Oyster House’s Sam Mink Opening Mexican “Beer Garden”

Executive Chef Brett Naylor, Sam Mink and GM Daniel McLaughlin

Executive Chef Brett Naylor, Sam Mink and GM Daniel McLaughlin

Sam Mink is growing up. The owner of the popular Oyster House is opening Mission, a 4,500 square-foot Mexico City inspired “indoor beer garden and grill” upstairs from his Sansom Street restaurant. Mink is partnering with Oyster House executive chef Brett Naylor on the project that also taps Oyster House’s Daniel McLaughlin and chef Andrew Sabin to oversee Mission’s day-to-day operations. Sabin was most recently at El Poquito in Chestnut Hill and before that was a veteran of the Garces Group.

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with These Food and Drink Specials

cinco-de-mayoAs if there aren’t enough things going on this week for the Craft Brewers Conference, we can’t forget about Cinco de Mayo—so we pulled together a list of places to celebrate, plus the food and drink specials they’re offering.

  • El Rey Cinco de Mayo Block PartyFrom 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be plenty of tacos, quesadillas, corn on the cob, churros, and of course—beers, margaritas, and Mexican sodas. The event is family-friendly from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. with activities, music, and a special kid’s menu.
  • Morgan’s Pier: $7 Margaritas, $6 21st Amendment El Scully, $5.50 Coronas, $4.50 Tecates
  • Distrito Philadelphia$2 Tecates, $2 pollo and carnitas tacos,$3 salsa roja, $5 guac, $5 Feliz margaritas, $5 Mexican city wides. There will also be a DJ from 5-9  p.m. and raffle prizes from Corona and El Jimador.

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Taco Time: Heffe Reviewed

Bellicimo Burrito at Heffe

Bellicimo Burrito at Heffe

They were taking the Christmas lights down at Heffe on the day I showed up. Everyone was wearing gloves and hats; collars  turned up against some of the first serious cold of the year. It was the kind of afternoon that made the smooth white stones of the outdoor seating area, the picnic tables, the sand-colored stucco of the walls and all the lime, the chilies, the summer-sunlight flavors kind of a joke. Who eats street tacos in January? In Philly?

No one but me … and the half dozen people already waiting ahead of me, and the additional half dozen who filed in behind. Enough people that maybe it isn’t really a joke anymore, but a question—semi-serious and a little bit darker: How desperate for tacos do you have to be to risk frostbite in Fishtown just to get your fix?

Heffe has no indoor seating, just those red picnic tables. There’s no dining room, no service, no silver, no booze. No credit cards are accepted (it’s cash on the barrelhead, but relatively cheap), though if you count the two column heaters and those Christmas lights (now gone), an ATM makes up fully one quarter of the exterior decor.

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El Poquito Has a Design-a-Taco Contest

el poquito bar 940In honor of Chestnut Hill’s El Poquito turning one, the Mexican restaurant is hosting a taco contest. Customers are invited to create a new taco that will be featured on the 2016 menu. The winner will also receive a $250 restaurant gift certificate.

The contest runs through the end of the year and they’re accepting submissions by guest comment cards and via social media (Facebook, Instagram).

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The 20 Best Tacos in Philly Right Now

Dos Tacos | Photo by Dom Savini

Dos Tacos | Photo by Dom Savini

If something as iconic and awesome as a taco can ever have a boom cycle, Philly is definitely going through one right now. A whole slew of new taquerias have opened, and many kitchens in the city have added two or three (or 10) tacos to their menus. So just to keep everything straight, we’ve put together a list of the 20 best tacos that you need to eat right now. Beginning with … Read more »

Nachos Are Fundamentally Flawed

Beautiful now, soon to be soggy and sad.

Beautiful now, soon to be soggy and sad.

Back in October of 2014 we solicited feedback on who had the best nachos in Philadelphia and it seemed everyone had an opinion. The comment thread lit up. Dozens more weighed in on social media. But even as I tried more recommended nachos around town, a Twitter comment by Mike Ilagan stuck in the back of my mind. “Every time I order nachos, I am completely underwhelmed … all of the time.”

As I ordered praised plates of nachos topped with chorizo, bejewelled with tomatoes, piled high with jalapenos and glossed with steaming cheese, there was always a time when the server would come back to the table and ask if I was done with the plate and I would wave it and those last few sad chips, some naked others soggy, away. There was disappointment on each plate.

And today it finally clicked »

Besito Mexican Restaurant to Open in Ardmore

Besito_Bar

Besito (Little Kiss) opens in Ardmore

Besito Mexican Restaurant will bring Mexican food to Ardmore’s Suburban Square on Monday October 26, adding to Suburban Square’s dining scene that runs the gamut from the independent Parlor to the chain Not Your Average Joe’s.

Besito (translated as “little kiss”) will be an upscale restaurant with an extensive tequila list and stylish decor. The Ardmore location will have a 150-seat restaurant, full bar, private dining area and outdoor patio with a fireplace that can accommodate up to 30 additional people.

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La Casa de tu Madre Opens in Bella Vista

La-Casa-de-tu-Madre-skulls-400

La Casa de tu Madre – Spanish for “The House of Your Mother,” is open in Bella Vista.

La Casa de tu Madre opened yesterday at the corner of 8th and Fitzwater Streets. The former Growlers is still owned by Jason Evenchik and his team that is also behind Heritage, Garage, Bar and Time but now the space has been converted into a Mexican bar.

Chef Michael Thomas remains from the Growlers day, now overseeing a menu of nachos, tacos, enchiladas and burritos. Nothing on the menu exceeds $15 and the bar has a list of craft beers on draft plus a tight cocktail menu. The bar also has more than 20 types of tequila available and a selection of five or six mezcals.

La Casa de tu Madre opens on weekdays at 5 p.m., noon on weekends. Happy hour runs weekdays, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

La Casa de tu Madre [Foobooz]

Growlers Closes to Reconceptualize

la casa de tu madreGrowlers Bar at 8th and Fitzwater has closed. The bar by Jason Evenchik opened in mid-2012 as the successor to Vesuvio and Little Bar.

Evenchik confirms to us that the space will undergo a short overhaul and be turned into La Casa de tu Madre (The House of Your Mother), a Mexican bar and restaurant.

Michael Thomas will remain as chef, he has been running specials over the past month testing out different dishes that will be on the menu. There will also be a tequila and mezcal list behind the bar. Evenchik tells us he’s been doing some research and development for the concept on the Yucatan Peninsula and would like to get some Mexican craft beers into the bar but it has been difficult to secure an importer. So at the get go, it will be a list of local draft beer.

The overhaul, which comes on the heels of Coeur’s opening down the block, is scheduled to take two-to-three weeks.

La Casa de tu Madre [Foobooz]

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