Friday, March 6, 2015

POSTED: Friday, March 6, 2015, 12:04 AM

Restaurateur Avram Hornik has had great success of late in the great outdoors with the seasonal Morgan’s Pier, Winterfest, and the 2013 PHS Pop Up Garden on Broad Street.

Could he take the same beer-garden approach - simple, family friendly, solid food, drinks - indoors?

He has reconfigured his Drinker's West, a vast bar-restaurant at 3900 Chestnut St. in University City, into the more communal William Street Common. (William Street was the name of 39th Street in the olden days.)

POSTED: Thursday, March 5, 2015, 4:08 PM
Early look at the decorating at Buena Ondo, in the Granary, 1901 Callowhill St.

Jose Garces' 19th restaurant - opening March 16 - will be Buena Onda, a taqueria inspired by the laid-back taquerias and seafood shacks of the Baja peninsula. It's taking space in The Granary, near Pizzeria Vetri and Gyu-Kaku, at 1901 Callowhill St. 

Looks as if Garces and crew are trying to build the bar-restaurant into more than simply a restaurant brand.

The house specialty is fish tacos, featuring sustainably sourced Atlantic mahi-mahi and jumbo Pacific shrimp; also available will be carnitas tacos, chicken tacos, Mission-style quesadillas, washed down by fresh fruit margaritas (try the frozen prickly pear), draft beer (Yards is making a pale ale called K38, after the surfing beach), and canned Mexican beers. It also will serve paletas (popsicles) in pineapple and strawberry.

POSTED: Thursday, March 5, 2015, 3:00 AM
(Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)

The notion of home beer delivery in Pennsylvania - commonplace throughout most of America - is a reality.

Hawthornes, the South Philadelphia cafe whose refrigerator cases have about 1,000 varieties of beer, on Friday, March 6 will start taking web orders to allow customers in most of South Philadelphia and all of Center City to choose from a list of 89 craft six-packs. The limit is two six-packs per transaction, and deliveries are done between noon and midnight. Growler filling is coming up.

Hawthornes owner Chris Fetfatzes, who noticed that the delivery service Instacart was permitted by the state to deliver wine and spirits to private homes, queried the state Liquor Control Board last fall about the legality of Hawthornes' delivering beer. (In Pennsylvania, the state directly sells wine and spirits to consumers; beer is sold through licensed outlets - bars, restaurants and distributors.)

In December, the LCB's chief counsel replied to explain that a transporter-for-hire license - which Instacart had obtained - would allow Fetfatzes (or any retail liquor license holder, for that matter) to deliver beer, if the sale was conducted on the premises, if each sale was limited to two six-packs (or 192 ounces), and if the delivery vehicle was owned or leased by his company and operated by his employees. Purchasers must be 21 or older and must pay by credit card, because that "locates" the transaction at the restaurant and not at the delivery point.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 11:04 AM
Alden & Harlow. (via Instagram)

Restaurateur Michael Scelfo of Cambridge's Alden & Harlow is fielding many attaboys for posting an Instagram photo last weekend of two women seated in the red-hot restaurant, which is on the James Beard list for best newcomer of 2015.

By posting the photo, he was shaming them.

As he wrote in the caption, it was a "shout out to these two winners for seating themselves with no reservations, insulting and berating our staff, refusing to leave and all the while yelping away in front of us as a means of threat." 

POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 11:46 PM
Future home of Tamarindo's, 726 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown. (MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com)

Tamarindo's - one of the longer-running Mexican restaurants in the Ambler/Blue Bell area - is preparing a move 10 minutes away to Flourtown this summer. 

When Fernando Sauri opened his BYOB in Broad Axe Shopping Center 16 years ago, there were few Mexican options in the area. (Chief along them was Marita's Cantina in Fort Washington, now the home of the well-regarded and more refined Cantina Feliz.)

"This will be better for everybody," said Sauri, who is looking to rejuvenate the business though maintain "the same food, the same staff and the same heart."

POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 12:27 PM
Nom Wah Tea Parlor, 218 N. 13th St., as its sign is installed in January. (via Instagram)

Wilson Tang is not quite ready to open the dining room of Chinatown's Nom Wah Tea Parlor to the public.

But the kitchen is ready, he says.

At lunchtime Wednesday, March 4, Nom Wah will begin taking orders for delivery exclusively through Caviar, the upmarket delivery service that already works with such joints as Amada, Cuba Libre and Davio's.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 10:57 AM
Michael Griffiths (left) and Kevin D'Egidio are opening helm.

Two up-and-coming chefs are planning to strike out on their own with helm, a locally focused BYO, at 1303 N. Fifth St. It's the former Philly Food Factory next door to Taco Riendo at FIfth and Thompson Streets (a block above Girard Avenue).

Kevin D’Egidio started cooking at the old Tangerine, followed by a term at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, a spell as opening sous chef at Will, and the executive chef's job at Stateside. Michael Griffiths worked at a country club through culinary school and moved on to Lacroix, where he rose to sous chef. Next stop was Ela, then Rittenhouse Tavern under Nicholas Elmi, and most recently Fork, where he was a sous chef.

They're going for casual ("this is not like fine dining," Griffiths says), with a blackboard menu whose dishes will be dictated by that day's availability of vegetables. Figure on low- to mid-$20s for entrees.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 7:16 AM

IHOP will give away short stacks of its buttermilk pancakes - one per customer - on Tuesday, March 3 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In return, patrons will be encouraged to donate to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. The goal is $3.5 million.

Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP restaurants have raised nearly $16 million to support charities.

About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at mklein@philly.com.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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