Eat Your Veggies at Morgan’s Pier This Summer

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This Thursday, April 20th, Morgan’s Pier will open for the 2017 season, and if you’ve been following along, you’ll know the Helm guys — Kevin D’Egidio and Mike Griffiths, the chef duo behind some of the city’s finest locally and responsibly sourced eats — are in charge of the kitchen this year, putting their own spin on the tried-and-true cheffy backyard BBQ tradition.

Exciting, yes, but also curious. How can two chefs who’ve spent the better part of their careers in small kitchens working with small producers apply that same sort of philosophy to a mega-venue like Morgan’s Pier?

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Helm Crew Will Bring Farm Fare to Morgan’s Pier This Summer

Morgan's Pier/Facebook

Morgan’s Pier/Facebook

Every year, Morgan’s Pier plucks a big-named chef from the Philadelphia restaurant scene to head its kitchen for its 6-month season. In 2016, it was Jim Burke; 2015 was Nick Elmi and before that, David Gilbert (Koo Zee Doo), George Sabatino (Aldine) and David Katz. And every year, it’s a treat to see how each chef rethinks the “backyard barbecue” concept — always the theme of the Morgan’s Pier’s menu.

So when Helm’s chef-owner Kevin D’Egidio confirmed with me today that it would be he and his co-chef-owner Mike Griffiths running the show in 2017, I was curious as to how the two chefs might incorporate their kitchen ideals into the massive machine that is the Morgan’s Pier kitchen. The two worked, almost exclusively, in small kitchens for the better parts of their careers.

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South Helm Is Now Open

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South Helm’s doors are now open

The awaited sequel to Helm officially opened its doors on June 3rd.

Located at 100 Morris Street, South Helm is Michael Griffiths’s and Kevin D’Egidio’s second restaurant. General manager of Helm, Justin Manne, will also be heading up operations at South Helm. The team opened Helm just over a year ago, and they are on a roll.

A preview of their menu posted on Instagram teases at the dishes they will be offering and tops out at $14. Just like Helm, the menu will rotate and change week to week with farm-to-table specials. Griffiths said not to expect anything over $16 on the menu.

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South Helm Is Coming Along Nicely

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South Helm is coming along.

Michael Griffiths and Kevin D’Egidio, the guys behind the highly acclaimed Helm BYOB surprised many when they announced that they were opening their second location, less than a year after they opened their first restaurant in Kensington. And yesterday they posted a surprising photo on Instagram. The new spot, South Helm at 100 Morris Street is shaping up quite nicely.

Griffiths told us last month that South Helm was hoping to open in April and it looks like they’re right on schedule.

South Helm [Foobooz]

Helm Team Opening Second Restaurant

Photo by Emily Teel

Photo by Emily Teel

When Michael Griffiths and Kevin D’Egidio opened Helm in Kensington last March, they were relative unknowns despite solid resumes. Grifftihs had been at Lacroix, Rittenhouse Tavern and opened Ela with Jason Cichonski. Directly prior to Helm his was a sous chef at Fork. D’Egidio had a similarly solid resume with work at Tangerine and Lacroix plus being Chris Kearse’s opening sous chef at Will. He headed out on his own after a stint as the head chef at Stateside. Now they’ve debuted at number ten on Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2016 and are already planning their second restaurant.

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Announcing the New 50 Best Restaurants in Philly

The new 50 Best Restaurants List | Photo by Samuel Markey

The new 50 Best Restaurants List | Photo by Samuel Markey

If it seems too soon for another 50 Best Restaurants issue, you’re right. For a long time, this list was something we put together every two years. But now that’s changing. Because it has to.

Philadelphia’s restaurant scene moves fast today—too fast for the kind of monolithic thinking that says a list of the best restaurants in this city could possibly stand, fundamentally unchanged, for two years. Fortunes rise and fall over weeks, not years. Opinions shift. Focus drifts. There was a time when a list of the best restaurants in Philly could have some breathing room—would be just as true (or nearly as true) six months or a year later as it was on the day it hit the stands. But today that sort of thinking seems as quaint as cedar-plank salmon or those bicycles with one big wheel in front—an artifact of another time.

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Of Vinyl, Ramps and Stinging Nettle: Helm Reviewed

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Tortellini with brussels sprouts | Photo by Jason Varney

You knew this was coming. In Philadelphia, where chefs are constantly popping up in one another’s kitchens or dueling each other at Cook, it was only a matter of time before two of them would notice a FOR RENT sign as they carpooled home one night and decide to take the next logical step and move in together. Read more »

Eli Kulp Benefit Dinner at Helm

helm-interior-940On Sunday, June 14th, Helm is hosting a benefit dinner for chef Eli Kulp who was seriously injured in last month’s Amtrak derailment. Helm’s Kevin D’Egidio and Michael Griffiths are hosting guest chefs Nick Elmi, Jon Nodler, Sam Kincaid, John Patterson, and Jon Cichon in a collaborative dinner that will benefit the Kulp Family Fund. The dinner is $125 per person and wine and beer will be provided. The dinner will be just one 7:30 pm seating at Helm.

Each chef is contributing one course. Wine is being donated by Wine Merchant, Artisan Cellars, and High Street Hospitality Group.

Reservations can be made directly to Helm’s email address, helmphilly@gmail.com. The communal dinner has one seating at 7:30 pm with up to 40 seats available.

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Tonight: A Spring Introduction At Helm

FirstLookHelm12

Since opening the doors at Helm a little over a month ago, Kevin D’Egidio and Michael Griffiths have been hitting their stride, putting up their own brand of focused plates, and making new friends. Now that the weather has warmed and they’re starting to see more locally-grown and foraged produce they’re throwing a little party tonight to celebrate.

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Philadelphia’s Spring Restaurant Openings

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Helm in Olde Kensington | Photo by Emily Teel

Despite what the weather might be doing, we’re calling it: Spring is here. And as always, the change in seasons gives us an excuse to look forward at all the upcoming restaurant openings that we’re excited about.

So here’s what we’ve got coming up on the calendar. One word of caution though: Before you all go getting too excited about one place or another, let’s keep in mind that restaurant opening dates are HIGHLY speculative. As history has taught us time and time again, just because some place says it’s going to be open in April doesn’t mean that we won’t still be waiting for it to open its door come November. Of next year. Read more »

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