footer 1

Archive | Restaurants

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Mamma Maria Ristorante Italiano to Hold Polenta Event

By Joseph Myers

Growing up in Abruzzi as the fourth of six children, Maria di Marco adored time with her family, especially when she and her kin came together to eat. Particularly fond of her father Vincenzo’s culinary creations, the doting daughter sought to emulate the patriarch’s proficiency by preparing many Italian staples, notably polenta. On Wednesday, June 20, she will honor his example and show off her admiration for the cornmeal-based delight by making it the main dish at Mamma Maria Ristorante Italiano, 1637 E. Passyunk Ave.

“I want polenta to be the star for one night,” the proprietor said from the eatery that she has helmed for 26 years. At the $35-per-person event, di Marco will recall her days coming of age in the Old Country by making a version akin to her parent’s thin polenta. The gathering, slated to begin at 6 p.m., will mark the only time she will serve polenta this season. A vegetable antipasto and a salad will bookend the meal. The BYOB restaurant is happy to serve wine and offers complementary homemade limoncello to patrons. The lemony liqueur will also be the featured ingredient in an eponymous cake.

“I feel excited to be doing this because polenta means so much to me thanks to my childhood and my father.” di Marco credits her father for inspiring her career path, “He helped me to see I belong in the kitchen, and the time I spent learning that is something that I will never forget.” She recalls her family’s meals as unifying events. “We bonded so much when we ate, the eight of us,” di Marco said, “so I want others to enjoy the polenta and feel the same kind of warmth.”

Mamma Maria di Marco at the 2018 East Passyunk Red Gravy Cook-off.

Though customers who desire to dine at the restaurant that night need not order the polenta, di Marco, whose local clout includes having recently served as a judge for the East Passyunk Crossing Red Gravy Cook-off, hopes they’ll request the option, especially if they have never tried it. Regardless of the guests’ familiarity with the oh-so-tasty creation, di Marco will find herself in a festive mood as she fraternizes with the attendees, and her father will not be far from her mind.

“He was a very good man, and I’m grateful for all that he did for me,” she said, flashing a wide smile. She dubbed her father’s polenta “the best thing in the family,” and she looks forward to sharing this treat with patrons.

Continue Reading

ADVERTISEMENT:


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.”


Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

ADVERTISEMENT:

ADVERTISEMENT

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

We’re not Teas N’ You. Banh mi and bubble tea are coming to East Passyunk Ave.

New Southeast Asian quick-serve spot opens May 31st

By C.T. Liotta

The first thing you notice about Teas N’ Mi, 1907 East Passyunk Ave., is the sign – a bright red tongue between two baguette rolls that sandwich the company’s name. It’s bright and draws attention, and perfectly captures the light-hearted mood of a shop that offers drink items called Billie Jean is MATCHA lover and COCO? Is it tea you’re looking for?

Teas N’ Mi sign at night. Photo from www.teasnmi.com.

The shop is the creation of Tuyen Tran and Diana Gov, two long-time Philadelphia residents who give food associated with their parents’ birthplaces – Vietnam and Cambodia – a Passyunk Avenue-twist.

“One day we were walking along Passyunk Ave. and wondered why there wasn’t a bubble tea shop around this area.  So we decided, why not do bubble tea and banh mi?” said Tran. “This is our first venture together.  Diana and I have both been in the restaurant industry and we both cook at home often, putting ideas together.”

For South Philadelphians who may be unfamiliar with banh mi, it’s a made-to-order Vietnamese cold-cut hoagie traditionally served in sandwich shops and food stalls. The most popular sandwich on the menu, named Teas N’ Me Specialty, is traditionally called banh mi thit nguoi. It features, “Cold cuts, pickled carrots, pate, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeno. The pork and pate are both fresh-made,” says Tran. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

ADVERTISEMENT:

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.

Continue Reading

ADVERTISEMENT:

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.

Continue Reading

ADVERTISEMENT:

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/

Continue Reading

ADVERTISEMENT:

Copyright 2013 Passyunk Post | WordPress customized by Auspicious Consulting