Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 10:08 AM

Another day, it seems, another "better-burger" shop.

New in the Philly-area frying pan is Grub Burger Bar, a rising chain out of College Station, Texas.

Its first area location opened last week at 159 York Rd. in Willow Grove (215-800-0699), next to a Wawa and an outpost of Zoës Kitchen in a new retail development where York and Easton Roads meet. (A Montgomery Mall location is on tap for mid-2015.)

POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 2:59 PM

As you drive through the iron gates of the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia, look to your left at the gatehouse.

On Monday, Oct. 27, the Vetri crew - Marc Vetri, Jeff Benjamin, Brad Spence, and Jeff Michaud - plans to open Lo Spiedo right there (4501 S. Broad St., 215-282-3184).

“Lo spee-YAY-doh” translates to “the spit,” as in rotisserie, and just about the entire menu - executed by Osteria alum Scott Calhoun - is prepared over wood-burning flame: pork ribs, pork shoulder, half-chicken, brisket, octopus. Panini start at $12, pastas are $14 and $16, and mains begin at $18.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 1:05 PM

Mike Giammarino, approaching his second anniversary of the retro Gennaro’s Tomato Pie near South Philadelphia High, says he needs more room.

"We're topping out," he said, unaware of the pizza pun. "We're not big enough to take reservations and too small for larger parties."

Rather than go upstairs at 1429 Jackson St. and take over an apartment, Giammarino says he is in the process of buying the building at 1533 S. 11th St. that was occupied previously by Da Vinci's restaurant, which closed Sunday.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 12:15 AM

Realtors today may toss around phrases like "Southwest Center City," "Graduate Hospital" or "Grays Ferry," but the slice of South Philly hard by the South Street Bridge has carried the name Devil's Pocket for decades.

Story goes that a priest considered the kids who lived in the area so tough that they'd steal a chain from the devil's pocket when they reached hell.

Chef Andrew Wagner and Marcus Versace could think of no other name when they took over Resurrection Ale House at Catharine Street and Grays Ferry Avenue, across from Naval Square.

POSTED: Monday, October 20, 2014, 12:12 AM

Debbie Grady was reading the paper at her Pottstown farm about two years ago when she learned that Triumph Brewing was pulling out of Old City.

Her son-in-law John Wible, meanwhile, was quite serious about his homebrewing.

Next thing she knew, she says, she was on the line to Wible and old friend Ken Merriman - a restaurant manager - telling them: "Triumph's on the market and I want to buy it."

POSTED: Saturday, October 18, 2014, 3:28 AM

What is the value of a positive restaurant review?

To hear Times of London critic Giles Coren, $1 million in additional business.

Coren, the latest in a long line of cranky British food-TV personalities, is out with Million Dollar Critic, a series by Canada's W Network and BBC America that documents his dining experiences in five restaurants in each of six cities, including Toronto, Providence, Charleston and Philadelphia.

POSTED: Friday, October 17, 2014, 4:01 PM

To think, we in Philadelphia lived hundreds of years without a restaurant specializing in shabu shabu - that Asian cook-your-own noodle soup concept.

Now in the space of less than a year, we have two Chinese-run spots around the corner from each other: Simply Shabu, a BYOB that was awarded two Craig LaBan bells, opened in January at 1023 Cherry St., and much more recently, there's Hippot Shabu Shabu, a mod-looking spot that replaced Mixx at 1002 Arch St. (One key difference: Hippot expects its liquor license shortly.)

At Hippot, you sit at tables with cooking surfaces that accommodate group-size or individual pots of broth (pork or "hot and spicy"). You get a choice of beef, lamb, pork, chicken or seafood, assorted vegetable garnishes, and a choice of fish-meat noodles, potato noodles, Shanghai noodles, udon, bean vermicelli, vermicelli, or ramen. 

POSTED: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 7:59 PM

Brewerytown has been a neighborhood in transition for the last several years, with new development drawing new residents and businesses. 

Crime & Punishment, a brewery and brew pub, is targeting late 2014 at 2711 W. Girard Ave.

Brian Dwyer, one of the brains behind the Fishtown/Kensington hit Pizza Brain, has a deal at 2843 W. Girard Ave. But it's shrouded in mystery.

About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, 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

Michael Klein
Also on
Stay Connected