It’s always nice to see one of our own doing nice things, even if he isn’t still in the office being nice. With Philadelphia magazine’s digital editrix Janine White moving from her gig on The Philly Post, longtime CP ed-in-chief Brian Howard will take over Philly mag’s energetic on-line entity sometime in July. Expect more stuff about biking and craft beer. Congrats.
Man, am I glad I bought my wife that MaiTai Hot-Dog-n-Fries-kit the other day. Our Italian Market neighborhood Underdogs just went belly up. A Facebook post and a sign on the door from U-dog top dog Robert Amar read “WELL, FOLKS. WE TRIED. We tried real hard to make it work in South Philly. This is a neighborhood we love. But, we can’t do it on Ninth Street anymore. This is a tough block, no question. We want to thank all of you who have supported us here.” While I’m sorry (but not surprised) to see U-dogs go, Amar’s note promises they’ll be “up in Center City having fun with hot dogs, creating new and tasty specials and contemplating our next move.”
The city is having quite a time with its red-and-white-stripe cease-and-desist work orders of late. Can’t say I blame them what with all the louses out there. But when respectable cats such as Jon Myerow’s Tria Taproom at Michael Singer’s property on 20th and Walnut (due for opening late summer, a deal I told you about first) get one, what’s the world coming to? Surely, this was a temporary snag and all will be resolved shortly. Another good resolution, albeit one with a switcheroo finale, finds the Nordstrom’s folk that I mentioned sniffing around the extended Market Street Gallery mall, very probably winding up at ye old Daffy’s on Chestnut at 17th. Apparently talks heated up about Nordstrom Rack bidding on the Daffy’s building in April (around that same time, Bloomingdale’s was rumored to be yakking with Post Brothers for a spot in Broad Street’s Atlantic Building, a space that was looking to go mostly residential. What gives?) Things are looking good for a hearty handshake between the Nord and the Daffy property owners to occur soon, so we await the signatures. (Note: Hughe Dillon, who graciously sent me a photo of Dr. John from the Voice Foundation event in Philly, is mentioning the Nordstrom-to-Daffy’s deal too).
Back in October 2009, I Icepacked about how Stephen Starr was considering erecting a bun-n-run gourmet hamburger joint at ye old McDonald’s spot on Sixth and South. People found our chat to be ludicrous, as if Starr would open something swellegant on South Street (despite his back-in-the-day concert venue, Ripley’s Music Hall, being one of this city’s nicest spaces for live gigs). Fast forward to last night and the opening of Serpico, his partnership with chef/one-time Momofuku boss Peter Serpico, designed by Thomas Schlesser (DBGB in NYC, The Publican in Chicago) for 604 South. We’ve watched the progress of the handsome grey-bricked restaubar for months, and were immediately charmed by its linear minimalism once inside — 60-plus seats with a massive open chef’s studio kitchen to be eaten around and menus on blackboards surrounding the dining room (outside, it was pretty funny watching a slew of kids lining up for sneakers due to be released this morning). The meal/Serpico’s aesthetic was intriguing and delicious, tastes like a smoked scallop and eel dish, a lamb ribs feast rubbed with cumin and served with a yogurt-mint-spring garlic-Japanese eggplant sauce, and the egg custard in brown butter with gently crisp, nearly caramelized potato and caviar atop it — yeah, these were delightful. Didn’t get to try the fois gras pre-dessert or the sweet Rocky Road melange as Mr. Serpico ended the fam-and-friends party early (chef’s prerogative, the trial evening turned into as much of a bash than a quiet meal what from his invited guests’ over-enthusiasm) and still every element of the atmosphere and the food was exceptional. This is certainly Starr’s most eclectic and stately enterprise and a welcome adventurous forum for Chef Serpico. The South Street spot open June 21 but reservations look booked solid.
Speaking of South Street, Azure Ultra Lounge (1439 South) welcomes Philly R&B goddess Res to their decks June 21. She’s been doing some DJ-ing of late and she’ll spin some new tracks that night.
Revel Hotel-Casino. That’s the new name of the new spot in NJ that seemingly, since its start, has been trying to quiet the fact that degenerate gambling occurred there. How’d that work out?
WHOWHATWHERE: I know people are pissed at the Rolling Stones for selling $597 seats in a lousy economy. Having sat in one on Tuesday night, I can say it was a worthwhile experience. Besides, I got to see both peacock haired radio DJ Jacky BamBam to my right and Project Runway star and fashion designer Michael Kors to my far right. Tix are available for June 21 and the boys held a party at Cuba Libre for their entire stage cast and crew in between shows on Wednesday night. Before their Boyz II Men gig, vocal-group gents 98 Degrees hung with fans at MIX 106.1 Performance Theater in Bala. Bala’s WDAS Studios also got a visit from India.Arie, soul mistress #1. Not only did the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation hold its annual fundraising Race Street Pier Promenade last night with the accoutrements of fireworks and guests such as Councilman Mark Squilla, Fork’s Ellen Yin and Chef Kevin Sbraga, but they welcomed new communications manager Emma Fried-Cassorla to their fold. Yay them. Vanilla Ice did a meet and greet at XFinity Live and not once did he mention ice, then ice again, followed by baby. Donal McCoy had a meet and greet and signing planned for Ian McLagan at Tin Angel after having fed the Faces/Stones guy downstairs at Serrano. While we’re aware that the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia crew did its partying finest at Old City’s Mac’s Tavern, I’m always excited to see that Danny DeVito sneaking off alone to spots such as Sofitel’s Libertie after dining at Davios. US Open winner Justin Rose kept his best to keep things quiet when he and his wife Kate snuck into Gypsy Saloon in West Conshohocken. Rose and his wife dined at Kim Strengari and Marianne Gere’s other restaurant, Stella Blu throughout the Open but since Stella Blu is closed on Sunday, supped at their Gypsy Saloon until 2 a.m. where they and his sports management team, Excel Sports (who also manages Tiger Woods) accepted bottles of champagne from Strengari and other diners.
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