Craig LaBan Chat Redux

Craig LaBan
We here at Foobooz like many other Philadelphians are intrigued by Craig LaBan, even if we aren’t sure we like him. On Tuesdays Craig chats with readers at And we have to say, he knows a lot about restaurants in this city.

Craig on cheap hamburgers:

I’m fond of the burgers at Tangier, Chaucer’s, Grace, and Jolly’s (the sports bar one on 19th Street – they cook ’em over an oak fired grill). There are also good burgers in Northern Liberties, like at N. 3rd. Down the Shore, I can’t WAIT to get my first burger at Brown’s in Ocean City, which may be my definitive beach side grill. it’s really, really simple, served on a plain white paper plate. And it’s also cooked well done. But the meat is ground fresh every day at the local butcher, the patties are carefully hand-formed and there’s something about it that is so darn good. There has definitely been burger some serious burger escalation going on – but if you think about it, a great piece of freshly ground, in a decent portion, carefully cooked with some good fixin’s – that’s worth $10 to me.

About the Tamale Lady:

Look for her around the Italian market…. probably Mexican, who pushes a supermarket cart around (I think on Fridays and Saturday) selling tamales that she made (I believe with her sister – my family’s Spanish isn’t too hot) for a buck. I’ve never bought from her, but have had one that my brother-in-law gave me – great, even reheated.

About DiBruno Bros. Downtown:

I’m with you on this. For the most part, I dont’ think the kitchen’s skill has been up to the level of the ingredients in the market downstairs. So why not present a much simpler concept? I’m constantly peeved that we can no longer find a decent traditional hoagie around Rittenhouse Square (although Primo’s is acceptable if you get a small) – but DiBruno’s should have that down. But they don’t. No normal human can stretch their jaws wide enough to really eat one of their sandwiches. I don’t understand the concept of making food so big it can’t be eaten. Should say, as mentioned a few weeks ago, the House of Cheese sandwich is deliciously upscaled grilled cheese. The cheese platter is also a good bet. Their pizzas, also, aren’t bad at all.

Ask Craig LaBan