The Expert Guide to Center City Restaurant Week

restaurant-weekYes, it’s that time again. Center City Restaurant Week starts today, Sunday, August 2nd and, as in years past, it is a huge thing with something like a hundred participating restaurants, all competing for your sweet, sweet dollars. The basic deal is the same as always: a three-course dinner for $35 per person (not including drinks or tip) and, at many places, a three-course lunch for $20.

But here’s the thing… You people, you don’t want the basic deal, do you? If you’re reading this, you’re already used to the regular Restaurant Week rigamarole (booked-solid restaurants, long waits, exhausted staffs, SO much salmon), and are looking for something more. Read more »

Prince Theater Updates Marquee to Reflect Name and Logo Change

The Prince Music Theater hasn’t been the “Prince Music Theater” since Philadelphia Film Society purchased it in March and changed the name to a simple and straight-forward Prince Theater. The name, they’ve said, better reflects the mission of the theater, which has been hosting much more than music-centric events since its new programming schedule kicked off this spring. Most importantly, though, they want people to recognize it as a movie theater—the only place in Center City where you can catch a mainstream flick, like Disney’s Tomorrowland or, more recently, Inside Out.

It’s been hard to adapt to the name-change, since it’s been called Prince Music Theater for years, but this week, the alteration finally became official with the incorporation of a new logo on its marquee that puts the new name in lights and better exemplifies their further-reaching mission. @ThePrincePFS tweeted out a photo of it this week. Check it out below:

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DanDan Offering Free Noodles Through Friday

Free Dan Dan noodles with the purchase of any meal through Friday.

Free Dan Dan noodles with the purchase of any meal through Friday.

DanDan opened over the weekend at 126 S 16th Street. The restaurant serves Sichuan and Taiwanese cuisine in Center City for lunch and dinner.

For now the restaurant is operating as a BYOB, but soon enough the restaurant will have a full liquor license. The restaurant is run by Kevin and Catherina Huang, former operators and managers of Han Dynasty’s University City location. As such, the dan dan noodles are a must order (even better, they’re free with any purchase through Friday). Even after bringing leftovers back to the office, several staff members put the noodles slightly ahead Han Chiang’s renditions.
Highlights and full menus »

Restaurant Review: Vesper

Vesper Bar | Photo by Neal Santos

Vesper Bar | Photo by Neal Santos

Two men walk into a bar.

“May we go downstairs?” one asks, gesturing toward a bookcase that conceals a secret stairwell.

“Do you have the password?” the hostess replies, flashing a flinty sidelong stare. Read more »

Why Are You Walking Barefoot Around Center City?

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

It was 11 a.m. on a Friday at 15th and Locust when I saw it: a man, in nice khakis and a polo, holding his shoes and socks in one hand and his cell phone in the other. No, there wasn’t a fire, and, yes, he was totally barefoot and walking down the street like it was no big deal, chilling and chatting on his phone.

I had to stop and wonder if I wasn’t in some sort of Alice in Wonderland-type dream (more on those later), but, nope: This was real life and this dude was barefoot walking down a dirty Philly street. I’d say this was a strange, isolated incident, but it isn’t. I keep seeing people casually walking down the sidewalk with absolutely no footwear. And I don’t understand. Read more »

Mayor Nutter Confirms Security Fencing for Pope

Part of Philadelphia is going to get fenced in come September, when Pope Francis pays the city a visit as part of the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

After some speculation that Center City could be entirely fenced in for the Pope’s appearances, Mayor Michael Nutter refuted that notion on Thursday and gave some detail into the plans, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported this afternoon.

“Whoever is saying that somehow all of Center City is going to be shut down, has no idea what they’re talking about,” Nutter reportedly said at a press conference. “There’s never been any discussion with me where the idea of all of Center City being enclosed, encapsulated, shut down, has ever been discussed.”

Mayor Nutter did, however, confirm to The Inquirer that there will be fencing in the various parts of the city where Pope Francis intends to go. The nature of the fencing — height, type, etc. — is still to be determined. Fencing is a usual measure of security for large cities, The Inquirer said, as it helps secure a certain area and funnel the public through screening devices like metal detectors in order to see an important person speak.

“There was fencing out at the July 4 show just the other day … fencing is not a new concept in this city,” Nutter said at the presser.

Despite all the necessary security measures and street closings forecast for the late September event, Mayor Nutter said there is no reason for Philadelphians to escape the city. “The overwhelming majority of the city will be fairly unaffected by what’s going on in Center City. Again, there will be road closures, places that you can’t go and you’ll know all that over the course of the next couple months.”.

Underground Fire Knocks Out Power in Society Hill

An underground fire left about a hundred PECO customers in Center City without power on Thursday.

The transformer fire started near 2nd and Walnut Streets on the border between Old City and Society Hill. The first call, about smoking manholes, came in at 10:45 a.m. Most of the customers without power are in the Society Hill Towers. Read more »

Matyson Closes

matyson-final-tasting-menu

Matyson’s final tasting menu. The BYOB closes after 12 years.

Center City BYOB, Matyson has closed after a 12-year run. Several staff members appeared in a photo on Instagram saying, “The end of a good run. Thanks for everything!” That post has since been deleted.

A quick stop in to the 19th Street restaurant today confirmed the closing. The chairs were up on the tables when they would usually be ready for lunchtime diners. A woman was cleaning out the hostess stand and confirmed that Matyson was closed. Towards the back of the restaurant, business casual types huddled and a couple others held large folders of documents.

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Volver Is Shutting Down For A Very Long Summer Vacation

living-salad-volver-940

Volver is done for the summer. Not for a week (as is becoming almost standard among many of the more notable Philly restaurants), or for two weeks (which is the point at which we grow nervous about them ever opening back up again), but for a full two months.

The final night of service was June 30, at which point the whole place (Bar Volver included) went quietly dark. This is the message left on their Open Table page:

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Get Ready for the Uptown Beer Garden

uptown-beer-garden-940Center City may not have gotten a PHS Beer Garden this year, but beginning July 1st, Teddy Sourias, owner of BRU Craft & Wurst, U-Bahn and Finn McCools is opening Uptown Beer Garden in the JFK Boulevard courtyard of the BNY Mellon Bank Building on the 1700 block of JFK.

The pop-up will feature 9,000 square feet of outdoor space for up to 500 people, picnic tables, granite benches, tree slab communal tables and a 35-foot long bar.

A portion of proceeds from Uptown Beer Garden will be donated to Philadelphia Animal Welfare Association (PAWS), including PAWS’s KATO (Kitty At The Office) program.

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