New La Colombe Planned for Independence Mall

dow-building-940The former Rohm and Haas building at the corner of 6th and Market Streets will be the home of a new La Colombe coffee cafe in 2015. La Colombe is leasing 1,700 square feet of ground-floor space at on Independence Mall. This will not be a mega La Colombe like the 11,000 square foot cafe recently opened in Fishtown.

The building has seen a rebirth of its public spaces since the joint venture of Keystone Property Group, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and Parkway Corporation took over the building. Over the summer, the building’s plaza and breezeways were the home of the successful Independence Beer Garden.

La Colombe has been focusing on expansion since raising $28.5 million in backing this summer. No exact word on an opening date.

La Colombe [Official]

Fergie’s Pub Is Celebrating 20 Years

fergies-pub-940On Friday, November 28th, Fergie’s Pub will officially be 20-years old and the bar is celebrating all weekend. The fun starts tonight with Live Band Karaoke featuring The Satellite Hearts.

The festivities continue on Friday, Friday November 28th with “Hank’s Cadillac Happy Hour” at 6 p.m. and followed by Brown Sugar, an all black Rolling Stone cover band at 10.30.

On Saturday, there will be traditional Irish music at 4 p.m., “Infinite Quest Happy Hour” at 7 and Sylvia Platypus’ CD Release Party at 10 p.m. Sunday will feature John Byrne’s Irish Ballad Session at 4:30 p.m., Honorable Mention – Comedy Open Mic upstairs at 8 p.m. and Rusty Cadillac downstairs at 9.

Monday is the official anniversary party » 

Garces Is Opening a Lounge Below Rosa Blanca

nacional-56-400Jose Garces is opening Nacional 56 downstairs from Rosa Blanca at 707 Chestnut Street on Wednesday, November 26th. The lounge will offer Latin music, cocktails and light Cuban fare four nights a week.

While Garces handles the food and drink, David Pena and Pena Productions (Boogie Nights at the Tropicana in Atlantic City and a host of other casino venues around the country) will handle the DJs and live music. Pena says “he [Garces] does food. We do nightlife and we’re both Latino; you know it will be the real deal.”

Read more »

Where We’re Eating: Bareburger

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new
Bareburger is a chain with most of its locations in New York. It’s expensive. (I paid $16 for a burger and fries without really trying.) And it’s a new burger place in a city that already has some pretty good burger places. And yet, Bareburger (so named for its organic bona fides) does have this one thing going for it. That expensive burger? It was good. I mean seriously good. It was a specialty burger called the Southern Caviar that consisted of a bison burger topped with pimento cheese, country bacon (read: ham), stout-simmered onions and a horseradish rémoulade, all leaking out of a great brioche bun. Messy, gooey, hot and delicious, it was up there among the best overloaded burgers on the scene right now. And the cool, fast-casual ambience of the shop itself doesn’t hurt.

Bareburger [Foobooz]

Originally published in the November, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine

Valanni Is Offering a “Banged Up Brunch” on Saturdays

valanni-banged-up-brunchEvery Saturday, Valanni Restaurant is throwing a “Banged Up Brunch” featuring happy hour drink specials and a selection of brunch favorites, tapas style for $5. No need to decide sweet or savory, just select tapas plates like cinnamon French toast and applewood smoked bacon grilled cheese for the best of both worlds.

The brunch runs from noon to 3 p.m. every  Saturday and includes drink specials like half-off sangria, wine and specialty cocktails. Bloody Marys and mimosas are also available for $5.

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Mitch Prensky Finds Storefront for His Biscuits

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Scratch Biscuits at Night Market

When did Supper chef Mitch Prensky know that his love of making biscuit sandwiches was worthy of its own bricks-and-mortar location? The first time he sold one. (We agree – and named it one of the five must-try Philly sandwiches.

You’ve probably seen his Scratch Biscuits tent popped-up at festivals, Phish shows, farmer’s markets and Night Markets (at the one Night Market he sold a whopping 1,100 biscuits in less than three hours). Now, he’s signed a lease at 1306 Chestnut Street for an actual location.

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Two Bells for Charlie was a sinner.

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Craig LaBan reviews Charlie was a sinner. this week and gives the “plant-based” restaurant in Midtown Village two bells, though he does find more than a few things wrong.

Some otherwise beautiful dishes still need tweaks: The elegant sunchoke soup, pureed and poured over intricate garnishes, was spun off-kilter with too much sweetness from Asian pears. The potato gnocchi with favas were dense and doughy minus the levity of the usual egg. I saw more sweet-tart raisins than barley in the mushroom-barley toast.

Also of note, opening chef Michael Santoro has moved on, Max Hosey is now in charge of the kitchen.

Two Bells – Very Good

Call it ‘plant-based’ or vegan, Charlie is a winner [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Charlie was a sinner. [Foobooz]

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]

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