Saturday, December 20, 2014

POSTED: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 3:04 PM
The dining room of the Spaghetti House in Marlton. (photo via Facebook)

Spaghetti House - rolling meatballs and twisting fusilli in South Jersey for 35 years (14 of them in Marlton Crossing on Route 73 in Marlton) - has closed.

Desiree Saraceno cited a simple reason that her parents, Tom and Nina Saraceno, pulled the plug of the trattoria: "We just weren't generating enough profit."

She said there were "too many franchise and corporate restaurants in the area. There have been a few mom-and-pop places around us who have closed too because of that."

POSTED: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 2:49 PM
Graces Trading Company and the wine shop are inside the Western Union building, 1111 Locust St. (Michael Klein/

New Year's Eve will be last call at the Liquor Control Board's wine shop set up next to Garces Trading Company, Jose Garces' bistro inside the Western Union building at 1111 Locust St.

An LCB rep tells me that the agency chose to let the five-year lease for the 600-square-foot glass booth wind down. 

Both the shop and Garces Trading opened in February 2010 on the ground floor of the condo building in an unprecedented juxtaposition of public- and private-sector retailing. The LCB called it an experiment.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 1:06 PM

Gary Dorfman and Sean Stein have opened their second location of Jake’s Sandwich Board in University City (125 S. 40th St., 215-921-9580), a follow-up after 4½ years to their original at 12th and Sansom Streets in Washington Square West.

Wednesday, Dec. 3 is their first Three For All –  $3 sandwiches (any sandwich on the menu) for 3 hours (from noon until 3 p.m.) on the third day of the month. It's good only at the University City location.

Industrial-lit interior is by Eimer Design, and reimagines Jake’s original location. Focus is on the carved-to-order station, where sandwiches are made with brisket, pork and turkey. Besides sandwiches and bowls, Jake’s sells pig, brisket and turkey "roasts" from 5 to 10 p.m., which are served in cast-iron skillets with dipping sauces, toppings and sliced bread.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 12:45 PM
The new Kaufman's deli, formerly Famous Deli on 19th Street in Philadelphia. (Stephanie Aaronson/

So they've changed the lox.

Russ Cowan confirms that he has sold the Rittenhouse Square offshoot of his Famous 4th Street Deli to Brooklyn-bred Rich Kaufman and partner Ken Keating, who have renamed it Kaufman's.

The change, noted this morning by, was quick, Cowan told me.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 11:46 AM
Jules Thin Crust Pizza was founded in 2004. (via Facebook)

Jules Thin Crust Pizza - one of the earlier entrants in the organic-pizza game - just inked a deal for its seventh Philadelphia-area shop. Opening in Ellisburg Shopping Center in Cherry Hill is targeted for January.

Jules was created out of necessity in 2004 when Bucks County couple John and Jan Ordway were looking for a healthier alternative to the thick-crusted pies out there. Store #1 opened in Doylestown. Business partner and John Ordway's high school friend Jeff Clapp, who lives in Northern California, opened branches in Oakland and Danville. There are locations in Ardmore, Wayne, Jenkintown, Newtown, and North Wales.

John Ordway says he was attracted to Ellisburg by its proximity to the new Whole Foods store. "We tend to shadow where they go," he said. "The Whole Foods mother is really Jules' customer. Their demographic fits our profile."

POSTED: Monday, December 1, 2014, 12:29 PM
Ben Miller (left), his wife, Cristina Martinez, and artist Isaiah Zagar in the second-floor space on Watkins Street. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Ben Miller and his wife, Cristina Martinez, were cooking lamb barbacoa out of their house two years ago, delighting friends.

Meanwhile, the renowned mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar was slowly outfitting a warehouse/workspace near 10th and Watkins Streets, near the couple's house. It's an adjunct to his Philadelphia's Magic Gardens on South Street near 11th. (In the final scenes of the 2008 documentary In a Dream, Zagar's son Jeremiah shows the empty building. Now pretty much completed, it also features Warren Muller's light sculptures illuminating the downstairs.)

The couple and Zagar struck up a friendship, which then included Zagar's wife, Julia, who owns Eye's Gallery on South Street near Fourth. A year ago, they sought zoning approval to open a restaurant at the warehouse but neighbors pushed back.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 1:58 PM
Rosa Blanca, 707 Chestnut St. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Nearly a year after the debut of Rosa Blanca (707 Chestnut St.), Jose Garces has opened the downstairs lounge.

Garces, channeling his inner Desi Arnaz, is calling it Nacional 56, after Cabaret Parisien, which opened in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in 1956.

Nacional 56 opens at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with music spun by Pena Productions from 7 p.m. to midnight. On Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., live bands take over the back dining room of Rosa Blanca while the DJ spins downstairs,

POSTED: Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 4:22 PM
Angelo Lutz, who owns Kitchen Consigliere Cafe in Collingswood. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)
Back in late October, chef Aarón Sánchez was in town to sample tacos for his Cooking Channel series Taco Trip.

Well, the episode has a date: Jan. 13 at 9:30 p.m., when Sanchez samples Union Taco's Philly cheesesteak taco, a scrapple taco at Sancho Pistola's, a Thai duck fusion taco at Tuk Tuk Real, and a cauliflower taco from La Calaca Feliz.

One of the Philly area's more colorful chefs, Angelo Lutz of Kitchen Consigliere Cafe in Collingswood, will turn up as a contestant on Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen on Dec. 7 (10 p.m.).

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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