Famed fast-casual hummusiya Dizengoff is expanding yet again. Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook’s choice for their next outpost? Sunny Miami.
Center City’s darling new give-back diner, Rooster Soup Company, caught some national attention last week after GQ named it one of the ten best new restaurants in the country. The author, Brett Martin, waxes creative about Rooster’s chicken schnitzel sandwich, its Yemenite chicken pot pie and its smoked-matzo-ball soup; he even goes so far as to mention its hours (“[o]pen from breakfast through early-bird dinner”).
Now, just four days after the list was published, Rooster Soup Co. tweaked its menu and hours, so its entire blurb is effectively dated material — a perfect example of the fidgety, fast-moving, fickle nature of the restaurant business.
Michael Solomonov is making moves in 2017.
He and his partner Steve Cook just opened an impressively charitable luncheonette in Center City called Rooster Soup Co., last night was Solo’s documentary debut at the Ritz Five cinema, and yesterday, the team announced a new restaurant opening right above Rooster Soup Co.: Goldie, a vegan falafel shop, at 1526 Sansom Street. It opens today at 11 a.m., too, which is pretty crazy considering there was no lead-up media coverage whatsoever — easily one of the most hush-hush restaurant openings we’ve ever witnessed, especially by such a prolific restaurant group (Zahav, two Dizengoffs, Rooster Soup Co., and part of Federal Donuts).
Here’s everything you need to know:
Today at Thinkfest, we put Nicole Marquis (HipCityVeg), Justin Rosenberg (Honeygrow) and Steve Cook (Federal Donuts, Dizengoff)–three of the most successful fast-casual operators in the city–together on one stage and let Danya Henninger grill them (see what I did there?) for an hour about their businesses. The big question was how the quick serve/fast casual business model is revolutionizing and drastically re-shaping the food scene in Philly and beyond, but along the way they also got into some other issue. Like what the original name was for HipCityVeg (The Veggie Queen) and how companies like Apple and Starbucks informed the branding, naming and, ultimately, the creation of all these restaurants.
Just over two years ago, Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov invited New York “spice whisperer,” Lior Lev Sercarsz to come down to Philadelphia to collaborate with Percy Street’s Erin O’Shea. The results were spectacular as this post lays out.
On Wednesday, June 15th, Sercarsz, the owner of New York’s famed spice shop, La Boîte, returns to Philadelphia for a night at Abe Fisher. At Abe Fisher, Sercarsz will join with executive chef Yehuda Sichel for a four-course meal that will combine the Eastern European Jewish influences of chef Yehuda’s cooking with the powerful flavors found in La Boîte spices.
Bloomberg Business named Dizengoff’s opening in New York’s Chelsea Market as one of the 26 most exciting restaurant openings in the world this spring. The first New York venture of Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook (Zahav, Abe Fisher, Percy Street, Federal Donuts) is hailed as a reason for hummus lovers to rejoice.
The New York City Dizengoff will offer Israeli wines by the glass and shakshuka all day. That’s a treat Philadelphians only get on Sundays ($11 per bowl). Other restaurants in the list range from a French cafe at Versailles to a new casual restaurant in Copenhagen from the team that gave the world Noma, a restaurant praised as the best in the world. Not bad company for a hummusiya.
It’s nice to see that the Wall Street Journal has discovered Philadelphia’s dining scene. Just a month after featuring Kensington Quarters, the paper is back with a story on Michael Solomonov, Steve Cook, Broad Street Ministry and Rooster Soup Company. While the charitable background of Rooster Soup will be familiar to Foobooz readers, there are new details about Rooster Soup Company to share.
This weekend a tipster alerted Eater NY to a permit for a Dizengoff in New York’s Chelsea Market. CooknSolo principal Steve Cook acknowledged to Michael Klein on Sunday that he and Michael Solomonov were bringing their hummusiya to New York’s Meatpacking District. The market is already home to two Philadelphia exports, Stephen Starr’s Buddakan and Morimoto. The market, which also houses studios for Food Network was once home of another Philadelphia-rooted concept, the short-lived collaboration between Questlove and Starr, Hybird.
Dizengoff is the first but is unlikely to be the last CooknSolo project that heads to New York. In an entertaining interview with Grub Street, Cook and Solomonov say they are also looking to open a New York Federal Donuts. What won’t be heading to New York is a branch of Zahav, which Solomonov says would slay in New York, “but then we’d have to fucking move to New York.”
No opening timeline has been announced.
“If I had a nickel for every time I heard the expression ‘I’m going to be the Chipotle of blank,’ I’d be rich,” says Steve Cook, the local restaurateur who, along with James Beard winning chef Michael Solomonov, owns the fine-dining eateries Zahav and Abe Fisher. Of course, given that Cook and Solomonov also own fast-casual hummusiya Dizengoff and the fast-growing Federal Donuts empire — five locations and counting — it’s probably something he’s said to himself.
Who can blame him? As Philadelphia diners have stepped up their demand for good food at every price point, a whole new market for quality eateries has opened up — one that just happens to include more takeout counters than OpenTable reservations. Read more »
Michael Solomonov’s Abe Fisher will be opening on Tuesday, September 2nd. Co-owner Steven Cook says “everything from Montreal-style smoked meat and Ukrainian borscht to the American Jewish tradition of Chinese food on Christmas is fair game” for the restaurant that celebrates the Jewish Diaspora.
The Sansom Street restaurant next to Cook+Solo’s Dizengoff and across from Federal Donuts will have seating for 50 plus a full-service bar that seats ten. Two kitchen counter seats will offer a front row view of the action on the line. These seats will be available nightly for walk-in guests.