Village Whiskey rising next to La Colombe in Washington D.C. | Photo via Popville
Last week, the Washington Post published an article about the Philadelphia restaurateurs coming to Washington D.C. and wondered if the next export from Philadelphia might be the Liberty Bell itself. The Post chronicled the southerly march of Philadelphia’s culinary elites like Stephen Starr, Jose Garces, Todd Carmichael and Marc Vetri, as well as the fast casual concepts like Honeygrow and HipCityVeg. Six concepts originating in Philadelphia are on the drawing board for D.C. Those will join seven Philadelphia businesses that have already landed in the nation’s capital. And then there are the future hopes of the likes of Starr, who says he’s close to nailing down two more spots and Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby (Vedge, V Street) who are actively looking for a D.C. location.
Among the reasons Philadelphia restaurants are considering D.C., proximity, demographics and it isn’t New York, which is seen as a daunting place to open and operate.
Check out Philadelphia’s culinary exports »
Bruce Koch, 60, Starr CFO
Starr Restaurants Chief Financial Officer Bruce Koch died Tuesday, January 26th after suffering a stroke on Saturday. Koch was 60 years-old.
In addition to being the CFO of Stephen Starr’s restaurant organization, Koch was known for his love of music, juggling being involved in two bands with overseeing the finances of the restaurant empire.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, February 6th, at 1 p.m. at the Germantown Friends Meetinghouse, 47 West Coulter Street. Details regarding a musical tribute will be announced later.
Bruce Koch, 60, bassist and Starr CFO [Philly.com]
While we were on our year-end break the hospitality industry saw several closures and changes.
The biggest news is that Il Pittore will close after service on Saturday, January 9th. The restaurant has been a partnership between Stephen Starr and Starr’s former culinary director, Chris Painter. The restaurant has received critical acclaim since its 2011 opening and was recently included in Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2016. According to Alex Tewfik of Eater, Painter is planning to leave the Starr universe and to go it alone. As for the Il Pittore space, which was formerly Noble, Eater says plans are already in motion to reconceptualize the space.
Read more »
On Monday, November November 30th, Aimee Olexy and Talula’s Daily are hosting chef Justin Smillie of the acclaimed Upland in New York. It’s a night of Starr Restaurants synergy (Upland is a Starr restaurant) as Smillie will be celebrating his new cookbook, Slow Fires during the $100 per person dinner. The book explores the fundamentals of braising, roasting and grilling as well as how to break those rules.
Diners will have a chance to chat with Smillie after he cooks dishes from his book. The dinner begins at 7 p.m. and a wine pairing will be available for an additional $60. Pick up a signed copy of Slow Fires for $40 at the event.
On the menu »
Concept for The Playground’s T Street.
With record speed, the first phase of The Playground, known as “T Street,” is officially opening its doors to the public this Friday in Atlantic City.
The Playground is Bart Blatstein‘s reinvigoration program for the Pier Shops at Ceasars, which will hold 14 music venues, two private clubs, a bowling alley and a massive sports bar when all’s said and done. Since we’ve already talked venues, attractions, and construction, how about we talk eats?
Read more »
On Saturday, Rittenhouse Row hosted their annual Spring Festival on what just so happened to be one of the most beautiful spring days of the year so far. Thousands showed up to the event, which took place along Walnut Street from Broad to Rittenhouse Square. There were DJs and bands; musicians from The Curtis Institute entertaining the crowd; family-friendly activities keeping kids entertained; and a couple beer gardens for the grownups. On the food front, the 1800 block of Walnut Street was rife with nibbles from Rittenhouse Row’s STARR restaurants, including Alma de Cuba, Barclay Prime, Butcher and Singer, Continental Midtown, The Dandelion, El Rey and Parc.
I snapped some photos of the afternoon; enjoy them below:
Sam, Michael, Zen and Sam at the Continental Beer Garden.
Liam Geoghegan, Caitlin Welge with Gordo Lobo of The Dandelion.
Jessica and Nicolas Costabile
A violinist from Curtis Institute plays for festival goers.
Jason Donnelly celebrating spring in quite the seasonal get-up.
Alison Young, Zoe Maser and David Maser.
Greg Goessner, Bryan Buttler and Jt Christensen (Christensen designed the VIP area.)
Donna Krimstock and Maxine Cohen at the VIP Tent.
Rouge, Devon and Parc restaurants along 18th Street across from Rittenhouse Square extended their dining rooms into the street.
Brandon Famous, Steve Gartner, Jackie Balin, Christina Zipf and Larry Steinberg.
Dru Marx, Richard and Ariel Bronstein
Tamar, Jacob, Steve and Bailey Olitsky
Lauren Bushby, Jamie Gershkow, and Joelle Underwood
Jaclyn Rhoads and Caroline Foley
I also stopped by the South Street Spring Festival. See those photos here.
A new cafe is now open in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Tableau is run by Starr Restaurants Catering and is located inside the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building at 128 North Broad Street.
The menu is simple cafe fare–a variety of soups, sandwiches, salads and baked goods–and there’s also a full coffee bar serving La Colombe coffee. The place also has a liquor license, so it’s serving a selection of wine and beer, with special discounts for PAFA members.
Tableau opens at 8am, Monday through Friday, and at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays. Large paintings by PAFA student artists decorate the walls, and floor-to-ceiling glass doors allow for the cafe to be opened to the outside in warm weather–which, with any luck, we’ll be seeing soon.
Pasta at Il Pittore | Photo courtesy of Starr Restaurants
For all of Philadelphia’s culinary diversity — and from Bustleton Avenue’s new Moldovan spot to Indonesian fare in Point Breeze, we at Foobooz are big believers — this is still a city where Italian restaurants rule. Read more »
Restaurant Business magazine has released its list of the Top 100 Independent Restaurants by Sales in the United States. And Stephen Starr owns five of them. Starr’s NYC Buddakan was ranked #9 with estimated sales of $21.5 million. His top Philadelphia restaurant is Parc with estimated sales of $11.9 million.
The top independent restaurant is Tao Asian Bistro in Las Vegas with sales of $64.4 million. The only other nearby restaurant on the list is The Lobster House in Cape May, New Jersey. Despite a short busy season, the seafood restaurant brought in $14.5 million in sales.
Read more »
The Winos | Illustration by Jessi Falcone
We here at Foobooz certainly enjoy Philadelphia’s food scene but that doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally roll our eyes at some of the other dining room’s tables. Here is our list of the thirteen kinds of diners you’ll find in Philadelphia. Who do you recognize, what behavior are you guilty of?
Compiled by Isabelle Gallicchio, Ela Torres and Alex Tewfik
Read more »