Pulse: Quick Takes
Stephen A., King of All Media
It ain’t easy being Stephen A. Smith. Since he was featured in these pages in December, “Screamin’ A.” has scored his own show on ESPN Radio and a nightly chatfest on ESPN2, Quite Frankly, complete with his own studio and office across the street from Madison Square Garden. One would imagine his commute from South Jersey to Manhattan is affecting that other gig of his—sports columnist for the Inquirer. Not so, swears his editor, Jim Jenks. “We’re BlackBerry buddies now,” Jenks says of Smith. Though Smith is down to roughly two columns a week, his exploding profile is apparently worth the trade-off of fewer bylines. “This guy is a star,” Jenks says. “And with the ESPN marketing machine behind him, of course we want to keep him. He gets stories and the rest of the world follows.”
Dead Squirrels in Gladwyne
The brouhaha over Gladwyne Lunch, the scrambled-eggs-serving shack that unleashed an uproar when landlord Connie Barker declined to renew its lease in July, has taken an ugly turn: Someone phoned Barker and called him a “f-ing Jew-lover,” Barker says, referencing his leasing of the shack to OMG Salon owners Maurice Tannenbaum and John Giangiacomo. (The two plan to expand their salon there.) Then, Barker received a dead squirrel in the mail. “The poor thing was roadkill,” he says, “and someone cut off its head.” Perhaps everyone can calm down now, as GL is rumored to be reopening in a new location next to the Guard House, though the owners won’t confirm it. Note to reality TV producers: Too late, we’re already working on getting this village its own series. …
Never underestimate the power of a magazine. Since appearing on GQ’s recent list of “20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die,” both Rouge (whose burger finished fourth) and Barclay Prime (whose “Kobe” Sliders were fifth) have seen an uptick in celeb sightings and burger buyers. After devouring Barclay Prime’s two-ounce pan-seared specialty, Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield told executive chef James LoCascio it was “the most amazing burger I’ve ever had.” And Rouge owner Neil Stein, who says his burger sales have quadrupled, has been gleefully doling out t-shirts featuring his bistro’s patty (left). “I’ve been dreaming at night about opening restaurants called Rouge Burgers,” he says. Hey, it could happen.
Philly native and rising tennis star Julia Cohen will compete in this month’s U.S. Open in New York. The top-ranked 16-year-old in the nation, Cohen (above) grew up across the street from the Art Museum, and is the daughter of Center City psychiatrist and former Penn tennis star Dr. Richard Cohen. “I really want to do well this year,” says Julia, who’s played in the juniors division the last three years and failed to make it past the first round. “I’ve gotten nervous every time I’ve been up there, but my coach has been helping me get over that.” She credits coach Chris Hill, her father, and brother Josh, a 19-year-old tennis star at the University of Miami, for her early success: “Before I even remember learning to walk, I was playing tennis.”