After 26-plus years, walls full of culinary awards, and countless racks of lamb, chef

Fritz Blank

is preparing to pull the plug on Deux Cheminées, his romantic Center City restaurant.

Blank, who has long planned to move to Thailand, says he will close in early June. The main holdup to relocating is getting the necessary papers for his cat, BoBo.

The building, a Frank Furness- designed double-rowhouse at 1221 Locust St., will be sold, he said yesterday.

The Pennsauken-raised Blank, 64, ran the microbiology lab at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in the 1970s and so wowed pals with his cooking that they offered to put him in business - "a dream come true. . . . We agreed that we'd try it for a year. If we don't make it, I'll go back." (Ever the microbiologist, Blank runs arguably the cleanest kitchen in town.)

"The Doo" opened in late 1979 a block away on Camac Street, and moved to Locust Street in 1988 after a fire.

Much of Blank's mammoth collection of cookbooks and food ephemera - about 10,000 items - is destined for the University of Pennsylvania.

Movie stuff

Local connections to Sunday's Academy Awards abound. Two of the coolest: Bala Cynwyd's

Bill Weinstein

, 30, who started in Hollywood 51/2 years ago pushing a mail cart at a literary agency, is the guy who sold

Michael Arndt's

Oscar-winning screenplay for

Little Miss Sunshine

; he was about six months on the job at Endeavor Agency when he read the script. Also, Cherry Hill native

Lawrence Bender

, 49, was a producer of

Al Gore's

best-documentary winner

An Inconvenient Truth

. Bender's resume includes the

Kill Bill


Good Will Hunting


Pulp Fiction

, and

Reservoir Dogs


Havertown-bred Hollywood player Mike Tollin says his movie based on the WIP Wing Bowl is still in the works. "I got to see my first Wing Bowl in person this year, and it only served to whet my appetite further for the project," he said by e-mail. "We continue to tinker with the script by Vince McKewin, but we still see it as a Rocky-esque journey which could only happen in Philly."

Briefly noted

WPEN (950) has boosted its daytime signal from 5,000 watts to 25,000 watts, following its nighttime boost to 21,000 watts approved in 2005.

Milestones, a radio show produced by Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and previously on WHAT (1340), has a new home: The mix of interviews, news, commentary and nostalgia aimed at older Philadelphians will debut at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on WDAS (1480).

Flyers fans can adorn their bumpers with the orange and black. Flyers Charities just started selling Flyers license plates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware for $50. The charity,, handles the paperwork and keeps half the dough. Securing a specific number is $50 additional.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival (which opens March 14), a costumed "Shakespeare" will perform in the round from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday (and again March 8) at the Rotunda at the Ritz-Carlton, on Broad Street at South Penn Square. The Bard will recite prose and mingle with guests, who can order Macbeth martinis from the bar. Spill one on your suit, and the first thing you'll hear is "Out, out, damned spot."

Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or Read his recent work at