Chef Bobby Flay took to Twitter this morning to announce the rollout of one of his Bobby's Burger Palace locations: in the Radian at 3925 Walnut St. -- the fifth location in a year and a half and the first outside of the New York metro area. (My post from Monday morning is here.)
Flay says it's up for early spring.
Flay has a "Philadelphia burger" on his other BBP menus. It's a topping of provolone cheese, grilled onions, and hot and sweet peppers.
In a phone chat today, Flay told me he'll offer a choice of provy or Cheez Whiz at his 3,420-square-foot ground-floor space "because this is Philly."
And why set up in Philly?
"Initially, our thought was to open only in New York -- not in New York City per se but on the outskirts. As we've grown a little bit .. we decided to stretch our radius. Philadelphia is a city that I love, and a place I can get to fairly quickly. I live a handful of blocks from Penn Station and I can be there in an hour and 10 minutes because it's near the train station."
Flay told me that he is looking at new spots in Cherry Hill and Princeton -- and he admits he'll have to drive to Cherry Hill.
Flay's other establishments are high-end, with tabs at Bobby Flay Steak in the Borgata in Atlantic City at $100 per person. A check at BBP averages $11.20.
Why burgers? "Everything has its place," he said. "I don't eat in high-end restaurants every night. I opened this because I love burgers. I only do stuff that I love. After cooking on a line and it's 11 [o'clock], I'm hungry. I'm a burger guy. It's my go-to meal."
"A lot of people think this is an answer to the economy. I say it's coincidental. I think burgers work in every economy. If you're able to give people great fries, burgers, and shakes, people will start to crave it. People take them seriously because basically they've been eating them their whole life."
When he's in Philly, his regular haunts are Geno's for steaks, Vetri ("best Italian food in America"), restaurants owned by his Iron Chef compatriot Jose Garces ("I like Jose a lot"), and "I like a bunch of Stephen Starr places."
Here's a sample menu from his spot in Monmouth, N.J.