What with Philly’s newly booming food scene, it makes sense that some of our more successful restaurateurs are taking a page from the Stephen Starr book of brand-building, expanding their neighborhood eateries into other cities. But while Starr remains firmly on familiar East Coast soil for now, today’s culinary cowboys are blazing western trails. To wit: This month, Jonathan Makar, owner of the cozy Rittenhouse hangout Snackbar, opens a second outpost off Hollywood’s Sunset Strip (adjacent to a new Urban Outfitters, another Philly-based success). "This restaurant has always been about the community, the neighborhood," Makar says. "I’m taking the new Snackbar to California because I just fell in love with that neighborhood. Weather’s pretty good, too." Also westward-bound is Jose Garces. The chef/owner of Amada, Tinto and Distrito took a baby step with Mercat a la Planxa in Chicago in March, and is planning a second Amada in Las Vegas’s Fontainebleau for 2010. Amada is "the best ambassador I could send to Las Vegas," he says, adding that he’s thinking the place will "stand out, even with all the other talent that city has to offer." We’re thinking Manifest Destiny has never been so easy to digest.
Pulse: Chatter: Westward, Ho(agie)
The Philly Food Scene Goes Bicoastal
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, December 2008