Urban Outfitters to Buy Vetri Restaurants

Urban Vetri

Two of Philadelphia’s best-known brands are set to become united. Urban Outfitters has agreed to buy the Vetri Family of restaurants. No sale price has been disclosed.

“Having known Marc for almost a decade and partnered with him through his charitable foundation, we are honored to have him, Jeff and the Vetri family join the URBN team,” said Richard A. Hayne, CEO of Urban Outfitters in a statement. “Spending on casual dining is expanding rapidly, and thus, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand the Pizzeria Vetri concept.” Read more »

Sued for Playing Whitney: Bar Owners Fighting Relentless Drive for Music Fees

Although it may surprise people outside the service industry, bars and restaurants must pay music licensing fees for the right to play music in their establishments. That’s live music, dinner music, DJs, jukeboxes. Everything. If you’re going to play Shake it Off at your bar, Taylor Swift (or whoever owns the publishing rights) wants a check.

While the process is legal, it has bar and restaurant owners upset — and a growing list of proprietors claim the “take-it-or-leave-it” fee structure lacks alternatives and transparency in how they’re billed. There are three main music licensing companies: Broadcast Music Inc., the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and SESAC Inc.) To some, the way they operate feels like a shakedown — especially since the companies send spies to the establishment to write down what songs they hear. Then comes a questionnaire asking about the establishment’s square footage, live-music schedule, jukebox situation and other things — outputting an amount they have to pay. But don’t try to argue. If you don’t comply, they’ll just use their big money to take you to court. Just ask Silk City in Northern Liberties. More on that in a minute. Read more »

Big Restaurant Chain Starts No-Tipping Policy

No more tipping at Joe's Crab Shack.

No more tipping at Joe’s Crab Shack.

When Fishtown restaurant Girard announced a no-tipping policy, it made national headlines — and started a conversation about whether a flat fee for servers could actually become the industry norm. It was even referenced on Saturday Night Live.

Now, a large, national chain has joined the no-tipping movement: Joe’s Crab Shack. Servers in 18 Joe’s restaurants will now earn wages starting at $14 per hour or higher, with better-performing servers earning more, according to the publication Restaurant Business. Read more »

A Breakdown of Where Philly’s $12 Million in Investment Cash is Going

Honeygrow | Photo via Facebook

Honeygrow | Photo via Facebook

Led by Honeygrow and ChargeItSpot, Philadelphia has gotten some serious venture capital funding in the second quarter of 2015. In fact, restaurant chain Honeygrow raised the most cash in the quarter — $5 million — which is part of a larger $25 million investment that will bring more locations and upgraded technology to the business. Will it be the next Shake Shack or Chipotle? It’s certainly part of a wave of Philly restaurants attempting to become the next great chain. (We examine the phenomenon here.)

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Brick and Mortar Opening

DSC_0919 copy

Last night Michael B. Welsh’s much anticipated Brick and Mortar (BAM) opened up at 12th and Pearl Streets in the Loft District of Philadelphia. The New American tavern seats up to 110 people and is located on the first floor of the Goldtex Building, which features large windows letting in a lot of light and banquet style tables as well as having a community table for large parties. Chef Brian Ricci’s menu will serve lunch and dinner, as well as late-night snacks, plus the best cocktails you could imagine.

Last night’s opening served as a fundraiser to support Friends of The Rail Park, attracting supporters including Inga Saffron, Connor Barwin, Sam Sherman and Paul Steinke, who enjoyed signature cocktails + hors d’oeuvres crafted by the BAM staff. Friends of The Rail Park had a lot to celebrate last night as the Philadelphia Art Commission had given final approval for the anticipated park’s design on Wednesday. During the event Philly’s favorite rapper, Chill Moody performed with Yufi Zewdu & DJ Ricochet.

Photos after the jump »

Big Gay Ice Cream Opening As Early As Friday [UPDATED]

BIg Gay Ice Cream

UPDATE [5/1/2015, 4:59 pm]: Big Gay Ice Cream opened a day earlier than we expected. They threw open the doors last night, on Thursday, April 30th. Here, a shot of the Big Gay Ice Cream crew, with owners Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint.

ORIGINAL: Philly food writer Michael Klein stopped in to Philly’s Big Gay Ice Cream location this week, and he projects the New York-based treat shop could be open as early as Friday, May 1st. According to the board in the photo they sent, the shop will offer up everything from shakes to sundaes to specialty cones with sassy names like Salty Pimp, the Bea Arthur and American Gloss. It’s located near the intersection of Broad and South streets.

Read more »

What’s on the Menu at Boxers PHL

The menu at Boxers PHL does a body good, apparently.

The menu at Boxers PHL does a body good, apparently.

It took a few months, but Gayborhood sports bar Boxers PHL finally fired up that brick oven on its second floor and is cranking out the delicious grub it’s been promising since it opened in October.

So here’s the deal, for those of you who haven’t ventured in for a bite yet: The kitchen is open 7 days a week: on weekdays from 4 pm to 10 pm (sorry lunch-goers) and weekends from noon to 10 pm.

The main focus of the menu are their cheekily named pizzas, which bar manager Keith Stiles tells me are crafted from fresh ingredients. The “Lei’d,” for instance comes with pineapples, Canadian bacon, mozzarella cheese and barbecue sauce. The “Orgy” is topped with sausage, pepperoni, red onions, mushrooms, tomato and extra-virgin olive oil. There’s a “Twink,” too, which, as you might imagine, comes with a slim amount of toppings: tomato sauce, garlic and mozzarella. Stiles says you can always add on a few things if that’s not enough.

Read more »

Feds to Scrutinize 25 Popular Philly Eateries for ADA Compliance



Philly restaurant owners beware: The feds might soon be on your doorstep, checking to see if your restaurant is compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Philadelphia announced today it will do an ADA compliance check at 25 of the city’s top restaurants. The restaurants were chosen using “recent third-party restaurant rankings” to identify Philadelphia’s “most popular and frequented restaurants.” Read more »

Little Pete’s to Meet the Wrecking Ball?

Photo | Maps.Google.com

Photo | Maps.Google.com

Little Pete’s, the Center City diner whose old-fashioned ways made it a beloved gathering place for downtown workers, late-night hipsters, and visiting politicians, is expected to meet the wrecking ball soon in order to make way for a 300-room hotel.
Read more »

Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney Reveal Plans for 13th and Locust

Foobooz has the scoop on Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s plans for their space at 13th and Locust streets, the location formerly known as Bump and Q. Unlike Little Nonna’s, which was inspired by Marcie’s Italian grandmother, the new space gets new life courtesy of Turney’s heritage.

From Turney's Instagram: "This is #Bud&Marilyn's restaurant opening day photo in 1950."

From Turney’s Instagram: “This is #Bud&Marilyn’s restaurant opening day photo in 1950.”

The restaurant will be called Bud & Marilyn’s in honor of Turney’s grandparents who ran a restaurant in Wisconsin for forty years. Turney’s Instagram feed contains several clues for what’s planned. There’s a photo of what her grand parents’ restaurant looked like back on its opening day in 1950 (right), the epitome of mid-Century diner. Her Instagram avatar also shows what could very well be a rendering of what’s planned for Bud & Marilyn’s. This all jives with what we’ve heard whispered for the concept, something like throwback American or classic American-diner.

So I guess this pretty much squashes my suspicion that they were working with former Sisters manager Denise Cohen to open a lesbian bar.

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