Darrell Clarke Calls to ‘Hold Off’ Demolition Saint Laurentius Church in Fishtown

st laurentius church

Photo: Google Street View.

Parishioners of Saint Laurentius Church in Fishtown have long been fighting to save their beloved sanctuary. Sunday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia declared that the 133-year-old former Catholic church was to be demolished, citing that costs of restoring the sacred structure, about $3.5 million, outweighed the cost of demolition, which would be around $1 million. Does it have one last Hail Mary (or Glory Be) to preserve its future?

Needless to say, it was a big blow to former parishioners developed a plan to save the church. Now, those cries for preservation, which were taken all the way to the Vatican, have a voice with a little bit of sway on the local political scene: City Council President Darrell Clarke. Clarke expressed his “disappointment” in the demolition announcement and that he was “hopeful” it would be preserved. Here’s more from the press release: Read more »

A Final Four of Hoppy Pours at Kraftwork

kw_staffPicks_webTonight, Tuesday, March 24th,Kraftwork is hosting its monthly Staff Picks. This month’s theme is “The Final Four of Hoppy Beer.” The event is a blind tasting competition to decide which region of the United States produces the best hoppy beer.

Representing the East: Victory Dirt Wolf

Representing the West: Firestone Walker Union Jack

Representing the South: Terrapin Hopsecutioner

Representing the Midwest: Great Lakes Chillwave

More details »

Morning Headlines: Archdiocese to Demolish Fishtown’s Saint Laurentius Church

st laurentius church

Photo: Google Street View.

Saint Laurentius Catholic Church has seen some things in it 133-year existence on the corner of East Memphis and Berks Street in Fishtown. Many a mass, wedding, baptism and funeral have occurred underneath its iconic twin steeples, but the last two years have not been kind to the former place of worship, especially its beautiful, yet failing, structure.  In a letter read as mass on Sunday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that the church founded in 1882 will soon be demolished.

According to The Inquirer, the church has been in rapid structural decline since it merged with Holy Name of Jesus parish in September 2013 and closed altogether in March 2014 due to safety concerns.  The letter from the the Archdiocese, dated March 22, says it weighed the structural issues with cost of repairs ($3.5 million) against the cost of demolition ($1 million) and that “the decision was not made lightly.” Saint Laurentius School will remain open.

St. Laurentius, beloved Polish church in Fishtown, to be demolished [The Inquirer]

More Headlines:

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Meat Week: A Charcuterie Dinner At The Most Obvious Place For A Charcuterie Dinner


Considering that Kensington Quarters has some of the best meat in the game, we’re pretty pumped about their upcoming charcuterie dinner on Tuesday, March 31 at 7 pm.

Oh, but wait. The menu goes beyond the typical prosciutto wrapped melon to bring guests an inventive meal that lets the meat really shine. The dinner begins with a charcuterie board, featuring bresaola, veal terrine, head cheese and ‘nduja. Then a shrimp and salami salad with cucumber, basil and hot sauce, followed by smoked goat belly served with egg yolk, baby lettuce and onion relish. Then porchetta with royal trumpet mushrooms, carrots, and radishes, and dessert will be caramelized cake with lomo and chocolate.

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The Real Dill: An Eco-Friendly Former Pickle Factory in Fishtown

All photos by Jaime Alvarez

All photos by Jaime Alvarez

When fine-arts photographer Jaime Alvarez set out to find a new studio, he got even more than he bargained for: a former pickle factory in Fishtown big enough to serve as both home and workspace. “We have so much space here that I often joke, ‘And here’s the bowling alley,’” Alvarez says. It’s an appropriate quip due not only to the open floor plan, with its vast, uninterrupted sight lines, but also because the kitchen countertops and island are made of actual reclaimed bowling lanes and speak to the sustainable aesthetic found throughout the home. Read more »

Saffron: ‘Fishtown Is Having Its Williamsburg Moment’

An early rendering of the proposed complex. This is not the final design. | Photo courtesy of Roland Kassis

An early rendering of the proposed complex. This is not the final design. | Photo courtesy of Roland Kassis

Does the fancy hotel proposed on Frankford Avenue by Roland Kassis position artsy/hipster-y Fishtown squarely as Philadelphia’s version of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York? The Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron sure seems to think so and draws compelling parallels in her latest Changing Skyline piece between Kassis’s Fishtown resume with Domani Developers and the transformation in Williamsburg–particularly this new hotel plan and the introduction of Brookyln’s boutique Wythe Hotel in 2012. Hell, Kassis also brought in the Whythe’s architect, Morris Adjmi (who also designed the hip extended stay apartments at ROOST near 15th and Sansom), to further the vision of the new Frankford Avenue.

From Saffron’s piece: Read more »

One Bell for Fishtown’s Girard


The burger at Girard was one of the things Craig LaBan did like.

Craig LaBan savages Girard, the BYO on Girard Avenue that made headlines before it even opened, with its no-tipping policy. LaBan found poor execution and something even more surprising, a line on the check for tips.

But too many dishes failed to connect good ideas to a plate of complete success. Oliveira’s signature omelet was textbook perfect, stuffed with avocado, creamy cheddar and bacon. But the side of charred grapefruit, grilled face down (letting the sugar fall off) instead of brûléed with a torch, was bitterly burnt. The lamb ragu had an intriguing daube-like inflection of olives and orange, but was literally braised to a mush that was poorly paired with doughy gnocchi. A torchon of foie gras, usually a luxuriously creamy disk of delicately poached liver, was an off-tasting smudge of tan butter on toast overwhelmed by a thicker smudge of fig jam for $13.

One Bell – Hit or Miss

Bold but confusing Girard Brasserie and Bruncherie in Fishtown [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Girard [Foobooz]

Cheesesteak and Roast Beef Sandwich Expansion Report

Bread: Amoroso's kaiser roll.  Innards: Tender and flavorful roast beef from the flat and round parts of the steer.  Sandwich secret: Order an "overpoured combo with outs," which means extra gravy, cheese, and the crispies – crunchy burnt bits on the outside of the roast.  Nick's Roast Beef, 2149 South 20th Street, 215-463-4114

Nick’s Old Original Roast Beef

A sandwich may be a humble thing, but these three sandwich shops are really going places. Nick’s Old Original Roast Beef (locations in Springfield and South Philadelphia) is opening in West Chester, Tony Luke’s is expanding into Manayunk, and Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop is looking at a March opening for its Fishtown location.

According to West Chester Dish, Nick’s Roast Beef is slated to open on Monday, Februaary 23rd. The new location will be at 1215 West Chester Pike.

And in roast pork and cheesesteak news »

Rendering Alert: Hotel, Jazz Club, and So Much More Proposed in Fishtown

An early rendering of the proposed hotel. This is not the final design. | Photo courtesy of Roland Kassis

An early rendering of Kassis’ vision. Note this is not the final design. | Photo courtesy of Roland Kassis

The hotel rumors surrounding 1224 Frankford Avenue, otherwise identified as that five-story structure with the Shepard Fairey mural on its side, have finally been laid out by developer Roland Kassis during a Fishtown Neighbor Association meeting last night.

According to PhillyLiving’s Sandy Smith, Kassis intends to convert the former industrial building into a hotel and co-working space, and has plans to build an addition that would house a jazz club, a portion of the hotel lobby, “the bulk of the co-working facility,” and a banquet hall and restaurant. Not only that, but Smith adds that another building would be added north of addition:

To its north will rise a six-story building almost as tall as the existing structure; it will contain more co-working space, trash storage and support space, a street-level restaurant, the building’s loading dock, and 125 hotel rooms arrayed around an interior courtyard that will also contain outdoor seating space for the restaurant. A pool tops off this new structure.

Read more »

Where We’re Eating: V Street, Tuk Tuk Real and Stock

Spicy Dan Dan Noodles from V Street | Photo by Chloe Berk

Spicy Dan Dan Noodles from V Street | Photo by Chloe Berk

V Street
126  S 18th Street
Rittenhouse Square

Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby aren’t the first res- taurateurs to summon night- market memories with bare bulbs strung beneath a black ceiling. But the globetrotting vegans behind Vedge have uncorked an unusually pent- up desire for street snacks at this energetic offshoot of their stately mother ship.

But eat here and you can feel how long the pressure’s been building to yank every taco and noodle bowl into the meat-and-dairy-free realm. Read more »

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