Restaurant Review: Bank & Bourbon

 

Photo by Mike Persico

Photo by Michael Persico

Pity the Philadelphia hotel restaurant. City dwellers will flock to food trucks, night markets, pop-up gardens and pizzerias with no seats, but just try getting us to eat in a building full of minibars. For every A.Kitchen, there are five Winthorpe & Valentines (a place that really exists, no joke). With Bank & Bourbon, the downtown Loews is now targeting the ground in between.

As the successor to the awkwardly named SoleFood (again, not kidding), which merged corporate decor and loads of dead space under Miami Vice lighting, B&B clearly yearns for some kind of contemporary relevance. Its whiskey-bandwagon name and predictably rustic trappings—now dominating restaurant design so utterly that Fortune 500 conglomerates are doing it, too—are enough to make a cynic roll his eyes and sigh, “Here we go again.”

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Robeks Fresh Juices & Smoothies Opens First Storefront

robeks-smoothies-healthy-eatsRobeks, the fresh juice and smoothie chain has been getting its name out there via their food truck since July. Today they open their first storefront at 1035 Chestnut Street. Robeks started in California in 1996 and is looking to open 36 franchises in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Robeks makes their juices and smoothies to order, promising to use only the freshest fruit and featuring a proprietary Greek yogurt with more protein and less carbs. The store also offers dairy-free, soy and almond milk options. “Boosts” of added vitamins and minerals promising to increase energy, improve the immune system, reduce cholesterol and help digestion can be added.

Robeks – Center City [Foobooz]

The Revisit: Vedge

Vedge

Consider the radish…

When I reviewed Vedge two-and-a-half years ago, that was my opening line. Sometimes I wonder how many people stopped reading after the third word. But I don’t regret it. Plenty of things on Rich Landau’s menu sounded more appetizing, but the black slate bearing his “fancy radishes” was a dish that changed my whole way of thinking—not only about that lowly stepchild of the brassicas, but about vegan cooking altogether.

Five varieties came five ways, from roasted to half-roasted to raw, with an artful precision and a cup of smoked tamari soy sauce that boldly begged comparison with top-shelf sashimi. It was a definitive dish: the last word on an ingredient nobody else was really even offering a first word about. So if anything was bound to stay on Vedge’s menu, it was the radishes. As an emblem of Landau and Kate Jacoby’s galvanizing approach to vegetables, it was too perfect to replace.

Yet not too perfect to improve upon, as I discovered on a recent, belated return to a restaurant that I’ve spent the last two years sending people to.

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Knead Bagels Gets Needed Oven

knead-bagels-ovenChef Adam Willner and his wife Cheri are in the process of creating Knead Bagels at 725 Walnut Street. Chef Willner, who got his bagel start doing brunch at Matyson is going to be offering traditional bagels as well as original takes on the doughy ring. The shop will offer kettle boiled bagels as well as sandwiches, soups, salads and Elixr coffee.

Construction is ongoing but the very important oven has just arrived.

See more updates on Knead Bagels’s Instagram page.

Knead Bagels [Foobooz]

22 Excellent Center City Restaurants Not Participating in Restaurant Week

Rotolo | Courtney Apple

Rotolo | Courtney Apple

We’ve hit that point during Restaurant Week where people realize they don’t have reservations for that date, business meeting or girls night out and people are panicking there aren’t any reservations to be had in Center City. One option would be to head to East Passyunk, Chinatown or Fishtown. But another option is to hit a spot in Center City that isn’t participating. So if you’ve always dreamt of a date at Vetri, been meaning to try a meal at Fork or waiting for the perfect time to return to Parc for another luscious dessert, that time is now.

21 Center City restaurants not participating in Restaurant Week » 

Commission Approves Digital Signage on Market Street

A new rendering of 205 Race Street, courtesy of the developers.

The city’s Historical Commission has given the go-ahead to three landscape-changing projects in the area: signage for the Market Street side of the former Strawbridge & Clothier, the 205 Race Street development, and an addition to the former Warner Brothers Film Distribution Center.

In terms of 801 Market Street, PlanPhilly reports the Commission voted in favor of  “exterior marquee, awnings, banner signs, and lighting on the Market Street façade of the western half of the former Strawbridge & Clothier department store building.”

The lengthy going-back-to-the-drawing-board cycle for 205 Race has ended with the Commission’s approval of its most recent design. Construction on the mixed-use property, which will include 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and basement parking, is one step closer to reality.

The tower addition for the former Warner Bros. building on 13th and Florist also passed muster, following the Architectural Committee’s July recommendation for its approval — provided developers hew to five conditions. From PlanPhilly:

1. Details of the panel system, glazing, canopy, parapet wall, garage door, and fence are submitted;
2. Color samples of cladding materials for the addition in relation to the historic materials are submitted;
3. It is confirmed that the roof of the historic building will not be occupied;
4. Designs of any railings to installed on the roof of the historic building for occupancy are submitted; and,
5. The locations and configurations of all HVAC equipment are submitted.

• Historical Commission approves Warner Bros. building redo; 205 Race St. construction and 801 Market signage [PlanPhilly]

Happy 3rd Birthday, MilkBoy!

photo

MilkBoy turns three. And what better way to celebrate than with a three-day party; $3 beers, drinks, and shots; and no cover charge?

From Thursday the 14th to Saturday the 16th, the celebrations will take place. The first floor will be open for regular hours (7 a.m. to 2 a.m.) and the second floor will open at 8:30 p.m. And in true MilkBoy fashion, each night will bring a new band, including the national act The Ataris. Headliners will be The Black Landlord (14th), The Ataris (15th), and The Lawsuits (16th).

MilkBoy [Official]

Petruce et al’s New Cider Program

petruce-et-al-logo

Petruce et al. is adding to their list of et al’s with a new cider program. In addition to wine, beer and cocktails, Petruce has gotten serious about cider. Tim Kweeder, general manager and wine director, introduced the program a few weeks ago and has since been building up the list of ciders.

Though subject to change, so far Kweeder has received products from Spain, Germany, and Michigan, each with a different taste. From Spain’s Basque Country, Kweeder has a small-production cider with a note of green apple; from Germany, a cider made from 100% Speierling apples; and from Michigan, an American-produced cider available on draft. Kweeder is only offering ciders made from 100% juice and fermented with natural yeast. To see the full list, click here.

Guests can enjoy the cider in 3 oz. tasting pours, full 5 oz. pours, or by the bottle. Prices range from $5 to $46.

Petruce et al. [Foobooz]

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