A Whole Lot More Of The Same Old Thing: Aqimero Reviewed

Photo by Emily Teel

Photo by Emily Teel

Look, I’m not pissed off about my meals at Aqimero. To be pissed—for my experiences to rise to the level of actually making me angry beyond a kind of vacant, low-boil frustration—would presume that I was at all surprised by my experiences.

I’m sad, a little bit. It’s depressing to see what could have been a great restaurant space (what should have been a great restaurant space) so terribly misused, and the liveried staff lingering expectantly around the host’s station, waiting for customers who are never going to arrive. To look at those soaring ceilings and sky-reaching pillars, the marble, the vastness of it all, and to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that Aqimero will be (or, again, should be) experienced solely by visitors staying at the Ritz who are afraid to leave the shelter of its luxurious walls, incapable of walking a couple blocks, or just so careless about the price of things that $17 for a (small) plate of fried shrimp seems perfectly reasonable, is just dismal. I didn’t love 10 Arts, which lived here before big-time international restaurateur Richard Sandoval brought Aqimero to the Ritz-Carlton a few months back. I had great meals there, and ones that were merely so-so. A bit of its luster rubbed off after it lost Eric Ripert’s oversight and Jennifer Carroll in the kitchen. But 10 Arts still undeniably fit into the vaulted lobby of the Ritz. It belonged there in a way that Aqimero just … can’t.

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The Menu at Chix & Bowls

chix-and-bowls-940I had a dream that Harp & Crown would be officially the ampersand era of restaurant names. Then I realized Chix & Bowls was about to open on 20th Street in Center City. I groaned, muttered something about chix being a stupid name and then remembered a vow I took to not judge a place because I didn’t like a name. If others did the same, maybe we’d still have the food of Hoof & Fin to enjoy.

So I stopped into the Korean spot specializing in chicken of course and yes, bowls. It’s the second location for the concept. The original is at 138 South 11th Street and has gone through several names already, starting as Chick-A-Lic and Chick-a-licious. The menu is split into wings, sandwiches, tenders, salads and rice bowls. Just about everything on the menu comes with chicken, though steak is another option for the rice bowls.

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Pizza Cult Coming to Philly

&pizza comes to Philadelphia

&pizza comes to Philadelphia

The popular and well liked (4.5 stars on Yelp) Washington D.C. pizza chain, &pizza lands in Philadelphia. The first area location and 17th for the chain is opening Thursday, October 13th at 1430 Walnut Street (on 15th Street under the Cheesecake Factory).

The quick-serve pizza spot (pronounced “and pizza”) will host a celebration in honor its first location outside of Washington D.C. with free pizza and tattoos.

That’s right– &pizza is offering tattoos of their logo, the ampersand, on their opening day. The first five guests to request this tattoo will receive it for free, along with free pizza for a full year. If you aren’t sure permanent ink for a year of free pizza is for you, you can still get a free pie if you are one of the first 215 guests to arrive–the number 215 being a nod to Philadelphia’s area code.

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Here’s What You’ll Be Eating Tonight At Harp & Crown


Michael Schulson’s new, huge, beautiful and vaguely nautical Center City restaurant, Harp & Crown, is opening tonight. We already got a look inside last week (and came home with pictures), but one thing we didn’t get to see? The opening menus.

Well, now we have them, and they’re a mix of curated charcuterie and cheese, salads, wood-fired pizzas, snacks and full plates upstairs, with a more limited menu (mostly the charcuterie and small plates) available at the bar or downstairs in the hidden basement bar and bowling alley.

Anyway, Karen Nicholas is on board as chef, and I’ve liked what she’s done in the past, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do here. You can check out both menus after the jump.

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First Look: Inside Harp & Crown

Harp & Crown: Michael Schulson's latest on Sansom Street | Image via Harp & Crown

Harp & Crown: Michael Schulson’s latest on Sansom Street | Image via Harp & Crown

Harp & Crown is close. It is, by any reasonable measure, already finished. There are some plants that need to arrive. A few walls that need paint. Some stuff that needs to go up on the walls. But the big (seriously big) new restaurant from Michael Schulson (the guy behind Double Knot, most notably) is more or less ready to go. They were cataloging and polishing the glassware when we showed up this morning. Trying to staff up a place that seats more than 150 people (just counting the top floor). And it is gorgeous.

No, seriously. We’ve got the pictures.

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Your Squagel Is Threatened: Cosi Declares Bankruptcy

Cosi files for bankruptcy.

Cosi files for bankruptcy.

The Cosi restaurant chain has filed for bankruptcy and according to USA Today, 29 of the 74 company owned stores have closed. In Philadelphia that means that the stores at 12th and Walnut and 15th and Locust are closed. 17th and Market and 140 South 36th Street are confirmed open. Calls to 4th and Chestnut and 30th Street Station were not answered. Stores that are franchised (there are 31 of those) have not been affected by the closures.

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Volver Releases Fall Menus

Dining Room at Volver | Photo via Volver

Dining Room at Volver | Photo via Volver

Back for a third season, the dining room at Volver is serving new eight and 12-course tasting menus. The prices remain the same as last season, $95 for the eight-course menu and $150 for the 12-course menu. There is also an optional wine pairing available.

The dining room at Jose Garces’ flagship restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday and reservations, which are required, can be made online or by calling Volver.

Details on the menu »

The Changing Food Face of Market Street

Wawa - 19th and market rendering

Rendering courtesy Wawa

The glass facades of west Market Street’s office buildings are changing. Once just the home of bank chains and lobbies, many of the skyscrapers are adding food options to their ground floors. And the choices are a bit more interesting than Cosi, Marathon and Starbucks.

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The PPA Is Ending Free Parking on Wednesdays, First Fridays

Philadelphia Parking Authority kiosk in Center City on 9th Street

A PPA kiosk in Center City | Photo: Dan McQuade

The era of free parking in Center City is coming to an end.

Currently, street parking in Center City is free after 5 p.m. on Wednesday nights and on the first Friday of every month. As first reported by Philly.com, the PPA recently announced that it’s ending the promotion.

“The conclusion of these promotions is intended to increase parking opportunities for those shopping and dining in the city, and in light of the increased flexibility afforded by the meterUP app,” the PPA wrote on its blog. “In addition, the PPA has increased time limits in the evening on most Center City blocks allowing enough time for people participating in night time activities without being rushed to get back to move their car.” Read more »

Late Night Pastrami Sandwich Pop-Up Comes to Sansom Street

WHEN_ABE_MET_DIZOn the next four Saturday nights, Dizengoff is going to open back up at 10 p.m. to sell Montreal-style pastrami sandwiches. The promotion, called When Abe Met Diz runs September 10th, 17th, 24th and October 1st.

The pastrami will be served, tucked into a caraway rye pita and topped with beet-pickled turnips, dill tehina, sumac slaw and fried onions. The sandwiches are $12 each and we expect that they will go extremely quickly. Wash down the sandwich with “friesling,” a frozen riesling drink spun up in Dizengoff’s lemonnana machine.

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