The Return of the Tiki Bar? I Wish…

So yesterday, I was tweetering about a story from the annual food show on CBS Sunday Morning that had to do with the (totally untrue) “Return of the Tiki Bar.” It was a trend story, which made it highly suspect right from the start. It was a trend story hooked to a pre-holiday broadcast, which made it doubly-suspect. And finally, the entire “Return” portion of the tiki bar “Trend” was hooked to just two joints in NYC–Otto’s Shrunken Head (which actually opened 9 years ago) and PKNY (which has been having problems of its own lately).

The worst part about the whole thing? I love tiki bars and wished like hell that Sunday Morning was actually onto something. Of all the dead trends that I wouldn’t mind seeing resurrected (see Potato Skins below, courtesy of Art), tiki bars–along with tiki drinks served by tiki girls–are near the top of the list. I will trade you a thousand cupcakes, bacon martinis and high-end cheeseburgers for one decent place to get sloshed on Mai Tais and scorpion bowls, is what I’m saying. Basically, one can not say that there is a tiki bar trend happening until there are as many tiki bars on the streets as there are shitty “Prohibition Speakeasies” clogging up the cocktail scene. And here in Philadelphia? We got nothin’.

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Zagorski Opening Fairmount Restaurant

Chef Matt Zagorski, formerly of Rouge and 500º is turning L’Oca into Hickory Lane. A sign in the window promises the restaurant will serve “quality local farm fresh ingredients in modern recipes.” Listed as manager on the sign is Jack Henderson, who owned L’Oca with chef Luca Garutti.

L’Oca closed a couple weeks ago and just months after Garutti was arrested for driving under the influence.

It seems the project has been in the works since at least June when Zagorski’s name was attached to a project called 2025. 2025 Fairmount is the address of L’Oca and now Hickory Lane.

L’Oca Is Closed Forever

“L’Oca is closed forever.” So says the sign in the window at Fairmount’s L’Oca. Back in July the restaurant was closed for several days after chef-owner Luca Garutti was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. This time the closure is permanent. Michael Klein reports the location already has a new tenant.

L’Oca is 86ed [The Insider]

Greatest Hits and What You Missed: Stealing Tea, Eating Wieners, Keeping Cool and the Biggest Cheesesteak in the World

We know that you’re itching for the weekend to begin. But before you step out into the furnace that is our fair city this afternoon, why not spend a few more minutes under the air conditioning and check out what you might’ve missed on Foobooz this week?

If you got a couple beers hidden at your desk, crack ’em now.

Far From Home Cafe Closes Up Shop And it’s all Foobooz’s fault. Kinda
Watching People Steal Honest Tea comes to town with a cool hidden-camera experiment
Barbecue and Beer at Pub & Kitchen Perfect for a summer night, though hopefully a slightly cooler one
L’Oca Owner Arrested, Restaurant Closed A DUI takes down the Fairmount BYO
Saturday is National Hot Dog Day And we have everything you need to know about getting some wieners in ya’s Philly Heat Map Which we counter with our Foobooz Not-Eater Cold Map of the lamest restaurants in town
Record For Biggest Cheesesteak Now Held By Tucson Are we gonna take this, Philly?
Coldest Restaurant in Center City Yes, we checked. These are the best places to beat the heat when you get out of work today

The Year In Bells

Craig LaBan looks back at the year in restaurants in Philadelphia bumping up the ratings for three restaurants, Rae to 3 bells and Brandywine Prime and L’Oca were both bumped up to 2 bells. Jose Garces was named chef of the year and Osteria got the nod for restaurant of the year.

The bells: One more time [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Open Kitchens

City Paper names Philadelphia’s top five open kitchens.

  1. Audrey Claire
  2. Dmitri’s
  3. Little Fish
  4. ¡Pasion!
  5. L’Oca

And although these are all fine restaurants and several are among our favorites. This list is incomplete without Striped Bass and Osteria. And speaking of Osteria, Thursday/Friday lunch starts today.

Air It Out [City Paper]


Kirsten Henri braves an ice storm to check out L’Oca, Fairmount’s Italian BYOB. She finds the restaurant “fair to middling.”

I’d say the neighborhood has taken to the BYOB. But for those who don’t live locally, L’Oca is less of a draw. It serves some decent fare, but nothing that elevates it beyond the middle of the Italian BYOB pack. The kitchen seems to have timing issues and the service, though friendly, makes amateur missteps.

Homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta and drizzled with brown butter, toasted walnuts and sage leaves are savory and nutty—and hard not to like. As are the short ribs—fork-tender meat colored with layers of mellow sweetness. It’s a homely heap of beef that’s reaped all of the benefits of being braised with balsamic vinegar and red wine.

Port in a Storm [Philadelphia Weekly]

How Many Bells For L’Oca

Sunday Craig LaBan reviews L’Oca, the newish Fairmount Italian BYOB, for the Inquirer.
[poll id=8]

Northern Italian In Fairmount

DailyCandy takes a look at L’Oca, the Northern Italian BYOB in Fairmount.

It’s not your typical Italian restaurant: There’s not a drop of red sauce to be found on chef Luca Garutti’s menu (it’s strictly northern). What you will find: fresh, succulent dishes like wild venison served with blueberry and wine sauce; saffron spaghetti with prosciutto, scallops, and oyster mushrooms; pappardelle with goose ragu (yep, the namesake is on the menu). For dessert, try the tiramisu or the chantille cream-filled profiteroles.

la Vida L’Oca: L’Oca Restaurant Opens [DailyCandy]


Phyllis Stein-Novack tries Fairmount’s newest Italian BYOB, L’Oca, and comes away already looking forward to returning. Calling L’Oca “one of the finest Italian meals I have enjoyed in years. Portions are generous, the prices, moderate.”

Three tips of the toque

L’Oca [South Philly Review]

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