Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Philly's 2013 restaurant scene, digested

The new restaurants that mattered.

Philly's 2013 restaurant scene, digested

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Star chefs on the move, more bars, more pizza and more burger joints size up the 2013 Philadelphia restaurant scene.

In a nutshell, here's what went down:

The star chefs: Stephen Starr imports Momofuko Ko alum Peter Serpico to create the edgy, forward-looking Serpico on South Street. ... Roxborough-bred Justin Bogle, an alum of NYC's Gilt, sets up the polished, edgy Avance at Philly's most-storied address, 1523 Walnut St., formerly Le Bec-Fin. ... Bibou's Pierre Calmels and wife Charlotte branch out to Rittenhouse Square with Le Cheri. ... Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga's sequel to Sbraga is The Fat Ham, an ode to modern Southern eats, in University City. ...  The Vetri Family ventures to Moorestown for a branch of Osteria  and sets up Pizzeria  Vetri behind the Barnes Museum on Callowhill Street. ... Iron Chef Jose Garces' Cuban diner Rosa Blanca opens in December at 707 Chestnut St. ... Marcie Turney and partner Valerie Safran add to their Washington Square West holdings with the Italian Little Nonna's. ... Eli Kulp of Fork mixes in a bit of casual next door at High Street on Market in Old City.  

Revival of the BYOB: The city's hottest strip - East Passyunk - welcomes two chef-driven gems: Laurel  by Top Chef contestant Nicholas Elmi and Noord by Joncarl Lachman. ... Racine elevates local sourcing in Pottstown.

Elegance:  Ocean Prime (left) brings high-ceilinged glitz to 15th and Sansom Streets. ... The understated Fitler Dining Room brightens up 22d and Spruce Streets. ...  Sichuan specialist Han Dynasty takes over a gorgeous Old City room at Second and Chestnut Streets. ...  Pennsylvania 6 snazzes up Washington Square West.

Better bars: Jerry's Bar, with chef Marshall Green, brings polish to Northern Liberties. ... Cheu Noodle Bar takes quirky riffs on Asian fare in Washington Square West. ... Strangelove's in Center City ... a.kitchen's goofily named companion, a.bar in Rittenhouse. ... The Goat's Beard in Manayunk. ... Garage in South Philly. ... Rybrew, a canned-beer paradise, in Brewerytown. ... Cook and Shaker in Kensington. ... Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen in Fishtown.

The burbs: Georges' in Wayne gives way to Peppercorn, a luxe American. ... The Lucky Well, a BBQ specialist, replaces The Shanachie in Ambler.  ... Bar Lucca replaces Totaro's in Conshohocken. ... Carmel Café in Wayne. ... Cerise, a French BYO in Bryn Mawr. ... The Melograno crew opens Fraschetta, a Italian BYO in Bryn Mawr. ... Avenue Kitchen goes American off the Blue Route in Villanova. ... Avenue Delicatessen pairs Jewish and Italian treats in Lansdowne. ... Southern Cross Kitchen in Conshohocken.

Market-cafe pairings: Talula's Daily spins out of Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr's Talula's Table on Washington Square. ... Little Tuna adds a market in Haddonfield. ... Tela's Market & Kitchen in Francisville. ... The Farm & Fisherman in Cherry Hill. ... La Fia in Wilmington. 

Casual choices downtown: Animo, a juice and burrito specialist, opens at 17th and Arch Streets. ...  Miles Table at 1620 South St. ... Quick Fixx at 1511 South St. ... Wokworks at 1935 Chestnut St. ... Agno Grille at 2104 Chestnut St. ... Hub Bub Coffee at 1717 Arch St.

Burger binge: No slowing down here as Shake Shack opens in University City and King of Prussia. ... Zinburger is new in Cherry Hill. ... BurgerMonger is new at Willow Grove Park. ... Smashburger is new in Cherry Hill and Radnor. ... Burger 21 is new in Voorhees. 

More pizza!: The pies keep coming from Pizzeria Vetri on Callowhill Street. ... Bufad at 13th and Spring Garden.  ... Avero Craft Pizzeria in Devon. ..,.Kermit's Bake Shoppe in South Philly (whose sweets are just as good as the savory). ... Nomad Roman in Washington Square West,. ...  Art of Pizza in Fishtown. ... Tria Taproom in Rittenhouse - though here they are called flatbreads.

Snack attacks: Two taco shops open on the fringes of Center City: Shifty's Taco in Brewerytown and Union Taco just off Seventh and Girard. ... Want a lobster roll? Maine-rooted Luke's Lobster is the real deal in Center City.

Diners: It's late, you're near Aramingo Avenue and you're hungry; there's Mugshot Diner in Fishtown. ... The splashy Royal Cracovia attempts a Euro bent in Camden County.

New locations and spinoffs: Taqueria Feliz in Manayunk makes it tres for the Cantina/La Calaca duo. ...  Honey's Sit N Eat opens on South Street West.  ... Tiffin Bistro spins off in South Philly. ... Honeygrow opens in Bala Cynwyd. ...... Melograno opens Fraschetta in Bryn Mawr. ... HipCityVeg opens in University City. ... Steve's Prince of Steaks opens in Center City. ... IndeBlue opens in Washington Square West. ... Iron Hill Brewery comes to Voorhees. ... Whole Hog Cafe comes to Cherry Hill. ... Town Hall Coffee comes to Center City. ... Kabobeesh branches in Queen Village. ... Harvest opens in North Wales. ... Stella Rossa opens first in Downingtown, then expands to Center City. ... South Philly's Plenty Cafe steps up its game with a new location in Rittenhouse.

New life: Goat Hollow returns in Mount Airy. ... Brittingham's is rebuilt from scratch in Lafayette Hill. ... Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery is the revamp of the General Lafayette Inn in Lafayette Hill. ... Lorenzo's returns from fire at 305 South St. ... Rx the Farmacy is a revival at 44th and Spruce Streets. ... Veteran restaurateur Siggie Wilson comes back with the BYOB Bistro Siggie in Worcester.

New Yawkers: Joe Coffee now has locations in Rittenhouse and University City. ... Crumbs Bake Shop opens spots in Cherry Hill, Deptford, Rittenhouse, Ardmore, and King of Prussia.

New at Reading Terminal Market: One of the busiest years at the city's best-known farmer's market yields lamb from Border Springs Farm, soul food from KeVen Parker, and cheese and dairy from Valley Shepherd Creamery. Expansions and renovations improve Termini Bros. Bakery, Nanee’s Kitchen, and OK Produce. Doughnuts now take center stage at Beiler's.

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Michael Klein Philly.com
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, 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 mklein@philly.com.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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