For a while, I had been hearing that some chain called Schlotzsky’s was debuting on City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd. Well, after some delays, Schlotzsky’s Bala Cynwyd finally opened last Thursday. Only it’s not located in Bala Cynwyd at all. No, Schlotzsky’s Bala Cynwyd is actually located in Philadelphia.
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The original Lee’s Hoagie House on Cheltenham Avenue has closed. When Lee’s started at 19th and Cheltenham in Mount Airy in 1953 they became part of the Philadelphia food tradition and the neighborhood. Since that first opening Lee’s has licensed 16 more shops across the Greater Philadelphia area.
The Insider reports that the original Lee’s changed ownership last year and ever since then the quality of the namesake brand had not been maintained at that location. The site was rebranded Lee’s at Cheltenham when the new licensee took over, but Lee’s partners have asked the shop to remove the “Lee’s” altogether. The shop then closed.
Luckily for Philadelphians those 16 other locations are still up and running and this change does not affect any other shops. After almost 60 years it is sad to see an original go, but it looks like the Lee’s brand is here to stay.
Lee’s Hoagie House [Official Site]
If for some strange reason you feel the need to head out to one of Philadelphia’s fine chain restaurants, you should take a look at Consumer Report‘s newest survey of 102 of America’s biggest chains. What they found probably won’t surprise you. Of their four ratings attributes only nine had high marks across the board — only one of which, Bob Evans, has restaurants close to Philly.
Unfortunately for us, three of the five lowest-ranked chains, Friendly’s, Hard Rock Cafe, and Johnny Rockets, all have plenty of locations nearby. Others that fared low in their categories include Buca di Beppo, The Melting Pot, Denny’s, IHOP, and TGI Fridays, all of which you can find pretty easily, too.
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Two popular chain restaurants are coming soon to the Philadelphia area and both are hoping to shake things up a bit.
First, there’s the “inventive” Southwestern/Mexican cuisine that has created quite a fan club for Taqueria del Sol–a Southern fast-casual mini-chain operating out of Georgia. The restaurant group that runs Taqueria Del Sol has already been nominated for multiple James Beard awards, and they insist that their eclectic take on a Mexican-based menu (heavy on the Hatch chiles, which is nothing but a good thing) creates a unique dining experience. Taqueria del Sol has only four locations thus far (all in Georgia), but founders Mike Klank and Eddie Hernandez are looking to expand. Their website boasts a number of “Coming Soon” locales–including three new spots in the Philadelphia area. Eater Philly has reported that the chain will be moving to Willow Grove, Delaware County, and Center City by the end of 2012.
And now, The Lube