Photo by Steve Legato
It was no surprise that the Navy Yard’s Saturday-night gate guard greeted my car with wry amusement. Given all the restaurants in all the neighborhoods of Philly, who picks one in a deserted office park half a forlorn mile from the nearest SEPTA station? I wish I could have seen him later when a sleek SUV limo rolled up, blinker flashing for Lo Spiedo.
The Vetri Family’s latest restaurant may profit most from its location at lunch, when this resurgent hub teems with some 11,500 workers. But it can also thank Uber, which no doubt delivered many of the customers who filled this stately brick building in after-dark Nowheresville with Center City-level weekend energy. Read more »
Juniper Commons | Photos by Michael Persico
At Juniper Commons, where old newspaper headlines paper two walls in a triumph of microfilm and selective memory, there’s electricity in the air.
E. GERMANY OPENS BORDERS
SURGERY OVER, REAGAN IN CHARGE
PHILLIES RULE THE WORLD
Lionel Richie’s on the radio — along with Air Supply and Hall & Oates, all those smooth synthesizers washing over the occasional drum-machine downbeat of early LL Cool J. Votive candles flicker in amber ashtrays beneath globe lights fed by telephone-coil wire, and the lounge area goes back to the future with wingback chairs out of the Jetsons’ living room. Read more »
Serpico photo courtesy of the anagramatic Mike Persico
There’s only so much a clean bathroom can tell you about a restaurant, but every now and then they speak volumes.
To face the poster of Olivia Newton-John wearing her “Physical” gear in the Juniper Commons men’s room is to know, conclusively, that there’s no escaping the 1980s there. The inexplicably unflattering powder-room lighting at the late, unlamented Avance — which had inherited perfectly good illumination from Le Bec-Fin — encapsulated the misguided priorities that sank the place. Even the community chalkboards lining Crow & The Pitcher’s facilities testify to that restaurant’s yearning to be adopted by a neighborhood that’s never really rallied behind a tenant at that address. (And where else but Miami Beach could have a setup like this?) Read more »
Kensington Quarters | Photo by Michael Persico
You walk by Bryan Mayer’s butcher case at Kensington Quarters, and you develop certain expectations about what awaits you in the dining room. These deepen as you pass the meat locker, a sauna-paneled light box punctuated by widescreen windows framing floodlit views of hanging hog carcasses. By the time you reach your seat (the chairs face butcherblock tabletops anchored to honest-to-God I-beams), there’s just no two ways about it: You’re in for meat haunches so stupendous, they apparently require structural-grade steel to hold them up. Read more »
Pasta at Il Pittore | Photo courtesy of Starr Restaurants
For all of Philadelphia’s culinary diversity — and from Bustleton Avenue’s new Moldovan spot to Indonesian fare in Point Breeze, we at Foobooz are big believers — this is still a city where Italian restaurants rule. Read more »
Photos by Courtney Apple
Everyone knows that opening a restaurant is the surest path to an empty checking account, but George and Jennifer Sabatino know better. For truly shredding your bankroll, nothing beats not opening a restaurant — as the couple spent an agonizing year doing before the first customers finally came to Aldine in October.
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Photo via Brigantessa
We expect a lot from restaurants these days. If they don’t transform liquids into powders or barrel-steep cocktails with homemade bitters, they’d better serve chickens that roamed freer than our children do. So when a forneria bowls you over even before the door whooshes shut as you enter, it’s time to ask what really matters most.
I’m not the only winter-bitten soul to feel that way crossing the threshold of Brigantessa, where great blasts of heat from a Vesuvian-ash pizza oven ripple along a bar teeming with platters of sausage-stuffed long hots and oil-poached swordfish and wood-grilled octopus salad. Chef Joe Cicala’s sophomore effort on Passyunk Avenue has been rollicking since it opened in October.
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You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it now: the Super Grain of the Future. Because the thing is, there’s a new one every season. One year’s quinoa becomes another year’s amaranth, which soon gets buried in chia seeds.
But for 2015, you could do a lot worse than injecting more teff into your friends’ diets.
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We do everything we can at Foobooz HQ to keep local eaters up to speed on everything that’s going on in the Philly food scene. But there are unexplored riches in the offline realm, too. So maybe it’s time to push past Bon Appetit and Lucky Peach and subscribe your favorite foodie to a magazine he’s never heard of but might totally dig. It’s a wide world out there, folks. Here are a few corners that are worth exploring:
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Dizengoff | Photos by Jason Varney
Okay, your beloved gourmet is now fitted out to whip up paella with a precision-weighed quantity of saffron and clean up afterward with minimal fuss. Now what she needs is a chance to get out of the house. And here’s where you should send her—because it’s where I wish people would take me: out to lunch.
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