Let's Eat: Ovens back on at Fishtown pizza landmark

Pizzeria Beddia’s former home in Fishtown has been revived as a slice shop run by two guys with their eyes on the pies. Er, prize. This week, I find a brand-new happy hour at a stylish Spaniard, a solid breakfast at a retro-diner fave, tasty English-inspired chow in Atlantic City, and a terrific burger bar in Cherry Hill.  If you need food news, click here and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Email tips, suggestions, and questions here. If someone forwarded you this free newsletter and you like what you’re reading, sign up here to get it every week.

— Michael Klein

Assorted pizza from Pizza in Fishtown.

Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown is gone for now — being built out in a new location nearby for a return later this year — but Joe Beddia’s mixer and ovens are fired up. Ryan Ellis and Kevin Schofield, alums of Clarkville in West Philadelphia, are the guys behind the pizza-by-the-slice shop that just replaced Beddia, at Girard Avenue and Shackamaxon Street.

It’s called Pizza. Yes. Just Pizza. See them on Instagram here.

They offer three varieties a day: plain cheese; a specialty; and a “grandma” pizza that is a dairy-free, Philly-style tomato pie, about an inch thick. By “specialty,” how about one from last week topped with heavy cream and roasted onions and then topped with more roasted onions, ramps, oyster mushrooms, and dry and fresh mozzarella?

Slices are about $3 to $6, and hours are noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, till 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Just as Beddia did, there’s no phone.

Where we’re doing happy hour

Boquerones with white sangria from the happy-hour menu at Oloroso.

Oloroso, 1121 Walnut St.
5-7 p.m. weekdays

Tod Wentz’s sultry Spaniard across from the Forrest Theatre in Washington Square West is one of the more acclaimed openings of the last year. Happy hour, which started the other day, gives you a taste of the experience: $3 beer (Mahou), $7 sangria, $10 wine,  $10 cocktails by lead bartender Alison Hangen, and $6 tapas such as patatas bravas, blistered peppers, and marinated tuna. Here’s critic Craig LaBan’s 3-bell take on Oloroso.

Where we’re eating: Nifty Fifty’s, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, Zinburger

Western omelet with egg whites from Nifty Fifty’s

Three decades ago at its founding, Nifty Fifty’s celebrated the ’50s diner experience: burgers, shakes, breakfast all day in a retro, neon-lit setting. Three decades later, and now with locations in Northeast Philly, Folsom, and Turnersville, it’s still rockin’ the Eisenhower years with tasty food at low prices (a perfect 3-egg Western omelet with potatoes and toast for $7.59, a double cheeseburger with the works and fries for $5.19). Add in sweet service and some of the best people-watching anywhere, and this oldie is a goodie.

Deviled eggs from Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill.

I wouldn’t go to Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars in Atlantic City on the chance of catching a glimpse of the cranky Scottish chef. But I would for the fine draft list and British menu, a refreshing change of pace from the usual pub grub. Deviled eggs, for example, are luxuriant with chunks of lobster and topped with caviar. Other hits: Rich English pea soup, juicy sliders, and a generous meat and cheese board with duck rillettes and chicken liver mousse. N.B. Caesars will unveil Gordon Ramsay Steak later this month.

Pretzel fried chicken American cheese, honey mustard, beer cheese sauce, and lettuce at Zinburger, Cherry Hill.

Zinburger was one of the earlier entrants in the upscale-burger scene. What sets it apart is the wine-bar focus, and its bustling Cherry Hill outpost delivers either a night out with the kids, or drinks with the girls or boys. Opt for the weekly special, which isn’t always a beef burger. Last week’s was a pretzel-crusted fried chicken breast, beer cheese sauce, American cheese, honey mustard, and lettuce. Now up is a turkey patty with harissa yogurt sauce, pepperoncini, cucumbers, tomato, and lettuce.

Dining Notes

☛ Uptown Beer Garden (1735 Market St.) returns for its fourth season on May 3 with six unique beers created by manager Alex Bokulich and various breweries, plus a pub menu, and the usual outdoor silliness.

☛ Much will be made this week about Cinco de Mayo. If you want to do it right and respectfully, head to South Philly, home of a proud immigrant community turning out stellar food. In this special report, critic Craig LaBan shows you the highlights.

☛ Culinary Fight Club comes to Philly on May 7, and chefs (pro and amateur) will compete in the category of mushroom/beef burgers. Want to join? Act now and click here. There isn’t mushroom for more entrants.

☛ Keep an eye on my Facebook and Instagram about 6:30 p.m. May 7. I’ll be embedded on the red carpet outside the Lyric Opera House in Chicago for the annual James Beard Awards. Philly’s finalists are Zahav for best service, Camille Cogswell of Zahav for rising star chef of the year, Ellen Yin for best restaurateur, and Rich Landau of Vedge, Wiz Kid, and V Street for best chef mid-Atlantic.

This week’s openings

Brickwall Tavern | Washington Square West

A branch of the North Jersey tavern favorite opens May 4 at 1213 Sansom St., across from Fergie’s Pub and literally behind the sibling Italian restaurant Porta (which fronts on Chestnut Street). Check the menu here.

Burrata | South Philadelphia

The former August at 13th and Wharton Streets is now a cheery Italian BYOB with an open kitchen and an Albanian crew from assorted spots (Fraschetta, Caffe Casta Diva, La Veranda, L’Angolo). Here’s a draft menu used during the test runs.

Harper’s Garden | Center City

The long-awaited wine garden at 31 S. 18th St. from Avram Hornik is targeting next week for a soft opening. Details are being held close to the vest at the moment, but I can tell you that Ben Moore, the Lacroix veteran who operated Wister BYOB for a hot second in Old City, is the chef, so expect top eats.

J. Alexander’s | King of Prussia

This chain wood-fired American grill (plus sushi) is days old on a pad outside King of Prussia Mall. Here’s the dinner menu.

This week’s closing

White Dog Cafe | Wayne

Fire in a vent has closed the Wayne location. It is expected to return soon.

Join us tonight!