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Rittenhouse Tavern: Philadelphia, Penn.

Rittenhouse Tavern: Philadelphia, Penn.

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22nd & Philly is a popular blog sharing experiences with the restaurants, food culture and lifestyle in Philadelphia region. We are normal everyday neighbors with a passion to share.

Whether you’re a starving college kid or a 30-something professional, having your parents come to town is something special. We’re in a big, amazing city so you want to show them the best we have to offer.

When my mom came to visit in early August, I knew exactly where I wanted to take her for dinner: the new Rittenhouse Tavern, just off the southeast corner of Rittenhouse Square.

I also totally lucked out in securing a reservation about 2 weeks before Craig Laban’s glowing three-bell review was published. Between that write up and shore weekenders returning soon, it will be tougher to get in for a while but well worth the commitment to planning ahead.

Why Rittenhouse Tavern for mom (and/or dad)? Former Le Bec Fin chef… old mansion-turned-art-gallery setting… lots of buzz around the outdoor courtyard… and something for everyone on the menu. Keep in mind that it’s not cheap, with a burger at $15 and most entrees running above $25 each.

As an appetizer, we both adored the poached gulf shrimp pavé ($12) with multi-colored melon balls, dried watermelon strips and little crackling pieces like pork rinds. The shrimp comes in a long, thin cake but it is not like the consistency of a crab cake or shrimp salad – it is thick hunks of shrimp fused together into the brick. So if you are a fan of traditional cocktail-style shrimp don’t let the “pavé” scare you. Consistency is the same, plus the fruit complements it really well.

Not by design, we both ordered fish entrees, too. In general this summer has been too hot for red meat. My crisp arctic char ($24) was just as the friendly waitress described it: the flaky consistency and pinkness of salmon, but less pungent flavor. It was, in fact, a more delicate flavor with a perfect, thin layer of char on top. Cherries, zucchini, summer squash and a light green mint sauce provided a soft, tasteful backdrop.

The seared turbot ($28) got kudos from Laban in the Inquirer and two thumbs up from mom. I had to swoop in at the end to steal a bite before it disappeared. The light white fish was topped with peaches and served on a uniquely-flavored sunchoke sauce that you’ll want to soak up with your turbot or the homemade rolls provided to the table.

We both selected good sauvignon blancs off the white list but I could see Laban’s comment about the red wine selection, as it did look small compared to the rest of the drink menu. A handful of wines are offered in "q" size, which stands for "quartino" and equals about a glass and a half of wine. It was just the right amount for each of us. The only hiccup of the night was that Rittenhouse Tavern’s specialty bottle list for the night was “still being printed” when we sat down for a 7pm dinner. The waitress brought it anyway, after we had ordered.

Rittenhouse Tavern’s outdoor dining area lived up to the recent hype, especially after the sun went down. As Mom recounted in an email, "Great food and unique presentation, but also a lovely atmosphere in the courtyard with white lights tucked under umbrellas and lanterns lit." It does make you forget that busy 18th Street is just around the corner. Inside, the small bar area seemed inviting and tables spread out among multiple small dining rooms was a nice change from most other new [loud] restaurants that keep tables close together.

As a diner, you get free access to the Philadelphia Art Alliance gallery upstairs, where we got to see a really funky display of chandeliers called “Shiny Monsters” made of hot pink and blue octopus tentacles, dragon heads and the like. That exhibit ends August 19th, but you can find the upcoming schedule here.

All around, Rittenhouse Tavern was a great meal, especially for a visit from Mom. I definitely want to bring Bradd there for our next special dinner and would love to hit up the bar area another night for a sophisticated drink.

Where do you like to bring your family for a nice dinner when they're in town?

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The Best Restaurants to Eat and Drink in Philadelphia

In the city where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed, culinary giants like Marc Vetri, Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov, Eli Kulp, and Jose Garces are building a community that stands tall next to any of the food havens across the U.S. Craft beer and epic wine lists are commonplace, as is a bold cocktail culture that offers a little bit of everything for even the most refined drinkers. The working-class vibe presents a perfect backdrop to this summer’s Democratic National Convention.

Notable: A wine and cocktail list that syncs with a charcoal grill

This dual concept from High Street Hospitality Group—the Philly team behind Fork, a 2016 James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant, as well as High Street on Market and High Street on Hudson in New York City, could be the group’s most interesting.

The separate but synced units ( is next door), feature powerhouse talent, with Jon Nodler, a 2015 James Beard: Rising Star Chef semifinalist as chef de cuisine, and 2016 Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic finalist Eli Kulp serving as executive chef. Beverage director Mariel Wega and bar manager Dan Hamm direct a program that led Wine Enthusiast to name it the second Best Wine Restaurant in America last year.

The beverages play off the charcoal grill in the kitchen, like a cocktail with grilled cinnamon syrup. The restaurant features a long, inventive wine list, fitting beer selections (five taps and five bottles/cans), and classic cocktails that also typically showcase 10 to 12 seasonal concoctions.

Alla Spina

Notable: Around 100 beer bottles and cans with Italian nods

Italian Gastropub Alla Spina features an extensive beer list. Jason Varney

Marc Vetri, whose Vetri Family group operates six concepts, is one of the city’s true culinary moguls.

He won the 2005 James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic and has been a recurring nominee for years. Vetri is perhaps best known for his namesake Vetri, which opened in 1998. For a more casual spin with a focus on the beverage side, Alla Spina bears the distinction of being an Italian gastropub.

There are 20 taps, two casks, 100 bottles and cans, and a reserve beer list. Beverage director Steve Wildy’s program also offers five white and red wines by the glass, as well as Italian cocktails, beer cocktails, and a large amaro and brown spirits focus. For an adventurous spin, there’s Negroni and Fernet-Branca on tap. The food is crafted by Chef Julie Kline, and check averages run a reasonable $35.

American Sardine Bar

Notable: Sixteen rotating taps and up to 50 cans of craft beer

Martin O’Malley, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential bid, was singing Irish songs at the Point Breeze hangout back in September.

If that isn’t American enough, consider the craft-focused bar, named the No. 1 option in the city, according to Foobooz, a food and drink publication presented by Philadelphia Magazine. Sample the first-rate and rotating beer list, or order a sandwich that could hold its own just as well on a white tablecloth as it does in the spot’s legendary backyard. There are four kinds of sardines menued by Chef Scott Schroeder, and novelty selections like the Apple Pie Biscuit. John Longacre’s locale has two beverage managers, Kathryn Wiggins and Chris Lillis, who determine the 16 taps and 25 to 50 cans featured.

Barclay Prime

Notable: More than 400 wines served in a refined setting

This posh steakhouse, located in the historic Barclay Building, doesn’t hold back. Not that you would expect a Stephen Starr restaurant carrying a $150 check average to come up short in any regard.

We’re talking more than 400 wines, immaculate service, and yes, a few gimmicks worthy of the city’s most famous restaurateur, who has opened 19 concepts in Philadelphia and was named a finalist for the 2016 James Beard: Outstanding Restaurateur.

Look no further than the Barclay Prime Cheese­steak featuring wagyu ribeye, foie gras, and truffled cheese whiz on a fresh-baked sesame roll, served with half a bottle of Champagne for $120. Executive Chef Mark Twersky is at the controls with wine director Stephen Flis curating the daunting list, which earned the restaurant a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2015.

The restaurant unrolled a new cocktail program inspired by the concept of “classic restoration.” The idea is to bend the classics, offering creative takes like The Walking Dead (Bacardi Rum trio, mango-passion infused tea, fresh lime, almond foam, star anise, and fennel bitters), and Ryes & Shine (coffee-infused Bulleit Rye Whiskey, amontillado sherry, luxardo cherry liqueur, and black walnut bitters).

Bistro Romano

Notable: More than 750 wines and 150 spirits

Housed in an early 1700s building built for a wealthy shipping merchant, Bistro Romano can tell a story or two.

These days, the more than 750 wines—recognized by a 2015 Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence—can be sipped in a subterranean cellar for two that was once part of a network of underground tunnels. It’s a storied setting: Like the bar, which was once a fixture aboard a passenger steamer from 1912, and the building itself was even a terminus on the Underground Railroad.

The restaurant also hosts a mystery theater and a piano bar, made possible by Executive Chef Michael DeLone, Wine Director Michael Granato, and Sommelier Anthony Santini. If vino isn’t top of mind, there are 150 spirits focusing on whiskeys, vodkas, craft labels, and amaros.

Some food offerings for dinner include the restaurant’s award-winning Bistro Duck and Filetto Mignon Padre.

Jose Pistola’s

Notable: Rare beers, Margarita pitchers, and plenty of tequila

Sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than $10-off Margarita pitchers during happy hour. But that’s hardly the only reason to visit the Center City Mexican restaurant owned by Casey Parker and Joe Gunn.

There are 24 different tequilas, 12 mezcals, a dozen taps of craft beer, traditional Belgian and German options, and four wines—all curated by beverage director Adam Anderson. There’s also an extensive bottle and can beer list with rare selections. Check out the Weird Countries section or sample something from the special menu, such as a 2012 Rodenbach Vintage.

Chef Adan Trinidad’s menu is renowned for the tacos, which range from goat to lobster to Brussels sprouts, with check averages about $20 a person.

Lacroix at The Rittenhouse

Notable: A wine list above 1,000, plus cocktails and an afternoon tea program

Red wine complements the Sesame Crust Mozzarella. Lacroix at The Rittenhouse

The elegant setting inside The Rittenhouse Hotel has been a Philadelphia staple since Esquire named it the Best New Restaurant in America in 2003.

Since then, the concept has reeled in AAA Four Diamond Award ratings for a decade, and recently caught the fancy of Wine Spectator to the tune of three consecutive Best of Awards of Excellence.

In 2015, that recognition reflected the work of Advanced Sommelier Justin Timsit, who put together a monumental list that needs a table of contents to navigate. There are more than 1,200 selections, focusing mostly on France, as well as Germany and Austria, and the U.S. Not to mention, an afternoon tea program to slow things down. Food wise, Executive Chef Jon Cichon crafts a menu best described as progressive international cuisine. Dinner holds an average check of $85 and can be enjoyed as a four-course or chef’s-tasting menu.

Le Virtù

Notable: Extensive wine list with Italian roots

It might be easier to sprint up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rocky-style, than it is to settle on an Italian restaurant for dinner in this town. Chef Joe Cicala’s concept, which has managed to stand tall by remaining loyal to Abruzzo cuisine and history, is always a solid option.

The idea, rooted in the unpretentious and unspoiled heritage of the Italian region’s shepherds, farmers, and fishermen, earned Cicala a finalist bid for the 2015 James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, as well as a 2016 semifinalist nod. It’s also a great place to sample an extensive list of wine, many from the region of Abruzzo, located east of Rome and on the Adriatic coast.

There are also six craft beers on tap and over 20 bottles and cans.

Monk’s Café

Notable: More than 300 bottles of beer hailing from around the globe

Fergus Carey, labeled the city’s “most beloved Irish barman” by Philadelphia Magazine, is the fitting personality behind Monk’s Café, a beer-seeker’s nirvana that seems to have fallen straight out of an Amsterdam postcard.

The Belgian brewpub has some serious credentials, with a bottle list that sits in the mid-300s and a beverage professional with James Beard backing. Tom Peters was named an Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional semifinalist for the third straight year in 2015, lifting the concept, which serves eight kinds of mussels, to legendary status. Take a gander at the Beer Bible for inspiration, or just point and choose from the concept’s prodigious collection, named one of the Top 100 Beer Bars in America by Draft Magazine.


Notable: More than 150 wines by the glass and 120 on tap in record-setting fashion

A wine bar with a page in The Guinness Book of World Records, the Old City Italian restaurant, located in the Penn’s View Hotel since 1990, is an impressive operation.

The restaurant found out in 2010 that it had the largest wine preservation and dispensing system in the world, with a setup that pours 120 wines on tap and more than 150 by the glass, from a list that changes weekly.

Wine Spectator handed William Eccleston’s vision a 2015 Best of Award of Excellence in response to the more than 800 selections featured. The signature Panoramic Flights offer a sample of five different wines within a select group. Signature cocktails, six rotating beers plus bottles, and an extensive list of after-dinner drinks also dot the menu. Pastas and Italian classics from Chef Matt Gentile, like Veal Scallopine, round out the experience.


Notable: Whimsy cocktails and wines, picked with pairings in mind

Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga has begun to branch out geographically recently, opening Sbraga & Company in Jacksonville, Florida. But the Philadelphia native’s deepest hooks still remain in his hometown, and especially at his namesake on the Avenue of the Arts (his group also runs the Fat Ham).

Sbraga is a 60-seat restaurant that serves a $55 four-course prix fixe menu or a $75 six-course option. The modern American cuisine focuses on seasonal fare and floats around from one genre to the next, seemingly nightly.

Craft cocktails and an extensive wine selection anchor the beverage program. Some examples include the Rum Raisin Daiquiri—Don Q Rum, raisin apple syrup and lime—and the appropriately named The Hammer—bourbon, Dubonnet Rouge, Drambuie, and bitters. A unique take on sangria features Apple Jack Brandy, wine syrup, Combier, and lemon. There are four beers, two sparkling wines, and four red wines by the glass, as well as a vino bottle list that ranges in price and region.

The Olde Bar

Notable: Eleven pages of drinks with a nod to the classics

Jose Garces, the 2009 winner of the James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, has 10 Philadelphia restaurants. Olde Bar, which was a semifinalist for this year’s James Beard: Outstanding Bar Program and carries a check average of less than $30, might be the most nostalgic, bringing the Old Original Bookbinder’s building back to life with an oyster saloon that would satisfy even the most traditional and grizzled cocktail drinker.

The list, developed by Erich Weiss, is 11 pages long, with interesting signatures from the Sparkling Ode to Lysicrates—vodka, cassis, pamplemousse cordial, orange juice, and sparkling wine—to punches, a page of classics, sherry’s, ports, and every spirit conceivable. Pair that with oysters on the half shell or Snapper Turtle Soup to bring the night back a few decades.

For a different restaurant experience, Garces’ Volver has a wine list of nearly 900 selections that earned a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence in 2015, and his first concept, Amada, has more than 700 wines.


Notable: Carefully curated wine list with pairings in mind

Chef Townsend Wentz opened his eponymous concept in May 2014 and it has been an undeniable hit. The French spot features updated takes on classics like Rabbit Pot au Feu, running a check average of $44 to $68.

Wentz brought Sommelier Lauren Harris along from his stops at Twenty21 and McCrossen’s. Pairings are the major focus, not numbers. There are currently five sparkling, 13 white, four rosé/orange, and 13 reds on the menu.

Triangle Tavern

Notable: Extensive Negroni list and nostalgic Adult Water Ice

Triangle Tavern’s full bar program includes a wide selection of spirits. Jeff Towne

It doesn’t get more South Philly than Water Ice. The sugary shaved dessert, originally introduced by Italian immigrants, is a summer staple in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Triangle Tavern, a local institution since 1933, serves an alcoholic version in six flavors, presented as Adult Water Ice and poured in a goblet or pitcher.

The drink tastes like a frozen lemon sorbet, just with vodka. Owners Dave Frank and Stephen Simons also dedicate a part of the menu to Negroni cocktails—traditionally made with equal parts gin, vermouth rosso, and Campari. Three taps flow with wine and 12 with beer. Chef Mark McKinney serves an iconic dish: Sunday Gravy—rigatoni and meat sauce with bone-in pork chop, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and meatball. The group also runs Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Cantina Dos Segundos, and Cantina Los Caballitos.

Varga Bar

Notable: Inventive cocktails and 22 craft beers on tap

The offbeat name should be an instant indicator. The retro space is inspired by the pinup paintings of Peruvian artist Alberto Vargas. Co-owner/chef Evan Turney (George Anni is the other owner) keeps the theme pulsing with dishes like Duck Confit Wings. Beverage manager Rich Colli’s cocktail list is fittingly eclectic and catered around the seasons, such as the Miss April Ma’s Rootbeer Float—whiskey, coffee liqueur, splash of milk, and draft root beer. There’s also house-made spiked cider, 22 rotating taps of beer, and an extensive bottle list.


Notable: Vegan bar featuring drinks not filtered with animal ingredients

Vedge’s wine offerings are vegan-friendly. Vedge

It’s hard to put a label on Vedge’s cuisine. Vegetable, vegetarian, plant-based, new American—all could describe the acclaimed restaurant from husband-wife team Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby.

Favorites include Rutabaga Fondue, Spicy Grilled Tofu, and Grilled Seitan. Landau, a finalist for the 2015 and 2016 James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, served the first vegan dinner ever held at the James Beard House in 2009. Jacoby was named a 2016 semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef as well.

The restaurant runs a vegan bar to complement the vegetable-forward menu, which means none of the beers (six drafts and around five bottles) or wines are filtered with animal ingredients. The average check runs $50 to $60 a person. There are about 12 wines by the glass and around 100 different labels on the bottle list.

Vernick Food & Drink

Notable: Cock t ail list with a focus on classic, current, and seasonal

March 27, 2016

Hoagie Quest: Matt & Marie's Italian Stallion

Since opening in 2014 near Logan Square, Matt & Marie's has quietly built a solid reputation with their modern Italian take on sandwiches. Co-owners Nicole "Marie" Capp and Justin "Matt" Sapolsky are also expanding the concept to Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square. Apparently, the business plan they wrote at Wharton said to open locations near squares!

I finally visited the original location to find out if I missed Matt & Marie's glory days before the challenges of expansion hit home. The sandwich shop is set up similar to a Subway where you order at one end and the hoagie is passed along the queue. It's quick and efficient, but leaves you wondering if the pre-sliced meat is fresh and high quality.

No need to worry. After the first bite of their Italian Stallion, you know Matt & Marie's brings it with the meat. Their combination of Molinari fennel salami, Genoa salami and sweet coppa hits your tastebuds like a cured-meat Starburst. Unlike bland provolone used by so many other shops, Matt & Marie's uses Claudio's, which is actually sharp. Clearly, the foundation of the Italian Stallion has all the makings of a great hoagie. Unfortunately, a house needs more than a foundation and that's trouble with this place.

The bread lacked freshness and had a Wawa-like quality. Not, bad, but certainly not good enough match Hoagie Quest's best. My two biggest issues, though, were with the hoagie's construction and the pepperoncini aioli.

Good flavor but poorly spread
As the pictures show, neither the cheese nor the pickled peppers, which were very good, were spread throughout the hoagie. That's a basic hoagie building block and a miscue that should never occur. The menu also says onions are included, but I only noticed a stray slice.

While the pepperoncici aioli tasted quite good, to a traditionalist like myself it's a sneaky trick to get around the no-mayo-on-an-Italian rule. The flavor also overpowers the quality meat and cheese. I would prefer to have a pepperoncini oil instead.

In the end, Matt & Marie's makes a good hoagie and I'd definitely go back to try others, but I'm leery of the expansion since the execution was already lacking at the original location. Also, be mindful of the "modern Italian" tagline and as you will want to hunt somewhere else for a traditional hoagie.

Share All sharing options for: The Philly Restaurants That Closed During the Coronavirus Pandemic So Far

It’s lights out for South Philly’s Boot & Saddle. Boot & Saddle/Facebook

A long list of Philly restaurants and bars temporarily shut their doors when COVID-19 hit the region in March. Many have since reopened, first for takeout and delivery and then outdoor and limited indoor dining. But others, facing a devastating loss of revenue and a lack of clarity around reopening, made the decision to stop service.

Below are the Philly restaurants that have closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Know of a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or bakery to add to this list? Send the details to [email protected]

The Philly restaurants that shut their doors for good earlier this year, before COVID-19 was a factor, are here.

Broad Street — After seven years and 1,500 shows, including the Philadelphia debuts of Lizzo and Sam Smith, South Philly’s country-western bar-turned-live music venue Boot & Saddle has closed for good. Ownership circulated the following statement this week:

“With Covid-19 cases back on the rise . the thought of having 200 people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our small indoor bar early next year has faded. After eight months without a show, and without a clear reopening date in sight, we no longer have the luxury of paying the bills and expenses for two closed venues.”

Sister venue Union Transfer will remain open in Center City.

Rittenhouse — Res Ipsa, Philly’s beloved all-day cafe and essential (BYO) Italian restaurant from the Fishtown crews behind Stock and ReAnimator Coffee, has closed after nearly four years. The casual breakfast and lunch spot by day flipped into a small sit-down venture at night, starring reliable Sicilian dishes from chef Michael Vincent Ferreri like spaghetti with clams, lemony octopus, and roasted chicken with agrodolce sauce. “In the end, we had a sustainable business that was blind-sided by the pandemic,” according to a farewell statement from the owners.

James Beard-nominated pastry chef and carbs king Alex Bois is expected to replace the space (2218 Walnut Street) with a new retail location of his bakery Lost Bread Co. as soon as later this month, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Chestnut Hill — Chestnut Hill Hotel’s chic Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe will not reopen after the pandemic. The mosaic tile-lined eatery went dark once the city shut down in March and never revived service. The Philadelphia Inquirer details a hairy judgement its restaurateurs Rob and Vanessa Mullen are now facing from their landlord.

Multiple locations — Austin-based Snap Kitchen, the refrigerated health foods chain known for its neatly packaged meals that cater to an array of diets, appears to have pulled out of the Philadelphia market. The trendy brand made a splash in Philly nearly five years ago with a widespread rollout of area retail shops in Old City, Rittenhouse, South Street, Fishtown, Radnor, and Malvern. The team invested $2 million in a commissary kitchen at MaKen Studios South in Kensington, adds the Philadelphia Inquirer. Snap is also closing 14 storefronts in its home state of Texas as COVID-19 continues to decimate the retail industry.

Old City — It’s lights out for City Tavern, the beloved 26-year-old fixture modeled after the original built on the same spot in 1773. Once frequented by the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the historic watering hole was more recently known for hearty orders like a “Colonial turkey pot pie” and beers brewed with the Founding Fathers’ recipes, delivered by waitstaff donning period garb. Prolific restaurateur Walter Staib announced its demise on Facebook, telling the Philadelphia Business Journal that now-obsolete overseas tourism fueled much of the restaurant’s business.

Center City — Safran Turney Hospitality closed its Spanish hotspot Jamonera and neighboring food market Grocery, leaving a hole along Philly’s popular 13th Street dining strip. The 8-year-old tapas place flipped into Salty’s Seafood & Ice Cream Shack this summer before transitioning into Greek pop-up Super Spartan for the fall. “However, as the weather turns colder, it’s proving to be too challenging with its already limited indoor seating capacity to operate at that location,” noted the owners via email, adding its chic grab-and-go market next door “relied on heavy foot traffic that has disappeared.”

Washington Square West — After seven years, Cheu Noodle Bar, Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh’s Asian restaurant on 10th Street known for it ramen, is closed. “The 2020 struggle is real and it’s taking us with it,” the owners wrote in an Instagram post. Their Cheu Fishtown, Bing Bing Dim Sum, and Nunu are all open.

Italian Market — Cafe Crema, a South Philly bakery/coffee shop known for its display cases piled with several varieties of cannoli, is now closed. Rim Cafe from the same owner, also in the Italian Market, is unaffected.

Queen Village — After its co-owner’s ignoble departure in June, Hungry Pigeon has closed — sort of. Pat O’Malley, now the sole owner, renamed the restaurant Fitz and Starts.

Atlantic City — The AC outposts of Stephen Starr’s Continental and Buddakan, which closed their doors at the beginning of the pandemic, are not reopening. Buddakan in Philly is open. But.

. Old City — Stephen Starr’s retro martini bar/diner Continental, which kicked off an Old City renaissance when it opened 25 years ago, closed on October 3 for “at least the fall and winter seasons,” reports the Inquirer. Starr told the newspaper that he’s not calling it a permanent closure. But it’s unlikely it will reopen as the same restaurant, which was Starr’s first: In a statement on Instagram, he said he wants to reinvent it.

Rittenhouse — Sweets shop Lil Pop Shop on 20th Street has closed its doors, with co-owner Jeanne Chang pointing to the challenges of the pandemic as the cause. The original location, in University City at 265 S. 44th Street, is still open.

East Kensington: Coffee shop/gelateria/bakery/co-working space Flow State, known for its Filipino sweets from baker Melanie Diamond-Manlusoc, is closed. “The hardships we have experienced because of Covid-19 have taken its toll and we can’t bear them any longer both financially and emotionally,” the owners wrote on Instagram.

University City — On Penn’s campus, long-running Chinese restaurant Beijing is shuttered after 32 years of serving students, reports the Daily Pennsylvanian.

South Street — Serpico, the stylish fine-dining restaurant from chef Peter Serpico and Stephen Starr, is closed, though the chef tells Philly Mag they may reopen it in another location. In the meantime, he’s using the space for Pete’s Place, a casual takeout spot he’s calling a “kinda Korean noodle bar.”

South Street — New vegan restaurant Nourish, on the corner of Seventh and South streets, was destroyed by a fire. Update: Owner Sarah Scandone reopened Nourish in the Italian Market, at 943 S. Ninth Street.

Center City — Marathon Grill at 1818 Market Street, once a popular lunch spot for Center City workers, is now permanently closed. A steep drop in business caused by people working from home during the pandemic, rather than in their city offices, was the culprit, the Inquirer reports.

Center City — The decline in lunch traffic also lead to the closure of Coventry Deli, a classic sandwich shop, after 25 years, the Inquirer reports.

September 4

Queen Village — Bistrot La Minette is currently closed after 12 years. The French restaurant writes that with the dining room shuttered for almost six months, the Paycheck Protection Program money spent, and the team not comfortable starting indoor dining, it had no choice but to suspend service, though it hopes to reopen at some point.

Pennsport — After 25 years, Warmdaddy’s is permanently closed — but the Bynum brothers say they’re looking for a new site for their music venue/restaurant, which already relocated once before.

Bella Vista — French BYOB Bibou, know for its tasting menu, is no longer a restaurant. Pierre and Charlotte Calmels have plans to open a gourmet food shop in the space with charcuterie, breads, and prepared foods, the Inquirer reports.

Midtown Village/Gayborhood — After temporarily closing in March, Tiki, the bi-level bar with a deck on 13th Street, announced that it will not be reopening.

Rittenhouse — The 24-hour Midtown III, one of the last diners in Center City, is closed, the Inquirer reports. Owners Vivian and Ray Tafuri told the newspaper they couldn’t make it work with the surrounding office buildings empty and nightlife on hold during the pandemic.

Rittenhouse — Empty Center City office buildings also led to the shutter of cafe and bakery Le Bus, after 24 years just off Rittenhouse Square, the Inquirer reports. Le Bus’s other locations are still open.

August 3

Center City — The Wawa at Broad and Walnut, which started out in 2015 as a shiny new Wawa full of promise but became known as “a nuisance Wawa,” as Philly Chit Chat put it when breaking this news, is permanently closed. In a statement sent to Eater, Wawa officials pointed to the pandemic “coupled with some operational uncertainties of today” to explain why they are closing this location of the Philly-favorite chain. The Wawas at 12th and Market and 13th and Chestnut are open.

Bella Vista — After trying to make it work with takeout and outdoor seating, gastropub Bainbridge Street Barrel House has closed. In a Facebook post, the restaurant wrote: “It has been a struggle for us since opening back up after Covid. We have tried to make it work but it simply wasn’t happening.”

Old City — High Street on Market, the acclaimed Old City all-day cafe from the team behind Fork and A.Kitchen, is wrapping things up in September. The owners are planning to reopen the restaurant in a new location, though that location has not been picked out yet.

Rittenhouse — Poi Dog, the popular Hawaiian restaurant and food truck, is permanently closed due to the pandemic. Via the Inquirer, chef and co-owner Kiki Aranita wrote: “Through Poi Dog, we worked to perpetuate a culture of aloha that hopefully will be a lasting one. In addition to hello, aloha means love, compassion and respect. It can also mean goodbye and in a time of many goodbyes, we are adding another.”

Rittenhouse — V Street, the vegan cocktail bar from the Vedge team that last year folded in sister spot Wiz Kid, is permanently closed.

Rittenhouse — The 20th and Walnut location of Philly-based coffee shop chain Saxbys is closed. Philly Chit Chat reports that the lease was up and the coffee company and landlord couldn’t work out a new one.

Rittenhouse — Philly Chit Chat also reports that the new Chestnut Diner, which opened in February in what had previously been Chestnut Street salad bar destination 4 Seasons, is closed. Messages to the restaurant were not returned and the phone number is disconnected.

Hawaiian restaurant Poi Dog is closed. Jen Woodruff for Caviar

July 15

Manayunk — The Spicy Belly, a Jamaican and Korean restaurant run by brothers Jimmy and Jason Mills that pulls from the cuisines they grew up with, is wrapping up on August 2. In an Instagram post, the Mills wrote: “We truly appreciate your support over the years. We hope to see some of your faces over the next couple weekends during our outdoor seating service to say goodbye and thank you.”

Old City — Lalo, a Filipino eatery inside the Bourse food hall from the team behind the Pelago pop-ups, is closed for good. In an announcement on Instagram, the owners wrote: “The long-lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced us to close and this decision was not made lightly. . We are fortunate to have had LALO be a space where we were able to share our culture, our Filipinx food to a wider audience. This chapter may have concluded, but our story is far from over.”

Northern Liberties — The last location of the Greek, seafood-focused BYOB Dmitri’s, at 944 N. Second Street, is not reopening. The original Dmitri’s, a tiny, cash-only neighborhood favorite for grilled octopus and fish, opened in Queen Village 30 years ago and closed this past November. At the time, the Northern Liberties location was also closed, but it reopened in January of this year. It closed again during the pandemic, and now announced a permanent closure via Instagram in a message that reads: “We are so sorry to report that Dmitr’s is permanently closed. We wanted to inform you here before you read about it in the paper. Covid changed everything and the towel had to be thrown in. We love all of you, miss you, and hope you stay well.” A third Dmitri’s in Fitler Square closed in 2014.

Rittenhouse — On Walnut Street, 26-year-old Irish bar the Bards is closed, the Inquirer reported after spotting a Facebook post in which the restaurant wrote that its lease was expiring and it no longer made sense to renew, noting: “restrictions imposed by the virus make it impossible for small bars such as The Bards to adhere to the social distancing and other rules and still trade without making substantial losses.”

Rittenhouse — When Eater reported the closure of kosher, mostly vegan Mama’s Vegetarian due to building renovations in August 2019, the restaurant wasn’t sure if it would reopen. Now the Inquirer has word that it is in fact permanently closed, with owner Haviv David telling the newspaper his landlord chose not to renew the lease.

South Philly — Sports bar Toll Man Joe’s, named for a Wing Bowl winner related to the bar’s owners, is closed following failed lease negotiations with its landlord, the Inquirer reports. It had stayed open for takeout through the first couple months of the pandemic. In a Facebook post, the bar cites both the lease issues and COVID-19, noting, “Obviously the pandemic caused catastrophic damage, and will continue to do so for a long time.”

June 22

Center City — R2L, the swank restaurant known for its views from the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place, is not reopening, Philly Chit Chat reports while noting the celebrities who’ve dined there. In a Facebook post, the restaurant writes, “Prior to the mandated Covid-19 closure, we had been actively planning to serve you all for another decade. That is not to be.” Unlike other Philly restaurants that focused on takeout over the past few months, R2L has been shuttered since dining rooms were ordered to close on March 16.

Manayunk — Bourbon Blue, which billed itself as a spot for new American cuisine with a New Orleans twist, is closed after 17 years in Manayunk, the Inquirer reports. Owner Brendan McGrew told the newspaper, “I was looking at the reopening models coming out of this situation, and it just couldn’t work.”

West Philly — Milk & Honey, a cafe on 45th and Baltimore, is closed indefinitely following a worker strike, the Inquirer reports.

Center City — The Inquirer also notes that the Applebee’s at 15th and Chancellor is closed, though the reason given is that the restaurant’s 15-year lease was up, not the pandemic. Blame the millennials.

R2L in Two Liberty Place R2L [official photo]

May 18

Old City — After weathering the ups and downs of Old City for 15 years, farm-to-table restaurant Farmicia is closed. On May 17, the restaurant posted on Facebook: “It is with a sad heart and with deepest regrets, that we must inform you that FARMiCiA Restaurant will be permanently closing its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. We thank you for your constant support and patronage over the last 15 years, it means the world to us.”

Manayunk — After more than a decade, Mad River, the bar and restaurant on Main Street in Manayunk, is closed. In a Facebook post on May 16, general manager Jamie Powell said: “With a heavy heart, it’s time to announce the ol’ Riv won’t make it thru this mess . There are so many rumors out there but the biggest truth of all is that Manayunk is just a different town anymore as far as nightlife goes. We decided as a squad it was just time to cash em in.”

East Passyunk Avenue — Sate Kampar, chef Ange Branca’s Malaysian BYOB that has a spot on Eater Philly’s list of the 38 most essential restaurants in the city, closed on May 17, Philly Mag reports. The closure was not directly caused by coronavirus, Branca told the magazine: A previously negotiated rent hike led to the decision. Branca and her husband/co-owner, John, were unable to renegotiate — and they can’t pay the higher rent while dining rooms are closed due to coronavirus. “We love this neighborhood, and we love the space, but the situation has just made it impossible for us to survive,” Branca said.

Rittenhouse Tavern: Philadelphia, Penn. - Recipes

Situated between the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, famed as the birthplace of the United States and the nation's original capital (1790-1800), Philadelphia was founded in 1682, by the English Quaker, William Penn, who envisioned the colony as a 'holy experiment' to create a land of tolerance and religious freedom. Philadelphia flourished as settlers flocked to it, many of them fleeing persecution as Penn named the town after the Greek word for 'brotherly love'. With a $38-million visitors center in the heart of Independence National Historical Park and "America's Most Historic Square Mile."

Our arrival at the Rittenhouse hotel, Philadelphia's only true luxury hotel, turned heads. Simone and the Porsche Cayenne, looked splendid at the Royal Stairway Entrance, though Philadelphia is a walker's paradise, and The Rittenhouse is conveniently placed right in the middle of it! Cultural attractions, entertainment, restaurants and shopping areas are within a pleasant walking distance or a short ride. The lobby is truly magnificent white Italian marble floors, sparkling impressive chandeliers and sconces with fresh flowers. The Front Desk staff was delightful, with their professional welcome and just the right touch of personalized warmth and undivided attention one wants when one is away from home.

David Benton, the GM welcomed us.

David is VP and General Manager of The Rittenhouse Hotel, a Cornell Hotel School graduate. Mr. Benton is also a member of the board of directors of the Boy Scouts, and since he just came back from a visit to the camp, he'd removed his tie so did I.

"Mr. Hospitality" David Benton & Thorsten Piosczyk
The accommodations are all suites, and the Rittenhouse supposedly has the largest suites in Philly, 450 - 600 square feet, and beautifully appointed with rich mahogany furnishings and lush fabrics. All have large windows that overlook Rittenhouse Square or the cityscape and electronic key access, extra large, luxurious bathrooms laid in golden marble, with a TV, scale and roman-bath tubs. Pretty, well-chosen renderings of city scenes by local artists decorated the walls.
Remember the movie PHILADELPHIA with Tom Hanks? Well, Tom, wanted 4 rooms. David simply had a wall removed (a couple of days worth of work) and extended the 3 room suite to four rooms. Another superstar used to his steam bath, was accommodated within 24 hours.

At the Rittenhouse the guest is the king.

Before we unpacked we decided to go for a nice little walk and get some fresh air in the pretty park surrounding the Rittenhouse. We admired the old trees and their huge old crowns, inviting us to rest, watched by lots of little, busy squirrels. Just steps from the park were the most elegant, adorable boutiques, says Simone, and she had a very hard time to resist. We took a quick peek at City hall. Yes indeed, there was William Penn's statue on the roof. A red double deck bus, like London's, passed by filled with tourist admiring the historic quarters. Unfortunately, or shall we say fortunately, we had only an hour to take a shower and get ready for one of the most inspiring dining experiences we'd ever had the pleasure of writing about. Back at the Rittenhouse, the late sunlight still reflecting in Simone's eyes, we took an Aveda bath in the oversized luxury tub did I say we?
We walked on stone pathways, through candle lit hallways and arched doorways and entered a majestic 10-foot art altar. It blew my mind, a new dimension in the way I thought about cuisine. The master is food royalty. Connie Cnockaert the assistant restaurant manager, charming if I may say so, welcomed us and lead us to a pretty table at the windows overlooking the Rittenhouse Square. All my culinary taste buds were on high alert in the 110-seat dining room. Executive chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, a leader of the Philadelphia culinary scene for two decades, was expecting us.
He is a member of the prestigious Maitres Cuisiniers de France and was the first Philadelphia chef to win the Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence in 1998.

Lacroix refined contemporary Franco-American cuisine by refusing anything else then the freshest regional and seasonal ingredients, prepared in his one-in-a -million style. The new state-of-the-art bakery is where Executive Pastry Chef Fredric Ortega creates Chocolate Lacroix - available exclusively through The Rittenhouse - by combining the finest imported ingredients using classic French confectionery methods.

The gifted Lacroix worships food by using the freshest local ingredients from the rich fields and eastern seaboard. His style of creating cuisine is unparalleled in Philadelphia. The Rittenhouse displays a fabulous view of Rittenhouse Square from every table the basic attire is casual elegance. Simone looked radiant. The Chef has priced the menu invitingly, with a prix-fix four course meal for $65.

Here with Chef de Cuisine Matthew Ridgway

The wine cellar includes supposedly more then 4000 bottles, and the wine list features about five hundred labels. Half of Lacroix's wine list is French, of which three quarters is Burgundy confidently emphasizing smaller vine yards, with about 2 dozen different champagne labels, a nice number of sparkling wines, and dessert wines, an eclectic display.
American Dream Cuisine
The Lacroix

    Cherrystone Clam: Summer Truffle and Champagne Mignonette, dill.
    Nicely presented on a salt-bed.
    Tender morsels of chopped clams laced with the pungent aroma of truffles and topped with fresh dill, subtly inspiring.

Served chilled - what a delightfully refreshing, precursor to the dinner

pineapple, citrus and flowers

  • Campari and Grapefruit Sorbet
    a wonderfully astringent palate refresher
  • Sous Vide of Rabbit Tenderloin and Anise Hyssop /*/*/*/*/*/*/
    Eggplant Mousseline, Potato Pancakes and Scallions
    A Masterpiece, the aromatic, though slightly bitter Hyssop adds intrigue
  • Riesling, Graff, Kabinett Halbtrocken, Germany 2001
    This most delicate and elegant of Germany's Rieslings, offers flavors of apricot, peach and citrus. Victory of taste, this creation - combined with the Graff Riesling, no question

A barely there, shy knocking at the door announced a "Good Morning! Room service!" Breakfast in bed with a red rose we deserved it! We had ordered the night before a little bit of everything. A sip of fresh pressed orange juice, a cup of hot fresh coffee for me and English tea for Simon heavenly! The Rittenhouse's Breakfast Pastry Basket came fresh from the bakery and included the most delicious fruit Danish, croissants, assorted Muffins, sticky buns and scones with sweet butter. Life is like a Rittenhouse Breakfast Pastry Basket, a wonderful surprise.

Simone's favorite was shaved smoked salmon with cream cheese, ripe aromatic tomatoes, red onions, capers, 'luscious' on a toasted Bagels. She smiled. I myself nipped some fresh fruit, after the culinary orgy from last night Simone didn't seem to mind some people don't have problems with their weight.

Our morning was reserved for treatments at the elegant spa and the salon. Simon was scheduled for a one hour facial with a certified esthetician and I for a massage for my sore body. But first we worked out. Natural morning sunlight filled the spacious facilities.

Simone jumped into the heavenly healing waves of the warm indoor king-sized pool for a few laps, while I decided to take a look at the Philadelphia Inquirer .

THE ADOLF BIECKER SPA AND SALON is full European style facility with highly trained staff. Simone relaxed with a 80 minute facial treatments and scalp massage that included all she expected, only more. More deep cleansing, more massaging, and more pampering. She would have been ready for any beauty competition, she declared.

I, myself escaped under the gifted hands of "Glory - Lory", with a special Hydrothermal Massage, a NEW innovative massage technique in which I was positioned on warm pillows filled with water. This unique approach allows me to experience a full body massage without the need to turn over or use a face cradle, marking the experience extremely comfortable and interruption free while I enjoyed the blissful sensation of being suspended on warm, soothing water. Perfect for those with sinus or circulation problems. This treatment is my American Dram spa tip and I highly recommend it.

David Benton, named "Mr. Hospitality" by Life Style Magazine , was expecting us for the VIP tour through the legendary Rittenhouse. To join us click here and see the fantastic pictures.

We took the time to take a closer look at pretty, patriotic Philadelphia and the since the Rittenhouse is so conveniently located within walking distance of many of the most important historic markers, shopping, and places of art and leisure we are walking.

In the United States, Mother's Day did not become an official holiday until 1915. Its establishment was due largely to the perseverance and love of one daughter, Anna Jarvis. Anna's mother had provided strength and support as the family made their home in West Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where her father served as a minister. As a girl, Anna had helped her mother take care of her garden, mostly filled with white carnations, her mother's favorite flower. When Mrs. Jarvis died on May 5, 1905, Anna was determined to honor her.

She asked the minister at her church in West Virginia to give a sermon in her mother's memory. On the same Sunday in Philadelphia, their minister honored Mrs. Jarvis and all mothers with a special Mother's Day service. Anna Jarvis began writing to congressmen, asking them to set aside a day to honor mothers. In 1910, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day and a year later every state celebrated it.
American Freedom

The Liberty Bell pavilion is on Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Its inscription conveys the message of liberty for the Land of the Free. When William Penn created Pennsylvania's government allowed his fellow citizens to take part in making the laws and gave them the right to choose the religion they wanted. Hallelujah. The colonists were very proud of the freedom bestowed to them. In 1751, the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered a new bell for the State House. As the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House (today called Independence Hall) it rang many times for public announcements, but we remember times like July 8, 1776 when it rang to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Beginning in the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell traveled around the country to expositions and fairs to help heal the divisions of the Civil War. In 1915, the bell made its last trip and came home to Philadelphia, where it now silently reminds us of the power of liberty. For more than 200 years people from around the world have felt the bell's message.

After so much history we were about to dine surrounded by even more history, at the City Tavern. "Mr. Hospitality" insisted that we dine there and had us delivered in the Rittenhouse' limo right to the Tavern's doorstep.

The CITY TAVERN itself is both a Philadelphia landmark and a destination restaurant. First opened in 1773 built like a London tavern , the City Tavern became an important meeting place in the years before the American Revolution. Times changed but the City Tavern has continued to act as a center for political, social, and social activities. In 1774, Continental Congress members met at the City Tavern. In 1777 the first fourth of July was held there. In 1778 the Constitutional Convention held its closing banquet there, both historically significant occasions. Having discovered that, the City Tavern in Philadelphia was probably the first American Dream Gourmet Restaurant.

Thorsten Piosczyk & Walter Staib
Many of the most important political figures in our early and recent American history have visited the City Tavern, attracted not only its extraordinary culinary history but also to the fact that important political decisions were made there. It is a living link to the city's past. Like thousands of food worshippers and history buffs before us we were silent, at least for a moment.

Decorated in authentic 18th century style we were beamed back to back to Colonial Philadelphia. Modern but time period matching amenities and culinary spices enrich the traditional dishes, and we are able to taste and live a wonderful blend of past and present.

Celebrating the city's heritage, the City Tavern's West Indies Pepper Pot Soup is today comforting the discriminating diner as it did the colonial soldier.

Sir Walter Staib is the official Culinary Ambassador of the Philadelphia, nominated by the Mayor of Philadelphia. We were indeed surprised that Sir Walter speaks perfect German, but no wonder he grew up in the "Schwarzwald", the Black Forrest, but has lived for decades in the US. He managed about 450 Restaurants and Resorts worldwide and is personally responsible for selecting the chefs that are serving the White House.

Sir Walter, who'd served a full three year butcher apprenticeship in the Black Forrest brews his own beer, with ingredients that are only known to him.
People are traveling from all over to taste the delicious brew. We fell for his "Sauerkraut", which is flown in from the old world and the most decisions 'kraut' in the country! Sir Walter prepares it with a smoked pork chops the size never seen before by us. Local addicts are found there up to three times a week and begging for more.

American Dream Cuisine™
The City Tavern

    Smoked Salmon
    Peppered smoked salmon, capers, red onions & pumpernickel
    a delightful promise from the old world

  • Crab Cake "Chesapeake Style" with herbed remoulade
    a nice starter
  • Giant Cornmeal Fried Oysters with herbed remulade
    A little to much Cornmeal
  • Basil Shrimp
    Jumbo shrimp, apple-smoked bacon, fresh basil, horseradish barbeque sauce
    fresh - well prepared, nice combination
  • Pan-Seared Pennsylvania Brook Trout,
    brown butter, capers, lemon sauce, asparagus & Sauce Béarnaise
    they knew how to dine at the old days.
  • Tavern Lobster Pie
    Lobster, shrimp, mushrooms, shallots, sherry cream sauce, baked in flakey puff pastry dough nestled in a pewter bowl
    a must to try .
  • A Colonial Ale Sampler
    Why not? My favorite: Martha's Summer Ale, a classic, refreshing ale with hints of coriander and orange, lively balance of malt, hops and fruity esters

And shouldn't we have known, Walter Staib has also published his own cook books! One is the kind American Dream Cuisine is made of, the "City Tavern Cookbook 200 Years of Classic Recipes from America's First Gourmet Restaurant" & the "Dessert Cookbook". Simone now has her autographed copy with a special a personal note to us.

6 Things You Can Only Get in Philadelphia

It was raining buckets when SAVEUR senior editor Gabriella Gershenson and I rolled into Philadelphia for a whirlwind 36-hour, 8-restaurant, million-calorie tour of the East Coast’s most exciting emerging food town. This was a good thing: It meant that there was hardly a wait at all at Federal Donuts, the blazingly popular doughnut-and-fried-chicken emporium tucked away on a Pennsport side street where out-the-door lines and midafternoon sellouts are de rigueur. The sun came out for the rest of our trip, and so we criscrossed the city on foot, making our way from farmers’ markets filled with jewel-like Amish produce to hushed, leafy terrace restaurants to the riotous 9th Street Italian Market, where century-old, family-run pork stores vie for space with Vietnamese produce stands and Mexican groceries. Through it all there was a continuous thread of something ineffably Philly: bright and optimistic, entirely unpretentious and yet exacting in quality. When it comes to eating, this city is operating miles beyond the cheesesteak.

1. The Paesano Sandwich at Paesano’s

Practically every item on the chalkboard menu at Paesano’s, chef Peter McAndrews’ no-punches-pulled sandwich shop, reads like a call to heaven for the true hoagie lover. But of all the savory gutbusters on offer, the most savory, most busting-of-gut is his shop’s namesake Paesano: a long Italian roll topped with beef brisket, roasted tomatoes, gooey provolone, vinegary pepperoncini, spicy horseradish mayo, and a fried egg for good measure. It’s a high-low monster of a meal that’s brilliant on its own, and even better eaten leaning against the formica counter, alternating bites with sips from a one-dollar cup of the perfectly old-school RC Cola Paesano’s runs on tap.
Multiple locations
tel: 267/886-9556


Chef Michael Solomonov’s latest venture offers an embarrassment of deep-fried riches: Cake doughnuts and fried chicken are the specialties of the house, and both are incredibly good. One fritter that stood out among the rest, however, was the Appollonia doughnut. Part of the “Hot Fresh” menu (meaning the doughnut is served hot out of the fryer, freshly rolled in seasoned sugar), the Appollonia is flavored with baharat, the Turkish spice blend that includes black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon, and rolled in sugar enriched with a mixture of orange blossoms, cocoa, and clove, from spice guru Lior Lev Sercarz. The result is a highly fragrant doughnut, with cocoa-driven depths of flavor and unexpected savory notes, that’s hauntingly delicious. —Gabriella Gershenson
Federal Donuts
1219 South 2nd St.
tel: 267/687-8258

3. Housemade Burrata at Rittenhouse Tavern

There’s a lot of good dairy to be had in Philly: the city’s markets and restaurant menus are full to overflowing with the rich product of Amish-country cows, pressed into service as cream, yogurt, milk, or cheese. But the burrata on offer at Rittenhouse Tavern, a relatively young restaurant picturesquely situated in the back half of the historic Wetherill Mansion off tony Rittenhouse Square, is a pinnacle of lactic achievement. Each alabaster sphere is pulled to order, served within minutes of its making: chewy mozzarella exteriors giving way to centers filled with sweet, airy panna so creamy it verges on the obscene. A grind of pepper and a few slivers of seasonal fruit are a simple, perfect garnish.
Rittenhouse Tavern
251 South 18th St.
Philadelphia Art Alliance
tel: 215/732-2412


Visiting a summer farmers market in Philadelphia is an experience in itself: exuberant produce, gorgeous eggs and baked goods, fresh meat from west of town and fish from just east. But it’s hot work, marveling over the goods on offer with a camera slung around your neck, and a frosty swig of fresh, yeasty, naturally-carbonated root beer does a body good. A two-dollar, twelve-ounce bottle from Quarryville’s J&E Homemade is fizzily herbaceous, not too sweet, and—in the grand tradition of natural root beers—vaguely medicinal.
J&E Homemade Drinks
Hilltop Produce Stand

Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market
Tuesdays and Saturdays


This is one of the best gelatos you can eat, period. Though Capogiro tempts with dozens of flavors, many seasonal, all made fresh each morning from local ingredients (“if the ingredient grows near Philadelphia,” clarifies co-owner Stephanie Reitano), the Thai coconut gelato has the benefit of being one of a few varieties available all year long. It also happens to be stupendously creamy, made from Thai coconut milk and the butterfat-rich milk of pastured Ayrshire cattle, and is so true to its flavor as to be uncanny. In other words, this is one incomparable scoop. —GG
Capogiro Gelato Artisans
Multiple locations
tel: 215/351-0900

6. Tilapia Burrito at Cucina Zapata

It sounds like a cross between a stoner fantasy and a publicity stunt: a Thai-Mexican fusion food truck serving Cap’n Crunch fish tacos. But this foil-wrapped concoction, served up by Robert Zapata from his graffiti-covered mobile kitchen, really works. The cereal, crushed and used as breading for the tilapia, has a honeyed sweetness that lends a bright note to the pileup of flavors, and it keeps its namesake crunch even under a mountain of red cabbage, cilantro-laced pico de gallo, and avocado, all of it dressed in a spicy peanut sauce. “Remember when you were like, Damn, I could go for some Thai food in a taco,” the truck asks in its Twitter bio, and then preempts your polite response: “Well, here it is. You’re welcome.” Seriously, thank you.
Cucina Zapata
Mobile location

Pictured above: Paesano’s J&E root beer Capogiro Gelato Rittenhouse Tavern (image courtesy of Rittenhouse Tavern) Federal Donuts

You cream the butter and sugar, add a bunch of eggs one at a time, sift together the flour and spices, then fold those into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Simple, not too messy, and you can re-use the medium flour-and-spices bowl to make fresh whipped cream.

TBH it makes perfect sense that George Washington hired Fraunces as his steward/cook in the first presidential residence. This cake is that good.

Art Alliance Spring at the Mansion

The Philadelphia Art Alliance debuted its reimagined annual gala, “Spring at the Mansion,” formerly known as the Wetherill Ball, last Friday night, May 3, with music and merriment. Proceeds benefit the preservation and restoration of the historic Wetherill Mansion, the oldest cultural institution on the Square, and the home of the Philadelphia Art Alliance and Rittenhouse Tavern. Pictured: Nicole Cashman, event chair, Sabrina Tamburino Thorne, Carol Tamburino, Alisa Frederico and Ed Rendell.

Below: The Shanis family, Dana, Joe, Carol, Donald and Bonnie.

Below: Frankie Mancuso, Kristin Foote, and Beka and Jesse Rendell.

Below: Sharon Pinkenson (who wants everyone to call their elected officials as the budget is coming up and it would be great for the state if there was no cap on the film tax credit), Joe Weiss and Hope Cohen. Hope’s new book Fast, Fresh + Simple is out, and she tells me it makes a wonderful Mother’s Day present as it has delicious, fresh recipes.

Below: David Benton, Sandy Marshall and David Marshall.

Below: Kate Scutzlas, Randyl Case, Sam Weiner, Leza Garber and Nicole Marquis. Nicole, who owns Hip City Veg, tells me her new place on 13th Street will not be the same, as some people have written. Instead it will be a new concept, but definitely something vegan. Stay tuned.

Below: Matt and Noel Noone just returned from St. Barts—their first vacation since their baby was born about a year ago. I’m sure they needed it.

Below: Richard Woosnam and Diane Dalto Woosnam.

Below: Tara Chupka, Courtney Leicht and Michelle Kirsch enjoyed the outdoor garden where dinner is served for Rittenhouse Tavern.

Below: Tracie Steely, Susan Asher and Christina Smith.

Below: Dennis and Joan Hummel were ready for spring, and looking forward to the Rittenhouse Square Flower Market, which is May 8-9.

Below: Tamar and Steve Olitsky.

Below: Candice Kochenour and Kelly Short.

Below: I found A.D. Amorosi, Michael McCue, Peter Dello Buono, and Nigel Richards near the band, listening to the smooth sounds of jazz/soul singer Jessy Kyle, who played during the cocktail hour during the dance hours, DJ Eddie Tully was spinning.

Below: Robert D. Cole, Marie Moughan and William Carr, the pianist who played during dinner.

Below: Brendan and Nicole McGann make their way to the second floor where dinner was served.

Below: Rittenhouse Tavern Chef Nicholas Elmi. (The next day, Michael Klein at published that Elmi’s leaving the restaurant.)

Below: Charles and Diana Toll and David and Lorraine Popowich sit down to enjoy a delicious meal in the Evantine Design-decorated room.

Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers
(WRV) is dedicated to the restoration of the natural areas of the Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia.

City Tavern
The Birthplace of American Cuisine, step back in time to experience an authentic 18th century style-meal in the tavern once frequented by Franklin, Jefferson and even David Rittenhouse. City Tavern’s Chef and Proprietor, Walter Staib, frequently cooks in RittenhouseTown’s original 18th century bake house. Click here to buy Chef Staib’s new book, Recipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine.

A Taste of History
This cooking series features Chef Walter Staib cooking in RittenhouseTown bake house. The show premiered in October 2009 and new episodes air through 2010. Check your local PBS listings.

Chestnut Hill Historical Society
Leading the effort to protect the profound architectural heritage of Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood.

Friends of the Wissahickon
A group dedicated to the Wissahickon Valley section of Fairmount Park. The Friends provide leadership, education and coordinate many activities in this area.

Fairmount Park Houses
A group of historic homes located throughout Fairmount Park, interesting for their architecture and their collections. Tours of some of these houses are currently run by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Focused on Philadelphia as well as its major newspapers. The site offers information about Philadelphia including local news, weather, events and travel information.

Schuylkill River Heritage Corridor
Dedicated to the Schuylkill River Valley. Many events throughout the valley are listed on this site.

38 Standout Dining Destinations Around Philly

There’s no denying that the past year has been an extremely challenging one for restaurants in Philadelphia and beyond. For a solid 12 months and counting, restaurant owners and restaurant employees have had to make a constant and ever-changing calculus about what’s safe, what’s not, and what will keep businesses afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. Indoor dining in Philadelphia ceased, restarted, stopped again, then started again as coronavirus cases fluctuated, and as a result, many restaurants were forced to close.

In the past, the Eater 38 has been an elite list that aims to show off the best, most alluring dining destinations Philly has to offer its residents and visitors alike. For this first refresh in 2021, Eater Philly is continuing to focus on places that offer stellar outdoor dining and takeout, at least until food service workers are fully vaccinated and indoor dining is deemed completely safe again.

From places selling frozen versions of menu favorites to keep diners’ freezers stocked to restaurants that have found ways to maintain a commitment to hospitality during this incredibly difficult time, these are the places the community has come to depend on for joy, solace, and sustenance during the pandemic. Safety, creativity, and comfort are more important than luxury these days, though there are still special occasion places to transport diners, even if just for a few hours.

The four recent additions include newish places — Huda, Mina’s World, and Fudena — and a not-as-new local spot that stays on point. (Lookin’ at you, White Yak.)

Restaurants on this map have been open for at least six months. For the most exciting new restaurants in town, go here.

Takeout is widely considered to be the lowest-risk option during the pandemic. Studies indicate there is a lower exposure risk when eating outdoors versus indoors (which is available only at maximum 50 percent capacity in Philly right now), but the level of risk involved with outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. Masks should be worn whenever you aren’t eating. Tip your servers well, as they are risking their health to serve you and vaccinations for food service workers are still ongoing. For updated information on coronavirus cases locally, visit the City of Philadelphia website.

Watch the video: Ταβέρνα Αϊβαλί Παρουσίαση


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