Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 4:00 AM

FringeArts - the city's edgy cultural powerhouse - is putting together a brasserie for its new home in a century-old former fire department pumping station on Columbus Boulevard at the foot of Race Street, across from the Race Street Pier and Ben Franklin Bridge.

Chef Peter Woolsey has stepped away from the kitchen at his Bistrot La Minette in Queen Village to work with FringeArts' Nick Stuccio on the project, which will be open seven days a week for dinner, plus weekend brunch. It's adjacent to FringeArts' state-of-the-art theater.

The restaurant's name? I asked Woolsey just that very question, and he replied by rolling up his left sleeve to expose the words "la peg.," punctuated with a period. That is his pet name for his French-born wife, Peggy. The ink has been on his arm for 10 years.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 11:55 PM
Jennifer Choplin is out, Elijah Milligan is in at Taproom on 19th.

Chef Jennifer Choplin - who joined Michael Strauss and Pete Fry when they bought Taproom on 19th Street in South Philadelphia last fall - is gone.

Mutual parting (e.g. "we wish her the very best"), Strauss told me.

The Taproom's new chef is Elijah Milligan, who was executive chef at Stateside before joining Nicholas Elmi at Laurel.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 2:38 PM
Diner En Blanc in 2012, its debut year. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)

The white list - er, wait list - is now open for Diner en Blanc, the pop-up picnic at which participants wear white and don't know the location until moments before.

In keeping with DEB's shroud of secrecy, we don't even know the exact date now.

Organizers will announce the date in June. In the meantime, past and potential guests are invited to a preview party from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 4 at the Williams-Sonoma store in the Bellevue. (No RSVP necessary.) Hosts Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran will be there to advise what to wear, and where to find portable tables, linens and the like.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 1:44 AM

It's high noon on a Thursday, and a half-dozen people are gathered at the wooden communal table, talking food, in the back room of Rosa Blanca, the Cuban restaurant near the Liberty Bell, when Jose Garces walks in.

Hey, Chef.

This is the weekly meeting of Garces' culinary team. Here is where menus are tweaked and dishes are brought before the boss. Garces has his hand in everything. 

POSTED: Friday, May 23, 2014, 3:04 PM
Front seating area of The Corner, Dec. 16, 2010. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)

No Memorial Day fun on the roof deck at The Corner.

Saturday, May 24 will be the finale after 3½ years of the bar-restaurant at 13th and Drury Streets in Washington Square West.

Owner Tony Rim will use the early part of next week, including Memorial Day, to renovate.

POSTED: Friday, May 23, 2014, 12:05 PM

It's a challenge to take over a long-established bar, throw out the old and install the new.

Two Northern Liberties landmarks did just that.

Last year at this time, the Proud family reopened Jerry's Bar (New Market and Laurel Streets) after rebuilding it brick by brick and converting it from a corner shot-and-a-beer to a beautifully appointed pub with great food, lots of light and outdoor seating. But last month, chef Marshall Green stepped out of the kitchen to work for his family's garden business in Montgomery County.

POSTED: Friday, May 23, 2014, 7:57 AM
Courtney Lapresi tries to impress "MasterChef" judges (from left) Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich.

As an aerial dancer, Courtney Lapresi is accustomed to working under pressure.

And then she performed at the stove in front of Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot on Season Five of Fox's MasterChef, the cameras were rolling, and well....

"That could get pretty intimidating," said Lapresi, 25, who performs at Haven nightclub at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City.

Lapresi is one of 30 home cooks appearing on the season premiere, Monday, May 26 at 8 p.m.
POSTED: Thursday, May 22, 2014, 4:34 PM
Illg's Meats in Chalfont. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Details are slim, but Illg's Meats - a third-generation German butcher in Bucks County whose wursts have been found on local menus - says it will shut down in early July after more than a half-century.

In an email and on its website, the company store in Chalfont will be open through the week of July 5th (though closed on July 4th). There will two days of clearance sales on July 8th and 9th.

"Thank you for the many years of faithful patronage, you will be greatly missed," the note concluded.

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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