The success of Stargazy, plus a helping of history of its British delights
Stargazy opened over the summer with quite an impact at 1838 E. Passyunk Ave. The first-ever pie and mash shop of it’s kind in our area, and possibly even in the country, has turned out to be quite a hit, selling out of all of these British delights on a daily basis.
This article for Food Republic shares as much history of London as it gives insight on Sam Jacobson and his little spot on East Passyunk Avenue.
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Jacobson, who holds dual U.K./U.S. citizenship, originally crossed the pond for work ten years ago and hasn’t left. He’s cooked in a number of restaurants around the country, most notably a string of small, critically acclaimed, chef-driven restaurants in the Philadelphia area. But when it finally came time to go all in on his own place, Jacobson knew it was an opportunity to introduce something completely different. That something: an American approximation of the “proper” pie and mash shops of his childhood.
While not an everyday thing, Jacobson has vivid memories of visiting these tidy canteen-style shops with his father, who himself was raised on the stuff in London’s East End. The single-plate combination of a flaky-cased beef pie, mashed potato, electric-green parsley liquor and a right scoop of eels is the type of comfort food that sticks with you as much as to you.
“It was something I became more nostalgic for after I moved away and couldn’t have it anymore,” says Jacobson, who began poking around to learn how other pie men in the States did it. He quickly came to a realization: “Nationally, I couldn’t find a single shop. I thought, there has to be room for one.” As far as he can tell, Stargazy still holds that distinction a little more than three months in. This is where clearly defining what a pie and mash shop is becomes important.
If you have yet to try Stargazy, you should probably stop in ASAP, especially after giving the whole article a read here.