Little Walter’s Opens Tomorrow, Serving Pickles, Pierogi and Polish Comforts

Plus: Owowcow heads down the Shore, Stella in New Hope opens their new outdoor space, and River Twice has big plans for Christmas in July.

Little Walter’s / Photograph by Gab Bonghi

Howdy, buckaroos! And welcome back to the Foobooz food news round-up. Seems like the heat has slowed things down a little bit in Restaurant World this week, so we’ve got just a few quick things to talk about to keep you in the know.

Pierogis and Zubrowska in Kenzo

A couple months ago, I let y’all know about chef Michael Brenfleck’s vision for a pierogi-focused Polish restaurant in East Kensington.

Well, tomorrow, that vision will become a reality when Little Walter’s opens the doors at 2049 East Hagert Street. Brenfleck has spent years working his way through Philly kitchens (including a recent stint as exec at Spice Finch). But now he’s focusing on the traditions of Polish gastronomy that he grew up with. The opening menu is full of Polish comfort food and jumped-up classics, including the indomitable potato-and-farmers-cheese pierogi ruskie, pickled vegetables, plates of kielbasa, rotisserie pork over bigos and house-made sourdough rye.

The space is all exposed brick and blonde wood. The menu is everything you’re hoping for if you’re a fan of Eastern European cookery and multiple uses of the humble potato (as I very much am). And the cocktail list is heavy on pickle juice, plum brandy and Polish spirits — as it should be. Hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and reservations are available starting … now.

Now what else is happening this week …

Owowcow Goes Down The Shore

Photograph courtesy of Owowcow

John Fezzuoglio knows two things really well: ice cream and Cape May. He’s the founder and “master ice cream maker” at Bucks County’s award-winning small-batch super-artisan ice cream company, Owowcow Creamery, and for years, he’s been spending his summer vacations down the shore in Cape May.

So it seemed like a natural fit when the announcement came last week that Owowcow was now serving at three different locations in Cape May.

First, Fezzuoglio and crew have eight locally sourced and handmade flavors in the coolers at Tommy’s Folly Ice Cream Parlor at Congress Hall: Madagascar Vanilla, I Hate Chocolate, Blueberry Lemon, Cookie Monstah, Cookies & Cream, Almond Coconut, Cinnamon Bourbon, and Vegan Vanilla Caramel. The Rusty Nail has Owowcow ice cream sandwiches, ice pops, and Bowowcow ice cream for dogs. And the Market at Beach Plum Farm is stocking assorted pints, as well as providing inspiration for a whole new flavor that Fezzuoglio is developing using ingredients sourced directly from their fields.

All three of these locations are operated by Cape Resorts, and the partnership made sense to Fezzuoglio because he’s been vacationing at Cape Resorts properties for decades. “We love the property, but most importantly, Cape Resorts shares our focus of supporting local agriculture, farmers and the community,” he said, explaining the new three-fer deal he has going. And considering the company operates its own 62-acre Beach Plum Farms to provide meat, fruits and produce to its restaurants, I can see why he’s excited. Owowcow has always been all about local sourcing and scratch cooking. That’s kinda their whole deal. And now, with access to all that good Jersey produce?

“The work we do with local farms is the core of our business. We integrate the finest, freshest ingredients picked at the peak of perfection into our ice creams, and we’re really excited to utilize Jersey blueberries, peaches and tomatoes in our products this summer. There’s really no other ice cream brand like us at the Jersey Shore.”

Owowcow’s ice cream is available in Cape May right now. So keep it in mind if you’re down visiting.

Stella Doubles Down in New Hope

Stella’s new outdoor space overlooking the Delaware River. / Photograph courtesy of Stella of New Hope

If you’re not already planning on heading down the Shore to check out the new Owowcow ice cream offerings, maybe you’re looking at heading north and checking out the summer scene in New Hope?

If so, here’s a little something to keep in mind. Stella, the upscale Main Street restaurant once operated by Jose Garces, is celebrating its fifth year by doubling down on the one inarguable thing it has always had going for it: lovely outdoor seating complete with some really nice views over the river.

So while there has always been excellent seating on the second-floor deck, Stella just unveiled a new ground-floor outdoor bar, riverfront seating, a covered patio and a bunch of umbrella-shaded outdoor tables. All perfect for whiling away a summer afternoon far from the Main Street crowds.

And that’s all great news, but what’s a new outdoor bar without a new outdoor bar menu? Stella already has its own custom cocktail board full of easy-drinking sunny-day spritzes and sparkling wine, but now exec chef Keith Bernstein is rolling out a new food menu to go with it. We’re talking pork belly bao buns, whipped ricotta with dried cherries and truffle honey, ahi tuna bowls and a killer wagyu burger topped with pork belly and fig jam, brie, arugula and pickled red onions on a toasted brioche roll. Honestly, it might be worth a visit just to get one of those burgers. I’m checking Waze right now.

In the meantime, who’s got room for some leftovers?

The Leftovers

Urban Farmer’s new beer garden. / Photograph courtesy of Urban Farmer

Speaking of new outdoor seating, Urban Farmer, the rustic, farmhouse-modern temple to red meat attached to the Logan Hotel is making a play for your summer dining dollars with their very own beer garden.

Essentially, they’re turning the hotel courtyard into a lawn party with an outdoor bar, wood pellet-fired backyard pizza ovens cranking out elote and Calabrian salami flatbreads, lawn games and first-come seating every weekend from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from now until the end of July. Check out the details here.

Over at River Twice, they’re celebrating Christmas in July again this year with a series of five back-to-back collaboration dinners from July 15th to the 19th. The consecutive collabs will feature, in order: Zachary Engel of Galit in Chicago (and ex of Zahav), Justine MacNeil and Ed Crochet of Fiore Fine Foods, Kevin Tien of Washington D.C.’s Moon Rabbit, Ian Graye of Pietramala and Shola Olunloyo of StudioKitchen.

Because this could all be very confusing, I appreciate the River Twice team keeping the details simple on this. To wit: “All dinners begin at 5 p.m., with 50 seats available per night. Dinners cost $150 per person, or $175 at the seven-seat chef’s counter, and each will feature a collaborative multi-course menu with beverage pairing options, as well as by the glass.”

Reservations are already available on Resy, and they are going fast. So if you’re down, be quick and snag a seat before they’re all gone.

Meanwhile, Raquel and Tam Dang are working hard to get their new Baby’s Kusina + Market open in Brewerytown. But while we’re all waiting for the brick-and-mortar grand opening, they’re doing a one-night-only collab dinner at Scott and Lulu Calhoun’s Ember & Ash on Tuesday, July 23rd. This’ll be a kind of reveal of some of the menu ideas in the works at Baby’s, mixed with what the E&A team does every night. So, think live fire, Filipino food hot from the grill, street foods and small plates and mains served family-style in a packed room, plus two paired custom cocktails (and one N/A version). Tickets are $75 and are available this Thursday.

Finally this week, while our own Jesse Ito is now an eight-time finalist at the James Beard Awards but has yet to bring home a single win, he did come back from the most recent awards ceremony in Chicago with some news. It looks like the chef behind two of the best restaurants in this entire goddamn city (both of which exist in the same physical location, at Royal Sushi and Izakaya) is now looking at opening a third. The currently unnamed Japanese restaurant will not be doing sushi but will be expanding on the type of cuisine offered at the Izakaya. He’ll be opening it at the old Foodery location at 1710 Sansom Street, with his current Izakaya chef de cuisine, Justin Bacharach, in place as the exec chef. There’s not a ton of details yet, and the opening is still about a year out, but if you’re looking for more, the Inky did a nice run-down on everything that’s known about the new spot as of this moment. Check it out if you’ve got a minute. Because it’s nice to have things to look forward to, and I am absolutely looking forward to this place.