Friday, December 19, 2014

POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2014, 12:26 AM

In its soft opening days is W/N W/N (also known as WIN WIN), the coffeeshop-slash-bar at 931 Spring Garden St. in the Loft District, the former longtime Siam Lotus.

Ownership is a hodgepodge of local food-and-beverage veterans, including Tony Montagnaro (the opening general manager at Pizza Brain) and Elixr coffee alum Will Darwall.

Right now, it's pretty much a coffee bar with ReAnimator and Elixr-roasted drinks pulled from a La Marzocco machine and a few cocktails and a half-dozen beers on tap. 

POSTED: Thursday, December 11, 2014, 3:55 PM
Roast pork, sharp provolone, spinach from John's Roast Pork.

I've heard of orders "to go," but this one ...

John Bucci has seen a lot in his years behind the counter at John's Roast Pork in South Philadelphia.

Thursday, a customer came in and said his father - a fan of his pork Italian sandwich - had passed away.

POSTED: Thursday, December 11, 2014, 2:52 PM

Combine a retro diner and a newfangled city coffee house and you pretty much have the idea behind Dottie's Dinette, in its first week at 1080 N. Delaware Ave., directly across from SugarHouse Casino's entrance.

There is no phone-book-size menu, explains Jeff Larsen, who with business partners Tim MacColl and Satya Ponnuru are behind the venture. The idea is to do fewer items better - "America's greatest hits," as he calls them.

Susan Vanvreede, who spent seven years in the Garces Group, most recently at Distrito, is chef/manager. She is backed by Garces alum Brandon Hall. They're serving Greenstreet Coffee, Benton's bacon and wagyu beef.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 12:34 PM
Old Original Bookbinder's at 125 Walnut St. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Jose Garces has been fairly quiet about his plans for Old Original Bookbinder's in Old City since he signed the lease back in October 2013.

Today, his reps disclosed that he'll call it The Olde Bar and that it's an "interpretation of a classic oyster saloon" with a raw bar built into the original woodwork. Dash Design did the work.

Garces also will host private events in the restaurant, which closed in bankruptcy in 2009.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 11:53 AM
Guy Fieri settling into a banquette at Guy Fieri's Chophouse at Bally's in Atlantic City during his visit in November. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Food Network star and multitasker Guy Fieri not only paid a visit to his steakhouse in Bally's in Atlantic City last month, he shot segments for his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

The first will premiere at 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12 when Ernest & Son Meat Market in Brigantine (a destination for sausage and jerky) and Oyster Creek Inn in Leeds Point (around since the 1930s) are featured in an episode called "Oldies But Goodies." Also included is George the Chili King in Des Moines.

The second - featuring Kelsey & Kim's Southern Cafe of Atlantic City - will be on at 10 p.m. Jan. 16. The episode's title of "Fish, Fries and Feet" refers to the pigs feet on the menu.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 11:05 PM
An Instagram photo of a sandwich from Jim's Steaks, as taken by @thesweetlifeoflina and posted to @philadelphiafoodie. (via Instagram)

My favorite restaurant-rating site is MyFab5.

It's simple. It's clear. It's useful.

It asks users to name five restaurants in various categories, like best pizza by the slice, and to add Instagram photos of the places. In short, it's designed to recommend restaurants, not necessarily steer people away.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 3:07 PM

After a good deal of renovation, El Poquito - a family-friendly Mexican cantina - has emerged on the site of the former Chestnut 7 at 8201 Germantown Ave. in Chestnut HIll (267-766-5372).

Front man here is George Atterbury, who helped oversee Jose Garces' Amada, Distrito and Village Whiskey restaurants at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City and later became the group's director of operations.

Boxwood Architects and Groundswell did the work inside and outside (including new parking in the rear).

POSTED: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 2:42 AM
French toast from Classic Diner in West Chester. (BETSY BARRON)

Almost two decades after opening in Malvern, Classic Diner has opened a second location.

It's in the former Jack’s Steaks & Shakes, the stone building at 16 E. Gay St. in West Chester.

Menu is similar to the original, and there is a to-go counter with house-made breads, sticky buns and baked goods and coffee. It serves breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

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

Michael Klein
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