Eat This Now: 100-Day Dry-Aged Rib Eye at Kensington Quarters

Photo by Jen Bragan

A couple months ago, someone asked chef Damon Menapace if he’d ever heard of anyone dry-aging a steak for 100 days.

And okay, so to a normal person, that might be a weird question. But Menapace is the chef at Kensington Quarters — a restaurant that takes meat very seriously. So Menapace thought about it. He researched a little. And while 20, 30, even 40 days of dry-aging is not uncommon, things get a little weird when you get north of that.

60 days? That’s serious. 70 days, 80 days and you’re talking only about obsessives, experimenters and restaurants doing them on special order. But 100 days? That’s unicorn country.

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Starr and Olexy: We Only Paid to Make Wage Case Go Away

Left: Aimee Olexy (Talula’s Garden/Facebook). Center: The interior of Talula’s Garden (photo via Starr Restaurants). Right: Stephen Starr (photo by Jacqueline Larma/AP).

Yesterday, Foobooz reported that a yearlong U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that Talula’s Garden, Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy’s farm-to-table eatery, had violated minimum wage, overtime, and record keeping laws after a former employee filed a complaint alleging that he and other staffers had been made to work off the clock.

Today, Washington Square Restaurant Partners — the formal name of Talula’s Garden — sent us the following statement.  Read more »

Palizzi Social Club Just Might Be the Hardest Table to Score in America

Photo by Jason Varney

Palizzi Social Club hasn’t added any new members since landing on Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants list. The reason why — presumably — was to keep it honest. Palizzi, since its inception a century ago, was a club strictly for Philadelphians (sure, Italian-expats-only at first, but, over the years, its grown to accept members from all backgrounds), and club president, owner, and chef Joey Baldino wants to keep it that way. Bon App readers visiting Philly for a weekend, buying memberships for one night, and leaving the next just doesn’t fit the Palizzi model.

It’s been nearly two months of no-new-memberships, but the club still manages to draw national appeal. Today, Esquire included it as an honorable mention on its list of the 18 Best New Restaurants in America — even though you might have to know somebody who knows somebody to get in.  Read more »

Talula’s Garden Must Pay Nearly $400K for Labor Violations

Talula’s Garden owners Aimee Olexy (left), Stephen Starr (right)

It’s one of the dark secrets of the restaurant industry that cooks and other staffers are often made to do prep work — the peeling, chopping, and other tasks in the kitchen and dining room that must be done for a successful night’s service — off the clock, hours before their paid shift officially starts.

We reported last year that one Philly restaurant — Talula’s Garden, co-owned by Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy — was being investigated for these unscrupulous practices.

And now, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor has found that Talula’s Garden violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act relating to overtime, minimum wage, and record keeping for making line cooks, bartenders, and servers work off the clock.

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Noord’s Joncarl Lachman Joins M Restaurant

Joncarl Lachman/Facebook

Joncarl Lachman, chef-owner of Noord in East Passyunk and co-owner of Pennsport’s The Dutch, is adding to his already prodigious work schedule.

He’ll assume responsibilities at M Restaurant in Washington Square West, which is located in the historic 18th-century Morris House Hotel.

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South Philly Meatball Contest Ends in Vegan Meatball Controversy

Meatball contest founder Michael Strauss with competitor Jena Taylor.

In most places around the country, a fun, community-based meatball contest would be the source for a few laughs, some neighborly connection, and maybe some light-hearted smack talk. But in Philadelphia — South Philadelphia, specifically — things just can’t be that easy. Read more »

Cheu Noodle Bar, Wiz Kid Pull Out of Whole Foods

There’s no doubt that the Cheu brand is a winning concept. Shawn Darragh and Ben Puchowitz struck gold when they opened their inauthentic-by-design ramen bar in Washington Square West. In fact, it was the restaurant’s sheer popularity that attracted Whole Foods in the first place when it was still in the planning stages of its now-year-old Rodin Square location.

But Cheu isn’t exactly an easy operation to run, especially when the space wasn’t designed around the concept like it was in WashWest and, as of July, in Fishtown. Everything’s scratch-made on premises, which is a tough thing for a burn-and-turn quick-serve food stall.

So, today, the guys announced via Cheu’s Instagram that they’ll be closing their Whole Foods outpost for good on Sunday, October 22nd, because “operationally, it wasn’t a food fit.”

Here’s what that means:  Read more »

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