Anyone can throw down an omelet, fry up some bacon and sling mimosas for all the Sunday-morning sheeple. But only chef Konstantinos Pitsillides can turn traditional brunch notions on their ear and lay down some serious Cypriot eats for those who can appreciate pan-fried merguez sausages with organic duck eggs. 1001 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, kanellarestaurant.com.
We Found a Way to Work Around the PLCB
While COVID-19 decimated the city’s restaurant scene, it also helped push Philly’s antiquated liquor laws just a bit into the 21st century. Here’s how.
The Lawsuit | The PLCB always acted as the middleman between wine dealers who sold specialty bottles (you know, the natural, biodynamic wine made by small producers) and places where you’d normally buy those bottles (restaurants and bottle shops). So when COVID-19 shut down all Pennsylvania state stores back in March, dealers in Philly were no longer able to sell their product, and independent wine retailers couldn’t restock their shelves. Two dealers, MFW Wine Co. LLC and A6 Wine Co., said “Enough!” and sued the motherfriggin’ PLCB.
While the suit is still moving slowly through the system — the PLCB appealed the ruling of the Commonwealth Court — the implications of PLCB-free wine commerce in the Philly restaurant industry are huge. Because even right now, in 2020, wine delivery is still nonexistent for retailers and restaurants. Right now, there’s still essentially no wholesale discount. Right now, retailers are paying gratuitous fees (and passing the cost on to us). And a lawsuit like this — which, mind you, has a good chance of succeeding — might very well change all of that.
To-Go Cocktails | The problems inherent in working within the PLCB’s convoluted systems were only exacerbated when coronavirus came along and shut down our nightlife scene entirely. Something had to give.
On May 21st, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a piece of legislation that allowed restaurants and bars that had lost at least 25 percent of their average monthly sales due to the pandemic to sell cocktails to-go. Which means that for the first time since Prohibition, you can walk up to a bar in Philadelphia and order some martinis for the road, and nobody — not even a PLCB officer — can stop you from living your life. The to-go-martini kind of life.
Wine Shops! Finally! | When the PLCB temporarily closed all its stores, these shops stayed open and kept us drinking and drunk during the apocalypse. And they deserve all the attention in the world.
• Vernick Wine, 2029 Walnut Street, Rittenhouse
• Tinys Bottle Shop, 3124 Richmond Street, Port Richmond
• Di Bruno Bros., 9th Street Bottle Shop, 920 South 9th Street, Bella Vista
• Fancy Wine Club at Bloomsday, 414 South 2nd Street, Society Hill
• Le Caveau, 614 South 7th Street, Bella Vista
• Fishtown Social, 1525 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown
• Wine Dive, 1506 South Street, Grad Hospital
• Jet Wine Bar, 1525 South Street, Grad Hospital
Brothers and former home brewers Mengistu and Richard Koilor now have the distinction of running the city’s first Black-owned brewery, churning out deep and complex stuff like their Nubian brown ale and Who You Wit, a Belgian-style witbier. The duo is still looking for a permanent home; for the time being, check out their website for where to pick up a four-pack of tallboys. twolocalsbrewing.com.
Weavers Way Mercantile
The Weavers Way Co-Op has long been a part of the Mount Airy community (48 years and counting!), but the mercantile shop across the street opened in 2016. The space itself — a former garage — makes for a highly pleasant browsing experience, and the home goods and vintage clothes on offer will add retro personality to any home or closet. It’s not just limited to secondhand goods, though: Ceramics, candles, jewelry and more from local makers serve as reminders of the area’s rich artistic history. 559 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119, etsy.com/shop/WeaversWayMerc.
Massage Bella Vista
First you'll choose your scented oil and your music, and then you'll be ushered into a dark, quiet treatment room where you'll meet your therapist. With any luck, you'll get Blue Simmons, whose expert hands will home in on your sorest parts like a missile on its target. After your 75-minute rubdown, she'll walk you through an at-home regimen to keep you loose between visits. 750 Fitzwater Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, massagephilly.com/bella-vista.html.
Pierre Calmels doesnt just do right by the classics (escargots, terrines, veal sweetbreads); he shows how fresh contemporary French cooking can be. (Think shellfish bisque with pomegranate seeds, or seared foie gras with a lime-tanged plum chutney.) Meanwhile, his lovely wife, Charlotte, turns the dining room into a home away from home for Phillys French expats. 1009 South 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, biboubyob.com.
Carlos Rogers at Hush Salon Philadelphia
Show us a dude who says he's not obsessed with his dome's sprouts, and we'll show you a fibber. Hush co-owner Carlos Rogers understands. From his salon tucked in the back of Old City's Sweat gym, Rogers makes the most of man's sole groom-able God-given gift, working with volume and texture, face shape and style needs, gently breaking inconvenient truths about thinning tops, and sending fellows back into the cold, hard world with the best of all possible looks. 45 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, hushsalon.com.
Leeward Furniture's Popsicle Mirror
Last year was the year of the at-home workout gadget, from sleek Pelotons to personal workout mirrors that reflect your sweating image back at you. Now that we can all go outside again, turn your space back into an actual home with beautiful objects that don’t bully you into exercise. No better place to start than with Leeward’s beautiful popsicle mirror, made in Kensington by husband-and-wife duo John Geating and Gina Kim. It’s just the right amount of playful while serving a necessary purpose: You can check yourself out while also using its top shelf to store small tchotchkes and books. 3237 Amber Street 4-3-C, Philadelphia, PA 19134, leewardfurniture.com.
If you were traveling abroad when the coronavirus landed in the U.S., there was good reason to panic. Fear of spreading the virus brought international travel to a sudden halt, making returns to North America nearly impossible. Just when things couldn’t look more bleak or uncertain, there came the tiniest glimmer of hope from the least-expected source. Eastern Airlines, a small Wayne-based carrier (think 10 planes and a staff of about 200), came to the literal rescue. Through careful coordination with the State Department and local officials, Eastern organized rescue flights, and to date, they’ve flown nearly 24,000 once-stranded American citizens from Central and South America back to the States. goeasternair.com.
MainLine Pet Sitting
The choosiest of Main Line dog lovers trust MLPS with their Preciouses, and their homes P.O. Box 115, Gladwyne, PA 19035, mainlinepetsitting.com.
The People Who Run Businesses
They already put themselves on the line. Then came a catastrophe. Read the full write up here. phillymag.com/news/2020/07/16/philadelphia-business-owners-coronavirus.
With lump Maryland meat and no filler, chef Aaron Gottesman has returned some dignity to this clichéd menu item. 1516 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, oysterhousephilly.com.
Mango Tree Bistro
No fish head curry here, but the more traditional varieties are well done at this Thai joint in a converted home right on Ridge Pike. 3120 Ridge Pike, Eagleville, PA 19403, mangotreethai.com.
Aneu Kitchen + Juicery
Home in on the “healthy shots” part of the menu for straight-to-the-system shocks of goodness like lemon with ginger, turmeric, black pepper and grapeseed oil. Additional location in Paoli. 1225 Montrose Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, aneucatering.com.
Here, you pay an hourly rate for dozens of machines, including some very cool vintage specimens from the '60s and '70s. 81 Lancaster Avenue (edited), Malvern, PA 19355, pinballgallery.net.