Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2014, 10:15 AM
City Tavern chef/ownerr Walter Staib looks out the window next to the George Washington table at the restaurant. (DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

City Tavern, the popular re-creation of an 18th-century pub at Second and Walnut Streets in Old City, comes back at lunchtime Friday, Oct. 24 - one week after an early morning fire.

Walter Staib, the chef/owner, said he didn't think the damage was severe initially. It started on the loading platform outside the restaurant in a bin used by his linen service, he said. "Spontaneous combustion, maybe the chemicals, or something else?" he asked. "I don't know. I've been doing the same shtick for 20 years with no problems." A Fire Department spokesman said the fire was still under investigation.

Staib said the fire took out the air-conditioning compressor and made its way into the kitchen by way of the exhaust system. "We have a state-of-the-art fire [suppression] system, which knocked it down," he said. But the chemicals ruined the kitchen, including some furnishings and the ceiling.

POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2014, 1:23 AM
Aldine:, viewed toward the Chestnut Street windows. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Friday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m., George Sabatino plans to unlock the door of Aldine: - his long-in-the-works restaurant/bar on the northwest corner of 19th and Chestnut Streets (215-454-6529).

There is minimal signage outside. Use the brown door on Chestnut Street, to the left of ground-floor occupant, and walk upstairs.

In the high-ceilinged dining room, Boxwood Architects went spare: dark oak wooden floors, plum and gray wall accents, lots of old photos, bamboo pots, an 8-seat, granite-topped bar lit under enormous globes, silver tin ceiling and open kitchen. The corner space overlooks the intersection.

POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2014, 12:22 AM
Chef Karen Nicolas at work. ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )

Tria, which started 10 years ago as a cozy bar specializing in cheeses, beer and wine, has been moving up.

The first two locations - at 18th and Sansom (2004) and 12th and Spruce (2007) - are rolling right along. But last year's debut of Tria Taproom (2005 Walnut) brought with it more ambitious food (grilled flatbreads) along with an all-draft drink list of beer, wine, cider and sodas.

Jon Myerow and Michael McCaulley are stepping it up further with their next one, due in early 2015: Tria Fitler Square, replacing Dmitri's at 23d and Pine Streets. 

POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 3:36 PM
From the roof of Kensington Quarters. (Photo by @RyanScottPhoto, via Instagram)

Now how many restaurants can legitimately, proudly call themselves a meat market?

Kensington Quarters can and will. It's a butcher shop, a meat classrooom, a restaurant and a bar under one roof, at 1310 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown.

It's just set its opening date: Wednesday, Oct. 29. Open Table should be up and running by Friday, Oct. 24.

POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12:23 AM
Charlie was a sinner. Lowercase. Period. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

You have your restaurant location, concept, menu and decor ideas.

Then it comes down to the hard part. The name.

So many routes. You can honor a chef (Vetri, Morimoto, Serpico, Sbraga) or a child (Bridget Foy's, Talula's), celebrate a particular noun (Fork, Blackfish, Little Spoon Cafe), evoke an image (Chick-a-Licious), pay tribute to a neighborhood (Bainbridge Street Barrel House, Spring House Tavern), be silly (Hop Sing Laundromat), indulge in wordplay (Custard's Last Stand, Tequila Mockingbird), or use a foreign word or phrase (Lo Spiedo, Brigantessa).

POSTED: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 2:48 PM
Geno's Italian hoagie.

This will not affect the Earth's rotation or life as we know it in 2014.

Geno's Steaks at Ninth and Passyunk has added an Italian hoagie to its menu, which for many years has been limited to permutations of beef cheesesteaks and roast pork. (No chicken cheesesteaks, for that matter.)

Geno's sold hoagies years ago, a rep told me, but founder Joey Vento discontinued them after a couple of tour buses pulled up and overwhelmed staff by ordering many hoagies. (Presumably in English.)

POSTED: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 10:08 AM

Another day, it seems, another "better-burger" shop.

New in the Philly-area frying pan is Grub Burger Bar, a rising chain out of College Station, Texas.

Its first area location opened last week at 159 York Rd. in Willow Grove (215-800-0699), next to a Wawa and an outpost of Zoës Kitchen in a new retail development where York and Easton Roads meet. (A Montgomery Mall location is on tap for mid-2015.)

POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 2:59 PM

As you drive through the iron gates of the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia, look to your left at the gatehouse.

On Monday, Oct. 27, the Vetri crew - Marc Vetri, Jeff Benjamin, Brad Spence, and Jeff Michaud - plans to open Lo Spiedo right there (4501 S. Broad St., 215-282-3184).

“Lo spee-YAY-doh” translates to “the spit,” as in rotisserie, and just about the entire menu - executed by Osteria alum Scott Calhoun - is prepared over wood-burning flame: pork ribs, pork shoulder, half-chicken, brisket, octopus. Panini start at $12, pastas are $14 and $16, and mains begin at $18.

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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