Bierstube Coming To Old City

The Germans are coming!

And they’ll be bringing a meaty addition to the food scene in this town that’s already getting fat like good pork with Bierstube, set to open at 206 Market Street. When? We’re not exactly sure. But if their recent Craigslist call-for-staff is any indication, it won’t be long before there’s more schnitzel, bratwurst and some Weihenstephaner in town.

I guess Stephen Starr’s Frankford Hall and South Street’s German beer hall Brauhaus Schmitz (not to mention Garces’ upcoming Frohman’s Wursthaus) were on to something. Now they’ll have competition.
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Bridgid’s in Fairmount Ups Its Game

For more than 20 years, Bridgid’s in Fairmount has been a neighborhood place with fine, though not remarkable, food. It was also the first place – and still the only one in Philly – to pour Yards through its gravity tap. But now, in the wake of the foodaphilia currently gripping Philadelphia, a decision has been made to develop the food side of things.

Over the past few months, the restaurant’s interior has been redone. The menu has been changed and new chef, Dave Clarke (former sous at Morimoto and exec sous at Osteria–which is a damn fine resume for a guy running the line at a neighborhood joint), has taken over ops in the kitchen.

“We decided to renovate now because we feel that the Art Museum area is really coming into its own,” said Chris Ryan (son of Bridgid’s owner, who also happens to be named Chris Ryan). “We want to be a part of this.”

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Local 44 Expanding in West Philly

I’ll take a pint of the Cantillon Brewery’s traditional Lambic Lou Pepe and Highway 61 Revisited.

Okay, so that’s not exactly what you will be able to do at The Bottle Shop at Local 44 in West Philly (44th and Spruce), when it opens this spring as part of a Local 44 expansion. But the vision of owner Brendan Kelly is that his 400-plus bottle shop will be like a record store for the world’s top quality microbrews and craft beers, vintage and rare.

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One More For Fairmount: BlueCat Coming Soon(ish)

BlueCat. That’s a not a jazz reference, it’s the name of the new, casual, 35-seat casual Latin-inspired operation that’s coming to Fairmount in late 2012 at the intersection of Fairmount Avenue and Uber Street. Chef-owner Guy Shapiro (ex of Wildflower in New Jersey) and his wife Luli Canuso have lived in the area for years, and so have been front-row spectators to the sudden restaurant boom hitting the neighborhood. With the profile of the area steadily rising, they decided that the time was now to get in on the good times.

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Grill Fish Opening in January

Freshly back from an August voyage to his homeland of Vietnam, Benny Lai (owner of  Chinatown’s Vietnam and West Philly’s Vietnam Café) is poised to open a third location. The new restaurant will be called Grill Fish Café and it will live in the original Vietnam Café location at 814 S. 47th Street, completing his trifecta. The opening date is set for January 14th.

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Lemon Hill Has An Opening Date

No, not this Lemon Hill.

Remember back a couple weeks ago when we first heard about the new project going into the former (not so) Lucky 7 space in Fairmount? Back when we thought (oh-so-briefly…) that the new concept moving in was going to be called Biddle?

Yeah, well shortly after that we discovered that someone had been premature with the naming and that the place was not, in fact, going to be saddled with that too-cutesy moniker. We were hoping it would be called Welsh & Prensky’s Chicken ‘n Whiskey after partners Mike Welsh (of Franklin Mortgage) and Mitch Prensky (of Supper), but that didn’t fly either. The official name–Lemon Hill–was revealed a few days later, but now we have a few more details, including an opening date.

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McKenna’s Cleans Up, Becomes Brown St. Pub

For years, McKenna’s Irish Pub at 24th and Brown in Fairmount has been known as a local bar, with a sometimes less-than-stellar reputation.

But two weeks ago–after months of literal and figurative housecleaning–owner Mike Hoffner changed the name of the place to Brown St. Pub and reinvented the place with a new crew (Hoffner had sacked most of the old staff over the past four months), and new chef (Bill Elmer, former exec at The Penthouse Club, and sous at Waterworks) and a new menu that shifted focus from the deep-fried to the fresh.
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Steak Frites and Chocolate Manhattans at Gemelli

Now that summer vacation is over and Main Street Manayunk foot traffic is back in full swing, Gemelli’s on Main has a two-pronged tactic for getting into the pockets of those crowds. First, they have a new weekend lunch menu. Second, they’re mixing whiskey with chocolate.

On the menu are appetizers like butternut squash soup with cinnamon-apple coulis, and the Vitello Tonnato with tuna tartare, crispy veal sweetbreads and tonnato sauce. The kitchen is also doing mussels (in a classic garlic, tomato and white wine broth), omelets, french toast, a burger, a roast pork sandwich, steak frites and their namesake pasta (gemelli) with a lamb bolognese, chickpeas and cherignola olives.

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Carlino’s Has A Cookbook

Rustic Italian recipes are twined throughout the life story of Angela Carlino–matriarch of the Carlino clan who operate the eponymous Carlino’s Markets in Ardmore and West Chester. And now, those stories (and those recipes) are being made public with the publication of Wanna Taste?, a new cookbook.

Co-authored by her grandchildren, Angela and Nick Carlino, and Lisa Loeb (no, not that one), the book was released on November 4–Angela Carlino’s birthday. Hundreds of people packed the Ardmore store to attend a party being thrown to celebrate the publication, and to sample come of the book’s recipes. Coincidentally, Nov. 4 is also the day Grandma Carlino died, four years ago, on her 70th. It was also just a couple days after the family had opened the West Chester store (their second).

“It’s something she always wanted to do herself,” said Angela Carlino, granddaughter of said matriarch. “This will continue her legacy.”

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