Remember El Wingador? He’s Kickstarting a Philly Chicken Restaurant

Bill “El Wingador” Simmons (left)

However you feel about competitive eating, being a five-time champion of WIP’s “Wing Bowl” is something worth bragging about. And Bill “El Wingador” Simmons has never exactly shied away from publicity. He has a giant chicken costume. He has arrived in his chosen arena of gustatory combat by motorcycle. While doing time on a drug conviction, he started writing an autobiography (along with co-writer and business partner Joe Vallee) called Snow On The Barb Wire, and finished it once he got out.

And now, along with Vallee and Bob Silzle (a franchise expert who operated 29 Five Guys burger joints in and around Philly), he’s making a run at the restaurant business. Well, a second run, actually. But this time, he has a plan.

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Brian Duffy Out at Flying Fish Crafthouse

Okay, so one of the weirdest things about the Flying Fish Crafthouse when it opened with Spike TV’s Brian Duffy as a partner? The menu. It was full of things like “Duffified Wings,” “Funky Chicken Roulade” and burgers called “Stufz”.

There was something so goofy and so childish about it right from the start that it was difficult to take seriously and, on paper, looked just a couple steps removed from the Donkey Sauce and sparklers used by Guy Fieri at his Times Square restaurant.

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Where To Eat This Weekend: All-Houston Edition

Proceeds from the roasted veal loin with smoked carrot romesco, green onions, and hazelnuts at a.kitchen will go to the #chefs4Houston hurricane relief effort. a.kitchen/Twitter

We know that a lot of you are going to be out of the city this weekend. We know that most of you are already gone. But for those of you sticking around, we’re focusing this week’s Where To Eat on restaurants that are doing charity work for the people (and pets) of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

So let’s go do some good this weekend, huh? And we can start with…

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Sneak Preview: October Classes at COOK

Tomorrow, the October schedule for classes at COOK goes live. And they’ve got another packed month, with everyone from Bistro La Minette’s Kenny Bush and Damon Menapace from Kensington Quarters to the crews from Stockyard, Scarpetta and Fork.

As always, the best classes fill up fast. But you folks are getting an early look. So plan your schedule, make your choices and be ready to hit COOK’s website at 2 p.m. tomorrow with your credit card in hand.

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Out Of The Clear Blue Sky: Maison 208 Reviewed

Photo by Will Figg

Upstairs, in the second-floor lounge at Maison 208, everything is a disaster. Beautiful, sure. With the retractable roof peeled open in a way that seems to defy possibility and the room’s pale colors and decorative birdcage chandeliers all arranged like something out of an unreleased Wes Anderson short, it looks lovely. The most Manhattan-as-designed-by-someone-who-has-only-ever-been-to-Los-Angeles space imaginable. The most sleekly modern in a city that wears modern like an ill-fitting pair of shoes.

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It’s Almost Time For the 2017 Audi Feastival

Summer coming to an end is always a drag. But one of the few silver linings of the past few years has been that the end of summer also means that Feastival is on its way.

This year, it’s happening on Thursday, September 28th at the FringeArts theater and is being called “The Year of the Beard” — which, okay, is not the best name if you don’t know that this is referring to the multiple James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurateurs co-hosting this year’s event.

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KOP Is Getting a Second Fast Casual Indian Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Choolaah

With the recent opening of Philly favorite Tiffin at a shopping center less than a mile away from the King of Prussia Mall, the newest occupant of the KOP Town Center will make two fast-casual Indian operations in the area. Which is surprising only because, at the end of spring, there were zero.

But Choolaah Indian BBQ (part of a three-store chain based in Cleveland) is something different. It’s modern Indian. Healthy Indian. Indian made for our quick-serve age.

Which is why its so surprising to me to see those big tandoor ovens behind glass in the dining room.

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Philly Chefs Are Banding Together for Houston Flood Relief

Photo by David J. Phillip/AP

[UPDATED INFO AND WEEKEND EVENTS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST]

Just like the rest of us, chef Eli Kulp has been riveted by the images coming out of Texas and Louisiana over the past few days. The flooding there has been unlike anything seen before — a cataclysm that will take months to recover from. And just like the rest of us, Kulp was wondering what he could do to help.

His answer (like any chef’s answer would be): cook.

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It Looks Like Fitler Dining Room Is Closed

Fitler Dining Room marked a return to grown-up dining when it opened back in 2013. It has won some awards over its lifetime. Though it had some rough moments, it served a lot of friends and neighbors. And now it looks like it has closed.

But owners Ed Hackett and Dan Clark left a note promising “something new and fresh” coming to the space that once housed Melograno and Meme.

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Eat This Now: Sweet Corn Cachapas at Puyero

Photo courtesy of Puyero

We’ve been pretty excited about Puyero ever since it opened down on 4th Street in Queen Village. Back in June, we reviewed the place and gave it high marks for its arepas, chipotle ketchup, and cool, casual BYO vibe.

But now, they’ve taken a menu that was already stuffed with arepas, plantain sandwiches called patacones, fried cheese, and (more) plantain and added cachapas — a vital addition that comes straight from the roadside food stands of Venezuela.

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