A Mano | Photo by Emily Teel
In the back, chef Michael Millon is dancing.
Not dancing-dancing (because that would be weird), but that’s what it looks like. He and his crew, the other white jackets working the line at Townsend Wentz’s new BYO, A Mano, turn and weave around each other, reaching and ducking as the floor staff crowds up against the short pass, waiting on plate after plate after plate. It’s formal, this ballet. It only looks like a disaster happening and then re-happening every second, a series of near-misses and almost-collisions. It’s a culinary galliard—chaotic but measured. Practiced. Natural. In reality, it’s just another day at the office.
And at A Mano, it’s loud in the dining room. I’m seated about halfway down the banquette that runs the length of the far wall, so there’s no way I would’ve heard them if they were talking anyway, but I’m watching pretty closely (staring, really), and I don’t even see them speak. Don’t see lips moving or heads turning except in the simplest, most terse nods and single syllables.
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Do your friends seem to “miss” your texts or hide under the nearest piece of furniture whenever you’re looking for a run buddy? As a non-runner myself, I instinctually dive behind a nearby couch at the mere mention of a morning jog. But here’s a good way to ease those non-runners into the running scene: Tomorrow evening, Fairmount Running Club is hosting a walking bar tour around Fairmount. Yes, walking. Read more »
Photo via Facebook | Philadelphia Runner
Looking for the perfect way to welcome spring weather back into your running routine? Wave goodbye to the frosty chill and say hello to spring with Philadelphia Runner’s Springtime on the Schuylkill Fun Run and Potluck. This run will knock out your cardio for the day AND satisfy your post-run appetite with a potluck picnic at the Art Museum’s Azalea Garden. Read more »
The former BlueCat at 1921 Fairmount Avenue is now iPho, a Vietnamese eatery for Fairmount. Owner and chef Van Nguyen also owns an iPho in Atlantic City. Nguyen is excited to bring his pho, vermicelli, rice platters, noodle soups and bubble tea smoothies to a neighborhood in Philadelphia that doesn’t have much Vietnamese to speak of.
IPho is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for lunch and dinner. Takeout and delivery is also available. A website should be online soon.
The taps at Bar Hygge
This week (Wednesday, February 3rd will NOT be the day) will see the opening of Bar Hygge at 1720 Fairmount Avenue. The brewpub is a collaboration between two couples, brewer Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver (Earth Bread + Brewery) and Julie and Stew Keener (West Conshohocken’s Bagataway Tavern).
Hygge means a sense of happiness in the present moment or conviviality in Danish. It is pronounced HOO-ga and makes Bagataway seem like a simple name in comparison. But Hygge is definitely a word worth seeking out and the bar was already warm and comfortable on a pre-opening Friday afternoon where Team Foobooz was lucky enough to check out Baker’s opening six taps.
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Chef-Owner Townsend Wentz opens A Mano with exec chef Michael Millon
Townsend Wentz has received a ton of accolades at his East Passyunk Avenue restaurant Townsend (#5 on the new Best Restaurants list), and he will debut his second restaurant, A Mano in coming weeks. A Mano is a casual Italian BYOB at 2244 Fairmount Avenue, in the Fairmount neighborhood. Wentz is bringing in Michael Millon as executive chef. Millon has worked with Wentz for ten years, including as Wentz’s opening sous chef at Townsend. More recently, Millon, a Lansdowne native, has been at A Voce, a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant on Columbus Circle in New York.
A Mano will offer regional Italian fare, moving from northern to southern Italy throughout the year to reflect what is fresh and available in Philadelphia. When the restaurant opens this winter that means dishes inspired by northern Italy including Alto Adige. As the weather warms, southern Italian dishes will make up more of the menu.
Handmade pastas will be integral to the menu where prices range from $8 to $28 per plate.
A Mano’s dining room features big windows that open wide to the street, plus wood topped tables (no tablecloths here), hardwood floors and bright grass-green banquettes.
A Mano [Foobooz]
Picture this: You’ve crossed the finish line at the Philadelphia Marathon, proudly hung your medal around your neck and wrapped yourself in one of those reflective space-blanket thingys. So, now what? It’s time to celebrate, duh.
What better way to toast your big finish than with a beer and a big ol’ pile of pancakes. That’s what you’ll find at these bars and restaurants within hobbling distance of the finish line. Read more »
Carolina Shrimp and Anson Mills lobster grits | Photo by Emily Teel
The first time I had chef Paul Martin’s food, I was standing in the street. Or a parking lot, maybe. Under a tent and the night sky. We both were—the two of us in attendance at some food festival or another—and though I don’t recall precisely what he was serving (shrimp for sure; some kind of sauce as smooth and rich as velvet), I do remember its effect. I couldn’t stop talking about it, demanding that people drop whatever they were eating and go, immediately, to taste what Martin was cooking. Eventually, I’d annoyed enough people and driven away all my friends and was free to just circle Martin’s table alone like a fat shark, pathetic but happy.
Martin was cooking at Mamou then, a Cajun-Creole place over on 13th Street, and though it was one of those restaurants that seemed to be overlooked by pretty much everyone, I went there, ate, drank—hoping only to get more food and more of those hot, immediate stabs of joy I’d experienced on the street.
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TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach
Head a few blocks north and west from the former trinity home of David Lynch near 24th and Aspen, and you’ll find this lovely expanded Father, Son and Holy Ghost home set near the intersection of Taney and Poplar streets.
This particular residence on the edge of Fairmount and Brewerytown has the added benefit of having been redone over the summer, and is priced at $249,000.
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Photo via Google Maps
The North Star Bar will close its doors for good on Saturday, October 17th after 30-plus years. The live music venue is in the process of being sold to Joanna and Howard Pang, operators of the Trocadero in Chinatown. Pang has been involved in the North Star since 2000, but is buying out the other principal who goes by the name Sloan.
After a brief overhaul, the Brewerytown standard will be reborn as an as yet unnamed bar/restaurant and beer garden, that according to the North Star’s website, will feature “even better food, ‘more better’ beer and lots of cool fun stuff.” What the new spot won’t have is live music.
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