Quick Bites

Alison at Blue Bell has closed as Alison Barshak and filed for bankruptcy protection at her still open  Alison 2 in Fort Washington. [The Insider]

the second location of Shank’s Original is set to open in December at Pier 40 on the Delaware River. [Meal Ticket]

Check out the Insider for what’s going on at the original Shank’s and Evelyn’s location in South Philadelphia. [The Insider]

Where else can you get your Stumptown Coffee fix? Savona in Gulph Mills has added the coffee geeks coffee to its menu. Savona is the first area restaurant to add the Brooklyn roasted coffee to its menu. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, a Florida based chain is heading to Lancaster Avenue in Wayne. [Main Line Dine]

Mom’s Kitchen joins Joseph Tucker’s mini-empire of two Joe Pesce restaurants and Thomas’ Ristorante. Mom’s is an Italian comfort food restaurant in Collingswood. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Quick Bites

Marc Vetri has a deal on the table for a new trattoria that would go in the Kimpton Hotel coming to 17th and Arch but “talks have been dragging.” [Inqlings, Philadelphia Inquirer]

R. Evan Turney will be rolling out the beginning of VargaBar’s menu at Azul Cantina for Restaurant Week. All the main courses offered that week will be Turney’s creations. [The Insider]

The Headhouse Square Kildare’s wasn’t the only property recently shed by Dave Magrogan. The former Grady David’s in Honey Brook is now Bistro on 10. The business was purchased by Lewis Frame Jr. who owns the Waynesbrook Inn where Grady David’s was located. [Pottstown Mercury]

Kite & Key gets a chef with Georges Perrier experience. Justin Hoke comes after time at Table 31 and Le Bec-Fin. He’ll keep the menu “simple and fun.” [The Insider]

Weird synergies between Ridge and Passyunk Avenues. First there was the Adobe Cafe and in February S & H Kebab House will take over the former Overtures. The S in S & H is Sal Kucuk who owns the Borough’s New Ridge Diner. [Meal Ticket]

The Rouge burger is no stranger to fame or fortune, on February 19th the burger will among the contenders at the Amstel Light Burger Bash, hosted by Rachel Ray, at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Alison at Blue Bell will be reopening in the first week of February. The menu will reflect Chef Anthony Bonett’s Italian heritage and on Mediterranean fare. Amonght the highlights, Spanish octopus, pork chop Milanese, shellfish risotto, rock shrimp with potato and goat cheese ravioli  and the return of brussel sprouts!

It’s like 9th and Passyunk getting another steak place. Montgomery Ave in Narberth is getting another deli. Mel Glickstein who has run Mel’s Italian in Bala is looking to open Benny’s come April. [Inqlings, Philadelphia Inquirer]

Alison at Blue Bell to Renovate

Alison at Blue Bell will close for three months of renovations once Alison two opens. Owner, Alison Barshak has the details on her blog.

The idea is to create two distinctly different restaurants, both with excellent food and warm, friendly service. We’re excited to move forward and provide even better dining experiences for our guests. In fact, many of the changes we are making at Alison at Blue Bell are in direct responses to customer comment cards and requests.
Alison at Blue Bell will be revamped from top to bottom — from replacing the carpeting and painting to restructuring the tiny kitchen. And, in what is expected to be a popular move – the restaurant’s electrical system will be updated so that it can accept credit cards and online reservations through Open Table.
When it reopens, the menu at Alison at Blue Bell will lean more toward Mediterranean fare, Chef Anthony Bonett’s forte. (Chef Bill Lewis and I are collaborating on international fare at Alison two.) And, the small, food-friendly wine list and selection of small-batch beer from regional breweries developed by General Manager Tom Pittakes, will be expanded.

The Perfect Storm [Alison’s New Restaurant]

Mid-Day Snacks & Nibbles

Tinto has been expanding towards, but not entirely into, the corner of 20th & Sansom for what seems like an eternity and finally, the expansion is open for business.

Alison Barshak has installed Anthony Bonett, formerly of Opus 251 and Oceanaire, as chef at Alison at Blue Bell. Barshak will still be overseeing the menu at AaBB, but she’ll also be busy with the opening of her new restaurant Alison two.

Also, a tipster tells us that Canavan’s, the short-lived pub that replaced the short-lived pub Maker’s Local, may have shut its doors in the Callowhill/Loft District.

James Beard Awards Nominees Revealed


Nominees for the 2008 James Beard Awards, often referred to as the ‘Oscars of the food industry’, were announced today. Here are the local connections:

Restaurateur of the Year: Stephen Starr

Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic: Alison Barshak (Alison at Blue Bell), Jim Burke (James), Jose Garces (Amada), Matthew Levin (Lacroix), Daniel Stern (Rae)

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Kate Honeyman (Continental Mid-Town)

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Jeff Michaud (Osteria), Chip Roman (Blackfish), Michael Solomonov (Marigold Kitchen)

Outstanding Chef: Marc Vetri (Vetri)

Outstanding Service: Vetri

Best New Restaurant: Osteria, Tinto, Xochitl

They also give out awards to food writers, which we would undoubtedly win if we could afford the $100 entry fee.

Beard Nominees Sent to Judges [Grub Street]

Quick Bites

You can get full on all of our Quick Bites today so we broke it into two courses for your enjoyment.

Rejoice, rejoice fans of Lolita and Indian food. Wednesday, December 12th is the expected first night at Bindi! [Table Talk, Philadelphia Inquirer]

Moctezuma Restaurant, another Mexican restaurant has opened on 9th Street. Seafood and service set this one apart. [Feeding Frenzy, City Paper]

Look for a new Fishtown bar with a bad-ass name, Kung Fu Neck Tie to open New Year’s Eve at Front and Thompson. [Ice Pack, City Paper]

Gasp, Swallow is now saying they’ll open December 15th on Liberties Walk. [Table Talk, Philadelphia Inquirer]

Keep reading Quick Bites after the jump.
Read more »

Barshak Branching Out

Alison Barshak is adding a second restaurant in Montgomery County.

She’ll take over the old Marita’s Cantina at 424 S. Bethlehem Pike in Fort Washington, which is at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue near the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Fort Washington exit, four miles from Blue Bell. So far, the concept is hazy and the name is not final. It’s certain that the restaurant will have a bar, private dining and 100 seats, which means walk-ins will be easier to accommodate than at Alison at Blue Bell, which has 65 seats indoors.

A second from Alison Barshak [Food and Drinq]

Patio In Paradise At Alison at Blue Bell

Chef Alison Barshak will host Andrew Schloss, best-selling author of Mastering the Grill: The Owner’s Manual for Outdoor Cooking, and Brian Freedman, food and wine writer, at Alison at Blue Bell on Monday, August 13 at 6:30 PM For a dinner dubbed “Patio in Paradise,” Chef Barshak and Schloss will collaborate on a special grilling menu. Freedman will pair the menu with wines and beers, officially launching the restaurant’s beer list.

Reservations limited. The dinner is $75 per person. All of the beers and wines will be included in the price of the dinner.

Alison At Blue Bell [Official Site]

Alison At Blue Bell Getting Liquor License

Alison At Blue Bell
Alison At Blue Bell has a fluorescent orange sign in its front window. Yes the BYOB is getting a liquor license.

Soon customers will be able to order wine, champagne and beer at Chef Alison Barshak’s 65-seat bistro or bring their own bottle. The restaurant will start with a small list of wines, champagnes and beers but expects the list to grow over time.

Alison At Blue Bell [Official Site]

Alison Barshak Interviewed

Elsewhere in the Metro today, and not on their web site, is an interview with Alison Barshak of Alison at Blue Bell. Alison was the original chef at Striped Bass and now splits time between New York and her restaurant in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Alison reveals her favorite Philadelphia restaurants are Vetri, Dmitri’s for the octopus and Plymouth Meeting’s Blue Fin for sushi.
She feels it’s easier to be a chef/owner in Philadelphia than New York and that Philadelphia has great young chefs that aren’t afraid to grow and experiment.
Alison’s just gotten back from South Carolina and the Grit Festival. So expect to see black truffle grits with halibut on her menu.