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?
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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.
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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
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The forces of Rittenhouse Row, Kevin Sbraga, and Danielle DelRe, of Starr Restaurants, have come together to create an event that will be one to remember. From August 4th to the 7th, the restaurants of Rittenhouse Row will prepare meals unlike the ones on the traditional menus and give you a dining experience that is one of a kind. As of right now, 18 members will participate in the Rittenhouse Row Culinary Collective, but the list is growing.
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Photo via Starr Restaurants
Eater alerts us to an interview with Stephen Starr on Grub Street. In it, Starr talks about El Vez NYC and his future plans for New York, including a potential collaboration with Peter Serpico, who Starr first brought from New York to Philadelphia.
Serpico was David Chang’s right hand man and the former chef at Momofuku Ko in New York where he won a James Beard Award. He then partnered with Stephen Starr to open his own restaurant last year on South Street in Philadelphia.
The pair are still shopping for New York real estate so any Serpico NYC is still a ways off.
Stephen Starr on El Vez and the Cutthroat World of Restaurant Real Estate [Grub Street via Eater]
On Friday, April 25th, Stephen Starr is opening his New York City version of El Vez. The 190-seat bar and restaurant is opening at 259 Vesey Street, in the Battery Park City neighborhood. The menu has been developed by executive chef David LaForce, who also has worked at the Philadelphia location of El Vez and a Starr task force that includes James Tracey, the culinary director for STARR Restaurants and chef Dionicio Jimenez of Starr’s El Rey.
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Last month we told you how Starr Restaurants was making it easy for diners to donate to support Philadelphia schools. Stephen Starr’s restaurants have also put together some interesting packages that you can bid on online. They include everything from omakase for four at Morimoto to a kids’ pizza party at Pizzeria Stella. There’s even an item that includes dinner for two at all 20 of Starr’s Philadelphia restaurants.
Philadelphia’s Children First Fund [Charitybuzz]