Two Philly Chefs Join Forces Over a Wood-Fired Grill


A few months ago, Greg Vernick’s sous chef Dominic Piperno announced that he and his wife Lindsay would be opening their own restaurant in Collingswood, N.J. At the time, there was no name, no real details at all, just a general concept and an address: a fine-dining BYOB centered around a wood-fired grill.

Today, the chefs revealed their big plans for 801 Haddon Avenue.

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Foobooz After Dark: North & South – On Sale Now

Gottesman-Garbasz-Sbraga-940CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Yesterday, we announced our fourth Foobooz After Dark dinner. On Saturday, April 26th at 11:30 p.m., we’re taking the chef de cuisine from SBRAGA, Greg Garbasz, and transplanting him into The Fat Ham’s kitchen with chef de cuisine, Aaron Gottesman. They’ll be doing what they do best: Aaron showing off his Southern skills, and Greg doing some fancy Yankee stuff.

Remember, beer from Sixpoint Brewery and The Fat Ham’s signature cocktails will be pouring all night, so it’ll be lots of eating and lots of drinking–as is tradition for our After Dark dinners.

Take a look at the menu »

About Last Night: Sbraga vs. Sbraga At COOK


Last night was a special kind of night at the COOK thunderdome. Sure, it was the same kind of set-up we’ve been using since the start–two chefs enter, vying for ultimate victory, and we do our best to make them cry like pre-teen girls with our secret ingredients, trash-talk, funny nicknames, enforced drinking policies and ridiculously complicated challenges. But still, last night was special.

For starters, it was a Sbraga-vs-Sbraga battle, with Aaron Gottesman from the Fat Ham and Greg Garbacz from Sbraga battling it out. Then there was the dictum, handed down from their boss, Kevin Sbraga himself (who was kind enough to show up last night to keep an eye on his guys), that neither chef would be allowed to bring a sous chef with him, forcing them to nut up and just cook all on their own (something that has only happened one other time in the history of Open Stove, and that one was accidental). Oh, and to make things even better, we decided to make last night a Theme Night, with all the secret ingredients and challenges based on Kevin Sbraga’s winning run during season 7 of Top Chef.

So how did it all shake out? Well, we’ve got pictures from last night’s contest to show you if you couldn’t make it in person. But let’s just say that it takes a truly remarkable chef to turn cuttlefish, coconuts, wonton wrappers, bok choy, horned melon and six-foot stalks of un-trimmed sugar cane into edible dishes for twenty drunken foodniks. Especially when you have to cook half the night tied at the ankle to your opponent…

Show me the pictures

The Fat Ham Opens on Walnut Street


Philadelphia’s Top Chef winner, Kevin Sbraga is opening his second restaurant today. The Fat Ham will bring a broad swath of the South to 3131 Walnut Street, just across the Schuylkill River in University City.

We stopped in yesterday to take a look at a restaurant still very much being touched up for its premiere, despite hosting a couple of nights of friends and family dinners this week. Among the local culinary dignitaries that stopped in, Jose Garces and Georges Perrier. Perrier held court on the deck and even brought his dog with him.

Photos of the interior and dishes » 

Everyone’s a Winner in These Chef Moves

Nick Macri

Nick Macri at Hop Chef

Michael Klein has the story on some major chef shuffling that’s been happening around town. Aaron Gottesman, who until recently you could spot whipping up lamb dishes behind the counter at the Reading Terminal’s Border Spring Farms is moving on to Kevin Sbraga’s Fat Ham. Gottesman was a participant in Foobooz’s first ever Open Stove night at Cook. Back then he was planning on working in Jen Carroll’s Concrete Blonde kitchen.

The opening at Border Springs is being filled by Hop Chef champion and Southwark chef, Nick Macri. Macri gets daytime hours and the opportunity to butcher, which is something he enjoys.

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Hot Dog Cook-Off Set for Headhouse Square


In case you’ve been living in a highly air-conditioned cave, it’s been like a thousand degrees outside lately. It’s true: we’re officially embroiled in the throes of summer. But fret not, because everyone knows that the only cure for those dog days of summer is … hot dogs!

On Saturday, July 20th from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., the South Street Headhouse District, in conjunction with Hot Diggity, will host the 2nd Annual Dog Days of Summer Hot Dog Cook-Off contest and celebration. The event will be held at the historic Headhouse Shambles, located on 400 block of South 2nd Street between Lombard and Pine.

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First Bite: Nameless Sandwich at Border Springs Lamb Farm


Border Springs Lamb Farm has opened in the Reading Terminal Market. The stand (which is directly behind the Original Turkey stand, just off the center court) offers a cuts of lamb, plus lamb sausages and gyro loaves for retail sale. And just this week they’ve begun to roll out their prepared foods. When fully operational the stand will offer lamb-centric dishes for breakfast and lunch.

Today I tried the “Name that Sandwich.” It’s a gyro, made with Border Springs Lamb Farms lamb loaf but they cannot call it a gyro, since Olympia Gyros is the Terminal’s exclusive gyro provider. So if you’ve got a better name, tell owner Craig Rogers and you can win a gyro loaf. Some might complain that the sandwich was on the small side but the gyro meat, cooked up by chef Aaron Gottesman was flavorful and satisfying. It also provided me with room for a Miller’s Twist pretzel but not enough for one of Beiler’s donuts.

I look forward to returning to try more dishes, including the lamb kebabs in Korean marinade.

What will be on the full menu » 

About Last Night: First Foobooz Open Stove Night At Cook

Foobooz Open Stove Night

Ramen Battle

Last night, we held our first official Foobooz Open Stove Night battle at Cook and it was a killer: Packed house, noble competitors doing glorious combat, special guest judges, surprise plot twists. It had everything anyone could ask for in a serious cooking competition, including enough booze to float a battleship and more ramen than you could shake a stick at.

In keeping with the rules, our two challengers were working guys–sub-chef-level pros willing to step up and face off in full view of the paying public. We had Jim Kenngott, sous chef from La Calaca Feliz and Aaron Gottesman, currently taking a turn through the kitchen at Sbraga, soon to be on the opening line at Jen Carroll’s Concrete Blonde. Both guys knew they were cooking ramen. Both were instructed to bring an appropriate appetizer and a dessert.

But that, in a nutshell, was all they knew.

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