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Author Archive | Caroline Voyles

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing :  Passyunk Square 

The 215 literary festival ‘takes over’ East Passyunk for the first time

215 festival

The literatti is descending on East Passyunk.

For the first time, the literary 215 Festival will “take over” the neighborhood, which will host a day’s worth of events honoring the spoken, written and visualized word on Oct. 19. It’s the first year the festival has dipped south of Center City, so now we  can experience our foodie street in a whole new way, chewing on words as opposed to vittles.

The kick-off event at 1 p.m. at the Singing Fountain will feature readings from the festival’s founder, Neal Pollack, and a Type-In Orchestra. Celebrating the art of “Slow Writing,” Type-Ins (think sit-ins) feature people hammering away on manual typewriters – the “music” of the orchestra being the clicks, zings and rattles of the machines.

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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

Another new coffee shop coming to 10th and Carpenter

We’re hearing scuttlebutt about a new business at 10th and Carpenter in Bella Vista, where a series of coffee shops have closed in recent years.

It’s a coffee shop. Rumor has it that this one will have fair-sourced, organic coffee, but that’s about all the info we have on it.

10th and Carpenter

The spot has hosted a number of cafes, including Mazag, Filter and inFusion, but it’s sat empty for over a year. Located across from Bardascino Park on a mostly residential street, the space is perfect for local folk looking to sit out and enjoy a bev away from the weekend bustle of the Italian Market just a block away.

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South Philly is for lovers, right? Things to do on Valentine’s Day, 14 and counting

Ohh, my heart! Isn’t that a-DOR-able?

Some people hate Valentine’s Day, but they’re all bitter. Kidding, kidding. But in case you were on the search for something to do that night, here are a few options, some more glamorous than others. We’ll keep adding to this list as we hear about more events. And if you know of anything else happening, leave it in the comments or email us at

To getting some!

1) For the veg crowd
Miss Rachel’s Pantry – Farmhouse Table Special Valentine’s Day menu at their Farmhouse Table.
3 nights – 2/14, 2/15, 2/16.

2) For the intimate experience

In lieu of the a la carte menu, Will is featuring a 5 course tasting menu for $65.  Will accommodate any dietary restriction.

3) For the Hater

Devil’s Den Anti-Valentine’s Day
Instead of serving love- or aphrodisiac-themed bevvies, Devil’s Den is offering $1 off beers that remind us of our exes.  Examples: Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch, Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot, Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, AleSmith Horny Devil and others.  The fun(?) starts at 7pm.

4) For the big spender

Ruby Buffet on S. Columbus is hosting a Valentine’s Day Lobster & Seafood Buffet on February 14 from 3-10pm.  $15.99 for adults, $8.99 for children ages 2-10.

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What's Happening in:  Queen Village 

Washington Ave. restaurant will be a sandwich place

Back in December we told you that some kind of restaurant is in the works at 525 Washington Ave., in the corner of Queen Village. Well, Naked Philly was able to scrounge up a bit more info.

525 Washington Ave., in October. But it will be a lunch spot, apparently

They say it will be a lunch spot and added a few more tidbits, including the style of food (sandwiches) and provisos set by the Queen Village Neighborhood Association (no “loitering” employees and no alcohol…ever). That was in response to some neighbors’ concerns.

We still haven’t gotten word of a set timeline, but NP reported that the opening would be within a few months. While South Philly in general is loaded with sandwich shops, author Lou Mancinelli points out that in this particular neighborhood, where ethnic food abounds, not so much.

We’re continuing to be on the lookout for more details as they come available. Drop us a line at if you get word on what’s going on over there — or anywhere for that matter.

- Caroline Voyles, @CarolineVoyles

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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

BYOB art space to replace Bainbridge restaurant supply store

After more than 30 years of running Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant Supply, owner Harriet Mancini is retiring and unfortunately, closing up shop. The store at 629 E. Passayunk Ave. has provided casual home cooks to professional chefs in Queen Village all sorts of fancy gadgets and equipment.

It’s curtains for this one

While there is no final date set, the employee we spoke to said they anticipate the store will close for good sometime before mid-February. In the meantime, stop by for big sales.

The space shouldn’t be empty for too long, however, as there seems to already be a tenant ready to take over. An employee said that a new art supply store, Art with a Twist, will be taking over the space.

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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

Villa Di Roma plans expansion – eventually

To step into Villa Di Roma in the Italian Marketis to travel back in time, with crowd-pleasing Italian home cooking like Nonna used to make and decor that isn’t so modern either. As the restaurant approaches it’s 50th birthday next year, the owners are looking to make some changes – but with no sense of urgency.

Villa di Roma, 936 S. 9th St.
Epiphany “Pip” De Luca, the owner of Villa di Roma at 936 S. 9th St., told us about the plan to expand their facility. The process has been slow-going. The permit was approved in February, and there’s no set date or timeline for completion. The zoning application is for a one-story addition on the back of the building.
“We’re still tweaking the plans,” de Luca told us. “We hope to get started on the project this spring.” Most of the changes will be to the back of the house – more sinks, more tables, more space “to do [their] jobs better…These are the conveniences we’ve always wanted to have.”
When asked if customers will notice a difference in the dining room, de Luca said they would: the plans include space for extra seating, but no major renovations to the current dining rooms. At least, not in the current plan. Maybe that can be the restaurant’s gift to itself on it’s 100th birthday.

- Caroline Voyles, @CarolineVoyles

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing :  Passyunk Square 

New Year’s around Passyunk? 15 things to do – UPDATED: even more

UPDATE (again): Just got word that the valet stands at the fountain and in front of Cantina will be open, just don’t tell MADD.

So, you wanna go out for New Year’s, but you wanna be able to stumble home. Ditto. In that case, here are a smattering of events within stumbling distance, roughly in descending order of personal interest. If we’ve missed something, please leave it in the comments.

1) Eater reported that Chef Christopher Lee is launching a series of pop-up dinners at Salt & Pepper, which we told you will be eventually called Sophia, on New Year’s. With the new overhauled the kitchen, Lee will offer a four-course dinner at 6 and 6:30 p.m. for $45. The 9 p.m. seating will be $75. Both come with a champagne toast. UPDATE: Check out the menu on Meal Ticket.

2) Stateside: 5-course prix-fixe menu for $65. There will be seatings at 5:15/30/45, 7:15/30/45, and 9:15/30/45. The last seating’s will be $75 and include a champagne toast. There will also be a vegetarian option and a $20 wine-pairing option.

3) Connie’s Ric Rac: Johnny Showcase and the Lefty Lucy Cabaret with the West Philly Orchestra. $25, or $30 including a Balkan buffet. describes the showcase thusly: “The show that has redefined the notion of talent and nontalent, it’s like a Prairie Home Companion, but with a dry martini, Jerzy Grotowski, and a fading vomit stain on your lapel.”

4) Royal Tavern: CORRECTION: Choose Your Own Happy Hour. 2 hours of open bar for $25 per person between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

5) Le Virtu: Capodanno (New Year’s Eve): “La Festa di San Silvestro” 4-course meal, no timed seatings. $75 per person

6) Noir: 3-course, $75 lobster tasting, including in the dessert, with a free glass of champagne.

7) Cantina los Caballitos. Choose Your Own Happy Hour. You pick a time – 2 hours of open bar for $25 per person.

8) Adobe Cafe: Special NYE Karaoke at 9:30. (For all its faults, Adobe has badass karaoke)

9) Devil’s Den: Champagne toast

10) Fountain Porter: Beer specials and free champagne.

11) Lucky 13 Pub: Drink specials, giveaways, DJ

12) Stogie Joe’s: NYE party with drink specials and DJ Louie T

13) Kris: New Year’s Eve 4 course dinner for $50 per person.

14) Chickie and Pete’s: DJs and live music. Buffet, topshelf bar, champagne toast. Two options: $150 all-inclusive package for two people or pay as you go

15) And then to fight the fire (hangover) with fire (beer), Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar: New Year’s Day Karaoke starting at noon.

- Caroline Voyles, @CarolineVoyles

UPDATED: Here are some more goings on for New Year’s:
Sidecar Bar & Grille is hosting brunch on both NYE and NYD and will be open until 2 a.m. both days.

SoWe is having a three-course prix fixe dinner for $55. Open bar packages are available. Also, a New Year’s Day brunch from 10-4. Football will be on.

Chick’s Social is featuring a special NYE a la carte dinner menu. Free champagne for the 10 p.m. seating as they screen the Times Square celebrations.

Tashan wants you to reserve your seats now for a Mummer’s Parade brunch on New Year’s Day. Watch the parade while you eat! Bar starts pouring at 11am and brunch goes until 2:30. Regular menus resume after ward.

The Industry – Open from 4pm-2am on NYE – Burgers and Bubbles all night long, free champagne at midnight. NYD brunch from 11-4.

Kennett – 4 courses, 4 meals NYE dinner.

2nd Street Brew House – Buffet, DJ, drink specials, free “champagne of beers” toast at midnight. Watch the 2 Street parade from the bar, DJ Dan Bucciarelli spinning all night.

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