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PHILADELPHIA RESTAURANT NEWS ARCHIVE


Openings

A long-time restaurant moratorium in Manayunk is over this summer, with three new projects in the works: Cactus Bar & Grill for Southwestern (4243 Main St.); Thai tapas at Mango Moon, (4161 Main St.), and Tomato Bistro, a cafe/lounge above the Couch Tomato (102 Rector St.).

William Douglas Steakhouse is at the starting gate at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill, complete with equestrian décor to hark back to the racetrack’s heyday. The restaurant will feature a traditional steakhouse menu created by executive chef Karen Mitchell, along with tableside desserts. The restaurant will be sharing a kitchen with neighbor McCormick & Schmick’s. William Douglas Steakhouse, 941 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ.

Devil's Den, the gastro pub that’s taking over the old Felicia's at 11th and Ellsworth Streets, will open in April. Look for an approachable American menu and 16 beers on tap. Devil's Den, 1148-1150 S. 11th St., Philadelphia.

The expansion in Northern Liberties continues with a new BYOB, Swallow, in Liberties Walk. The 38-seater is owned by Jason and Cindy Caminos. Swallow, 1030 N. American St., Philadelphia. 215-238-1399,

Garlic is the name of the new ground-floor brick oven pizzeria and coffee shop opening in May at the RiverWest condos at 21st and Chestnut Streets. Owner is Victor Fellus, a partner in Old City's Soho Pizza. Garlic, 21st and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia.

Kite & Key Tavern will be the latest from Jim Kirk and Jake Hampson, bartenders/managers at Bishop's Collar.  Set for the former Savannah at 1836 Callowhill St. by the end of May or early June.

Longtime restaurateur Neil Stein plans a return to the Philly restaurant scene (post his prison term for tax evasion) with Cabaret, a bistro at the Morris House Hotel (formerly Restaurant M). Estimated date is sometime in late spring or early summer.

McCormick & Schmick’s opened a Cherry Hill location March 15. Executive chef is Karen Mitchell, who plans to work with local South Jersey farmers for seasonal/local product. Tom Brewer, formerly of Starr Restaurant’s Barclay Prime, will serve as general manager of the 300-seat restaurant. McCormick & Schmick’s, 941 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, N.J. 856-317-1711.

Pearl, the pan-Asian spot from owners of Red Sky, opened its doors this month. Ari Weiswasser, a Gladwyne native whose resume includes Daniel and Gilt in New York, is executive chef. Pearl, 1904 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. 215-564-9090.

Azul, with Jesse Vega in the kitchen, opens in April with a casual Mexican menu at 10th and Spruce.

Maia, after many stops and starts, should open its doors in April. Look for a restaurant/café and gourmet takeaway with an emphasis on Scandinavian and Euro fare. Maia, 789 E. Lancaster Ave.,Villanova.

Michael Solomonov plans an April opening for his modern Israeli restaurant Zahav. Zahav, 237 Saint James Place, Philadelphia.

John Mims and Howard Taylor will expand from the Main Line with Les Bons Temps, a Cajun-Creole eatery at 114 S. 12th St., the former TPDS, Odeon and Bistro Bix. Les Bons Temps, 114 S. 12th St., Philadelphia.

Chef Michael O’Halloran of Bistro 7 plans a New American menu at The Waverly, opening at 412-426 S. 13th St.

Benny Lai branched out from the successful Vietnam with the more casual 30-seat Vietnam Café. Lai’s family also owns a small deli in the area. Open Tues. through Sun. from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., the Café, designed by Jesse Gardner (Vietnam, Teikoku), will offer 80-plus menu items. Vietnam Café, 814 S. 47th St., Philadelphia, 215-729-0260.

Kujaku, a new Japanese restaurant, just took over Peacock on the Parkway at 1700 Ben Franklin Parkway. Opening special is a $5 Kobe (domestic Kobe, that is) burger. Owners also own Uzu Sushi at 104 Market St. Kujaku means peacock in Japanese.  Kujaku, 1700 Ben Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia.

Chef Alison Barshak is expanding with a second contemporary American-themed restaurant. Barshak, who cut her teeth at Striped Bass and Venus & the Cowboy in Center City before opening Alison at Blue Bell in May 2003, expects to open the second, yet-unnamed restaurant in Spring 2008. The new100-seat space is at 424 S. Bethlehem Pike, in Ft. Washington near the convergence of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 309. It will have a liquor license and a private dining room–and guests will be able to pay by credit card, something they can’t do at the cash-and-check-only Alison at Blue Bell. Alison at Blue Bell, 21 Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, 215-641-2660.

Astral Plane Millennium is now open in the former Astral Plane space. New owner, caterer Christine Fischer, offers a global menu in modern, uncluttered surroundings (no more parachute fabric on the ceiling, sigh). Now a BYOB–the liquor license was sold with the building–APM specializes in carpaccio (beef, salmon, scallops). Astral Plane Millennium, 1708 Lombard St., Philadelphia, 215-735-0815.

If you miss Dessert, the sweet stop in Bella Vista, meet Goloso, which recently took over the tiny space. The cash only “desserterie” has an Italian accent, as in Italian pastries, imported candies and hot chocolate. Goloso, 806 S. Sixth St., Philadelphia, 215-925-1003.

Passyunk Avenue–a.k.a. South Philly’s restaurant row–now has Le Virtù, a sunflower-yellow Italian ristorante that offers homemade pasta, grilled specialties, a full bar and a Tuscan-friendly wine list. Le Virtù, 1927 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, 215-271-5626.

After 20 years with one restaurant–the well-respected Jake’s in Manayunk–restaurateur Bruce Cooper plans to open a still-unnamed wine bistro next door. No firm opening date.

Also on Passyunk, but in Queen Village, Cochon is the new country-French BYOB that replaced Cafe Sud. Just across from Little Fish, chef-owner Gene Giuffi, formerly of Davio’s, Pasion, Nan and La Boheme, powers Cochon. Cash only. Cochon, 801 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, 215-923-7675.

Fans of Minar Palace, a popular Indian eatery that used to be on Sansom near 16th Street, will be glad to learn that there are plans for another Center City location at 1304 Walnut St. Expect a winter opening.

Mitch and Jennifer Prensky, owners of Global Dish caterers, have opened Supper, a two-story New American executed by chef de cuisine Brinn Sinnott. The former Vespa store is across from Whole Foods on South Street. Supper, 926 South St., Philadelphia, 215-592-8180.

Old School Italian is the word at Pat Bombino's, in the former Meze space at Ninth and Catharine. Owners Al Paris and Matthew DiNatale put the emphasis on comfortable elegance and Italian rustic fare. There’s even a $12 plate of spaghetti and meatballs, if you want to stay really basic. Family- style dinners are served from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. on Sundays. BYOB. Pat Bombino’s, 767 S. Ninth St., Philadelphia, 215-238-6555.

Kai: Modern Japanese Cuisine is hoping to open by early December at the Academy House, the space that was formerly the Smoked Joint, and a ton of other eateries, dating back to Marabella’s. The new restaurant is from the same folks who are involved with Fuji Mountain in Center City. Kai, 1420 Locust St., Philadelphia.

Cafe Estelle should be open any minute at Lofts at 444 N. Fourth St. in Northern Liberties. Fresh baked goods, including bread and homemade comfort food, will be on the menu.

The Devil’s Den (great name!) will open at the end of the year in the space that was Felicia's (11th and Christian Sts.) in South Philly. Billed as Continental, the Den promises an ambitious beer list.

The Belgian invasion continues with Beneluxx, an offshoot of the nearby Eulogy Belgian Tavern. Owned by Mike Naessen, the concept involves pairings of beer/wine and cheese/chocolate including a serious fondue menu, just in time for chilly weather. Beneluxx, 33 S. Third St., Philadelphia, 267-318-7269.

Another place to drink your Stella: Belgian Café in Fairmont in the former Tavern on Green space. Look for Euro pub fare in the airy dining room and a lighter menu in the moody bar. Belgian Café, 2047 Green St., Philadelphia, 215-235-3500.

The latest lounge with a small plates menu to open in Old City is Triada, a stylish New American spot. In addition to the small plates selections it serves specialty cocktails and bubbly. Entertainment includes a resident DJ. Triada, 120 Market St., 215-627-2401.

Now that’s Italian. Owner Rob LaScala brought South Philly to Old City with the opening of La Scala’s, an Italian-American eatery that doesn’t skimp on sauce. Housemade pastas and the delicate veal involtini with prosciutto and spinach are standouts. La Scala’s, 615 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 888-764-8238, www.lascalasphilly.com.

Cochon–no relation to Donald Link’s award-winning Cajun emporium in New Orleans–is now open on Passyunk Avenue’s restaurant row. Chef-owner Gene Giuffi (Davio’s, ¡Pasión!) has installed a cozy French BYO in a former corner butcher shop. Look for moderately priced bistro classics including escargots, braised lamb shank and many things pork. Cochon, 801 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, 215-923-7675.

Gaja Gaja is the latest Korean-owned sushi spot to open in town–this time on South Street. Bring your own sake to pair with this modestly priced menu of Japanese and Korean dishes. FYI–gaja gaja means “let’s go” in Korean. Gaja Gaja, 627 South St., Philadelphia, 215-923-0313.

Palace at the Ben is the latest addition to Washington Square, an elegant spot for refined Indian cuisine from the owners of Palace of Asia.  Chef Subash Sarpal serves traditional dishes such as tandoori grilled meats and palak panir (homemade cheese sautéed with spinach), along with inventive cocktails, including an interesting marriage of gin and rose water. Palace at the Ben, 834 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 267-232-5600.

Restaurants continue to march north on Broad Street, including the new Cobre, a casual Mexican and Puerto Rican restaurant-lounge, where the eats include potato balls filled with ground beef, octopus salad and roasted pork with tostones. Cobre, 812 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, 215-235-1881.

A bit further north on Broad Street, Koja Grille is the new bricks and mortar incarnation of a popular lunch truck, serving inexpensive Korean and Japanese specialties such as thinly sliced barbecued beef, fiery kim chi stew and mix-and-match noodles. Koja Grille, 1600 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, 215-763-KOJA.

If you’re a fan of Sabrina’s in South Philly, check out Sabrina’s Café and Spencer’s, Too in the city’s Fairmount ‘hood. The menu shares the same inventive stuffed French toasts, seasonal pancakes and juicy burgers. Sabrina’s Café and Spencer’s, Too, 1802-1804 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, 215-636-9061.

Another South Philly spot–L’Angolo Restorante Italiano –has spawned a sibling, Salento, a BYOB spot on Walnut Street specializing in Puglia fare such as homemade semolina pasta, spiedini (lamb loin skewers) and lamb sausage. L’Angolo Restorante Italiano, 1415 W. Porter St., Philadelphia, 215-389-4252.

Franco’s Trattoria has opened in East Falls. The former Verge, along Kelly Drive, is serving simple classics such as chicken Piemontese, tableside-filleted branzino and tiramisu on its pleasant river-facing patio. Franco’s Trattoria, 4116 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, 215-438-4848.

Modo Mia in Northern Liberties is a new Italian BYOB by Peter McAndrews, formerly of Rembrandts. Modo Mio combines two of Philadelphia’s staples, Italian and small plates, nothing more than $16. Modo Mia, 161 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, 215-203-8707.

City Grange in the Westin Hotel, a restaurant faithful to regional and sustainable American food, plans a soft opening August 6 and a grand opening early in September.  Chef Chris Lichtman–last of The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia and Hudson Valley Resort & Spa–heads the kitchen. The restaurant’s inspiration comes from The National Grange Movement, the nation's oldest grassroots agricultural organization, founded in 1847. City Grange, The Westin Philadelphia Hotel at Liberty Place, 99 South 17th St., Philadelphia, 215-575-6930.

Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, the prolific pair behind Grocery, Lolita and Open House, will open Bindi, a homestyle Indian sit-down, in Grocery's café side come mid-fall. They'll tap local farmers for many ingredients, and plan an exotic juice list to complement the BYOB policy. Bindi, 105 S. 13th St., Philadelphia.

Bistro Juliana is the latest from Luigi Basile and Massimo Coscia, of Radicchio Cafe in Old City. The pint-sized BYOB mirrors Radicchio’s understated Italian cuisine. Bistro Juliana, 2723 E. Cumberland St., Philadelphia, 215-425-2501.

Global Dish Caterers plans an August opening for Supper, a stylish South Street New American restaurant. Housed in a former Vespa store (obviously a tough sell in Philly, the one in Manayunk closed, too), the plan is a modern turn on classic favorites. Supper, 926 South St., Philadelphia.

The Belgian Café, a spin off of Monk’s Cafe in Center City, should open any time now in Fairmont's former Tavern on Green space at 21st and Green streets.

Finally, life again in Fairmount’s long shuttered Cuvee Notredame at 17 and Green. St. Stephens Green is an Irish pub conceived by veterans of Bishop’s Collar and the Dark Horse. St. Stephens Green, 1701 Green St., Philadelphia, 215-769-5000.

L’Oca is a great addition to the Fairmount neighborhood, thanks to the inspired northern Italian creations of chef Luca Garutti, a veteran of La Locanda del Ghiottone and Ristorante Panorama. Specialties include classic bagna cauda, minestrone soup, saffron spaghetti with prosciutto and thick ribbons of pappardelle laced with “l’oca” (Italian for “goose”) ragu. L’Oca, 2025 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, 215-769-0316.

Tria just opened its second location with nightly servings of small plates and cheese along with a terrific wine and beer list. Look for a lunch opening in September. Tria, 1137 Spruce St., Philadelphia, 215-629-9200.

National Mechanics Bar & Restaurant is the latest to take over the 19th century Old City building of the same name. Formerly home to the odd dance club, the new tenant is more pub than club, with a serious beer list and a menu of typical pub favorites. National Mechanics Bar & Restaurant, 22 South 3rd St., Philadelphia, 215-701-4883.

Tavern 17 is the newly conceived lounge in the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel Philadelphia. Small plates and cocktail, beer and wine flights are featured on the New American menu. There’s also a 1,200-bottle wine room and 34 wines by the glass.  Tavern 17, Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel Philadelphia, 1701 Locust St., Philadelphia , 215-790-1799.

Palace at the Ben at the historic Benjamin Franklin House is the new upscale, Punjabi-style Indian restaurant by the owners of Palace of Asia. Palace at the Ben, 834 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 267-232-5600.

Fish is in, steak is out as Phillips Seafood of Maryland takes residence at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel, replacing Shula’s Steak House. Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel, 17th & Race Sts., 215-448-2700.

Chef Matt Ito finally opened Fuji, his Japanese BYOB in its new Haddonfield, N.J. location. Like his original in Cinnaminson, there’s a sushi bar and an omakase chef’s tasting menu. Fuji, 116 Kings Highway E., 856-354-8200

Soup for you! The Original SoupMan—a spin off of Seinfeld’s soup Nazi, is now open at 512 Haddonfield Rd., Suite B in Cherry Hill, N.J. 856-486-4848.

L'Angolo owners David and Kathryn Fauna are working on a second Italian BYOB—Salenta, at 2216 Walnut St., in the space that formerly housed Feline Cafe. Salenta is the name of David Faenza’s hometown in Southern Italy.  No opening date yet. L'Angolo, 1415 Porter St., 215-389-4252.

Aprons will be the latest BYO in Germantown with a menu that melds its partners' African-American and Italian heritages. The space was previously home to Geechee Girl Rice Café, which has moved up the way into larger quarters at 6825 Germantown Ave. Aprons, 5946 Germantown Ave., 215-843-5080.

Four new quick service grab-and-go dining options have debuted at The Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City. They are: Eden Gourmet, a fresh Italian market concept; Giorgio's Café with pizzas (from classic Margherita to Hawaiian), exotic smoothies and frozen yogurt treats; Phillips Seafood Express, seafood on the go including a hearty boardwalk platter featuring a jumbo lump boardwalk crab cake and crispy shrimp; and Piazza di Giorgio Café, a casual option for salads, cheese steaks, paninis, gyros, wraps, and hoagies. The Pier Shops at Caesars, One Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City, www.thepiershopsatcaesars.com.

Triumph Brewing Co.

Triumph Brewing Company expands from its Princeton and New Hope locations with a new outpost in Old City. The restaurant includes two floors of casual, eclectic dining (pizza and burgers with gourmet toppings, organic salmon, steak frites, panini), with brewmeister Jay Mission in charge of eight varieties of beer on the second-floor brewhouse. Open for lunch and diner. Triumph Brewing Co., 117-121 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 215-625-0855.

The Marriott in West Conshohocken is now home to Shula's 347 Grill. Formerly the Regatta Bar, Shula’s 347—the number equates to coach Shula’s wins—is an up-market sports bar with a steak-centric restaurant next door. Shula’s 347 Grill, 111 Crawford Ave., West Conshohocken , 610-941-5600, www.donshula.com.

Marathon Grill, a family-owned casual fresh American restaurant, opened its seventh location at 10th and Walnut Streets, in the heart of Midtown Village, the latest moniker for the surrounding Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital. The 120-seat, two-story space serves casual fare, along with dinner entrees such as grilled New York strip steak or chicken saltimbocca. Marathon Grill, 10th and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia, 215-733-0311, www.marathongrill.com.
 

The latest in Philadelphia’s spate of gastro pubs, yello'bar, just opened across from Naval Square.  Partners Ken Hyland and Kirk Phillips own the Irish-influenced pub, named for the building’s former egg yolk façade, with chef James Ceravolo, (L2) in the kitchen. Look for American favorites, along with a touch of the Old Sod (Guinness stew). yello’bar, 2425 Grays Ferry Ave., Philadelphia, 215-735-3533.

Brandywine Prime, Seafood & Chops is open in the former 300-year-old Chadds Ford Inn. The restaurant is featuring locally raised, dry-aged beef, a vast raw bar and inventive dishes such as coffee-encrusted venison loin and whole Maine lobster with fennel risotto by well-known Delaware chef Dan Butler. Brandywine Prime, Seafood & Chops, Rte. 1 at Rte. 100, Chadds Ford, 610-388-8088, www.brandywineprime.com.

Osteria is the newest venture from Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin, a rustic Italian situated on the ground floor of a new loft building, just north of Spring Garden. Osteria, 640 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, 215-763-0920.

Look for a May opening for the still unnamed Japanese restaurant going into the Academy House (1420 Locust St.), a project of Jonathan Chun, who owns Fuji Mountain on Chestnut Street.  Instead of the usual sushi bar or teppanyaki joint, Chun’s place will feature the formal dining style called kaiseki, which spotlights seasonal, local cuisine in as many as nineteen courses. He plans no more than nine.  The Smoked Joint was the last restaurant in the space.

Talula's Table Restaurant

For diners still in mourning since the exit of Bryan Sikora and Aimee Olexy from Django, the pair have surfaced in Chester County at Talula's Table, a homey market with pastry chef Claire Shears’ housemade baked goods, along with house-cured charcuterie, artisan cheeses and prepared foods. Most of the business is takeaway, but there is a ten-person farmhouse table that can be reserved at dinner. Talula's Table, State and Union Streets, Kennett Square, 610-444-8255.

707, a project from Starr-alumnus Ryan Margolis, is set to open mid-April. The American café is yet one more project going in around the hot Washington Square neighborhood. 707, Chestnut St., Philadelphia.

Bill Wood, who spent the last three decades making Woody’s Bar the hottest gay bar in town before selling the business in 2006, is collaborating with his brother Steve on a new restaurant at 12th and Locust.  Dubbed Knock, a reference to an Irish shrine, the eatery will be a lounge/restaurant with international cuisine.  The project is just getting under construction.

News Bytes

Hot Times
Thiago Gomes
, executive chef at Mexican Post Center City, received first place in the Vegetarian Chili contest and second place in the Hot Chili contest in the 15th Annual Philadelphia Chili Cook-off, held at the Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant, March 19th. Mexican Post Center City, 1601 Cherry St., 215-568-2667.

A Garden of Delight
“Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine” is the just self-published tome by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, owners of Horizons off South Street. The book spotlights 80 vegan recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts. Horizons, 611 South 7th St., Philadelphia, 215-923-6117, www.horizonsphiladelphia.com.

Food Affairs
Stephen Starr launched a catering division, Starr Events, available for private, social and corporate events. For more information, e-mail cateringinfo@starr-restaurants.com.

Night Owl Nibbles
Ansill, which just marked its second anniversary, has a new late night menu, Mon.-Sat. 10 p.m.–1 a.m. Bites include steak tartar ($12), house-cured salmon ($9) and 6 oysters for $14. DJs Jolah & Argo spin jazz, bossa, soul, funk and classics every Monday, Thursday and Saturday starting at 9:30 p.m. No cover charge. Ansill, 627 S. Third St., Philadelphia, 215-627-2485.

San Pellegrino's 'Almost Famous Chef Competition'
Her glazed beef short ribs, stir-fried miso spinach and chestnut steamed rice won Kristianne Pak, a student at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, the sixth annual San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition held Sunday, March 9, at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. Kristianne’s cooking won over the audience as well as the judges, who included Philly chef Matthew Levin of Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, Harold Dieterle of Perilla, Christophe Leu of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia, Joseph Keller of Bistro Zinc, Nash Cognetti of Tra Vigne, and Allyson Thurber of The Lobster, as well as GAYOT.com’s Editorial Director Jeff Hoyt. Her prizes include $16,000 and a one-year contract working with a noted executive chef.


Philly's Culinary Stars in Contention
First round of James Beard Award nominees includes Stephen Starr up for restaurateur; Marc Vetri of Vetri for chef; Vetri for service; Lacroix at The Rittenhouse for wine service; and Kate Honeyman of Continental Mid-town for pastry chef. Jeff Michaud of Osteria, Chip Roman of Blackfish and Michael Solomonov of Marigold Kitchen, are in the “Rising Star Chef” (for those younger than 30) category. Osteria, Tinto and Xochitl are up for new restaurant. Alison Barshak of Alison at Blue Bell, Jim Burke of James in South Philly, Michael DiBianca of Moro in Wilmington, Jose Garces of Amada in Old City, Matthew Levin of Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, and Daniel Stern of Rae in University City are in the first draft for best chef, Mid-Atlantic.

Laid Back Menu with Franco Style
Brasserie Perrier is debuting a more casual, brasserie- style menu this month. Owners Georges Perrier and Chris Scarduzio plan a May opening for Table 31 in the new Comcast Center. Brasserie Perrier, 1619 Walnut St. 215-568-3000.

Art of the Boxed Lunch

Buddakan has a new customized bento box on its lunch menu, three courses for $14. Buddakan, 325 Chestnut St. 215-574-9440.

In the Stars
Stephen Starr plans a still unnamed gastropub at 706 Chestnut St.

Changes for Chaddsford
Chaddsford Winery is expanding its location at 20 Merchants Row in Buck County’s scenic Peddler’s Village. This outpost of the popular Brandywine Valley winery will double in size in April, allowing Chaddsford to use the space for educational classes, tastings and wine seminars. The new space, which features 60 seats and two wine tasting areas, can also accommodate private parties.

From Miraku to Misso
Misso is taking over the former Miraku space in Midtown Village, with restaurateur Bruce Kim at the helm. Look for reasonable prices and a mix of sushi and Asian fusion dishes. Misso, 1326 Spruce St., Philadelphia, 215-546-2355.

Perrier Launches Catering Company
Chef Georges Perrier has created a catering division. Le Bec-Fin catering offers global cuisine and international menu selections for dinner parties as small as 15, all the way up to soirees for 250 well-heeled guests. Depending on the occasion, the chef himself may stop by. Le Bec-Fin, 1523 Walnut St. at 15th St., Philadelphia, 215-567-1000.

Stogey Joe’s to Open
The South Philly Passyunk Avenue renaissance continues. Kristian Leuzzi (Kristian’s) is breathing new life into the tired old Passyunk Tavern at Passyunk and Moore. Expect comfort pub grub at the new spot, named Stogey Joe’s. No firm opening date.

David Katz to Open Bistro
Chef David Katz, who’s been bouncing around since Restaurant M closed on Washington Square, will be in the kitchen at a new bistro located at 24th and Locust.  His partner is Andrew Krouk, who also owns Melograno. No firm menu concept at this time.

Sundays with Soul
Café 3801 is offering an all-you-can-eat soul food brunch every Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. for $20. Café 3801, 3801 Market St., Philadelphia, 215-387-3836.

From Soul Food to Santorini
The long shuttered Bluezette (246 Market St.) is leaving soul food behind for an upscale contemporary Greek menu. Dubbed Prive, the new eatery comes from restaurateurs Nick and Bill Lavdas, who hope to open by summer.

Bento Box Lunch at Buddakan
Buddakan is offering a new three-course $14 Bento box lunch. Options include edemame ravioli, shrimp spring roll, bbq ribs, Thai chicken salad, hot and sour soup and teriyaki salmon. Buddakan, 325 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 215-574-9440.

Menu Redo: From Med to Bistro
Patrice Rames has traded in the South of France/Mediterranean dishes at his Old City Patou for heartier, brasserie fare. Look for specialties such as boeuf Bourguignon, cassoulet, bouillabaisse and braised rabbit. Patou, 312 Market St., Philadelphia, 215-928-2987.

Nuevo Fare
Chef/owner Jose Garces has added 10 new dishes and updated his highly acclaimed menu at Amada, his Old City Spanish tapas restaurant and bar. Garces will soon appear on an episode of the Food Network’s hit program Iron Chef America and release his first cookbook Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, 2008). New dishes include oysters with effervescent apple espuma; bisque de mariscos, saffron crab soup with roasted garlic flan, caviar, brioche migas and crème fraiche; arroz de langosta, lobster bomba rice with clams, sweet peas, lemon zest and golden pea shoots. Amada, 217 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 215-625-2450.

Bargains on the Menu
Mantra is serving a $30 three-course dinner Monday-Thursday, beginning at 5 p.m. That includes a glass of wine but not tax and gratuity. Menu options might include Shanghai crispy duck sticks with plum sesame dipping sauce and wasabi-crusted filet mignon. Mantra, 122 S. 18th St., Philadelphia, 215-988-1211.

A Taste for Charity
South Jersey Hot Chefs (SJHC) is teaming up with the Food Bank of South Jersey for a Holiday Food Drive through December 15. Guests can bring canned or non-perishable food items to any of the 45 SJHC restaurants. Check www.sjhotchefs.com for locations.

13th Street Crowd
Also on 13th Street–102. S. 13th, to be specific–Apothecary Bar & Lounge by Bruno Pouget, the original owner of Caribou Café, late of Blue in Surf City, N.J.–joins Lolita, El Vez and Vintage in Midtown Village. The chef is Steven Cameron (of Blue). And still another note on 13th Street–partners Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran expect to open Bindi, their Indian BYOB at 105 S. 13th St. in mid November.

New Fall Menu
Executive chef-owner Carlo deMarco debuted his fall menu at 333 Belrose in Radnor. Among the seasonal offerings you’ll find butternut squash and apple cider bisque, applewood bacon-wrapped rainbow trout with savory sage stuffing and bourbon-pecan butter sauce and wood grilled center-cut filet mignon with Texas gulf shrimp with buttermilk mashed potatoes, asparagus, and tomato-basil pan sauce. The restaurant is now featuring jazz on Thursdays. 333 Belrose Lane, Radnor, 610-293-1000.

Crudo at Positano Coast
Chef Pippo Lamberti debuted a new crudo menu at Positano Coast, a Mediterranean version of sashimi that changes daily. Recent offerings included hamachi tartare enlivened by cucumber and olive oil, Scottish salmon spiked with fresh dill puree and pink peppercorns and blackfin tuna prepared with caperberry and tomato vinaigrette. Crudo reminds owner Aldo Lamberti of his summers along Italy’s coast where he often fished and prepared his catch raw. Positano Coast, 212 Walnut St., 215.238-499, www.lambertis.com.

Jake’s New Neighbor
Bruce Cooper, celebrating 20 years in Manayunk with his stellar American bistro, Jake’s, plans a still-unnamed wine bistro next door. No opening date at this time. Jake’s, 365 Main St., Philadelphia, 215-483-0444.

Stella Blu Makeover
The 6-year-old Stella Blu in West Conshohocken is getting an extreme makeover. Construction should be completed by early December. In the meantime, gift certificates can be redeemed at nearby Gypsy Saloon, 128 Ford St., 610-828-8494. The project will deliver an enlarged bar, along with a retooling of the kitchen concept away from Italian and more towards European small and large plates. Stella Blu, 101 Ford St., West Conshohocken, 610-825-7060.

Monday Meatball Madness
Forget Monday night football. Every Monday is meatball madness at London Grill, where chef Michael McNally serves all kinds of meatballs–think duck meatballs, eggplant meatballs, venison meatballs–you get the idea. London Grill, 2301 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, 215-978-4545.

New Resto Plans
Bistro 7 owner Michael O’Halloran has plans for another restaurant, a still unnamed spot at 13th and Waverly Streets. No firm commitment on the restaurant concept. Bistro 7, 7 N. Third St., Philadelphia, 215-931-1560.

Culinary Crayon Creations
Davio’s is taking kid-friendly dining to a new level by offering a $100 gift certificate every month to the coloring artist who produces the most creative masterpiece. They provide the crayons and illustration; your kid goes to town. No age limit, at least not for now. The winner also gets a laminated copy of his or her art.  Davio’s, 111 S. 17th St., Philadelphia, 215-563-4810.

Guillermo Pernot Caters to the Lunch Bunch
More new lunch munchings at Cuba Libre, with concept chef Guillermo Pernot creating Latin dishes integrating seasonal exotic fruits and vegetables with traditional Cuban flavors. One to try is Milanesa de Pollo–thin pieces of plantain-coated crispy chicken served with an arugula salad tossed with polenta croutons and red wine vinaigrette. Cuba Libre, 10 South 2nd St., Philadelphia, 215-627-0666.

Le Bec-Fin

Le Bec-Fin a la Carte
Le Bec-Fin is now offering a la carte options for lunch Mondays through Saturdays. Besides the usual $54 fixed price menu, choose from a range of entrees $20 and under.  Le Bec-Fin, 1523 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215-567-1000.

A Delicious Anniversary
Chef/owner Patrice Rames celebrates 20 years at Bistro St. Tropez, perched on the top floor of the design marketplace on Market Street. Offering one of the best views in town, overlooking the Schuylkill, the art museum and the new Cira Centre, Bistro pays culinary homage to Rames’ Provencal roots. He is celebrating by offering 20 percent off of everything on the menu through the end of the year, and a special 20th anniversary menu in August and September–three courses for $20.  Bistro St. Tropez, Marketplace Design Center, 4th Fl., 2400 Market St., Philadelphia, 215-569-9269.

Contemporary Jewish Cuisine for the Holiday
Chef Michael McNally will once again be serving his “newish Jewish” cuisine for Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 12-13) at London Grill. A $35 price fix menu will be featured, including favorites like salmon gefilte fish and feather-light matzo ball soup. London Grill, 2301 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, 215-978-4545.

A Taste of Summer
Twenty21 is offering a new summer-focused lunch menu including specialties such as grilled chicken panini with broccoli rabe and roasted peppers and potato gnocchi with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, fava beans, zucchini, and wild mushrooms. Twenty21, One Commerce Sq., 2005 Market St., Philadelphia, 215-851-6262.

A Bargain from the Deep Blue Sea
Every Tuesday is crab night at Gayle, the South Street spot powered by chef/owner Dan Stern. Enjoy a glass of house wine or lager, salad, 4 to 6 hard shells, fries and slaw for $30–snag a spot in the outdoor courtyard if you can. On Thursdays, bring your own wine with no corkage fee, or order from the menu at half price. Gayle, 617 S. Third St., Philadelphia, 215-922-3850.

Sushi at Bookbinders
Chef Adan Cabrera, formerly of Morimoto and Swanky Bubbles, now offers sushi from the new sushi bar at Old Original Bookbinders. Old Original Bookbinder's, 125 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215-925-7027.

Stephen’s Steak
Stephen Starr is expanding his restaurant empire into the sub-tropics–notably in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.–where he’s developing a Barclay Prime-ish steak house for a new W Hotel in the works, set to open in early ’08.

Bargain on a Bun
Seafood Unlimited, Rittenhouse Square's family-owned seafood eatery, is offering its take on N’Awlins inspired special, the oyster po’ boy. Calling it the rich boy, Seafood Unlimited’s version of The Crescent City hoagie is comprised of three plump fried oysters on a roll with tartar sauce, lettuce and tomatoes for $10.75. Seafood Unlimited, 270 S. 20th St., 215-732-3663.

Dining on the Setting Sun
Supper is coming to 926 South St., the spot across from Whole Foods that used to be the Vespa store. Mitch and Jennifer London Prensky, who also own Global Dish Catering, plan a July opening. The food will be modern-American.   

Expanded Hours at Ms. Tootsie’s
Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar Lounge is now open for dinner from Friday-Sunday. The neighboring Ms. Tootsie’s Soul Food Café keeps diners satiated midweek through weekends. Joyce “Ms. Tootsie” Parker cooks the Southern cuisine shared by both restaurants, including fried chicken, collard greens, BBQ ribs and addictive Cheesy Cheese mac-and-cheese. Ms Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar Lounge, 312 South St., 215-985-9001.

Wallet-Friendly Wine Drinking
Mantra is offering BYOB Wednesday with no corkage fee—or pick any bottle on the restaurant’s list for $25. Chef/owner is Albert Paris, who cooks Asian-fusion cuisine at this stylish Center City spot. Mantra, 122 S. 18th St., 215-988-1211.

Vesuvio

Veggie Chef with Fresh Vibes
Vesuvio chef Mike Luongo has a soft spot for vegetarians—he makes vegan meat substitutes in-house to guarantee freshness and quality and uses separate fryers, storage areas and utensils, and even separate dishes to ensure a true vegan alternative. Vesuvio is now serving an extended lunch menu 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., daily. Vesuvio, 736 S. 8th St., 215-22-8380.

Raw Bar Goes International
Chef Marc Plessis is the creative force behind XIX Raw at XIX (Nineteen). There is a new array of dishes that combine fresh seafood from American waters with distinctive ingredients and flavors—all served raw. XIX Nineteen Restaurant, Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, 200 S. Broad St., 215-790-1919.
XIX (Nineteen)

Guanciale—Don’t Try to Say it, Just Taste it
London Grill chef Michael McNally is excited about the latest addition to his house-cured meats charcuterie board, an Italian delicacy called guanciale (pronounced “gwan-cha-lay”). Working with sous chef, Dennis Heslin, McNally’s charcuterie plate may include chorizo, duck pastrami, vegetarian salami and bresaola. Each plate is hand cut to order and served alongside an assortment of house-made mustards and chutneys. Coming up: his first house-cured prosciutto, which requires 10 to 12 months to age. London Grill, 2301 Fairmount Ave., 215-978-4545, www.londongrill.com.

Bargains in the Good Ol’ Summertime
Brasserie Perrier is offering $33 three-course dinners every Sunday, through the summer months. Choices include house-made cavatelli pasta with fresh tomato and pancetta, sautéed Scottish salmon fillet served with creamy Lyonnaise potatoes or grilled chicken paillard served with Parmesan risotto and mushroom jus. Sunday is also BYOB night at Brasserie, with no corkage fee.  Brasserie Perrier, 1619 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215-568-3000.

Let the Children Pick up their Tab
Kids 10 and under eat free at Cresheim Cottage Café every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Cresheim Cottage Café, 7402 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, 215-248-4365.

What’s In A Name?
Maggiano’s Little Italy is ponying up a special menu of dishes inspired by Little Italy’s around the country:  lobster ravioli from Boston’s North End, chicken cacciatore from Philadelphia’s South Philly, braised beef cannelloni from Little Italy in Manhattan and from Chicago’s Taylor Street, a version of baked ziti and sausage.
Maggiano’s Little Italy, 1201 Filbert St., Philadelphia, 215-567-2020.

Restaurants On The Fly
Come July, passengers at Philly International Airport will be able to chow at three Chickie's & Pete's outlets in Terminals A West, C and E.

Manayunk Brewery

Who Could Have A Beef With This Deal?
Sunday is prime rib night at Manayunk Brewery. The spacious restaurant features a fourteen-ounce slab of prime rib, served with garlic-mashed potatoes, veggies, a salad and a glass of house beer or wine, for $19.95. Hours are 5 p.m.-9 p.m. The restaurant also offers a prime rib dinner every Sunday night, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Manayunk Brewery, 4120 Main St. 215-482- 8220, www.manayunkbrewery.com.

Flower Power
Roy’s celebrates Lei Day, which takes place in Hawaii on May 1, all month with a special menu at Roy’s in Center City. Live music and flower leis are only part of the restaurant’s scene. Chef Kiel Lombardo has created a $55 four-course Asian fusion menu that includes sizzling sashimi of Kona kampachi with white soy, tangerine and curry and “45 Hour Kalua” lamb loin with Szechwan eggplant and star anise reduction. Roy's, 124 S. 15th St., Philadelphia, 215-988-1814.
 

Celebration Mondays
May marks the first anniversary for chef Nicholas Farina’s Main Line New American restaurant Blush.  The chef show
cases the best of his kitchen on Monday nights with three- and five-course chef's tasting menus priced at $35 and $55 respectively. Blush Restaurant and Bar, 24 North Merion Ave., Philadelphia, 610-527-7700.

Mother’s Day in a Special Way
Taking Mom out on May 13? Here are five places guaranteed to earn you points: The Oceanaire Seafood Room, which just opened its outdoor patio dining for 40, is serving a special Mother's Day brunch in addition to the regular a la carte menu, from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. At Philadelphia Fish & Company, small spenders can order three courses for just $30 from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., with the regular a la carte menu available from 4 p.m.-10:30 p.m. In the ‘burbs, Nectar offers an exotic Asian setting for a menu of brunch specials, beginning at 11:30 a.m. And treat sa mere to a smorgasbord of omelettes, French toast, sandwiches, salads and Provencal specialties at Bistro St. Tropez between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s Mamacita’s big day at ¡Pasión!, which will offer a five-course Mother's Day tasting menu for $70 or $100 with three matching wines. Oceanaire Seafood Room, 700 Walnut St., 215-625-8862. 207 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 215-625-8605. Philadelphia Fish & Company, 207 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 215-625-8605. Nectar, 1091 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, 610-725-9000. Bistro St. Tropez, 2400 Market St., Philadelphia, 215-569-9269. ¡Pasion!, 211 S. 15th St., Philadelphia, 215-875-9895.

Amada Restaurant

A Chef For All Seasons
Jose Garces of Amada restaurant is the lone Philadelphia chef to be nominated for a 2007 James Beard Award—he’s up for Best Chef-Mid-Atlantic against Cathal Armstrong, of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, VA.,  RJ Cooper of Vidalia in DC, Maricel Presilla of Cucharamamama in Hoboken, NJ and Frank Ruta of Palena, also in DC. Garces’ star continues to rise—with the help of his agent Clare Pelino—he’s inked a deal on a cookbook, working title Latin Evolution, encompassing the cuisines of Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador (his roots) and Peru. And his brand new Basque-inspired tapas and wine bar Tinto (114 S. 20th St., 215-665-9150) is already going gangbusters—you even have to reserve a seat at the bar. He plans to open a Spanish steakhouse in his hometown of Chicago later this year, along with another Philly spot in West Philly next year, Chilango, a Mexican concept.

Easter Options
Not in the mood for ham on Easter Sunday? Three Main Line restaurants are serving their regular menu the evening of April 8. Basil Bistro in Paoli serves its usual of Italian influenced contemporary American cuisine, including specialties such as sausage and pepper pizza and Maine lobster ravioli in a rose Diablo sauce. At Nectar, sushi and boldly flavored Asian-fusion cuisine is the order of the day, and at Tango in Bryn Mawr, with its view of the Main Line train, modern American fare includes miso-glazed Chilean sea bass and cashew-crusted salmon with vegetable orzo.  Basil Bistro, 522 King Rd., Paoli, 610-647-1500; Nectar, 1091 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, 610-725-9000; Tango, 39 Morris Ave., Bryn Mawr, 610-526-9500.

Chef Shuffle

Anthony Bonett, who most recently served as executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, will handle day-to-day culinary operations at Alison at Blue Bell while Alison Barshak concentrates on opening Alison two, coming to Ft. Washington this spring. The pair opened Striped Bass together in 1994. Alison at Blue Bell, 721 Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA, 215-641-2660.

Chef Anthony Goodwin has exited Bliss, which was recently taken over by Chris Dhimitri. No word yet on where previous chef Francesco Martorella will land. Bliss, 220 S. Broad St., 215-731-1100.

Pamela Bower, previously of Le Bec-Fin, is the new manager at XIX Nineteen Restaurant, which also welcomes Scott Turnbull, formerly of Striped Bass, as sommelier. XIX Nineteen Restaurant, Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, 200 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, 215-790-1919.

Brian Duffy is now corporate executive chef for Kildare’s, overseeing six locations of the privately owned Irish pub. Duffy cooks what he calls “New Celtic” cuisine. Kildare’s was ranked one of the region’s 100 fastest growing, privately held companies in 2006. Kildare’s, 509 S. Second St., #501, Philadelphia, 215-574-2995; 4417 Main St., Manayunk, 215-482-7242; 18 W. Gay St., West Chester, 610-431-0770; 826 W. Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, 610-337-4772.

Chef David Katz (Restaurant M) is once again without a kitchen. The deal he was putting together with investor Andrew Krouk at 24th and Locust fell through. Back to the drawing board.

Jesse Vega, last of Gigi in Old City, will soon head up the kitchen at Azul, a Mexican eatery opening in early March at 10th and Spruce. Owner is George Markakis, who owned Gigi before expanding into Midtown Village.

Joseph Dougherty, formerly of Wilmington's Hotel Du Pont, is now in the kitchen at the new Bistro M in Berwyn. Dougherty is putting out New American cuisine at the BYOB, which is attached to Murray's Deli. Bistro M, 575 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, 610-644-1010.

From Philly to NYC to AC. That’s the path for Michael Schulson, who first honed his skills with modern Asian cuisine at Pod in University City, before opening Starr’s Manhattan version of Buddakan. He’s now at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, where he’s opening a mod Japanese restaurant with a nightlife component. It’s in the space formerly taken up by Susanna Foo's Suilan. The Borgata Resort and Casino, 1 Borgata Way, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J. 609-317-1000.

New Gigi executive chef Jesse R. Vega may just be the youngest top toque in town. Hired at 21 (he just turned 22), Vega hails from Queens, N.Y., and spent time in the Hamptons before moving to Philly, where he cooked at Alma de Cuba, among others. Gigi, 319 Market St., Philadelphia, 215-574-8880.

Ben McNamara, last of New Wave Café is now in the kitchen at St. Stephen’s Green in Fairmount. St. Stephen’s Green, 1701 Green St., Philadelphia, 215-769-5000.

Brendan Smith has traded the kitchen at the Kimmel Center's Cadence restaurant for the hot spot as executive chef at Smith & Wollensky. Smith & Wollensky, The Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, 215-545-1700.

More of an owner-shuffle really, at Matyson’s where half-owners Matt and Sonjia Spector have sold their stake in the New American restaurant located just off Rittenhouse Square, and plan a move west. Ben Puchowitz, Matt's cousin and sous chef Brian Lofink are in charge, with Puchowitz' father, Butch, now the full owner. Matyson’s. 37 S. 19th St., Philadelphia, 215-564-2925.

The saga continues at Silk City Diner–last month saw David Katz (briefly) replacing Peter Dunmire, and then leaving–to be replaced most recently with Matt Ball, a veteran of Deuce and Aspen who will continue owner Mark Bee’s vision of comfort classics with a contemporary twist. Silk City was recently featured on the Food Network's “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.” Silk City Diner, 435 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, 215-592-8838.

Luis Melendez is no longer top toque at Gigi. Young chef Jesse Richard Vega is now in the kitchen. Gigi, 319 Market St., Philadelphia, 215-574-8880.

Chef Joe Poon returns to the Philly dining scene after a one-year sabbatical. Although he’s using his former restaurant at 1010 Cherry St. for private events, Poon is again conducting his popular “Wok ‘N Walk Tours of Chinatown,” teaching cooking classes, hosting private parties and cooking demonstrations. For information, call 215-500-9774 or visit www.josephpoon.com

Dung K. “Kim” Dang is the new chef at Ly Michael's, across from the convention center. Owners Buu Ly and Michael Ly brought Billy Wong (Taste, Billy Wong’s) in as a partner, and the restaurant is now serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Dang is taking her first turn as a restaurant chef–she was a home cook in her native Vietnam. Pho is a specialty. Ly Michaels, 101 N. 11th St., Philadelphia, 215-922-2688.

Brenton Wallace, formerly of Serrano, is the new top toque at Loie Brasserie & Bar near Rittenhouse Square. Loie Brasserie & Bar, 128 S. 19th St., Philadelphia, 215-568-0808.

Chef/owner David Ansill has taken over behind the line at Ansill, covering for chef Kibett Mengech who had a disagreement with management and decided to find employment elsewhere.


Eric Ripert
, the well-regarded chef of Manhattan’s Le Bernardin, is the toque behind an informal concept coming to The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia in the spring of 2008.  The still unnamed restaurant will be an addition to the existing Grill, set in the hotel's sweeping lobby, with its 140-foot high ceiling modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, 10 Ave. of the Arts, Philadelphia, 215-523-8000.

After 15 years at Philadelphia Fish & Co., sous chef Robert Pratt is crossing the Delaware to work in the Meeker’s other restaurant, Cork Restaurant, along with executive chef Sae An. His eponymous dish, “Robert's Cheddar Grits” will not only stay on the menu at Philly Fish–but be added to Cork’s line up as well.


Anthony Bonnet
, who used to work at Philadelphia Fish & Co., just left The Oceanaire Seafood Room on Washington Square. Stephen Christenson is standing in as exec for now.


It’s old home week at Gioia Mia, with the addition of maitre’d Maximo Baez Berg.  The suave Maximo used to work with chef Fabrizio Pace and co-owner Peter Kokalari at their old haunt, La Veranda.


Rob Boone is the new chef de cuisine at Striped Bass.  Boone has worked with Charlie Trotter and Norman Van Aken.

Michael Powers is the new head toque at Public House Logan Square. He was formerly corporate chef for Brandywine Heritage Restaurants.  Public House, 2 Logan Square, 587-9040.

Avalon, the new modern American eatery outside of downtown West Chester, has brought David Kiser onboard as executive chef. Kiser’s resume includes stints at Street Bistro in Lambertville, N.J., and Les Copains in Princeton. Kiser’s global experience includes studying at Cordon Bleu in Paris. Avalon Restaurant, 312 South High St., West Chester, 610-436-4100, www.avalonrestaurant.org.

Darryl Harmon, an alumnus of the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, is the new executive chef at the Water Works Restaurant. Augustine Cubero, who has worked the front of the house at Le Bec-Fin and The Ritz Carlton, is the new dining room manager. Water Works Restaurant, 640 Water Works Dr., Philadelphia, 215-236-9000.

Jason Goodman, formerly of Circa, Novelty and Next, is the new chef at Meritage in Center City. Meritage, 20th & Lombard Sts., Center City, 215-985-1922.

Pond Restaurant

Maximo Baex Berg, a longtime fixture as a fine dining maitre’d around town, is now taking care of guests at Pond Restaurant in Radnor. Berg, whose resume includes stints at the Waldorf in New York, The Ritz in Philly and Frederick’s, specializes in tableside preparation, including flaming desserts. He’s also an accomplished baker, and is supplying Pond with custom-made cakes for special events. Pond just celebrated its first anniversary this month, with chef Abde Dahrouch commemorating the occasion with a special French-Moroccan tasting menu. Pond Restaurant, 175 King of Prussia Rd., Radnor, 610-293-9411.

Chef Michael Suminski is now in the kitchen at the newly renovated Ortlieb's Jazzhaus in Northern Liberties, which is under new ownership. Look for Cajun menu items along with plenty of comfort food. Ortleib’s Jazzhaus, 847 N. Third St., Philadelphia, 215-922-1035.

Closings

Alex Long, the upscale Chinese restaurant in the Wynnewood Shopping Center in Wynnewood, has closed.

Ludwig's Garten, the funky German eatery and beer hall at 1315 Sansom St., has closed. Time, from the owners of Vintage, will open in the space in early spring, serving traditional American fare and featuring an extensive beer list.

Vickers Tavern in Exton is now shuttered.

Owner Marvin Finkelstein is closing the South Street area Phila-Deli after 32 years. The building has been sold.

Lakeside Chinese Deli–arguably the best place for dim sum in town–has closed.  Chef/owner Brenda Leung is retiring after 19 years.

The rumor is finally confirmed. Washington Square, the Starr restaurant that opened in 2004 with Marcus Samuelsson in the kitchen, is shuttered until at least spring 2008. The restaurant will reopen with a new name and concept–possibly Indian.

Butcher's Cafe in South Philly has closed. Chef Todd Bergman will be cooking at New Wave Café at 3rd and Catherine Street, Philadelphia, 215- 922-8484.

Crescent City, the terrific New Orleans’ eatery on South Street, is sadly closed.

Chef-owner Todd Lean shuttered his (briefly) opened Old City Italian, Mandoline. He is now the executive chef at Deuce in Northern Liberties. Deuce, 1040 North Second St., North Liberties, 215-413-3822.

Monte Carlo Living Room, a longtime staple on South Street, is no more. Monte Carlo Living Room, 50 South St., Philadelphia, 215- 925-2220.

Center City’s Independence Brew Pub adjacent to the Reading Terminal Market closed its doors for good–or more accurately, was evicted–done in by $43,000 a month rent and owing big bucks to building-owner The Redevelopment Authority. Independence Brew Pub, 150 Filbert St., Philadelphia, 215-922-4292.

Pif in South Philly served its last dinner on July 14, aka Bastille Day. Chef/owner David Ansill is putting all his eggs into one basket, his newer, larger place, Ansill. Ansill, 627 S. Third St., Philadelphia, 215-627-2485.

M Restaurant at the Morris House, the Washington Square New American restaurant, closed due to a lack of business. The space will be used by the Morris House Hotel for private catering events.

Astral Plane, a 34-year-old Center City institution, closed its doors July 1.

Le Jardin at the Art Alliance has closed its doors. Owner Athmane Kabir, who filed for bankruptcy three years ago, sold his other restaurant, La Boheme, to Caribou Café owner Olivier de St. Martin.

¡Pasión!, the Guillermo Pernot–owned Nuevo Latino in Center City, closed June 2 due to a lack of business. Pernot hasn’t been in the kitchen for a while, working instead as a consulting chef with Cuba Libre restaurants. No word on what to do with those pesky gift certificates.

The Table is shuttered after less than six months on South Street. The Table, 223 South St., Philadelphia, 215-627-4307.

Cherry Street Vegetarian in Chinatown has closed its doors after 15 years. Cherry Street Vegetarian, 1010 Cherry St., 215-923-3663.

Zanzibar Blue has closed its doors after more than 16 years of delivering great jazz and American cuisine. Zanzibar Blue, 200 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.

La Vigna, a sweet little Italian spot in Queen Village, is no more. La Vigna, 1100 Front St., Philadelphia.

Shula’s Steak House has served up its last piece of filet, with Phillips Seafood, out of Maryland, taking over its space at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel. Shula's Steak House, 201 N. 17th St. (Race St.), Philadelphia, 215-448-2700.

Bertucci's at 1515 Locust St. is no more.

The eclectic (too eclectic?) Black Door at 627 S. 2nd St. is finito.

Next BYOB on South Street is shuttered, with the Medi-accented The Table recently taking its place.

CULINARY EVENTS
Want to
learn to cook? Try new dishes? Meet a foodie friend for fun? Check out our compilation of culinary events in your area.

(Updated: 11/08/10 CT)

RESTAURANT AWARDS 2014

Check out the 2014 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue, which features the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., Rising Chefs and more.