The eyes of the restaurant world will focus on Chicago on Monday night as the James Beard Awards are announced at a gala.
Philadelphia again has a slate of contenders, though there is little chance that our community can repeat the success it had last year, when Stephen Starr won as best restaurateur, Mike Solomonov won as best chef, and Greg Vernick won as best chef, Mid-Atlantic.
This year’s finalists include:
- Ellen Yin, who helped transform Old City two decades ago with the bistro Fork and who with partners grew an empire that includes a.kitchen, High Street on Market, and High Street on Hudson in New York City, is nominated for restaurateur of the year. First-time nominees seldom win this category, but who knows?
- Rich Landau, chef/partner with his wife, Kate Jacoby, at the vegan destination Vedge in Washington Square, is nominated for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region. The couple’s holdings include Wiz Kid and V Street, both also specializing in plant-based cooking. This could be Landau’s year, as vegetables are top-of-mind.
- Camille Cogswell, pastry chef at Zahav in Old City, is nominated for rising star chef. At 27, she won a similar nod last year.
- Zahav, owned by Solomonov and Steve Cook, again was nominated for service.
Five exclusive beers plus one cider will be on the menu at Uptown Beer Garden, launching its fourth season on Thursday in the courtyard of the BNY Mellon Building at 1735 Market St. The crew from BRU, Cinder, and U-Bahn is behind it.
Doors will open on opening day at 5 p.m. This year’s opening — a week earlier than usual — will include the beer garden’s first Cinco de Mayo.
Coming to town?
Center City’s music and nightlife scene would get a boost if City Winery signs a deal at the Fashion District Philadelphia, which sources in the real estate community tell me is imminent.
City Winery, now in six cities, including New York, Chicago, and Atlanta, features a concert venue, restaurant, wine bar, and private-event space. The other locations also have a working winery, though it’s not clear to my sources whether this will be the case in Center City.
A City Winery rep did not reply to a message seeking comment. Heather Crowell, a representative of developer Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, told me: “While we cannot confirm this addition to Fashion District Philadelphia, City Winery would be a great addition in Philadelphia and bring a unique live entertainment and culinary experience to Center City.”