Saturday, January 24, 2015

POSTED: Monday, January 19, 2015, 10:06 PM
Antonia Lofaso, Tim Love (center) and Joe Bastianich of CNBC's "Restaurant Startup." (Jesse Grant/CNBC)

CNBC has fired up Season 2 of Restaurant Startup, and two teams from Philadelphia are in the hunt for a green light from investors/hosts Tim Love and Joe Bastianich.

One each episode, two teams go before the men to pitch their food ideas. The chosen team gets the keys to a restaurant in Los Angeles. They are given 36 hours and $7,500 to create a business plan, come up with a branding campaign, and present a pop-up restaurant.

Up at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20 is chef Anthony Marini, who is partnered with his lifelong buddy Chris Gaskill with an idea for a small restaurant called The Rarest, which specializes in minimally cooked food (e.g. crudo and ceviche).

POSTED: Saturday, January 17, 2015, 12:16 AM

Keith Garabedian says he has pulled the plug on Hot Diggity, the hot dog shop he opened 3 1/2 years ago at 630 South St.

Citing financial and personal issues, Garabedian called the closing of Hot Diggity "the most painful decision we have ever had to make."

"I loved working at Hot Diggity," he said. "I loved bringing hot dogs to Philadelphia in a new and different way. Most of all I will miss our staff and our amazing customers. One of our regular customers, now a married couple, met over hot dogs years ago, but then became vegan. Once we opened they celebrated their anniversary every year over vegan hot dogs to commemorate their first date. There are dozens of stories like this we have heard over the years. During our time open, we have forged new food memories with our community and for that I could not be more proud."

POSTED: Friday, January 16, 2015, 11:33 AM
Lucio Palazzo (left) and Rob Marzinsky are taking breathers. (RON TARVER (Palazzo), DAVID M WARREN (Marzinsky))

Two chefs have stepped away from their stoves, as both seek a breather with no stated new jobs.

Rob Marzinsky of Fitler Dining Room in Center City - which picked up three bells in 2013 - says he's figuring out his next step, which most likely will involve international travel. A rep for the restaurant says owners are staffing within the company (whose holdings include Pub & Kitchen and The Diveing Horse)  until a replacement is named.

Lucio Palazzo of Taqueria Feliz in Manayunk - a two-beller - says he is taking a short break before sussing out a location for his solo project - a Mexican with an emphasis on seafood and street food made from maize ground in-house. He hopes to open in 2016. Sous chef Jordan Korn, who started at sibling restaurants Cantina Feliz and La Calaca Feliz, has been promoted.

POSTED: Thursday, January 15, 2015, 4:17 PM
R2L's dining room on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place.

Center City District Restaurant Week is Jan. 18 to 23 before skipping the Saturday night and resuming from Jan. 25 to 30.

About 130 downtown restaurants will offer $35 fixed-price dinners; some will also offer $20 three-course lunches.

I offer 7 pieces of advice:

POSTED: Thursday, January 15, 2015, 11:46 AM
The Rum and Cardamom Hot Cocoa with peppermint topping at Aldine Restaurant. ( Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )

Restaurant weeks - in which a town or group gets together to market discounted meals - abound.

Here is a rundown of what we see for the next six months. Know of others? Email me.

Ambler Restaurant Week (through Jan. 19): Right now, we're in the throes of Ambler Restaurant Week, which has the offerings from a dozen restaurants in the borough as well as a few in Fort Washington. Info is here.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 2:49 PM

Three entrepreneurs were talking about food and the conversation veered into the topic of Korean fried chicken, that twice-fried-but-not-greasy street food.

This sent them on a bird-hunting trip to New York, which has a respectable contingent of chicken shops. (Philly has a few - Cafe Soho in West Oak Lane and Blue Bell, Chick-a-licious in Washington Square West, and Federal Donuts.)

The winner, said David Taing, was Bonchon, a South Korea-rooted franchise that planted its American flag in New York City a few years ago. "We said, 'Philly needs this.' "

POSTED: Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 12:27 PM

Chris Fetfatzes and Heather Annechiarico's lives turned upside down the morning of Feb. 21, 2014, when they arrived at Hawthornes, their Bella Vista beer shop/restaurant, to see firefighters playing water on their burning building at 11th and Fitzwater Streets.

They vowed to rebuild.

As Fetfatzes explained, that wasn't too easy. He could stand in the dining room and see clear to the sky. No roof. Then last winter's bitter cold broke the water pipes in the shell.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 11:41 PM
Christina DeSilva is chef at Taproom on 19th.

The kitchen life is not an old man's game, they say.

In this case, it's a young woman's.

Meet Christina DeSilva, the new executive chef at Taproom on 19th, in South Philadelphia.

She is 21, a Lansdale native and graduate of JNA Institute of Culinary Arts. She externed with Elijah Milligan when he was at Stateside. She worked last summer at Morgan's Pier for chef David Gilberg.
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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