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Archive | Restaurants


Foodie Friday: Tasty bits to digest

There’s been a smorgasbord of South Philly restaurant news in the blog-o-sphere. Here are some links to whet your appetite, so to speak…


Northwest corner of 12th & Morris gets a tenant!

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michael Kline broke the news yesterday that something’s (finally!) coming to the retail space at the northwest corner of 12th & Morris streets (1646 S. 12th St.):

Separatist Beer Project, the onetime gypsy brewer from Easton known until recently as Sole Artisan Ales, says it has signed a lease for what it calls “a concept bar and beer experience”

Kline spoke with the owner Joe Fay who said the new bar would serve its beer plus wines and coffee. According to Kline:

He described the look as “modern Scandinavian.” The basement, with 10-foot ceilings, will be a kind of rathskeller, with barrel- and bottle-aging and a large table to be used for special events.

The bar could open “as soon as August.”

The space was originally slated for a restaurant by Chris Scarduzio. He bowed out before the building broke ground.  The retail space has sat empty since the building was completed about two years ago. See our previous coverage about the site here and here, and here.

1646 S 12th Street. Photo courtesy of E-Built. www.ebuiltinc.com


Smoke signals

Mike’s BBQ, 1703 S. 11th St., received a nice review in the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.  Writer Emily Teel sums it up: “Barbecue in South Philly? Mike’s isn’t just blowing smoke.”


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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

Looking on the bright CIDER of life

Kerry McKenzie is more than a glass half-full kind of guy. In fact, he’s a glass-is-always-full-guy…full of the hard cider he brews at Hale & True Cider Co. The cidery and taproom opened last week at 613 S. 7th Street. McKenzie, a chipper 29-year-old, smartly credits his wife and partner Risa as the mastermind behind his establishment. “We were already fermenting kimchi and kombucha when we stumbled upon a street fair on South Street and tasted hard cider for the first time.” McKenzie continues, “we were so excited to find out that cider could be something more than sweet!”

Kerry and Risa McKenzie

The couple switched their fermenting work to produce hard ciders, including some of the signature products at their new, 40-seat establishment.  Highlights include their “Standard” made from a mix of six different apples; “Hail to the Hop!” which allows the hops to sit for at least four to five days after fermenting; “Lil’ Sunshine” which has a mix of locally-grown honey and oranges; and “Sail Away” made from mango puree. This last favorite was inspired by the multitude of fresh mango he and his new bride ate on their honeymoon just a few months ago in Hawaii.

Kerry was born and raised in South Jersey, about 40 minutes from the heart of South Philly. He visited the city frequently even before he was able to drive – his parents would drop him off at South Street’s TLA and other hot spots. He met Risa met in college and the newly-married couple now live in Lower Moyamensing.  While scouting for locations it was natural that they gravitated to South Street where their love for cider began.

Kerry doesn’t profess to having a favorite among the many offerings at Hale & True except to say that for him, “drier is always better than sweet! Especially where hard cider is concerned.”

Hale & True has partnered with The Good King Tavern to provide a small menu of light snacks.  The cidery is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 10pm, Friday from 4pm to 12am, Saturday 12pm to 12am and Sunday 12pm to 9am.

Hale & True’s interior was designed by USA Architects and Cohere.  The furniture was crafted by Sweetwater Wood Design, owned by Kerry’s father and brother. Photo by Coleman Yunger.

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

A comprehensive guide to Mexican South Philly

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, the Philadelphia Inquirer produced a very comprehensive guide to Mexican restaurants, bakeries, markets, and ice cream shops in South Philly.  Written by restaurant critic Craig LaBan, the piece features links to past reviews and beautiful photos by staff photographer Tim Tai.

We had hoped that some of these places would stay “our little secret” a bit longer.  So we’re totally fine if you just want to click through the gorgeous photos and leave the restaurants to us.  Then again, these small business owners work hard and deserve our support, so…buen provecho!


TIM TAI / Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Photographer

In addition to revealing secret spots to grab delicious food, there’s also a brief history about the growth of the Mexican-American community in Philadelphia from the late 1990s to today.  LaBan writes that South Philly’s close connections to Puebla started with one man:

“In the late 1990s, a Puebla man named Efren Pelléz was accidentally left behind in Philadelphia by his coyote smuggler on the way to New York City, walked into David Suro’s Center City restaurant Tequila’s (the only awning he could find with Spanish words) and asked: “How far is it to New York?”

“He was the first seed planted in Philadelphia,” says Suro, who said Pelléz settled and helped launch the Puebla pipeline here before he eventually returned to Mexico where he died. “30,000 people later …”

Read more here.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

A new taste of old South Philly

Junior’s Beef & Pork set for grand opening on April 29.

By CT Liotta

Stepping into Junior’s Beef & Pork, 1840 E Passyunk Ave, something feels different. On an Avenue revitalized with swanky eateries run by top-tier chefs, Stephanie and Gino DeJesse, and their son Gino, are keeping a foot in Passyunk Avenue’s Italian past.

Gino DeJesse and his mother Stephanie DeJesse outside their East Passyunk Avenue shop which opens Friday.

 

You won’t find the cigarette smoke and sticky-floor feeling of a classic South Philly roast-beef-and-pork den – but the food will be old-school fresh. In a colorful dining area behind an inviting storefront, Gino points out the newness of the kitchen. “There’s no range hood. There doesn’t have to be because there’s no grill. We serve everything the old way, from a steam table.”

Stephanie adds, “we use old recipes, like our grandparents used. The sausage, peppers and onions taste like what grandma used to make.”

The old-style food will meet the younger Gino’s abilities to stay current. “We’re working with Grubhub and Uber eats, and should be up and running with them soon. We’ll take plastic, because most people don’t carry cash. We’ll also sell and deliver beef and pork by the pound, for people who want it.”

The ingredients are remarkably fresh, with daily deliveries from Liscio’s bakery and pork from Esposito’s. “We want to attract a crowd of both old and new people on the Avenue,” says Stephanie. The classic South Philly menu includes roast beef and pork, meatballs, sausage, long hots and sharp provolone, but also newer vegetarian options – salads, and an eggplant sandwich with roasted peppers, rabe and sharp provolone.

Both mother and son are especially excited about the Caesar dressing. “It’s my husband Gino’s secret recipe,” said Stephanie. “People rave about it. We may sell the dressing by itself.” The elder Gino also oversees the meatballs. The younger Gino is responsible for one of the most popular menu items. “The chicken parm fries were something I made up one night. They became a hit, and now they’re on the menu. Fries, tomato gravy, cheese, and chicken parm.”

The DeJesse family, from 11th and Moore Streets, has been in the catering business for 20 years. In 2017, they opened the first Junior’s Beef & Pork in North Wildwood, New Jersey. It’s named after Stephanie’s father, who passed away in 1997 and whose silhouette has become part of the signage and brand. “It’s in honor of him,” said Stephanie. “He brings us good luck.”

The shop will open on Friday, April 27 and hold its grand opening on Sunday, April 29.

http://www.juniorsbeefandpork.com/

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Taproom on 19th Owner Brings Mike’s BBQ to East Passyunk

If you’ve been to any outdoor event in South Philly in the last couple of years, chances are you’ve encountered Michael Strauss’s passion project, Mike’s BBQ. But now, the mobile meat festival is putting down roots near Passyunk Square.

Taproom on 19th Owner Brings Mike's BBQ to East Passyunk

MIke’s BBQ at the Newbold Blues Festival

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