No Bells for Ardmore’s The Saint James – Is Location to Blame?


Craig LaBan smashes The Saint James in Ardmore with a stinging no-bell review. Plates were dropped with regularity,the meat was over-cooked and salads were under seasoned. Is the problem, the location?

Finding skilled restaurant workers in the burbs is “painful,” says Schulson, whose Saint James kitchen had an 85 percent turnover in the first three months. But the problem is as much economic as geographic, he concedes, with line-cook wages only barely above what some say they’d receive in unemployment compensation. The culinary passion that drives many young chefs through that rite of passage is especially scarce outside the city. But given that Moon told me “only the sous-chef and a dishwasher” remained in his kitchen since my final visit, just a week before our conversation, I’d suggest that a pay increase is in order. Or perhaps these owners just aren’t cut out for multiple restaurants.

No Bells – Poor

The Saint James [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The Saint James [Official Site]

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  • Lisa Grimm

    I don’t buy the location as the main problem; Tired Hands is doing great stuff just around the corner, and you get excellent food and service much further out at Teresa’s Next Door, TJ’s, etc. – it sounds like they may need to take some notes from them. Much as I’d love a real restaurant I can walk to, it sounds like it will be a while before I try this one.

  • Helen

    They should have left Victoria’s Secret alone there

  • hhkal

    Blackfish, Fuji, Nectar, Zeppoli, Yangming, etc. Stop blaming the burbs Saint James folks. Yeesh!

    Oh, and Citron & Rose is likely going to get 3 bells. We’ll probably find out in the next month or so.

  • dan marco

    according to Schulson he doesn’t pay his staff enough…

  • vfiorillo

    I dunno. Even though Michael told me I wasn’t welcome in his restaurant, I had two pretty good meals there. Certainly not zero bell material, from what I observed and ate.

  • phillychef

    when you hire a meat cook that is clearly overqualified and he comes in and shows he is what his resume said he would it would be wise to pay the man and not lose him over a couple dollars. No wonder the rest of the kitchen soon left after that first departure. Saint James should be a great place with great food. But when you find good cooks you have to pay them. Especially when your doing 200+ covers a night on slow nights like saint james did when opening!

  • candace

    if the food sucks, you blame the chef. he’s the one who takes the credit when it’s good, right? unless you’re a cunt like Schulson, then you blame the cooks.