As one reader reminded us on our roundup of developments we’ll be tracking in 2015, the proposed Rail Park is one of the city’s most anticipated projects of the new year. Well, guess what? Friends of the Rail Park sent out a status update on the project’s first phase a few days ago! Here’s what it said:
BREAKING GROUND ON PHASE 1 Designs for the first phase of the Rail Park are complete. Construction documents are ready to bid out. A lease for Phase 1 between the Center City District (CCD) and SEPTA is being finalized. The CCD has grant commitments in hand for nearly 50% of the expected $8.5 million in construction costs and is awaiting word on one additional grant. In concert with CCD’s efforts, FRP continues to build support and develop resources to steward Phase 1 while bringing attention to the entire 3-mile site.
We have another video from TEDxPhiladelphia (see the one we posted last week here), this one from Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center.
PlanPhilly shared the video in which Bartlett talks about what Chinatown has taught the Gayborhood…and how all of us can contribute to creating the neighborhoods we want.
Check it out:
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Photo credit: Jeff Fusco
The Eastern Tower Community Center, a proposed 23-story tower for the northwest corner of 10th and Vine has just acquired another benefactor. The Daily News’ Julie Shaw reports that in addition to backing from foreign investors and a bank loan, the $75 million project is set to receive a $3.7 million Economic Growth Initiative grant from the state.
According to Shaw, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp. spearheaded the project, which is currently the site of a parking lot. The high-rise, anticipated to bridge the gap between Chinatown North and Chinatown, will hold Chinatown’s first community center, as well as other facilities:
The tower will house Chinatown’s first community center, a preschool and after-school programming run by the Chinatown Learning Center, a bilingual health center, a gym, offices, retail shops and 143 apartments – 31 of which will be subsidized by PCDC for poor and low-income residents.
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The former Lucky Fortune at 932 Race Street is becoming Nan Yang and will open this Saturday. Last night, the above sign was being installed. The new restaurant will serve Singaporean and Thai food and will be open till 4 a.m. on weekends.
In fact, in a random email we received the following images:
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Back in June we told you BonChon was bringing its brand of Korean fried chicken to 1020 Cherry Street in Chinatown. Since then though, it’s been all quiet on the KFC front. That is until yesterday when the management of Philadelphia’s BonChon posted to its Facebook page.
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Photo by Dave-Tavani
The last Night Market of the season comes to Chinatown on Thursday, October 2nd. The market is centered around 10th and Race and will include 60+ food trucks and vendors. Among the new faces:
- Bao Boy
- SeoulFull Philly
- Sweet Lavender
- Sbraga Restaurant
What else will be happening at Night Market »
Korean. Fried. Chicken. I’ll give you a minute.
Bonchon, which means “my hometown” in Korean, already has multiple locations around the world – California, Massachusetts, Korea and Thailand to name a few – but the restaurant is finally bringing its specialities to Philadelphia. Chinatown, to be specific. And the most popular dish? Korean Fried Chicken. Customers choose what type of chicken they want – wings, drumsticks or strips – and what sauce they want it to be slathered in – soy garlic or hot. Then they are free to devour the dish in either a small, medium, large or extra-large size. Bonchon also serves appetizers, salad and platters, like Chicken Katsu.
Look for Bonchon to be turning out its Korean fried chicken this fall. The restaurant will be located at 1020 Cherry Street.
Craig LaBan reviews Simply Shabu in Chinatown and finds that the Asian version of fondue is a hit.
The Chinese woman beside us said the meat portions seemed skimpy compared to her nearby favorites. And no doubt the heap of shaved meat at Happy Noodle Bar dwarfed the eight perfectly rolled curls of sliced beef at Simply Shabu. But there’s a major quality difference: the beef at Happy Noodle was so shabby that it instantly shriveled into wads of yellow fat, while Shabu’s nicely marbled USDA choice rib eye (Pennsylvania-raised like all of Shabu’s meats, and not unlike what goes into a good cheesesteak) remained beefy and superbly tender.
Two Bells – Very Good
Authentic hot pots heat up Chinatown [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Simply Shabu [Official]
Mark your calendars, the Food Trust has announced its 2014 Night Market dates and locations. Night Markets are a celebration of food, drink and neighborhood. The first night market for 2014 will be on Thursday, May 15th, in Old City. Subsequent Night Markets will be held in June, August and October.
Mark your calendar »
On a recent visit to one of the many hole-in-the-wall pho joints on Washington Avenue, I saw a table of large white construction workers slurping up noodles. And while there might not be anything strange about that today, things weren’t always that way. Twenty-five years ago, when Benny Lai took over Vietnam on 11th Street from his family, no one in this town who didn’t grow up on home-cooked Asian food knew a pho from a bun. Lai opened the door, making the food more accessible while getting lots of us drunk on Flaming Volcanos and other tiki concoctions. These days, there are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants in town. But Lai’s Vietnam (and the mirror-image Vietnam Cafe in West Philadelphia) remains the place for Vietnamese dinner with out-of-towners, the in-laws, etc. Order the barbecue platter (Lai’s version of the pu pu platter), salt-and-pepper fried shrimp and some of those flaming drinks, and you’re good to go.
First appeared in the April, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.