Morning Headlines: Which New York-to-Philly Projects Flopped and Which Did Not?


Image via Curbed Philly

Yesterday Curbed Philly had an item breaking down and explicating New York imports that have made it here and those that haven’t. Sandy Smith touched on this in a column for about the Brooklyn Flea’s departure, which he attributes, in part, to its NYC branding. Those transplants that haven’t flaunted their New York-ness do better, Smith said.

Here’s what Curbed’s Tishon Woolcock had to say:

Brooklyn Flea/FAIL: “Has anyone mentioned the fact that Philly already has great flea markets and thrift shops?”
3rd Ward/FAIL: “Reportedly, mismanagement – more than a move to Philly – was responsible for 3rd Ward’s undoing”
Shake Shack/SUCCESS: “Philly has little beef with the chain’s arrival”
Barcade/SUCCESS: “The friendly staff, inviting decor, plus games and craft beer make Barcade an excellent addition to the city’s bar scene.”
Fette Sau/SUCCESS: “A year in, the brisket is still selling by the pound.”

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Fette Sau Turns One

Fette Sau - Prior to opening.

Fette Sau – Prior to opening.

Fette Sau is celebrating its first year in business. Today will feature live bluegrass from Keystone Mountain Boys & Girls plus food and drink specials.

Specials will include:

  • $7 Old Fashions and Manhattans made with Fette Sau’s Four Roses bourbon
  • Half off all draft beers (5-7pm), and $3 Narragansett Lagers all night
  • Food specials on the barbecue

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Tonight: A Very Fishtown Beef & Beer


The Lutheran Settlement House is hosting a beef and beer fundraiser this evening for its Senior Center Exercise Program. The food, drinks and music runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 1340 Frankford Avenue and costs 30 at the door. Food will include burnt ends from Fette Sau and roast beef and vegan options from Johnny Brenda’s. Beer is provided by Yards Brewing.

Beef & Beer Social [Facebook]

The Washington Post Sports Wood Over Philly Barbecue


Okay, so not really. Really, it was just a one-line mention in a much larger story about the new (?) prevalence of wood-fired BBQ on the East Coast and beyond–about joints, shacks and honest-to-Jesus restaurants that are using wood only (no gas) for smoking their ‘cue in the most authentic way possible.

But what was interesting was that it was a one-line mention for Bubba’s Texas BBQ, which had the misfortune of opening right around the same time as (and just around the corner from) Joe Carrol‘s Philly outpost of his Brooklyn-based barbecue operation, Fette Sau.

Philly went nuts over Fette Sau, and with good reason. But all of this love for Carrol’s ‘cue rather overshadowed the work being done by Robert “Bubba” Kolbasowski and his team at Bubba’s. And by “rather overshadowed” I mean completely and totally fucking overshadowed–which is a shame because Bubba’s does some damn fine Texas-style barbecue in their own right and rarely seems to get noticed for doing so.

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Fette Sau Is Philadelphia’s Best Barbecue


Trey Popp falls for Joe Carroll’s Fette Sau. Anointing the Brooklyn transplant as the best thing that’s happened to Philadelphia’s barbecue scene.

The first beef short rib I had here looked like it had just finished cooking. Biting through its layers of fat and meat, seasoned (but not overshadowed) by smoke, was like sinking into a down pillow on a feather bed in a backwoods hunting shack. The texture defied speech.

The one I got a week later? It could’ve ranked as the best barbecued short rib I’d ever had, but that first one still might be the best short rib, period. Expect something similar with the pork belly and flank steak—though neither of those was quite as show-stopping for me.

Three Stars – Excellent

Fette Sau Reviewed [Philadelphia magazine]
Fette Sau [Official Site]

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Brooklyn BBQ at Fette Sau

Stephen Starr's Fette Sau serves up some BBQ brisket and pork belly with classic southern sides.

Stephen Starr is an ideas man. Thing is, sometimes they’re other people’s ideas.

That’s been the rap on Philly’s foremost restaurateur for longer than is probably fair. You’ve heard the restaurant know-it-alls: Parc is a rip-off of Manhattan’s Balthazar. The Dandelion is just a supersized Pub & Kitchen.

Lately, though, there’s been more truth to this litany. Talula’s Garden was a straightforward extension of Aimee Olexy’s Kennett Square-bred brand. Later this year, Starr will be former Momofuku lieutenant Peter Serpico’s emissary on South Street. And in between, we have Fette Sau, an enlarged carbon copy of Joe Carroll’s popular Brooklyn barbecue shack.

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Gastronaut: New York State of Mind

Philly has been luring Manhattanites away from the Big Apple for years. Now we’re taking its chefs—and concepts—as well.

For decades, Manhattan has been a kind of protected game preserve for chefs and foodies, a rarified environment where restaurateurs with big names could lure in enough of the monied trade to make the cripplingly high rents and off-the-charts food costs work with $300 tasting menus and $18 cheeseburgers. And because the biggest names in the game opened there, the best crews flocked to them. The best suppliers. It was a system that worked only because every piece of it depended on the willing suspension of all good sense, and a kind of universal acceptance by the people of Manhattan that they were living (and dining) in the greatest food city on earth.

Continue reading the Gastronaut »

Fette Sau in Fishtown Delivers on the Brooklyn Promise

Adam Erace has words of praise for the service and the food at Fette Sau, the Brooklyn barbecue joint that Stephen Starr and Joe Carroll have brought to Fishtown.

Carroll developed this rub early on in his barbecue education, back when he’d “spend the night sitting up with a brisket, pork shoulder and a couple racks of ribs” on the Bullet smoker he stored in his parents’ Jersey backyard. “The rub’s sweet and bitter notes, those two flavors create a complex interesting flavor, like putting milk and sugar into black coffee,” he says.

Add in the pork belly, my favorite of Fette Sau’s meats, and you’ve got breakfast. Thick slices of it glistened against the brown butcher paper, the alternating bands of flesh and fat. Chef Jim Davidson, a Starr veteran executing Carroll’s vision, knows what he’s doing. The smoke came through immediately, then the rub. I tried a little naked, a little with each sauce; a splash of the vinegar sharpened the flavors like a Nikon lens.

Borough Bred [City Paper]
Fette Sau [Official Site]

Photo by Neal Santos

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