Cheese Curd Redemption at Independence Beer Garden

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Adam Erace reviews the pop-up Independence Beer Garden and offers tips for where and when to hang out but skewers the food, save what comes with cheese curds.

But don’t miss the cheese curds, light little poufs of tempura-fried Vermont goodness served with sweet, smoky tomato jam, the marinara to these new-school mozzarella sticks.

At Independence Beer Garden, a democratic menu of bar fare [City Paper]
Independence Beer Garden [Foobooz]

Schulson To Open Sushi and Robata Concept

Photo by Steve Legato

Photo by Steve Legato

Adam Erace plucks a nugget from an interview with Michael Schulson regarding his Independence Beer Garden. Schulson, who also owns Sampan and Atlantic City’s Izakaya is planning to open another Midtown Village restaurant. No name has been revealed but it will be a sushi and robata (grilled meats on sticks) concept and will have current Izakaya chef, Kevin Yanaga in the kitchen.

Schulson planning second Midtown Village restaurant [Meal Ticket]

Today: Independence Beer Garden is Here

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Ever since the release of the menu that made us salivate, we have been waiting ever so patiently for Michael Schulson’s Independence Beer Garden. And it’s finally here (for real this time). The highly anticipated garden is set to open today at 4 p.m, regardless of the weather.

From delicious bites to scenic views, Independence Beer Garden is looking to spruce up the summer. The menu will feature Philly favorites, like Pretzel bites, along with many BBQ-friendly items, including Corn on the Cob with Chili Butter & Cojita Cheese and a Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. In addition to all of the eats, IBG will have ping-pong tables, a table-top Jenga, and a 10-foot projection TV for you to enjoy, as well.

But we can’t forget about the piece that brings the entire garden together: beer. And with a beer menu almost as big as the location itself, you might have a tough time narrowing things down. We know we will. Check out the entire drink menu here. Now, go ahead and start counting down the hours with us.

IBG is located at 100 S. Independence Mall West and, after today, will open daily at 11 a.m.

Independence Beer Garden [Foobooz]

The Six Degrees Game of Love, Philly Celebrity Edition

Ever notice how for the bold-faced and famous here, Philadelphia’s social scene resembles a high school? The dating pool is shallow, everyone knows everyone else, and a stroll down the hall (or around Rittenhouse Square) can lead to a memory-lane disaster. Maybe that’s why A-list magnet Roseanne Martin’s latest well-to-do beau is an out-of-towner. Smart move, girlfriend — and a departure for Martin and others whose love connections are local, notable and, like, totes complicated.
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Groundswell Design Group Is Making Philly More Swell

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David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group has become one of our favorite people. He and his company were behind the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop-Up Garden from last summer that we just can’t stop praising. His company is also responsible for the landscape architecture at Morgan’s Pier, Talula’s Garden and the Waterfront Winterfest.

An impressive list but that’s nothing compared to the projects they have planned.

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Sylva Senat Lands at Ardmore’s Saint James

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Modern Indian Cuisine with Sylva Senat of Tashan

Good news for fans of former Tashan chef Sylva Senat. Michael Klein reports that talented chef has landed at the Saint James in Ardmore. We feared the chef might head back to New York City but hadn’t considered the connection between Senat and the Saint James’ Michael Schulson. Senat cooked for Schulson when the energetic Schulson was Buddakan New York’s executive chef.

No word yet on a new menu but we’ll be following carefully.

Chef Sylva Senat lands on the Main Line [The Insider]

Photo by Yoni Nimrod

New Happy Hour Menu At The St. James

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Okay, so the St. James in Ardmore has been going through some rough times. But as partner Michael Schulson explained when we talked to him a couple weeks back, he isn’t giving up the fight on the Main Line. He’s been re-doing menus, firing kitchen crew and working the line himself at the embattled joint in order to bring it back from the brink.

And now, he has a new happy hour menu that just got announced (it launches at 4pm today). And while no, we don’t believe that some pickles and sliders can completely turn a place around, that shrimp roll certainly does seem to be a step in the right direction.

Michael Schulson [Twitter]

Matt Moon Out At the St. James

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In a move that surprised precisely no one, Matt Moon–opening chef at the St. James–has been let go by partners Michael Schulson and Rob Wasserman. This move follows a couple of knee-capping reviews (a no-bell review from Craig Laban and a scathing zero-star review from Philly mag’s  own Trey Popp), but according to Schulson, “There have been changes in the works for about a month.”

And showing the chef the door? That wasn’t the start of the bloodletting.

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No Bells for Ardmore’s The Saint James – Is Location to Blame?

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Craig LaBan smashes The Saint James in Ardmore with a stinging no-bell review. Plates were dropped with regularity,the meat was over-cooked and salads were under seasoned. Is the problem, the location?

Finding skilled restaurant workers in the burbs is “painful,” says Schulson, whose Saint James kitchen had an 85 percent turnover in the first three months. But the problem is as much economic as geographic, he concedes, with line-cook wages only barely above what some say they’d receive in unemployment compensation. The culinary passion that drives many young chefs through that rite of passage is especially scarce outside the city. But given that Moon told me “only the sous-chef and a dishwasher” remained in his kitchen since my final visit, just a week before our conversation, I’d suggest that a pay increase is in order. Or perhaps these owners just aren’t cut out for multiple restaurants.

No Bells – Poor

The Saint James [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The Saint James [Official Site]

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