It was all fun and games when the James Beard Foundation announced Philadelphia’s semifinalists back in February. In previous years, only our industry’s biggest names ever made the cut, but for whatever reason, this year, they took notice of our city’s BYOBs, tiny bakeries, taquerias, and the women who make our scene so great.
A month later, the finalists were announced. That list was less surprising but still exciting. Our biggest deal restaurant group (CookNSolo) got a lot of attention: Michael Solomonov was up for Outstanding Chef, Zahav for Outstanding Service, and pastry chef Camille Cogswell for Rising Star Chef Of The Year. The Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category was a big one for Philly, too, with Vedge’s Rich Landau and Greg Vernick from Vernick Food & Drink still in the running. Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione was competing for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional and Stephen Starr capped the list as the lone Philly finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur.
Last night, the James Beard Foundation announced the 2017 awards recipients (chef and restaurant categories), and Philly won big.
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Bon Appetit’s Travel Issue, How to Devour America’s Best Food Cities | Instagram
Philadelphia gets a six page spread in Bon Appetit’s May issue on travel. Bon Appetit’s Editor in Chief himself, Adam Rapoport spends 32 hours in town with co-worker and former 12 Steps Down employee Amiel Stanek. The pair get local help from W/N W/N Coffee Bar co-founder Anthony Fulvio as they eat and drink their way through town.
On the high end, the crew hits Vernick Food and Drink, Zahav, Kensington Quarters and a.kitchen. But they also hit small spots like Stargazy, Philly Style Bagels, Tortilleria San Roman, South Philly Barbacoa and Café Diem.
It’s an impressive 32-hours of food and drink. And at six pages, is as many as any other city is allotted in the issue.
Full list of spots mentioned »
The new 50 Best Restaurants List | Photo by Samuel Markey
If it seems too soon for another 50 Best Restaurants issue, you’re right. For a long time, this list was something we put together every two years. But now that’s changing. Because it has to.
Philadelphia’s restaurant scene moves fast today—too fast for the kind of monolithic thinking that says a list of the best restaurants in this city could possibly stand, fundamentally unchanged, for two years. Fortunes rise and fall over weeks, not years. Opinions shift. Focus drifts. There was a time when a list of the best restaurants in Philly could have some breathing room—would be just as true (or nearly as true) six months or a year later as it was on the day it hit the stands. But today that sort of thinking seems as quaint as cedar-plank salmon or those bicycles with one big wheel in front—an artifact of another time.
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Greg Vernick in the kitchen of his restaurant | Photo via Facebook
Every restaurant has an inaugural “regular,” and for Vernick, it was me.
At least that’s what chef Greg Vernick divulged, with a chuckle, when I called to ask a few questions about a late-spring meal. It was news to me. It seems that after I paid my third visit — a bit too quickly on the heels of my first two upon its 2012 opening — general manager Ryan Mulholland giddily proclaimed that the restaurant’s first serial patron was officially in the bag.
Whereupon I returned once more — and then completely disappeared for almost three years. Read more »
End your summer with a blueberry pie from Vernick Food and Drink. Pastry chef Jennifer Sokoloff is baking 45 pies per day leading up to Labor Day weekend. The pie is made with New Jersey blueberries and topped with a brown sugar crumble, and will be available for pick up from Wednesday, September 2nd through Friday, September 4th.
Pre-orders are now being accepted for the $12 pie that serves two. There is a limit of two pies per order.
Order your pies online.
Vernick Food and Drink [Foobooz]
Pumpkin BYOB, #4 on our list of 50 Best Restaurants, is doing its tasting menu justice with its Instagram posts. Look for bright colors, seasonal foods and updates on their changing menu.
More of the best Instagrams »
Grilled Olive Oil Cake with Peaches and Olive Oil Ice Cream at Vernick Food and Drink.
Though the staples on Vernick‘s menu are never to be overlooked (here’s dreaming of you, crispy potatoes & shishito peppers), the new seasonal additions are worth a meal (or two, or three) all on their own.
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This weekend Metropolitan Gallery 250 will showcase artwork from students in the Fresh Artists’ “Palates to Palettes” program. Designed by Philadelphia art teacher Deva Watson, the program highlights fine art and culinary art, allowing Wissahickon Charter School and Meredith Elementary School students to experience both first hand.
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Meats from D’Artagnan
D’Artagnan, the meat and charcuterie purveyor to many of the best restaurants around the country, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a charity dinner party at Le Cheri. Yes, tickets are expensive. But we’re talking five courses with paired wines being prepared by some of the best chefs in the city, in celebration of one of the top purveyors in the business.
And the menu? It looks kind of amazing.
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The three Philly contenders
Ben Franklin once said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” I’m like 80% sure he was talking about voting in this year’s Food & Wine People’s Choice Best New Chef competition.
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