Tasting Scratch Biscuits with Mitch Prensky

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The build-out on Mitch Prensky’s Scratch Biscuits storefront at 1306 Chestnut Street is on schedule, maybe even ahead of schedule. This, Prensky told me as he frantically looked for some wood to knock on, means the Midtown Village biscuit spot will be ready for inspections in about three weeks.

Yesterday, I sat down with Prensky to try a sampling of his breakfast and lunch biscuit sandwiches. Also on the agenda, identifying which sandwich was served on a gluten-free biscuit. I failed.

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The Fat Ham Adds Lunch and Happy Hour

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Lunch is back at the Fat Ham | Pimento cheese with grilled country bread

Beginning today, the Fat Ham is offering lunch and happy hour. Kevin Sbraga’s Southern restaurant in University City is offering lunch weekdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Lunch includes the Fat Ham burger, shrimp and grits, pork belly and a hot chicken sandwich.

Happy hour consists of $4 snacks, discounted beers, wines and cocktails.

Check out the Fat Ham’s lunch and happy hour menus »

Fat Ham Begins Sunday Supper

Hot Chicken | Photo by Jason Varney

Hot Chicken | Photo by Jason Varney

Starting Sunday, October 5th, the Fat Ham will serve up Sunday suppers for all you Southern comfort food lovers who have somehow found yourselves in Philadelphia’s dining scene.

Chef Kevin Sbraga will cook up a three-course dinner of family-style food designed for parties of two or more. The Supper costs $30 per person, but will definitely fill you up to top off the end of the weekend. The Supper begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. The Sunday supper menu is the only menu served on Sundays at the Fat Ham.

Check out October 5th’s Sunday Supper menu »

Lowcountry Boil Comes to The Fat Ham

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On August 5th, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Kevin Sbraga’s The Fat Ham will do its own take on the Lowcountry Boil. Attendees will receive a family-style helping of the classic summertime dish to enjoy with the new seasonal cocktails for $90 per person (tax and gratuity included).

You can expect a meal full of shrimp, blue crab claws, house made smoked garlic sausage, potatoes and corn. And this lowcountry boil is bringing the heat with The Fat Ham’s special spice blend.

Yet Sbraga isn’t just bringing the dish up North for a few good lip smacks. “Lowcountry Boil is the epitome of what hospitality is all about in the South – getting together with friends and family to eat, drink, and enjoy each other’s company,” Sbraga said. “And there’s no better way to enjoy the last days of summer than with this one pot dish spread across a table of newspaper.” 

Check out the full menu »

The Revisit: Rex 1516

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Restaurant chefs sure ain’t what they used to be.

Once they were stalwarts who manned the stoves in obscurity, if not outright anonymity, cooking for customers who expected a restaurant’s personality to come from somewhere else: a gregarious owner, a schmoozing maître d’, a head waiter who knew the table you wanted and the drink you always wanted on it.

Now they want to be the center of the show, these chefs today. They cook for creative fulfillment, for celebrity, for adoration. Sure, they cook for customers, too. But only as a means to an end: an invitation to Top Chef, a book deal, a restaurant empire of their own.

At least that’s what everybody says.

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Philadelphia Restaurant Review: The Fat Ham

Blackened Catfish - Photo by Jason Varney

Blackened Catfish – Photo by Jason Varney

It’s not the sort of thing a food critic is supposed to say, but my favorite bite of the year might just be a piece of fluffy white bread soaked with ranch dressing on the Walnut Street Bridge.

That wasn’t everything my fork found on one plate at the Fat Ham. There was a refreshing sprig of dill, and a thin slice of cucumber pickle that was as cool as, well, you know. But there you’ve got the sum total: bread, ranch, dill, cucumber. So I know what you’re thinking: Should I even keep reading this column, or quit while I’m ahead?

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Where We’re Eating: The Fat Ham

The Fat Ham | Country fried chicken lobster

Country fried chicken lobster | Photo by Vanessa Beahn

Despite the insane amount of development in UCity in the past decade, the area’s dining scene has lagged behind. There are plenty of just-decent restaurants and some notable ethnic choices, but not many spots for a truly memorable meal. Kevin Sbraga’s second restaurant, though, is a big step in the right direction. It’s also a welcome Southern dining addition to a city that, inexplicably, still has few. On your first visit to the Fat Ham, go for anything fried, with the hot chicken (a Nashville staple) and fried oyster sliders on the must-have list. After that, you’re on your own, but there are very few wrong paths to choose here. My party of four tried something like 18 dishes, and there was only one we didn’t like. But then, why the heck did we order hummus at a Southern restaurant in the first place?

The Fat Ham [Foobooz]

First appeared in the March, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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