Armenian Restaurant Comes to Northern Liberties

apricotstone 400On Friday, ApricotStone opened on Liberties Walk in Northern Liberties. The restaurant is owned by Ara Ishkhanian and chef Fimy Ishkhanian runs the kitchen. Ishkhanian is turning out a menu of seasonally inspired Mediterranean and Armenian cuisine.

 Ishkhanian grew up in Aleppo, Syria and came to the United States in 1981. In 1993 she opened Fimy’s Kitchen on the Main Line and added a second location in 1995. Now she’s bringing her cooking to Northern Liberties.

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Northern Liberties Residents Miffed About Overflowing Dumpsters

Residents of Northern Liberties are angry, and this time it isn’t just about teen public urination. No, the targets of community ire this time are constantly-overflowing dumpsters. (Note: They may not be Dumpster™ brand dumpsters.) Neighbors say they’re unsightly, and they smell.

The trash stench is coming from the parking lot of Liberties Walk, the Tower Investments-built, Westminster Management-owned complex across 2nd Street from the Piazza. Westminster has been fined 15 times in the last eight months for their overflowing garbage bins. Except for two recent ones, they’ve been paid.

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TONIGHT: Suppa’s Chef on Chopped


Chef Georgeann Leaming of Northern Liberties’ Suppa will be on Chopped this evening. Tune into the Food Network at 10 p.m. to see the Philadelphia chef.

Check out the Food Network’s description of the show.

In the first basket, the fryer gets pretty crowded as the chefs race to make crispy chicken wings, and the chefs are challenged to make African peri peri rub work in their dishes. Then in the entree round, a difficult cut of meat and a salty sandwich spread are among the mandatory ingredients. And will either finalist decide to bake a pie from the pie dough in the dessert basket?

Speaking of Pies » 

New Wood-Burning Oven and Menu at Bar Ferdinand


Northern Liberties’ Bar Ferdinand is busting out a fiery new addition to its Liberties Walk space: a handcrafted wood-burning oven, constructed by owner Owen Kamihira himself. Chef David Ansill, inspired by the flavors of Spain, is offering a new Late Night Menu that features an assortment of small and large dishes straight out of the oven.

The new late night menu is available in the bar and dining room and is offered Sunday through Thursday from 10:00pm – midnight and Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Bar Ferdinand’s new late night menu is divided into Tapas ($4 – $14), Spanish Flatbreads ($12 – $13), Raciones ($10 – $14) and Charcuterie & Cheese ($15 – $18). Familiar dishes like Spanish Octopus share space with bold roasted dishes including brandied chorizo, sardines and shrimp coca.

Bar Ferdinand [Official Site]

Blatstein Gives Up Controlling Interest in Piazza and Liberties Walk


The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Bart Blatstein has sold 60% of his interest in the Piazza at Schmidts and Liberties Walk. Kushner and Oaktree Capital Management L.P., a real estate investment fund are the buyers and the Inquirer estimates the deal is worth $130 million to Blatstein.

It would appear the deal gives Blatstein a cash infusion for his North Broad casino project, The Provence.

Blatstein sells controlling interest in Piazza, Liberties Walk [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Deconstructing Bart Blatstein [Philadelphia Magazine]

Homegrown Ingredients Make the Difference at Baan Thai


Brian Freedman dines at Baan Thai in Northern Liberties and finds dishes inspired by their homegrown ingredients.

Rad-nar—tender, slippery flat rice noodles—are listed as being topped with a homemade “gravy,” a word that I’ve rarely experienced having been used so accurately as it is here. This was a gravy in the old-school sense, meaty, glistening and built from a stock that’s boiled down each morning. A nuanced, clear-flavored tom yum, rooted in a homemade chicken stock, also benefitted from the kitchen’s DIY insistence.

Personal Touches Take The Dishes at Baan Thai to a Whole New Level [Philadelphia Weekly]

Photo by Felicia Perretti

A Taste of David Ansill’s Tasting Menu at Bar Ferdinand

Adam Erace checks out David Ansill’s cooking at Bar Ferdinand during a recent Thursday tasting.

[J]uicy heirloom-tomato gazpacho, stylish in glass cups, with icebergs of salsa-verde-marinated crabmeat sinking to the bottom of the soup like emeralds. More heirlooms, in a salad anointed with tomato oil and garnished with fried parsley and fresh mint. Crunchy pan con tomate, grilled bread rubbed with fruit and topped with crispy Serrano ham. Thick-cut wheels of green tomato breaded, fried and dabbed with smoky, spicy chorizo vinaigrette. The bites followed in succession, each better than the last. Getting reacquainted has never been so delicious.

Feeling Bullish [City Paper]
Bar Ferdinand [Official Site]

Sonata in Northern Liberties Has Closed

A tipster informed us that Sonata in Northern Liberties has closed. The menu is down from outside the door and the windows covered. A call to the BYOB’s voicemail confirmed that they were closed for business as of yesterday and thanked their customers for three years of patronage.

Even in Craig LaBan’s praise filled review of Mark Tropea’s food at Sonata back in 2010, the sustainability of the business was a major concern.

Hopefully we’ll soon see Tropea cooking again soon.

UPDATE: Eater is reporting that a new Thai restaurant, Baan Thai, will be taking over the space.

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