Gordon Ramsay Coming to Town

Gordon Ramsay and his Kitchen Nightmares TV show is coming to town next week. He’ll be filming at East Passyunk’s Chiarella’s from November 8th to 11th and at West Philadelphia’s Zocalo from the 12th to the 15th.

What strikes us about these two choices are that they actually seem salvageable, unlike potato based restaurants by first-time restaurateurs. Chiarella’s has been on Passyunk since 1970. They have perseverance on their side and that block of Passyunk is as hot for restaurants as any in Philadelphia.

Zocalo has long frustrated us. It is an attractive corner spot on a clean block on Lancaster Avenue and there’s even a nice outdoor patio. If only someone could raise its food above mediocre. Maybe Gordon Ramsey and his spit and vinegar can have a lasting impact.

To see how nice looking Zocalo really is, check out Google’s Restaurant View. Google just rolled out this feature yesterday and Zocalo is the first local restaurant we’ve seen using it.

Google Restaurant View


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  • rory

    sweet god, use spellcheck. “Novemer” and “Chirella”

  • Steve

    Odd…I was just at Chiarella’s for the first time a week or two ago and had a fantastic meal there. I’ll be very interested to see what Ramsay has to say is wrong with the place because honestly I was very impressed (and this is coming from a stubborn Sicilian who is very picky about his Italian food)

  • Maria

    I agree with Steve.. I have always enjoyed Chiarella’s. Been there at least 5 times in the past year. Never had a bad meal. Interesting to watch.

  • Christine

    First off, Gordon and I will have to go our separate ways if he makes Zocalo look gross (which is customary for the show). I really like the food and love the margaritas (mmm tamarind). Second, they better not try to change the decor because it is a really nice restaurant (granted the bathroom needs help)! Come on, there are certainly worse places in Philly!

  • Mike

    I’m not that familiar with the show, or Chiarella’s, but it may not be entirely about the food. A 40 year old restaurant has different challenges than a new experiment. The avenue has changed a lot, and they face more and different competition. The older red gravy crowd is being replaced by younger professionals and hipsters.

    Look at its yelp page for example, there are only 10 reviews, where nearby competitors have far more.

  • barryg

    Chiarella’s only opened a few years ago.

    • Dandee601

      I know! Where did they get their facts? It has not been there since 1970! What a big screw up that was!

  • Sputnick

    Its not about the food with Chiarellas – look around at their competition! You can’t just have a boring sit-down place offering trad. red gravy anymore for those prices…sorry.

  • Server86

    I agree with Sputnick. In that area, you have to bring some level of innovation to distinguish yourself from the many other quality restaurants (including a lot of good, affordable ‘home cooking” Italian). In addition, with a menu of that size, I’d be surprised if Chiarellas is able to keep all of the ingredients fresh – it would seem a necessity to resort to frozen and/or prepackaged items. On the same note, food costs are also probably bogging to restaurant down. Not all of what Ramsey does has to do with fixing the food – a lot of what he provides to restaurant owners is the basics of running a small business (costs, pricing, staffing and training, etc.)

  • NEMESIS

    The real question is where Gordo and the crew will be drinking after the shoot is done. I believe that after shooting at Hot Potato they went drinking at El Camino Real.. So my money is on the Cantina.

  • Elisabeth

    I’m so glad Gordon is going to Zocalo. I live right next to it and pass by it at least twice a day, and I never see anyone in there. I have no idea how that restaurant is still open, unless it’s a mafia front.

    It’s absurdly expensive ($26 for mediocre enchiladas!), the menu is limited, the food is bland, and the service was sub-par (although, to give credit where it is due, the tamarind margaritas are pretty great). I’m very curious to see what Mr. Ramsey has to say about this restaurant.

  • no

    Wait, there’s a clean block of Lancaster Ave? I have to tell you, I tend to put that entire area on my personal no-fly zone.

  • Dustin

    Chiarello’s is way over priced for bland food. We went for a NYE dinner there one year. After taking forever, my “medium” filet came out well done as did everyone else that ordered one. Thank god it was a “special”, meaning especially pricey.

  • Angel B

    Who wrote this article? The place has only been open on the ave for a few years! Research before writing people.

  • Julie
  • MD Lang

    Enjoyed Zocalo early tonight… 5 PM dinner … Concert plans … Loved the staff… All the food was great except the most expensive item.. Wanted to create a little more fun to bring son’s girlfriend out of her quiet shell… That lava rock meal had very chewy awful meat… flavors were not good? I loved my tastes of my husbands food.. He didn’t like mine… Nobody at our table liked my entree… I was wishing I had chosen something else…
    I chose the Lava Entree to bring (lol anything to get to know son’s girlfriend) some fun to the table… I didn’t like what I got… Sorry…