Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 1:07 AM

Pino DiMeo keeps ramping it up.

The Naples-born restaurateur started out nearly 25 years ago by opening standard-issue pizzerias. About three years ago, urged to go the Neapolitan route by his American-born son Antimo, Pino DiMeo and business partner Scott Stein opened Pizzeria DiMeo's in Andorra Shopping Center. They installed a brick oven and use better ingredients (buffalo mozz, San Marzano tomatoes) for Neapolitan pizzas.

Now, they've ventured out to the Main Line with something more refined.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 12:21 AM

It's safe to say you'll never see ramen on the regular menus at either Vernick and Laurel.

But Monday night, the restaurants' chef/owners - Greg Vernick and Nicholas Elmi - squared off to see who could make the better version of the Japanese staple.

Shawn Darragh and Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle Bar in Washington Square West have been hosting these so-called Ramen Rumbles, where for $25, attendees can sample the competitors' ramens, drink a beer, and fill out a voter's card.

POSTED: Monday, September 29, 2014, 1:06 PM

Chops - the steakhouse that started in Bala Cynwyd and expanded to Washington Square before shuttering last year - is back in business.

Alex Plotkin's brand occupies the former Table 31 at the Comcast Center at 17th and JFK Boulevard, opening Monday, Sept. 29 for lunch and dinner.

Eimer Design redid the bar, opening it up to the outside windows on the 17th Street side and adding a gas fireplace. The dining room is more colorful.

POSTED: Friday, September 26, 2014, 4:40 PM
Winnie Clowry and John O'Brien of Smokin' John's.

Winnie and Bob Clowry are venturing next door from their Winnie's Le Bus in Manayunk - into the space that was Bella Trattoria - to open a barbecue restaurant this winter called Smokin' John's (4258 Main St.).

Namesake John O'Brien is their chef at Winnie's Le Bus, and he says he'll be smoking fruit wood in a Cookshack smoker. (In fact, he has some pork going right now in a borrowed smoker for this weekend's Manayunk Streat Festival.)

O'Brien's complement of 'cue - ribs, rotisserie chicken, brisket, salmon - does not hew to a particular region. He will use a dry rub and offer sauce on the side.

POSTED: Friday, September 26, 2014, 3:31 PM
Ting Wong, 138 N 10th St. (PHILLY.COM)

Early warning for those who love the congee, duck, and soy sauce chicken noodle soup at Ting Wong, one of the best values in Chinatown:

The Hong Kong-style duck house on 10th Street, which opened at the end of 1999 and won two bells from Craig LaBan three years ago, is planning to close at the end of October as its lease runs out, according to employees.

It is likely that management will resurface elsewhere.

POSTED: Friday, September 26, 2014, 11:37 AM

Go into any supermarket in most big cities and buy a six-pack of beer. No big deal.

And now, as 2014 winds down, this simple feat can be accomplished in Philadelphia, now that the Acme Market at 19th Street and Oregon Avenue has installed a beer shop and cafe in the front of the store.

The selection of 400 labels rivals those of bottle shops that have sprung up to meet a rising demand for craft beer. It is also comparable to the beer departments of many suburban supermarkets, such as Whole Foods and Wegmans, which have sold beer for several years.

POSTED: Friday, September 26, 2014, 1:44 AM

You can get your very own cooking show any number of ways: Win a contest. Run a series of hot restaurants. Or cook every day in the makeshift kitchen that your husband built in your basement while he videotapes you.

That would be how Laura Vitale of Atlantic County, N.J., did it. All homemade.

On Saturday, Sept. 27 at 1:30 p.m., Vitale - whose library of 850-plus YouTube cooking videos have 1.3 million subscribers and have been viewed more than 230 million times - premieres Simply Laura on the Cooking Channel. It's a six-episode series, heavy on the Italian cuisine and the energy, easy to follow.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 11:38 PM

Northeast Philadelphia's restaurant diet is larded with pizza parlors, corner bars, casual chains, and fast food.

Which makes the opening of Blue Duck Sandwich Company (2859 Holme Ave., 267-686-4687) all the more significant. (Its planned opening has been delayed till Monday, Sept. 29.)

The contemporary BYOB in a strip mall has an airy yet homey feel - counter seating and table seating, including a wooden farm table - that would not be out of place downtown. Business partners Kris Serviss, the chef, and Joe Callahan hired Eimer Design, which laid out the Fat Ham and Good Stuff Eatery.

About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, 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 mklein@philly.com.

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