Varga Bar is hosting their annual Turkey Fry on Sunday Nov. 22 to kick-off Thanksgiving week. Otherwise known as that week where you can stuff your face every night and not feel bad about it.
Marc Vetri treated Tuesday like any other day. He spent his morning at Amis Trattoria on 13th Street, talking about the menu with the chef. Then he rolled over to Osteria on North Broad Street to do the same. Tonight, he’ll “roam around his restaurants” to make sure the vibe and the food are just right. Just like always.
But there’s little doubt that Tuesday is more than just another day. A day earlier, Vetri agreed to sell his family of restaurants to Urban Outfitters for an undisclosed price. In an interview Tuesday morning, Vetri said “we were never for sale” but that the synergy between the two companies was too strong to let the deal pass. Apart from the restaurant Vetri on Spruce Street, Urban now owns 100 percent of the business.
We were anticipating rolling out our Fast Casual Tracker today, before the bombshell news hit that Urban Outfitters had bought the Vetri Family of restaurants including Pizzeria Vetri. We imagined the big news for everyone’s first look at the Tracker would be that Honeygrow opened its seventh location today in University City at 3731 Walnut Street.
Well Honeygrow did open but the Vetri news got us shuffling our buzzy list before we even posted it.
So check it out, the Foobooz Fast Casual Tracker, your one-stop spot for the latest in Philadelphia’s increasingly crowded fast-casual dining scene.
Fast Casual Tracker [Foobooz]
Some restaurants host events every single week, but others wait until they’ve got something special going on; a distinctive bottle or two to open or some out-of-town visitors to fête. Such was the occasion last week at Townsend when the sweet spot on Passyunk hosted Sierra Foothills winemakers Caroline Hoel and Hank Beckmeyer from La Clarine Farm.
Natural to the core, these down to earth, yet broadly knowledgeable vintners waxed eloquent on their unorthodox grape blends and the exciting nature of natural winemaking. The biodynamic model of minimally invasive agriculture can be considered at best capricious, and at worst reckless, but is undoubtedly the cutting edge of wine culture internationally. Finding these dynamic, challenging (and often delicious) wines paired attentively and successfully with Townsend Wentz’s take on classic French cuisine was a pleasure.
Buckminster’s, The Little Bird Bakery and Cafe and Sabrina’s Cafe – Collingswood are all now open. Buckminster’s opened to a packed house last night, after an even more packed Saturday night preview party. You can check out the menu here but also worth noting, tap wine by the glass tops out at $7.50, the house gin-and-tonic is$5.50 and there’s even a sub-five dollar draft beer (Neshaminy Creek Cream Ale) on the list. It’s always nice to see a drink list with some value to it.
Today is the opening day for Jessica Nolen’s new bakery at 5th and Gaskill Streets, The Little Bird. Stop by for fresh baked croissants, muffins, pretzels and treats. Nolen is Jeremy Nolen’s (Whetstone and Brauhaus Schmitz) wife and also handles the baking for those restaurants. Get in soon to pre-order holiday pies, cakes and sweets.
Japanese sushi restaurant Zama announces a new tasting menu to premiere at their Rittenhouse Square location.
Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka is known for fusing Japanese culture and culinary traditions with modern, local flavors through his a la carte sashimi and extensive variety of sushi offerings. The new menu though? While there appears to be some room for Zama to slide in a few of his trademark tastes of Philly, the base of the huge, 9-course board is very traditional–offering everything from an opening-course namero (fish and herbs mixed with barley-miso and fermented sake paste) to ochazuke rice ball soup.
The new tasting menu will be offered for dinner every week Monday-Sunday at $125 per person–which might seem pricey until you take a look at what Zama is offering. The menu looks both expansive and kinda amazing.
And lucky for you, we’ve got a copy. Check out a sneak-peak at the opening version of the new tasting menu below.
With the parking garage housing Little Pete’s looking like it will someday become a Hyatt Centric hotel, the iconic 24-hour diner is officially looking to relocate. MSC Retail has put out the call in behalf of owner “Little Pete” Koutroubas, looking for a 1,800 to 3,000 square foot space with “strong daytime, evening and hotel population required.”
Have a space? You’d be a hero.
Marc Vetri’s Vetri Family of Restaurants has been sold to Urban Outfitters. The deal includes all of Vetri’s restaurant concepts, minus Vetri, but clearly the deal is about Pizzeria Vetri. Vetri’s casual pizza concept is already partnering with Urban to open in Austin, Texas and is in the planning stage to be part of Urban’s lifestyle village in Devon. The deal gives Pizzeria Vetri the backing to get big quick with Urban’s experience in rolling out concepts, albeit in fashion, not pizza.
We’ve officially entered countdown mode for the single biggest food holiday of the year. Order up that heritage breed turkey, figure out who’s responsible for the candied yams this year, and settle the debate of fresh vs. canned cranberry sauce, even if it requires a truce. Oh, and don’t forget to feed yourself something in the meantime.
Speaking of Fishtown and Will Reed, he’s picked up a fun event idea during his tenure as owner of Johnny Brenda’s. This Saturday, he hosts the 7th annual Wet Hop Rodeo and Ranchero Brunch, an homage to freshly harvested hops and foods presumably eaten by Texas cowboys and Mexicans. Because, you know, the first thing we all think about when harvesting hops is cowboys and Mexicans. Kind of sounds like the menu over at El Camino Real. Wonder if Will and Owen are friends…