Bobby Flay needs no introduction. This one-man American food institution is opening Bobby’s Burger Palace, his first Philly restaurant, in UCity today, with a menu of regional toppings to create different burgers. (The sweet potatoes fries are killer, too.) We caught up with him during opening week madness to find out just how much he loves Philly.
On choosing Philadelphia for a Bobby’s Burger Palace: I love the camaraderie of Philadelphia. The chefs are all close-knit and have been very kind to me. I love the people of Philly. They’re authentic and passionate, and they’ve shown me a lot of love over the years. And it was time to open up a BBP in a city; all of them until now have been suburban.
On his favorite food cities outside of New York: There are so many great food cities in America. I love Charleston — they have great local flavor. Louisiana has a spot in my heart. The Cuban food in south Florida. Cities all over the southwest. San Francisco. And Philly has plenty of great restaurants, too. Marc Vetri is the best Italian chef in America right now.
On his love of regional cuisines: I truly believe America has the best food in the world. But it needs to be promoted. There are great pockets of regional food that need to be exposed on a national and international level. The local ingredients can tell you so much about a place and its people.
On the hamburger: It’s an easy way to explore the diversity of flavors that exist in this country. And the burger is such a casual food that a lot of people enjoy.
On his favorite burger at BBP: The L.A. Burger, crunchified. We offer the option of putting thin potato chips on our burgers, and the contrast in textures is wonderful.
On chefs he admires: Wolfgang Puck, for me, is the most important American chef. He changed how we look at food in this country. He showed that you can put smoked salmon on a pizza and it can still be delicious. He showed us that great food doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy.
Bobby’s Burger Palace, 3925 Walnut Street, 215-387-0378, bobbysburgerpalace.com.