Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 12:11 PM
The former Beauty Shop Cafe at 20th and Fitzwater Streets, as spotted by Google's camera a couple of years ago. (Via Google)

Roger Harman and Vince Whittacre of West Philly's The Gold Standard are branching out, opening a small cafe at 20th and Fitzwater Streets in Southwest Center City. It is the former Beauty Shop Cafe, as noted by the Philadelphia Real Estate blog.

Whittacre told me that the name will not be "the Gold Standard," so as not to confuse people. They're playing with a few names.

The new spot, to open in April, will serve panini as well as other foods that don't require a ventilation hood.

POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 4:00 AM
Chef Jeremy Nolen at Wursthaus Schmitz. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

How do you get from Germany to America? Chef Jeremy Nolen is walking down South Street and around the corner.

Nolen - backed by his Brauhaus Schmitz and Wursthaus Schmitz compatriots Doug and Kelly Hager - is setting up a casual, regional American bar-restaurant called Whetstone at Fifth and Bainbridge Streets.

Whetstone (Nolen's mom's maiden name) will draw on his upbringing in Reading. Think chic but rustic, both in decor and in the in-house pickling and fermenting.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 4:03 PM
1934-36 E Passyunk Ave.

The Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corp., which has turned a strip of South Philadelphia into a hot area by acquiring and fixing up properties and turning them over to retailers and restaurants, has made another purchase.

Settlement was today on 1934-36 E. Passyunk Ave., a long-vacant property on the Juniper Street end of East Passyunk, near Le Virtu.

PARC executive director Sam Sherman hopes to have it leased within two months.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 3:12 PM
Can you top this? Jason and Marlo Dilks of the SLiCE pizzerias. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Love and restaurants are a time-honored pair.

Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year.

As such, stories abound - some sweet and touching, others painful and cringe-inducing.

Joe Cicala, chef at Le Virtu in South Philadelphia, worked at another restaurant with a server who would have a breakup in his section every year. "We used to make bets if it would happen again, but five years running it always happened in his section, every Valentine’s Day weekend," he said.
POSTED: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 1:48 PM
Chef Townsend "Tod" Wentz

Townsend "Tod" Wentz, now deeply into the construction of his first solo restaurant, on East Passyunk Avenue, has another restaurant deal in the making.

Pending neighborhood approval, Wentz will open an Italian BYOB at 23d Street and Fairmount Avenue in Fairmount - the former Garden Fresh. It happens to be not terribly far from McCrossen's Tavern, which Wentz helped put on the map.

"I couldn't turn this space down," Wentz told me, adding that he signed the lease with Pearl Properties before the one at 1623 E. Passyunk Ave.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 10:56 AM

You're getting more carbs, Rittenhouse Square.

The ink is barely dry on a lease for the former Hollywood Tans parlor at 21st and Walnut Streets, and the occupant will be Carlo's Bakery.

That's the family business of Hoboken's "Buddy” Valastro, featured on the TLC series Cake Boss.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 5:00 AM
2401 Walnut St., the future Garces test kitchen and mixology lab. (via Google)

Jose Garces is a man on the move.

Besides Volver (his new showcase at the Kimmel Center) and his secret project at Old Original Bookbinder's, he has leased out street-level space at 2401 Walnut St., just by the Schuylkill.

Garces told me that the space would house offices - as he's moving them from the Cira Center - as well as a test kitchen and a mixology lab.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 4:00 PM
Dim Sum Garden at 59 N. 11th St. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

The dispute over the two Dim Sum Garden restaurants in Chinatown is now in lawyers' hands.

Just to recap: Dim Sum Garden, a soup-dumpling specialist, opened in 2008 at 59 N. 11th St. It shut in September, just as its operators, Shizhou Da and her daughter Sally Song, opened a new Dim Sum Garden at 1120 Race St.

But in December, Ru Fang Wang reopened the 11th Street restaurant as Dim Sum Garden.

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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