Huda Hosts a Jamaican Patty Pop-Up
Plus, Kanella changes hands, the Pineville Tavern gets a big-name chef and more Philly restaurant news to know.
Howdy, buckaroos. And welcome to another edition of the Monday Round-Up. This week, we’ve got news about beer, bagels and tomato pies — a weird kind of Philly food and beverage trinity — plus openings, expansions, a great story about a Jamaican patty pop-up, and a notable changing of the guard in Center City. So let’s get started, shall we?
Jamaican Patty Pop-Up at Huda
I’m putting this on your radar just because I think it’s a cool story.
On January 16th, Huda — Yehuda Sichel’s Rittenhouse sandwich joint — is hosting its first pop-up event. The cool thing? It’s a pop-up for one of Huda’s own line cooks.
Tevon Tyrell has spent years working his way through some of the best kitchens in Philly. He did tours at Serpico, Abe Fisher, Condessa, and is currently standing his post at Huda. Thing is, Tyrell makes really good Jamaican food. His family is from Kingston. He grew up in Queens. But he spent his youth watching TV chefs making connections with people through their food. And now he wants to do the same thing.
That’s how the idea for this pop-up, which Tyrell is calling Hummingbird Island, came about. He’s going to connect to his roots and his customers through Jamaican meat patties, which I think is a fantastic idea (though maybe just because I really like Jamaican meat patties). So on Sunday, he’ll be taking over the kitchen at Huda and selling five different kinds of Jamaican patties (beef, veggie, chicken curry, callaloo and salt fish, beef and cheese) plus coco bread from 3 to 5 p.m. The patties will run you $5 to $6 apiece. Coco bread is two bucks. That’s a really good deal, and you should totally show up to support Tyrell — both because I love a story about someone taking a big swing and because Jamaican patties are fucking delicious.
You can check out Tevon Tyrell’s Hummingbird Island Instagram right here.
Kanella Makes a Change
Next up, I have a letter posted on one of the oldest social media sites in the world: the front window of a restaurant.
This isn’t the first letter Konstantinos Pitsillides has stuck up in the kitchen window on 10th Street, but it will probably be the last. Kanella — the beloved, award-winning restaurant he opened back in 2008 — has closed.
As Pitsillides writes, his version of Kanella closed its doors on December 23rd after more than 10 years of bringing Cypriot food, kebabs and falafel to the masses. He’s stepping away for his own reasons: “I need to continue my journey of life with good energies and positivity.” But that’s not the end of the story.
“As for this place, more to come …” Pitsillides wrote. “Coming soon. Stay tuned.”
And now we know what that meant because it looks like veteran chef Tayfun Abuska is taking over at 10th and Spruce, promising to keep Kanella’s Mediterranean vibe (and some of Pitsillides’s recipes, in tribute) while expanding the focus to include more Greek and Turkish flavors.
Over at the Inquirer, they did wrap on both Kanella’s history and Abuska’s. You can check it out here if you’re interested. But suffice it to say, this is the start of a new chapter for Kanella. I’m curious to see how things go.
Moving on …
A Big Name for Bucks
Kanella isn’t the only joint in the region getting some new blood in the galley.
The Pineville Tavern — darling of the Bucks County dining scene for the past 280 years — just announced that chef Matt Levin has taken command of the kitchen, and that he’s dropped a brand-new winter menu that kicked off late last week.
Recently, Levin has been working as culinary director at Brûlée Catering, but back in the day he was the exec chef at Lacroix. And he’s looking to shake things up a little at Pineville. “For years I’ve been cooking the food people expected me to cook,” he says. “I’m excited to launch this new menu and share what I love with our guests.”
Which means … well, a lot, actually. He’s re-imagining some of the favorites, bulking up the pasta selections, adding vegetarian options to the board, doing classics like clams casino and lobster mac-and-cheese, and new stuff like Kung Pao cauliflower tacos and Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches. The pork chop now comes with rye spaetzle and a pear-and-bacon jam. He’s running daily specials and a full spread of housemade desserts. And on top of all this, the Tavern itself is about to debut a 2,250-square-foot garden greenhouse that can seat 70 year-round.
The greenhouse is scheduled to be completed next month. Levin is in the kitchen right now, and his new menu debuted last week. Check it out if you’re in the neighborhood.
Here’s one for the old dog/new tricks file …
After 112 years in business, South Philly’s Iannelli’s Bakery has taught itself how to use the internets. Normally open just 15 days a year to walk-in customers, they’re now offering online ordering and nationwide shipping for their tomato pies, red gravy and crab gravy — the latter of which is made with crabs caught by a spear fisherman who catches, cleans and cooks every crab that’s used.
That’s seriously old school.
Pizza kits and cookie kits are coming next, but for now, third-generation owner Vincent Iannelli (who makes everything himself) is saying that he’s only doing 150 tomato pies a month and not a single one more. When he’s done, he’s done. If they all sell out, you have to wait for next month. Matter of fact, that goes for everything he’s selling online. It’s available until it’s gone. Then you gotta wait.
Check out the details (and what’s in stock) over at the Iannelli’s website.
For you beer nerds, the good folks at Troegs would like to let you know that ’tis the season for the annual release of Nugget Nectar. It’s available in bottles and cans wherever Troegs is on the shelves, but they’re doing all kinds of work with local artists to celebrate the release this year as well as re-instituting their annual “First Squeeze” events for those of you who want your Nectar fresh from the tap.
For more information on the event, the artists, the glassware they’re selling or anything else Nectar-related, check out the website. They’ve got everything you need to know.
It seems like a single location of Bagels & Co. wasn’t enough for the crew from GLU Hospitality. They’re expanding with a second location at 1317 Frankford Avenue in Fishtown (due in the spring) and are looking at an additional five locations opening in and around the city by the end of the year.
Speaking of Fishtown, the Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that local hard seltzer company Two Robbers is looking at getting into the restaurant game. They’re eyeing the space at 1221 Frankford Avenue as the location for a burger restaurant and flagship retail space called Burgers and Seltzers.
Obviously, it will be a spot that focuses on selling sashimi and warm milk.
Kidding. It’ll do exactly what the name says: Sell burgers and seltzers. And while it isn’t the most creative example of restaurant naming I’ve seen recently, at least no one will ever be able to accuse them of being too clever.
No word yet on an opening date. You’ll know more when I know more.