Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 1:58 PM
Bar at the Carmel location in Wayne. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Ten months after opening in Wayne, the Florida-rooted wine bar Carmel Kitchen opens July 14 in Warrington's Valley Square Shopping Center (1613 Main St., which is a fancy way of saying "Street Road and Route 611 near the Wegmans and Eastern Mountain Sports").

Carmel's thing is Mediterranean-inspired food from a something-for-everyone menu, plus wine and cocktails, with dining powered by a slick iPad ordering system. Warrington's location, only the second outside of Florida, has outdoor tables and red-hued umbrellas.

All dining sales from Carmel Kitchen’s July 14 grand opening will be donated to Bucks County’s A Woman’s Place, whose mission is to end intimate and domestic violence and empower local women.

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 2:37 AM

Mount Airy has a brand-new semi-fine-dining option: Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange (7152 Germantown Ave., 267-766-2502), replacing the Wine Thief.

It's a cozy, low-lit bar with 12 American crafts on tap - though owner Marvin Graaf does not intend it to be a beer destination, as is his Falls Taproom in East Falls. Graaf figures that his neighbors - McMenamin's and Earth Bread + Brewery - have the suds thing locked up.

Graaf, working with fiancee Jessica Mellen, figures that CVGE's strong suit will be the cocktail list and food by Culinary Institute of America grad Trevor Elliott, an alum of The Wine Thief as well as such spots as Dettera, Jake's/Cooper's, and Zavino.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:47 PM
Future First Street Steaks & Hoagies, 1204 N. Front St.

One of the more booming sandwich areas these days is Front Street and Girard Avenue, where Northern Liberties, Fishtown and Kensington meet.

You have Paesano's on West Girard, Sketch Burger on East Girard, and, early this fall, a branch of Joe's Steaks at Frankford and Girard. (Plus, on the sit-down-eatery side, you have the forthcoming Calexico - a California/Mexican hybrid - on the opposite corner of Frankford and Girard.)

More cheesesteaks are on the way. Let me tell you about First Street Steaks & Hoagies, now being set up next to the Market-Frankford El's Girard Avenue stop. (It's just off the corner, at 1204 N Front St.)

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 11:36 PM
The Farmers' Cabinet, 1111-13 Walnut St. (via Google)

Another chapter in the drama known as The Farmers' Cabinet:

The Walnut Street bar-restaurant is closed, and a sign on the door indicates it's down through Friday, July 11 for "summer cleaning."

Matt Swartz's bar experienced what I heard was a staff walkout late last week.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 1:08 PM
Justin Burke-Samson and Stephanie Cmar. (via Facebook)

Chef Jason Cichonski will host one of his castmates from Top Chef's season 11, the Boston-based Stephanie Cmar, and the one-day event Friday, July 11 is a sweet one.

Cmar, erstwhile pastry chef at Beantown's No. 9 Park, is in the doughnut game nowadays. She and friend Justin Burke-Samson call their biz Party of Two.

Her specialty is boldly flavored doughnuts, known as Stacked Donuts, while his are ramped-up Pop Tart-inspired pastries called Trademark Tarts.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 12:15 PM

Bit of a traffic snarl this morning on East Passyunk Avenue by the Singing Fountain.

Brigantessa, the forthcoming Southern Italian restaurant from the crew at Le Virtu down the street, was receiving its wood-fired oven, a 6,500-pound monster fresh off the boat. 

Gianni Acunto makes all of its ovens by hand outside of Naples but finishes them with mortar made from ash taken from Vesuvio, explained chef/owner Joe Cicala. His partners in Brigantessa are Le Virtu owners Francis Cratil Cretarola and Cathy Lee.

POSTED: Monday, July 7, 2014, 10:33 PM
Display case at the Crumbs Bake Shop on 18th Street. MICHAEL KLEIN /

Crumbs Bake Shop has gone stale.

The nation's largest cupcake bakery announced the closing all of its four dozen stores Monday.

Even in this carb-crazed town, Crumbs crumbled. Its last Philadelphia-area location was in Cherry Hill Mall. At one point - for all of 14 months - Crumbs had a storefront just off Rittenhouse Square; it closed in February. Crumbs also had locations in Christiana Mall, Deptford Mall, King of Prussia, and Suburban Square.

POSTED: Monday, July 7, 2014, 2:07 AM
Future home of Leziz Turkish Cuisine, 216-218 South St. (via Google)

Sal Kucuk of Leziz Turkish Cuisine, on East Passyunk Avenue just off South Street, is fixing up 216-218 South St. as a new location, effective Aug. 23.

Kucuk says he'll get better visibility and more space; the liquor license had been used by the property's short-lived predecessor, Mixed Plate.

Kucuk is not saying what will become of the current location, at 611 E. Passyunk Ave., which opened five years ago as S&H Kebab House.

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

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