Le Bec Fin made the top 50 at all — a number of very good (and arguably more relevant) restaurants did not make the cut, including Buddakan, 10 Arts and Alma de Cuba.

The offending ranking/review:
46. Le Bec-Fin
Center City | French | Entrées: More than $30
Last Year’s Ranking: 26

As identity crises go, the one suffered by our beloved Le Bec has had foodies wringing linen napkins for years, because we so desperately want the place to succeed. Although it’s slipping, we’re not giving up: Georges Perrier’s signature dishes are still executed with such care and precision (and we like that we can now get them à la carte). If he could just resurrect his roast pigeon, nurture other once-­sublime classics (galette de crabe, escargots, Dover sole), and quell his proclivity for muttering “Merde” while stomping past tables—all the while preserving that ever-glorious, worth-the-trip-alone dessert cart—we’d fall in love all over again. Order: Champagne and anything from the dessert cart. 1523 Walnut Street, 215-567-1000.
Ha. Merde.

Related:
Georges Perrier curses out Philly mag president at charity dinner [ Philly Gossip ]
The 2009 Philly Mag Top 50 - Le Bec Fin [ Philly Mag ]

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth! And Remember: A Fattier Burger Is A Better Burger

hamburger in the new york times
An 80/20 meat to fat ratio is child's play | Photo via The New York Times

Making burgers today? Don't forget the fat.
The Meat
Lose your fear of fat; a 70-to-30 ratio of meat to fat is best.
Pat LaFrieda, a wholesale meat vendor to top burger restaurants in New York City, recommends grinding the meat yourself with a food processor or a mixer's grinding attachment. He prefers chuck and brisket, abd said to put them in the freezer first and chill them down to 30 degrees. Choose select, choice or prime grade meats.

The Salt
Salt is crucial. Whether you're using kosher, table or sea salt, you should be liberal with it. Beef can take more salt than you think. Most chefs recommend seasoning the burger just before cooking it.
[...]
THE RIGHT CHOICE OF MEAT
But before you get to cook the burger, you have to choose the right meat.

In “Burger Bar” (Wiley, 2009), Hubert Keller writes that what you do not want is preshaped burgers or meat that is stuffed and compacted into plastic packaging. Once beef is compressed, a light texture cannot be regained.

Douglas Keane, the executive chef and an owner of Cyrus and the Healdsburg Bar & Grill in Healdsburg, Calif., advises people to lose their fear of fat. He started with 80 percent lean beef, then moved to a 70-to-30 ratio.

“The day I did it,” he said, “the servers started coming in and asking, ‘What did you do to the burger? The guests are going crazy.’ "

Mark Bucher, the executive chef at the Burger Joint in Washington, said that to make a great burger at home, have your butcher grind a piece of brisket. “It’s got a 25- to 30-percent fat-to-meat ratio,” he said. “It’s gorgeous. It’s my favorite.”
Happy grilling.

Related:
The Perfect Burger and All Its Parts [ New York Times ]
Interactive: Elements of an Ideal Burger [ New York Times ]

Friday, July 03, 2009

Game Changer: Yello'Bar To Team Hartcranft/Maida?

UPDATE: Foobooz received confirmation from Leigh Maida. Yello'Bar will close and re-open as Resurrection Ale House in September.

Mike Klein is reporting a possible pending sale of Yello'Bar in G-Ho to Brendan Hartcranft and Leigh Maida of Local 44 and Memphis Taproom.

Yes. Please.

Graduate Hospital badly needs something new. And if it comes in the form of a new restaurant/bar with local craft beers and locally sourced food, that's more than fine.

As for Yello'Bar, admittedly, after a couple of early visits, we have not given it much of a chance. Probably because it felt like a more generic version of Ten Stone than Ten Stone.

Regardless, we like this idea.

Related:
Sale in works for Yello'Bar? [ The Insider ]

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Beer Cocktails Officially A Trend, London Grill's Get A Mention In The New York Times

From today's New York Times Food Section:
"BEER" and "cocktails" are usually separated by a comma. But now bartenders are experimenting with crossover drinks that marry beers with spirits, mixers, even wines, going far beyond the shot-and-a-pint boilermaker.

In New York, at PDT and Mayahuel, they’re mixing hot sauce, mezcal and beer to create smoky riffs on the michelada, a classic Mexican cerveza preparada, or prepared beer.

Bartenders at the Alembic in San Francisco top coffee liqueur and fizzy Italian red wine with porter foam to make a Vice Grip.

The beergarita — a margarita amplified by Flemish sour ale and framboise — is popular at the Small Bar on Division Street in Chicago. “Beer cocktails are an alternative to a pint,” said Ty Fujimura, co-owner with Phil McFarland.

In May, on the Session, a monthly virtual workshop on beer, nearly 40 bloggers contributed recipes for craft-beer-based drinks with names like Freak-out in a Moonshine Day Dream.

"If I'm going to have an amazing craft beer, why not also have it in an excellent beer cocktail?" asked the host of the May Session, Joe Ruvel of beeratjoes.com. “Other countries, like France and Belgium, have been doing this for a long time, and doing it pretty well.”

Indeed, the inspiration for the beer drinks that Terry Berch McNally serves at the London Grill in Philadelphia was Rudi Ghequire, brewer of Rodenbach beer in Belgium, who "suggested we add things like grenadine and cassis to his beer," she said. "You sell more beer this way, and you make more money."
How entrepreneurial.

For those keeping score of London Grill at home — that's introduced on Monday and in the New York Times on Wednesday.

Related:
Beer Proving a Popular Mixer in Cocktails [ New York Times ]
Previously:
London Grill Debuts Unconventional 'Beer Drinks' Menu

Philly Mag Confirms: The Burgers At Village Whiskey Are Going To Be Worth The Wait

jose garcesLauren McCutcheon delivers an epic profile on Jose Garces in the July issue of Philadelphia Magazine (4,000+ words).

Among the juicier revelations: 1) the burgers at Village Whiskey are, indeed, going to "rock," 2) the Garces commissary with a PLCB assist in Wash-West will be called the "Garces Trading Company," and 3)
where Garces was when he won — in absentia — at this year's James Beards Awards remains an unsolved mystery.

As for the aforementioned burgers at V-Dubs:
The same sort of thing happens when Garces attends a tasting for Village Whiskey. Dave Conn, chef de cuisine at the new restaurant, has been working all day in Tinto's kitchen to present his boss with a trio of smothered and covered burgers (tip: do not miss these burgers), a dish of decadently crispy duck-fat-fries, and a neat pair of cheese and charcuterie plates. Garces quietly samples each item with Tinto GM Robert Scully (Melissa's husband) — a bite here, a bite there. It takes him 10, maybe 15 minutes to assess the entire menu.

When Conn emerges for the critique, Garces, who hasn't written down a word, offers feedback that's relaxed yet unambiguous. The burgers, obviously, rock, but the cheddar sauce for the fries needs rethinking. Garces offers up an alternative recipe — which, shockingly, includes Cheez Whiz. But it's what he doesn’t do that's interesting. He doesn’t preach. He doesn't insist Conn follow his orders. He just listens, and encourages. He's the boss. But he's not bossy.
Sounds good. Let's get that effer open already.

And regarding the no-show at the Beard Awards:
Welcome to the Beards. They're not called the "Oscars of food" for nothing.

Philadelphia's culinary stars are here, too: Stephen Starr, Jeff Benjamin, Michael Solomonov — hoping to win "Outstanding Restaurateur," "Outstanding Service" and "Rising Star Chef of the Year," respectively. Only one local nominee is absent. And in a Murphy's Law sort of way, He Who Is Not Here is the only Philadelphian who'll receive a coveted brass medallion imprinted with Beard's bald head. He's nominated for "Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic" in a five-person field stretching from D.C. to Hoboken, but prolific chef-restaurateur Jose Garces is nowhere to be found.
[...]
To these musings and more, Garces's publicist, Clare Pelino, says, somewhat mysteriously, "Jose is away on important business that we can't disclose at this time." Hmmm …
Hmmm, indeed.

Read the article in its entirety here.

Related:
Who is Jose Garces? And Why Are You So Crazy About His Restaurants? [ Philadelphia Magazine ]

Previously:
Jose Garces To Enter Burger Fray; Two Semi-Intriguing Burger Options On Menu At His Forthcoming Village Whiskey
Third Time's A Charm: Jose Garces Wins First James Beard Award, Named Best Chef Mid-Atlantic
Opposition Builds To PLCB Proposal For Boutique Wine Stores Inside Gourmet Food Shops/Restaurants