Monday, November 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 11:14 AM

Sampan (124 S. 13th St.) plans to reopen tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 5) after a brief shutdown that will yield a new floor at the adjacent Graffiti Bar, new lighting, new side stations, new back bar and new banquettes.

Groundswell Design Group did the work.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 1:19 AM

Less than six months after signing a letter of intent, a branch of Southern California-based Wahoo's Fish Taco plans to open at 32nd and Chestnut Streets in the Left Bank in University City (3180 Chestnut St.), where Mikey's American Grill was.

Day One will be Thursday, Nov. 6 for this franchise location of the Mexican/Brazilian/Asian surfer-themer, which here will be known as Wahoo's Tacos & More.

Local owners Bill Van Gilder and Jeff Mattes worked with Wahoo's founder Wing Lam, decorating the place with surf and snow boards, bikes, skis, and other outdoor sports equipment. The bar area features a 570-piece "Art of the Board" tile mosaic made of broken skateboarding decks, while muralist Eric Gordon created a large-format work outside on the patio.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 9:29 AM

The earthquake that destroyed much of L’Aquila, Italy, on April 6, 2009, has directly led to what is shaping up as a significant restaurant and Italian cultural project in Rittenhouse.

Riccardo Longo, whose family's restaurant holdings include Toscana 52 in Bensalem, was touring Abruzzo for his forthcoming book on regional cuisine and wine when he struck up a friendship with the owners of the landmark Gran Caffe L’Aquila, in the center of Piazza Duomo. The cafe was unhabitable, and probably will be for years. The owners opened a temporary version of Gran Caffe L’Aquila on the outskirts of town while waiting for the original to be rebuilt.

The cafe's specialties are gelato and coffee, and the chef-owners are regarded as two of Italy's best: Stefano Biasini won the World Cup of Gelato and Michele Morelli was awarded the highest rating for torrefaction from Gambero Rosso (basically, the Italian version of Zagat).  Both represented Italy at the G8 Summit just after the quake.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 2:17 AM

There's a lot of finger-pointing and he-said/she-said, but the upshot is that a guy bought a bottle of wine at Bobby Flay Steak in the Borgata in Atlantic City for $2,200.

Which was a bargain, since the wine's price was listed at $3,750.

But the guy insists that the waitress had quoted him "thirty-seven fifty" in the first place.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 1:24 AM
Alison Barshak with her pal Joey.

Twenty years ago, Alison Barshak prepared lobster at Striped Bass, one of the destinations that helped define the start of Walnut Street as Philadelphia's restaurant row.

Now Barshak is out of the kitchen - she's in the product-development game. She is behind Absolutely Lobster, a frozen lobster tail that is billed as better than restaurant quality. The tails, which go from freezer to fork in under three minutes, are caught in Maine and split, cleaned and frozen within 36 hours of the catch.

Di Bruno Bros., selling the tails, will host the Atlanta-based Barshak for three tastings on consecutive Saturdays from noon to 2:30 p.m. 

POSTED: Monday, November 3, 2014, 11:02 PM
The finalists with the Doughboy and host Carla Hall (right). (@TrickyMx)

The four finalists in the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off contest were named in Nashville.

Alas, none is from Pennsylvania.

The four are (plus my impressions):

POSTED: Monday, November 3, 2014, 5:15 PM

A little more than a year ago, the up-and-coming Nashville-rooted bar outfit Tin Roof struck an agreement for a gigundo venue in Center City.

The project is still very much on, but we'll have to wait seven months or more for it.

The landlord has spent the better part of 2014 getting the building - which runs between Chestnut and Sansom Streets on the 1500 block - up to snuff.

POSTED: Monday, November 3, 2014, 4:40 PM
Chris Bryan in what will be Liberty Hall in Lambertville.

Chris Bryan earned his MBA from Temple and decided to do something with it:

Learn the art of pizza-making.

He joined the crew at Nomad Pizza's flagship in Hopewell, N.J., one of the region's destinations of Neapolitan-style pies. (There's a Philly location at 611 S. Seventh St. as well as an offshoot, Nomad Roman, at 1305 Locust St.)

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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