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Welcome back students. You’ve been away for the summer but the never slowing beat of Philadelphia’s restaurant and bar scene has continued to march forward. All week we’ll be highlighting University City.

Here’s a look at what’s new, what’s opening soon and where to find some deals. Check back later today for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to a University City Restaurant.

What’s New

Back when you were studying for finals, City Tap House opened in the Radian complex. The beer selection has been awe inspiring and the food has far exceeded expectations, especially the large salads and solid pizzas. Over the summer City Tap House added Sunday brunch and before you know it, it will be cool enough to take advantage of those fire pits.

The nationwide trend of high-end food trucks has hit Philadelphia as well. University City has always had a plethora of wheeled choices and they’ve grown over the summer. In fact A&M Halal’s (Between Market and Chestnut, between 31st and 32nd) was featured on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

This past weekend Local 44 began offering weekend brunch. The regular menu has been overhauled as well with the help of Memphis Taproom’s Jesse Kimball.

What’s Opening Soon

Perhaps you’ve made it down to Tria, the wine bar off Rittenhouse Square and on the corner of 12th and Spruce Streets. Well now Tria’s “fun little cousin,” Biba is set to debut on Walnut Street in the Left Bank building. The distraction free zone (no wi-fi, no TVs, no Wii) will offer 26 wines and 10 beers by the glass.

Baby Blues BBQ has hit the legendary mark on the West Coast with branches in Venice Beach, West Hollywood and San Francisco. The first East Coast location will be on Sansom Street in the former home of the Bubble House. The restaurant is hoping to be smoking by the end of the year.

Iron Chef Jose Garces is adding to his empire with JG Domestic in the Cira Centre next to 30th Street Station. The restaurant won’t be all-local but it will be 100% American, focusing on smaller producers nationwide who deserve a larger stage. Look for it in the first days of October.

Deals

Foobooz loves deals and we recently added a ton of University City offerings to our Recession Specials. Check out our happy hours with food to ensure you don’t break out the emergency ramen.

For example, every Tuesday after 9pm Stephen Starr’s Pod is offering all-you-can-eat sushi for $25. Add a carafe of sake for just $8 more.