Restaurant notes: La Colombe expands; cheap burgers

  • Philly coffee baron La Colombe is opening a cafe in the Residences at the Ritz (15th Street at South Penn Square) in about 11 weeks, to supplement the flagship store on 19th Street north of Rittenhouse Square and two in New York City. The founders, Todd Carmichael and Jean Philippe Iberti, are in Chicago signing a lease and plan to open in L.A. They're expanding in different cities to boost their business of wholesaling to fine restaurants. That's really using their bean.
  • Freshii, a fresh, fast-serve concept, is also under construction at the Residences at the Ritz.
  • Get Gino's burgers at 1970s prices on Sunday (Nov. 14), as the revived Gino's (across from the King of Prussia Mall, on Route 202 at Allendale Road) does a rollback from noon to 3 p.m. to coincide with its ribbon-cutting. Founder and football legend Gino Marchetti, 83, will be there. CEO Tom Romano is expecting 1,000 people to show up. Here's some history.
  • On a personal note: Today we'll send off Fran Alberstadt, who lost her blessedly short final battle with cancer on Monday at age 82. Aunt Fran, my father's sister, was a Mad Woman, writing ad copy in the '60s. In retirement, she and her husband, Joe, traveled the world. Her Zagat-like knowledge of local restaurants was honed from an aversion to cooking that the kids in the family actively supported. Years ago, Fran volunteered to host a holiday meal. She put a fully frozen turkey, giblet bag still in the cavity, into the oven, set it to 450, and wondered why it wasn't done after three hours. Little wonder that she and Joe dined out five times a week.