Saturday, March 28, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 12:02 AM

Another duo of Wharton grads is tackling the fast-casual food game.

Following Justin Sapolsky and Nicole Capp of the Italian sandwich shop Matt & Marie's near Logan Square into the marketplace are Kalefe Wright and Amir Fardshisheh.

Wright and Fardshisheh, who enjoy fitness and eating right, started Herban Quality Eats, whose stock in trade are  hearty but healthful food made with quality ingredients.

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2015, 12:37 PM
Evan Inatome pouring a coffee at his Eklixr shop on Sydenham Street. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)

Elixr Coffee Roasters has signed on to handle the coffee at Double Knot  - Michael Schulson's forthcoming coffee/curio shop-slash-Japanese izakaya planned for 120 S. 13th St., next to his Sampan.

Elixr's Evan Inatome says he will use nifty coffee-service equipment from Modbar that places the "works" under the counter. What we'll all see is a spout - much like a beer tap. 

Double Knot is looking at a fall opening.

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2015, 10:49 AM
Holybelly in Paris, from CoffeeGuru.

Two years ago, local wine seller/techie Greg Cohen launched CoffeeGuru, an app covering independent coffee shops in the United States.

He listed 2,800 entries in version 1.0.

The new version, 3.0, is out and it's been expanded to Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Paris and now covers more than 7,600 spots. 

POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2015, 5:08 PM

A year after opening coZara in University City, Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka wanted to make changes.

The Japanese bar (or izakaya) had opened at Chestnut Square (33d and Chestnut Streets) without a sushi bar. And though sushi was added to the menu, Tanaka believed that a sushi bar was needed. He also believed that the space was too cold and industrial.

On Saturday, March 14, coZara will open after a quick renovation by Boxwood Architects that added bamboo window treatments and rice paper to the windows on the second floor to diffuse the light and warm up the main dining room. Charcoal drapery now "boxes in" the interior windows around the patio

On the ground floor, the front door has been moved to create a more defined bar area. An eight-seat sushi bar has been added, and geisha imagery has been added to the staircase.
POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2015, 4:32 PM
Georges Perrier and his dog Isabella outside Laurel, the Passyunk Avenue restaurant owned by protege Nicholas Elmi. (from "King Georges")

Back in 2010, Erika Frankel, who grew up in the suburbs and went on to a career as a filmmaker, heard that Georges Perrier was preparing to sell Le Bec-Fin, his Walnut Street restaurant.

She approached him about chronicling the landmark's final days, through his eyes.

Then the plot thickened. And thickened some more. He withdrew the sale later that year and went back to work. In February 2012, stung by a negative review, he announced the sale of the restaurant, to a onetime manager. Le Bec-Fin was renovated extensively but closed a year later. Its successor did not last long, either.

POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2015, 12:44 AM

The early intell is skimpy, but Chinatown is about to get a restaurant that not only offers Chinese hot pot and Korean tabletop barbecue, you'll be able to do it at the same table.

Nine Ting's opening at 926 Race St. is penciled in for late March.

Appears that cook-your-own has become a thing, what with the shabu-shabu shops Simply Shabu on Cherry Street and Hippot Shabu Shabu on Arch. (Oh, and be advised that Miga - the Korean cook-your-own that was displaced from its home on 15th Street south of Walnut a couple of years ago - has resurfaced at CityView, 2001 Hamilton St. I'll have more on that reincarnation next week.)

POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2015, 12:03 AM

Jose Garces' bread and butter, as it were, has long been the taco.

The Iron Chef pretty much built the two Distrito restaurants around it, and drew lines for it at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City with the casual Distrito Cantina. Then the Revel went bust - also shutting out the Garces Group's Amada and Village Whiskey in the process.

Garces had the talent but not the outlet.

POSTED: Thursday, March 12, 2015, 1:34 PM

What Chipotle does for burritos and Subway does for subs - allowing for on-the-fly customization from a cafeteria line - has spread to all kinds of fast-casual dining.

Locally in Center City alone, there's WokWorks (Asian), Agno (Mediterranean), and Eat-a-Pita (sandwiches).

The guys from Peace a Pizza applied the concept to pizza last year at Snap Custom Pizza in Ardmore's Suburban Square. Prices are a flat rate, if you'll excuse the pizza pun: For $7.49, you can top your organic pie with just about anything. They're looking for a second location, said Pete Howey.

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
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