In what seems to be the never ending quest to take a bite out of OpenTable (remember CityEats?), a new reservations app came to town today. Reserve rolled out in Philadelphia with more than 20 of city’s best restaurants onboard. Reserve is also in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. The service is free to restaurants and to users for the first six weeks. After that, Reserve will charge diners a $5 concierge fee per reservation. Reserve customers are also required to leave a review before they can reserve a second meal.
New Menus And A New Season At Volver
Here's a first look at the full 12-course tasting menu to get you ready.
Bud and Marilyn’s Opening Menus
What you'll be eating at Turney and Safran's latest.
Santucci’s Coming to North Broad
Square pies for everyone.
50 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia
Nick Elmi's Laurel is number one.
With everyone else headed back to school this week, we got to thinking. You know what we haven’t done in a while? Gotten together with the crew from COOK and planned out a new semester of their COOK Masters program.
For those of you who maybe haven’t heard of this before, here’s how it works. The COOK Masters program is an intensive, nine-week professional course that meets once a week (generally Mondays, though a couple of Tuesdays as well) for personal instruction in basic and advanced cooking techniques taught by some of the biggest names in town. We’re talking Peter Woolsey from Bistrot La Minette (and La Peg) doing sauces, Heather Thomason from Kensington Quarters showing you how to break down whole pigs, Vedge’s Rich Landau educating you on the basics of vegan food. No, seriously. Rich Landau–one of the best and most respected vegan restauranteurs in the country. And he’s going to hang out with you for an afternoon to talk about cooking with vegetables.
And the best part? It’s all free.
In case you haven’t noticed, everyone is going back to school right now. Colleges, high schools, all those other schools full of tiny people with giant backpacks. And in order to smooth the transition between the carefree days of summer and all this nonsense with books and #2 pencils, Jake’s Sandwich Board in University City is offering some killer back-to-school deals (and something to do with some guy with a goofy hat who’s coming to town at the end of September).
But Tuesday isn’t the only day that Bufad offers something special. On Wednesdays, the 13th and Spring Garden Street pizza spot is offering Meatless Midweek. For $35 a couple, you get a four-course dinner to share.
Joncarl Lachman’s Restaurant Neuf is set to open on Wednesday, September 16th if all goes well. And on Tuesday, September 8th, Lachman and Best of Philly winning bartender, Jesse Cornell (who will be the head man at Neuf) are offering a preview at American Sardine Bar.
Cornell will be testing out several cocktails including a Cynar Sour and a riff on a cognac French 75. While the wine will feature Southern French and even Moroccan offerings, Cornell will play around with French spirits and herbs and spice blends that will also be in the food, but he doesn’t want to get boxed in too much by those ingredients.
A couple weeks back, we got the chance to bop over to Volver and sit in on one of their menu testing sessions for the new season. It was a pretty cool experience (read: super-cool, and basically one of my favorite parts of this job–getting to witness the way chefs think and work when they’re not in the thick of service), and also represented our first look at what the menu at Volver might look like in this new season.
Well now, with the scheduled resumption of service set for Wednesday night, we have the full menu for you to look at.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 1st, Cooper River Distillers is going to be distributing its Single Run Series Whiskey outside of the distillery for the first time. 22 bottles of the whiskey will make their way to Benash Liquors in Cherry Hill (2405 Route 38).
It is the third run Cooper River has done of whiskey and it is distilled from a base of locally brewed beer. In this case, the whiskey is distilled from Saint Benjamin’s Foul Weather Jack English Mild. We were lucky to get a taster of an earlier Single Run whiskey (made with Saint Benjamin’s IPA) and were very impressed with the results.
Cooper River’s Single Run Whiskey is the first whiskey that has been distilled, aged, and sold in New Jersey in a long time, perhaps even since Prohibition.
But with just 22 bottles in this run, it won’t last long.
Cooper River Distillers [Foobooz]
Gene Giuffi’s Square Pie takes over their recently closed Cochon location as of tomorrow. Yesterday the ovens made the short move from the west side of 6th and Catharine Streets to the corner of Passyunk and Catharine.
If all goes well, the Best of Philly winner for new pizzeria will be back in business tomorrow for lunch.
Square Pie [Official]
The Community College of Philadelphia is offering classes on how to own and operate a food truck. The course, Mobile Food Management: Introduction to Food Entrepreneurship, begins on Wednesday, September 2nd and according to CCP, it is the only such course offered by an accredited institution anywhere in the United States.
The course is broken down into three sections, each costing $249.
I remember doing the numbers for an essay a while back and counting something in the neighborhood of 80 notable restaurant openings during 2014. This was just places we knew about, opened by known chefs or talented newcomers, expansions of successful enterprises, or big-money additions to the scene. Eighty of them, give or take a few.
That’s a lot of restaurants, I recall thinking. Probably too many.
The city’s restaurant scene was expanding at a rate that was unsustainable. It had been for months, maybe years. And all of us out there who keep track of such things knew the bubble had to burst soon, because the Philly restaurant biome was all out of whack. Every city has a carrying capacity for restaurants — a kind of ideal balance between available tables and people willing to fill them — and our scene had suddenly become far too rich. There were more seats than there were butts to fill them. Read more »