Philadelphia is now the home of a Good Stuff Eatery, the first of chef Spike Mendelsohn's casual burger/shake/fry-themers outside of the Washington, D.C., area.
Mendelsohn, a fan favorite from Season 4 of Top Chef, said he had been scoping out the prime Rittenhouse location - 108 S. 18th St. (267-928-2848) - for nearly two years.
The menu is simple: burgers/grilled chicken, fries, wedge lettuce salads, shakes from ice cream made on the premises, and beer on draft and in cans.
Center City architect/designer Ed Eimer and his crew created murals and bold graphics in the second-floor dining room. A giant silver bell - no crack - hangs from the second floor downstairs.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
A side of Wharton
Nicole Capp and Justin Sapolsky's entrepreneurship project at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School was a business plan for a restaurant specializing in Italian sandwiches. And so, with the ink barely dry on their diplomas, Matt & Marie's is planning a June 30 opening in Two Logan Square (18th Street north of Arch Street).
It's a snappy-looking fast-casual spot with a huge mural and communal seating. The business partners - he's from Long Island, she's from Brooklyn - hired Ryan Smith, executive chef at New York Vintners and a sandwich specialist, to devise a simple menu of seven sandwiches using quality ingredients ($8.50 each). They started out by catering.
It's a weekday operation that starts early in the morning with coffee before segueing into lunch.
Out-of-work chef. A popular cafe open for breakfast and lunch. The chef comes in four nights a week to serve dinner. Green Bean Coffee owner Tammin Kim is working with the well-traveled Clark Gilbert (Bisou, Gemelli, the Four Seasons, Restaurant Taquet) at the Main Line cafe (358 Righters Mill Rd., Gladwyne, 610-658-7276). As Dinner at Green Bean, Gilbert prepares a nine-course tasting menu, changing every two weeks, Tuesdays through Fridays (private parties Saturdays). It's reservation only, BYOB, and $80 a head plus tax and tip. And "interactive," Gilbert said. "We're plating food right in front of guests in a relaxed, intimate setting." The idea, he said, is to create a dinner-party atmosphere.
Jose Garces' Distrito at Moorestown Mall opens July 7.
Conshohocken's 401 Diner is changing hands again. As of July 1, the occupant of about a year - an American/Indian hybrid called 401 Nirvana - will close. July 7 is the scheduled opening of a second location of Blue Bell cheesesteak specialist Pudge's.
Restaurateur Dave Magrogan plans branches of Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar in Moorestown Mall (November) and Harrisburg (August), plus a version of Stella Rossa Ristorante in Exton Square Mall called Red Star Craft House (October). These will be Magrogan's 15th, 16th and 17th restaurants; he also owns Kildare's and Doc Magrogan's.
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