Center City West Named America’s Most Bikeable Downtown

Bicycle transportation advocates would love for this to be a typical evening commute from Philly to South Jersey. Still, they have plenty to be proud of with Bike Score's ranking of Center City West as the nation's most walkable downtown.| Photo via Facebook

Bicycle transportation advocates would love for this to be a typical evening commute from Philly to South Jersey. Still, they have plenty to be proud of with Bike Score’s ranking of Center City West as the nation’s most walkable downtown.| Photo via Facebook

This is Bike to Work Week, and while I left my three-speed at home in Germantown and took SEPTA to work today,* I generally consider bicycling as practical transportation a great idea: you stay healthy and fit while performing a task you need to do every day.

The people at Walk Score, a Redfin subsidiary based in Seattle, say that there’s no place better for biking to work than the part of Center City that includes Philadelphia’s offices. According to the Bike Score rankings, Center City West — the area from Broad Street to the Schuylkill and Pine to Vine streets — is the nation’s most bikeable downtown, with a Bike Score of 96.4 out of a possible 100. Read more »

Uptown Beer Garden Announces Chef and Opening Date

uptown beer garden comcast building 940Uptown Beer Garden, the outdoor drinking bar from Teddy Sourias of BRU Craft & Wurst, U-Bahn and Cinder is going to open at 1735 JFK Boulevard on Thursday, May 19th. Sourias has turned to chef Jonathan Petruce (Petruce et al, Fish) to run the kitchen at the 9,000 square foot beer garden.

Petruce will be utilizing an outdoor grill to cook up elevated barbecue and street food favorites. Look for a selection of skewers, grilled corn, lobster roll and more. As the summer rolls along, look for other surprises to be added.

Read more »

Volver To Host Summer School This June and July

volver summer classes 400This June and July, Jose Garces’ Volver is hosting hands-on cooking classes on Wednesday and Thursday events. Each class is taught by Garces Group chefs and beverage experts and are aimed for all culinary skill levels.

The series kicks off on Wednesday, June 1st with Jose Garces leading a class to prepare a menu of recipes selected by Garces himself. The hands-on class will feature tips, techniques and tools from the Iron Chef. Tickets to the Garces led kickoff are $225 per person. Other tickets range from $100 for cocktail classes to $185 for a pasta class with Amada New York’s chef de cuisine, Justin Bogle.

Classes begin at 6:30 p.m. and last two to three hours.

Volver [Foobooz]
Volver Summer School

Wok Street To Open with Free Lunch

wok street 940Wok Street, the Southeast Asian fast-casual concept from the team that brought us sushi burritos at Hai Street Kitchen have set their opening date at 1518 Chestnut Street. Wok Street’s first day will be Thursday, May 12th and they’re kicking it off with complimentary lunch at noon for the first 300 people through the door.

Wok Street offers a build-a-bowl concept that starts with rice or noodles and then adds proteins like crispy veggie miso tofu, Szechuan glazed chicken, slow braised soy sauced topped beef or pork. The bowls are then completed with veggies, sauces and toppings like coconut red curry sauce, tangy tamarind sauce, pickled red onion and pickled red peppers to name a few. Wok Street also offers banh mi, summer rolls and salad options.

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Q&A: James Mergiotti, President of Center City’s Peirce College

James J. Mergiotti, Pierce College president

Photos via Peirce College

During Villanova’s run to the national championship this year, there was much commotion about the team not being a “city school.” It’s true, of course: Villanova is in Radnor Township.

At some point, I tweeted about how I only root for Peirce College, the school located on the 1400 block of Pine Street in Center City Philadelphia. (“Go Fighting Misspellings!” I wrote.) Somehow, that led to me interviewing the president of Peirce College a few weeks later.

A little backstory: Peirce College was founded by Thomas May Peirce in 1865. He found there was no adequate business training facility for veterans returning from the Civil War. He started the Union Business College to help educate Civil War vets and get them started on business careers. He started with nine students on a Saturday morning at Eighth and Spring Garden, and had 550 enrolled by the end of the first year.

The school was eventually re-named Peirce, and moved to its location at 1420 Pine Street in 1915. A member of the Peirce family was president of the school until 1981, when Dr. Raymond C. Lewin became took the role. Current Peirce president James J. Mergiotti, a longtime veteran of the banking industry, is the third non-family member to be president of the college. The school still has a focus on educating people for the professional world, offering degrees in areas like business, IT and healthcare administration.

I sat down with Mergiotti to talk about Philadelphia’s tiny, little-known college, one that sits in the shadows of all the large institutions in the city. This interview has been condensed. Read more »

A Beer Garden in the Sky Coming to Center City

Rendering of the upcoming Skygarten at 3 Logan Square

Rendering of the upcoming Skygarten at 3 Logan Square

At a height taller than the even the observation deck of Berlin’s famed TV tower, Fernsehturm Berlin, Skygarten will be one of the highest places in the world to hoist a pint or boot of German beer. And that’s what you’ll be doing on the 51st floor of 3 Logan Square (1717 Arch Street). Top of the Tower is teaming up with Brauhaus Schmitz to launch what they’re calling the “World’s Most Celestial Beer Garden.”

The 3,000 square foot indoor and outdoor space will curated by Doug Hager and his team at Brauhaus Schmitz. Hager will have four draft lines plus multiple German beers by the can and select local craft beers. Jeremy Nolen is working with the Top of the Tower’s culinary team to create a menu of bar bites and snacks.

Read more »

SEPTA Starts Big Concourse Renovation Monday

SEPTA - concourse new renderings

Courtesy SEPTA

SEPTA is sprucing up part of the underground concourse. And, starting Monday, two sections near City Hall will be closed for renovations for about a year.

In February 2015, we told you about SEPTA’s big plans for the underground concourse. SEPTA took control of the Center City underground concourse from the city in July of 2014, and wants to make it more welcoming. Parts of the concourse have not really been updated since the 1950s.

SEPTA has already begun structural work on parts of the concourse, including a patch-up job on the South Broad Street concourse last year. And major structural work is in progress at several locations now, including replacement of the escalators off 15th Street. But the work on the concourses that connect South Broad with the 15th Street/Centre Square and Market Street concourses is the first major work of a multi-year plan that SEPTA hopes will re-invigorate the concourses. The stretches that connect to the north end of the South Broad concourse will be closed until April of next year. Read more »

Wawa Is Planning Even More Center City Expansion

Wawa - 19th and Market - rendering

Rendering courtesy Wawa

Reversing an old trend, Wawa is making a big push into Center City.

Today is Wawa Day, celebrating the anniversary of the first Wawa convenience store’s opening on April 16th, 1964, in Folsom. Free cups of coffee are given to patrons chain-wide. As such, a line of corporate heads — as well as Mayor Jim Kenney and sports media personality Howard Eskin — were on hand at the Wawa flagship store at Broad and Walnut to pour the ceremonial “first cup of free coffee” and make some major announcements. Read more »

Sources: New Wawa Is Coming to 19th and Market

19th and Market - new Wawa

1900 Market Street, rumored location of a new Wawa.

A new Wawa is coming to Center City.

On Monday, Wawa announced it would reveal the renderings and location of a new Center City Wawa on Thursday at the flagship store at Broad and Walnut streets (“the Robinson Luggage Wawa”). Two sources have confirmed to Philadelphia magazine that Wawa will be in a currently vacant location at 1900 Market Street. The Philadelphia Business Journal reported the same earlier this morning. Read more »

Hai Street Kitchen Is Expanding in Philly and Beyond


The Hai Street Kitchen line isn’t this long anymore, but it does still reach the sidewalk. (Photo from May, 2014)

Expect to see more from Hai Street Kitchen & Co. in the near future: this spring, they are opening their third location at The Shops at Liberty Place at 17th and Chestnut Street, just down the block from their original shop. Then in the summer, they’re opening at the King of Prussia Mall, alongside Nicolette Pizzeria, Melt Shop, Shake Shack and the Fat Ham.

Read more »

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