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Jose Garces Opens New Fish Taqueria in Philadelphia

Jose Garces Opens New Fish Taqueria in Philadelphia

The Garces Group’s new concept is Buena Onda, a fish taqueria in Philadelphia

Joining his army of 19 restaurants, Garces’ Buena Onda will dole out mahi mahi and jumbo Pacific shrimp tacos to hungry Philadelphians.

Jose Garces, the prominent James Beard award-winning, Philadelphia-based chef, opened up his latest restaurant concept last week: Buena Onda, a fish taqueria. In Mexican slang, buena onda means a “good vibe,” and in English, it will (hopefully) mean great tacos.Buena Onda will serve its signature mahi mahi and Pacific shrimp tacos alongside other taco varieties, like carnitas and chicken, as well as Mission-style quesadillas. Each fish served at Buena Onda was caught in partnership with Seafood Watch, so everything is grade-A sustainable. The restaurant opened in the Granary on March 16.

"The spirit and style of Mexico's Baja peninsula are what we aim to capture at Buena Onda,” chef Jose Garces told The Daily Meal. “We are inspired by the relaxed surfer vibe and the pure joy of a perfectly cooked fresh fish taco, and we hope that every guest will feel those ‘good vibes’ the second they walk in the door."​

Mexican food fans can wash down their tacos with fresh fruit margaritas, draft beer, aguas frescas, and Mexican Coke. There will also be Mexican paletas (popsicles) available on especially hot days. And if you want to feel even better about your guac addiction, 50 cents from each guacamole or bottled water purchase will go toward the Garces Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports immigrant communities in Philadelphia.

Jose Garces Opens New Fish Taqueria in Philadelphia - Recipes

As more restaurants have embraced whole-animal butchery in recent years, customers are increasingly coming face-to-face with meat that’s exceptionally rich and only a little offbeat: cheeks.

This once-underutilized cut is turning up on menus across Philadelphia. At Barcelona on East Passyunk, pork cheeks are braised with apple cider and served over a parsnip puree. At nearby newcomer Ember & Ash, skate cheeks are paired with sweetbreads and tempura-fried for a play on surf and turf. At Osteria on North Broad, beef cheeks are marinated in red wine, slow-cooked until fork-tender, and served over braised celery root with dabs of herbaceous salsa verde.

Forsythia chef-owner Christopher Kearse has long been a fan of cheeks. He likens them to the oysters on a chicken — two rounds of dark meat that are easily overlooked but fantastic when cooked. “There are two per animal and no one uses them,” he says.

At his erstwhile Will BYOB, Kearse used to work beef cheeks into tasting menus rather than a la carte offerings, because customers would seldom order them, especially for special-occasion meals. But pork cheeks are currently on the menu at Forsythia, where they’re seared, then braised with mirepoix, red wine, porcini mushrooms, and kombu just before serving, the cheeks are dredged in Wondra flour (which is higher-protein), fried to a crisp, and dressed with spicy honey. The crispy pork dish sells well.

Why did Kearse decide to put cheeks on the menu? His staff wanted to have fun and challenge themselves after a year of cooking mostly takeout meals. But he also thinks some diners have gotten more adventurous. “Cheeks in 2021 are . seen a lot more than in 2012,” he says.

That’s not a universal experience: When Juan Carlos Romero was cooking out of his Italian Market taqueria, the original Los Taquitos de Puebla, beef head tacos were an everyday menu item alongside its celebrated al pastor. But after he and partner Lluli Pilar relocated the shop, now called Philly Tacos, close to 20th and Reed Streets, that changed. “When we moved to here to Point Breeze . it’s a different kind of people,” Romero says.

Now, he reserves the beef head tacos, made by boiling a whole head in aromatics for several hours, for special occasions. In his native Mexico City, he says, certain taquerias specialize in beef head tacos. On Ninth Street, Romero would get even more specific — one customer in particular came in just for brain tacos — but he admits cheeks are his choice.

“For me, the best part of the head is the cheek, because it’s tender, juicy,” he says. “I enjoy [them] with an extra-spicy salsa, or maybe a habanero salad with radishes. That’s a very good taco.” (He plans to make beef cheek tacos for this year’s Cinco de Mayo.)

Some restaurants have persisted with cheeks no matter what the reception. Center City’s Belgian beer haven, Monk’s Cafe, has featured them in one iteration or another — veal, lamb, and beef — for over a decade, reports co-owner Tom Peters. In the starter’s current format, beer-braised beef cheeks are served over Green Meadow Farm’s heirloom-corn polenta pickled radishes help cut the richness, as does a sour beer on the side.

Veteran Monk’s chef Keith Ballew says that customers have grown more comfortable with the cut. “At first a lot of people were like, ‘What part of the cow is this? Are these the butt cheeks?’ ” he says with a chuckle. “Over the years I think people have become pretty accustomed to offcuts like face meat.”

That growing acceptance may be most evident at Washington Square West deli darling Middle Child, where beef cheeks recently made an appearance in a sandwich dubbed “the Cheeky Bastard.” Chef Zvi Finklestein conceived the special as a hot alternative to a Reuben and drew inspiration from beef cheeks bourguignon he enjoyed at Le Pigeon in Portland, Ore.

He re-created the dish’s elements in sandwich form, pickling mirepoix, roasting carrots, mixing homemade red wine jelly into mayo to create “boxed wine mayo.” The beef cheeks were cooked overnight at 200°F until they had a shredded texture. Everything was carefully layered on well-toasted ciabatta with Swiss cheese. Working in a small space, Middle Child’s crew could only turn out about 40 specials each day it was available. Each time, it sold out within an hour of being posted on Instagram at 10 a.m.

“All these people are eating lunch at 10 a.m. just so they can get a certain sandwich,” Finklestein says with a laugh. “To some extent, it feels like as long as it tastes good, people are gonna order it.” (One special that didn’t sell quite as well: a Jewish deli-style steamed tongue hoagie.) He adds that the cheeks’ presentation — it could have been mistaken for a barbecue sandwich — probably allayed any concerns.

Cheek meat is taken from well-used muscles that don’t have much fat but are loaded with collagen. For beef, pork, and veal, that means a long, slow cook (typically a braise) is required.

“After that collagen melts, you’re left with a really, really rich jus,” says Osteria executive chef Ed Pinello, who put braised beef cheeks on the restaurant’s recent reopening menu. “And the [muscle] striations in it are so short, because it’s kind of a flat piece of meat, that it really lends itself to being so fork-tender. You can really just cut right through it.” Diners unfamiliar with beef cheeks might find the texture comparable to short rib, he adds.

Cheeks can be hard to come by at the butcher shop. There are, of course, only two per animal, so they often come frozen, as suppliers amass them more slowly than other cuts. They can be labor-intensive on the front end any silver skin still attached needs to be trimmed before cooking (easiest to ask a butcher to do this). If you are curious to cook them at home, check Primal Supply in Brewerytown and East Passyunk for pork cheeks, Esposito Meats in the Italian Market for veal cheeks, and House of Kosher in Bustleton for beef cheeks.

There’s less work — at least for the cook — when it comes to fish cheeks, and they’re much faster. “We fry ‘em from raw and they take 90 seconds to cook,” says Ember & Ash’s Dave Feola of the skate cheeks and sweetbreads dish on the restaurant’s starters list. Feola and fellow chef-owner Scott Calhoun are determined to highlight every part of a protein, from cod throats to beef shins, so cheeks fall right into that mission.

“Typically when they’re butchering these fish, they’ll take the loins, they’ll take nice fillets off, and then either the bones get sold for stock or the head gets chopped and slid right in the trash can,” Calhoun says.

Fish cheeks can be even harder to come by than their land-bound counterparts. Samuels Seafood’s Joe Lasprogata, the wholesaler’s vice president of new product development, says he first heard about them years ago from charter fishermen down the Shore who would cut the cheeks out of bluefish. “They’d always brag about how delicious they were and just panfry ‘em,” he says.

Halibut and cod cheeks are the most commercially available, though Lasprogata has come across monkfish, walleye, grouper, and tuna cheeks over his 30 years with Samuels. Because fishermen often remove them from the whole fish, customers who receive fish cheeks typically get clean medallions of meat that are quick-cooking and remarkably tasty. “I think there’s a little bit more of a concentration of flavor and they have a little bit of a sweetness to them, as well” he says.

Samuels’ retail market, Giuseppe’s, will try its best to accommodate customers requesting fish cheeks. No matter who’s ordering them, Lasprogata takes the interest in this offcut as a good sign.

“Especially [when] you’re dealing with a wild product, you should respect it and try to take full advantage and appreciate it,” he says.

Philadelphia Library Cooks Up Culinary Literacy

What's cooking at the Philadelphia public library? Plenty, now that it has a million-dollar kitchen at its main downtown branch.

The library has whipped up an unusual culinary program designed to improve the city's low literacy rate. Some courses will use recipes and nutrition labels to teach language and math, while others are geared toward immigrant restaurant workers learning English.

About 500,000 Philadelphia adults -- a third of the total population -- don't read above an eighth-grade level, according to library president and director Siobhan Reardon.

"We're looking to raise the bar on the library's approach to dealing with this confounding literacy issue in this city," Reardon said.

The gleaming new kitchen, built with public and private funds, occupies a corner of a floor reserved for meetings and special events. It includes three ovens, a walk-in refrigerator, 16 burners and video equipment to display overhead views of the counter and stove tops. An adjacent terrace will house an herb garden.

Several organizations have partnered with the library to offer culinary literacy classes that officials expect will serve about 2,000 patrons annually starting this summer. They will show people how to cook while teaching important life skills along the way.


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The nonprofit Center for Literacy and Penn State Extension is developing a course for adults to learn how to read lists of ingredients, calculate percentages on nutrition labels, create food budgets and modify recipes using basic math.

"It's an opportunity to put learning into a context," Center for Literacy CEO Michael Westover said. "Adults learn best when they're doing."

Iron Chef Jose Garces, who operates eight restaurants in Philadelphia and several others across the U.S., will use the kitchen to support his education program for Spanish-speaking restaurant workers.

About a year ago, the Garces Foundation offered English lessons and food service training to 10 immigrant employees. Today, the program enrolls 70 students working in dozens of eateries across the city -- and it's hard to find an empty demonstration kitchen to accommodate them, said spokeswoman Mallory Fix.

The library cooking space will remedy that, Fix said, noting the foundation has shared its curriculum with the library. Restaurant workers also get library cards and an introduction to other library offerings, she said.

"It's really opening doors throughout the whole city for them," Fix said.

The effort extends to children and teens as well. Chef Marc Vetri's foundation will teach classes aimed at creating healthy eating habits early in life, while the Careers through Culinary Arts Program will offer vocational training for underserved youth interested in the food industry.

Carolyn Anthony, president of the Chicago-based Public Library Association, said it's not uncommon to use pots and pans as teaching tools in buildings normally associated with books and computers. But Philadelphia's focus on literacy through cooking is different, she said.

"Libraries are plugging into whatever larger community concerns are," Anthony said. "We're connecting people with not just print resources but with human resources."

Family Friendly Restaurants

Philadelphia’s diverse restaurant scene includes a number of dining spots suitable for the younger set yet delicious enough to impress the grown-ups.


Reading Terminal Market photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB

To satisfy diverse tastes, head to the READING TERMINAL MARKET. Opened in 1893, it’s one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ markets and named the best farmers’ market in the U.S. With a maze of vendors and a bustling energy, the locale is an ideal option for families with wildly diverse appetites, offering everything from Asian and Middle Eastern fare to Pennsylvania Dutch and Philly classics. The market is also home to Dinic’s, whose famed roast pork sandwich was named the Travel Channel’s “Best Sandwich in America.” TIP: The market also offers numerous stands selling baked goods, chocolates, ice cream and other crave-worthy confections, so be sure to save room for dessert.


Campo's photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Visit the site of America’s original cheesesteak rivalry: the corners of 9th and Passyunk in the Italian Market. Here you’ll find two no-frills walk-up counter spots, PAT’S KING OF STEAKS and GENO’S STEAKS, both claiming to have perfected the cheesesteak. Equally famous is JIM’S STEAKS SOUTH ST., as evidenced by the line of fans waiting outside the Art Deco building for cafeteria style service. PSST: To eat like a local, order “whiz wit,” for a steak topped with Cheez Whiz and fried onions. Don’t let dietary restrictions stop you from enjoying Philadelphia’s signature sandwich CAMPO’S SINCE 1947 prepares gluten-free and vegan variations of the cheesesteak (as well as hoagies).


Focusing on local, organic and artisanal food and drinks, Farmicia in Old City is a cozy eatery serving food morning to night. The menu features a few decadent burgers, including the brie-stuffed burger with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and Dijon mayo on a Metropolitan Bakery roll, for adults and a cheeseburger with all the fixings on the kid’s menu. Stop by one of the city’s many family-friendly burger joints. SHAKE SHACK has scored legions of fans for its handspun milkshakes and juicy burgers. Located a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, this fast-casual chain also dishes out hot dogs, fries and chicken sandwiches along with beer and wine for grown-ups.


Just because kids are in tow doesn’t mean you have to skip establishments from Philadelphia’s acclaimed restaurateurs. The menu at JONES, from James Beard Award winner Stephen Starr, focuses on homestyle classics like tomato soup and grilled cheese, sliced beef brisket and fried chicken. An added bonus, the restaurant is within walking distance of Independence Hall and the historic district. Across town in West Philadelphia, Iron Chef Jose Garces’s taqueria, DISTRITO, promises a festive affair for diners, serving modern Mexican small plates and cool cocktails. The eclectic décor is as big a draw as the menu—including a Volkswagen Beetle booth and hundreds of colorful wrestling masks on the wall.


Photo courtesy of City Tavern

Step back in time at the CITY TAVERN in Old City. Established in 1773, the historic restaurant once welcomed the founding fathers as patrons. Today, under the proprietorship of Chef Walter Staib, the fine-dining eatery prepares authentic 18th-century recipes served by a waitstaff in period dress. Younger diners can order off a special children’s menu featuring meat and cheese pie (a colonial version of lasagna), fish and chips (an English classic) and more.


Order a hometown favorite, crab fries, at CHICKIE’S AND PETE’S, a boisterous sports bar voted Best Sports Bar in North America by ESPN and with an outpost in South Philadelphia. Seasoned with a proprietary blend of spices, the signature side is served with a creamy white cheese sauce and partners well with the bar’s steamed crabs, mussels and lobster pie. After, head to POP’S HOMEMADE WATER ICE for a local dessert: water ice. A smoother style of Italian ice, the chilled treat can be traced back to Italian immigrants like Filippo “Pop” Italiano, who started scooping out water ice from his pushcart in 1932. Today, the walk-up storefront on Oregon Avenue features various flavors of water ice, gelato, soft pretzels and more.

The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) is the official tourism promotion agency for the City of Philadelphia globally and the primary sales and marketing agency for the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with dinner and brunch at these Philly spots

We are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a list of delicious restaurants for you to try and a look at some of the faces making an impact around the city.

You can find Peruvian favorite ceviche at the Gran Chalan, Salvadorian popusas at El Sabor Salvadoreno or try Honduran baleadas at Rincon Catracho.

You can find Peruvian favorite ceviche at the Gran Chalan, Salvadorian popusas at El Sabor Salvadoreno or try Honduran baleadas at Rincon Catracho.
This year marked the first-ever empanada challenge which included 10 of the local restaurants competing.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic the restaurants have remained open and serving their community.

Chelsea Nieghborhood| Facebook | Instagram
El Sabor Salvadoreno | Facebook
3213 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Rincon Catracho | Facebook
2801 Arctic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

El Gran Chalan | Facebook
2641 Arctic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

El Merkury serves up a taste of Central America with pupusas, taquitos and churros topping the menu.

El Merkury cooks up Central American street food classics
Just before COVID-19 hit, owner Sofia Deleon was planning an expansion of her restaurant, El Merkury.

The restaurant prides itself on serving Central American street food. Using staples of the ancient Mayans - corn, beans, chiles, and chocolate - she created fast, casual, approachable dishes like pupusas, tostadas, and churros from countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

Even though the expansion was put on hold, the move to more of a 'family style' menu turned out to be just what Philly ordered, with meals that can be put together at home. They are open daily, and have outdoor seating.

El Merkury | Facebook | Instagram
2104 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Chef Jose Garces is making big changes at Disitro and offering a new way for people to enjoy his meals at home.

Distrito takes Mexican fare outdoors
For the first time ever, Distrito Taqueria is taking its celebration of Mexico City's culture and cuisine outdoors with a colorful courtyard tucked between buildings off Chestnut Street.

Iron Chef Jose Garces is also offering take-home kits for tacos and margaritas and other cocktails to-go. Garces arrived in Philadelphia 20 years ago to run Alma de Cuba and now has a dozen restaurants to call his own.
He's introducing La Bodega, an online shop with his curated Mexican specialties and grocery items that will include meal kits with his personal recipes.

And he's launching a new 26-part web series called Cooking Space. His latest moves are part of the Iron Chef's reinvention that started long before COVID-19.

Distrito Taqueria | Facebook | Instagram
3945 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

El Bocado is the vision of married couple Jackie Martinez and Aldo Perez and a tribute to their respective Latin roots.

El Bocado is the vision of married couple Jackie Martinez and Aldo Perez.

Jackie brings her Salvadorian influence while Aldo's roots provide Mexican flavors to the menu.

Both worked in the restaurant industry for years before opening their South Philadelphia spot that became popular for family-style dining.

The family feel has taken a backseat during the pandemic as they have changed their focus to delivery and takeout. They recently reopened their doors for in-person dining at 25%, per city rules.

El Bocado | Facebook | Instagram
1005 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Last Abuela - Beth

The all-day café offers indoor and outdoor dining, and a beautiful view of City Hall.

Clementine's Stable Café, trendy American brasserie on N. Broad St.
Clementine's Stable Café is an American brasserie on North Broad Street. The all-day café offers indoor and outdoor dining with a beautiful view of City Hall.

The building used to be a 19th-century horse stable, a theme carried on throughout the decor. Owners Dan and Alex Greenberg, who also own Tela's Market on Fairmont Ave, salvaged as much of the original stable wood as they could and used that reclaimed wood to construct the bar and table-tops.
Helming the menu is Chef Leonardo Gabriel, who adds a touch of his Latino roots to the ingredients. He's cooking up double-fried chicken wings that come with a kick, tossed in spices and served with lime. Chef Leonardo also experiments with house-made chorizo flavors and grills up a whole branzino butterfly in plancha to make the skin really crispy.

The cocktail menu is inventive and features seasonal ingredients. The Las Arboledas is a tequila-based cocktail with freshly juiced mango, topped with Hellfire shrub, which is like a habanero pepper. The drink is inspired by the Luis Barragan house, a famous Mexican architect.

Brunch is every weekend from 10:30 am to 3 pm Includes all the staples, pancakes and eggs and fun items such as chicken and waffles.
Clementine Stable Café | Instagram
631 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Where to grab brunch in Philadelphia? These five spots offer an array of brunch options from sweet and fluffy pancakes to savory egg dishes.

Get back to brunch at these great breakfast spot
September is National Breakfast Month and we're celebrating with a roundup of eggs-cellent spots for brunch.
At Cafe Y Chocolate, you can enjoy Mexican Brunch all day.
The Barnes Foundation serves a casual brunch with a full bar in its covered outdoor garden.

Talula's Garden also provides a lush setting with your meal with farm-to-table favorites such as the brunch bowl with short ribs, grits and mushrooms, chicken and waffles and homemade pastries and breads.
As a bonus, Love in Center City has tasty offerings up and down the menu.

2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130

Talula's Garden | Instagram
Brunch Saturday-Sunday, 10am-2pm
210 West Washington Square, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106

The Love | Brunch Menu | Instagram
130 S. 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Talula's Table
102 W State St, Kennett Square, PA 19348

There are new and different ways to experience Philly's culture during the pandemic.

Show Extras
DECO, Wilmington's popular food court inside the Hotel DuPont, has reopened after a six-month closure with all orders now being done through an app to avoid any face-to-face contact.

DECO now also offers delivery within a 10-mile radius. You can order from all seven restaurants and put it on a single bill through a new service called DECO on the go.
DECO Wilmington
Hotel DU Pont 111 W.. 10th Street, Wilmington, Pa. 19801

The sound of music is rising from the Avenue of the Arts.

Students and professors from the University of the Arts are putting on a series of construction site concerts, serenading workers and passersby from a 7th-floor pop-up stage at the condo building going up across from the Kimmel Center.

The next concert is Sept. 30 featuring Broadway hits.

Serenade on the Avenue (Concerts run 6-63:0 p.m.)
September 30th: Broadway hits | October 14th: Jazz
7th floor of Arthaus Construction Site, Broad & Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is welcoming back visitors after nearly six months.

The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays with masks required, temperature checks at the door and limited capacity in the galleries.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130

Share All sharing options for: Seven New Restaurants and Bars Announced in September

FISHTOWN — Bowling alley and entertainment venue Revolutions, will open as part of the Fillmore complex on Frankford Avenue. The bi-level space will feature two food venues: Burger & Beer Joint and Flair Street. Burger & Beer joint is a rock-and-roll themed sports bar, and Flair Street is a Cocktail-style flair bar. [Philly Mag]

NEW JERSEY — After parting ways with his Old City concept 26 North, seafood whisperer Mike Stollenwerk and his girlfriend Felice Leibowitz hope to find success in Haddonfield, NJ at their new BYOB, Two Fish. It opens sometime this month. []

OLD CITY — Ex-Lacroix sous chef Benjamin Moore is opening Wister, a seafood-focused BYOB in the old 26 North space in Old City. Expect a tight menu, entrees in the $30s, and live jazz once a week. []

CENTER CITY — Reading Terminal Market is getting a new corn dog specialist in Fox & Son Fancy Corn Dogs, expected to open up shop in 6 months or so. []

WASHINGTON SQUARE WESTWrap Shack's second location is already en route to 11th and Chestnut Streets, in the iconic Baum Dancewear space. The restaurant and bar is set to open early 2017. []

CENTER CITY — The owners of Washington Square West's Chix & Wings are venturing across Broad Street to open Chix & Bowls, a healthy, fast-casual restaurant just north of 20th and Chestnut Streets featuring rice bowls, salads, and (less healthy) Korean fried chicken. Opening is slated for mid-September. []

RITTENHOUSEShoo-fry, a Philly-based poutine shop, is nearly ready to open at 132 South 17th Street. On the menu: fries in all their many ways, toppings, sliders, and milkshakes. [EPHL]

KENSINGTON — Bar experts William Reed and Paul Kimport, the folks who brought you Johnny Brenda's and Standard Tap, bought the Kensington watering hole Shenanigan's Saloon to launch a local spirits-focused bar situated among the many local distilleries in the neighborhood. [EPHL]

RITTENHOUSE — Jose Garces is set to expand his only fast-casual operation, Buena Onda, a Baja-style fish taqueria, in the old Charlie's Jeans space near 18th and Chestnut Streets. There's no projected opening timeline just yet. [EPHL]

CENTER CITY — Brother Jimmy's BBQ, a chain barbecue restaurant based out of NYC, will open up shop in the former Melting Pot space near the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Its specialty? Carolina-style 'cue. [EPHL]

KING OF PRUSSIA — The King of Prussia Town Center, with all of its many restaurant tenants, will bring on Mission BBQ, a chain barbecue restaurant familiar with the PA scene (it's got four other locations throughout the state). [EPHL]

MAIN LINE — Restaurant couple Tara Buzan and Alex Hardy have already begun the build-out for their Wayne, PA modern American BYOB, At the Table. When it opens (late October, early November) guests will choose between a fully-customizable prixe fixe tasting or a regular a la carte menu. Expect modernist, tweezer-conducted food stylings. [EPHL]

KING OF PRUSSIA — The King of Prussia mall landed its first James Beard nominated chef in Scott Anderson, who is set to open a second rendition of his Princeton modern American, locavore restaurant, Mistral at the mall's front entrance. "Early 2017" is the expected opening. [EPHL]

SOUTH STREET — Quebec-based poutinerie, Smoke's Poutinerie, sets its eyes on Philly, opening a shop in what was once a Subway sandwich shop on the northeast corner of South and Leithgow Streets. Poutine, in all of its many ways, shapes, and forms, will make its South Street debut "sometime this fall". [EPHL]

NEW JERSEY — Vernick's sous chef Dominic Piperno is going out on his own, opening a wood-fired grill restaurant in Collingswood, NJ. There's no name or design just yet, but Piperno and his wife Lindsay hope to open by spring 2017. []

UNIVERSITY CITY — Philly's famed donut shop, Beiler's Donuts, has left the comfort of its nest in Reading Terminal Market to expand its presence in the Philly-area. With a brand new location already opened in Lancaster, PA, the Beiler's owners are looking towards University City for their second Philly location expected to open by early 2017. [EPHL]

RITTENHOUSE — Scarpetta, the posh Italian restaurant with locations in Vegas, Miami, and New York, is taking over the old Smith & Wollensky address overlooking Rittenhouse Square. Owners of the Scarpetta brand, LDV Hospitality, are aiming for a September opening. [EPHL] []

EAST PASSYUNK — PA-local vineyard Buckingham Valley opened a retail shop, Vin Cafe, serving wines by the bottle/case. Come September, it'll become more of a cafe with a menu of snacks and by-the-glass pours. [EPHL]

CENTER CITY — The fast-casual pizza chain &Pizza is opening its first outside-of-the-DC-area outpost on 15th and Walnut Streets (under The Cheesecake Factory) [EPHL]

MONTCO — P.J. Whelihan's, t he p opular suburban sports pub and wing spot is opening its 14th location in Oaks, PA. [EPHL]

RITTENHOUSE — Stephen Starr continues his Rittenhouse conquest, taking over the struggling Serafina on 18th and Sansom Streets. [EPHL]

CENTER CITY — Two life-long friends are opening a fast-casual, health-conscious restaurant smack in the middle of Center City, serving salads and composed bowls loaded with veggies and proteins of your choice. [EPHL]

SOUTH STREET — Kati roll experts Spice End opening a second location in the former Dickey's BBQ location at 7th and South Streets. []

POINT BREEZELa Mula Terca will be a Latin American street food BYOB led by Israel Nocelo and Arturo Lorenzo . [BillyPenn]

WASHINGTON SQUARE WEST — Italian BYOB Aroma is filling the void left by The Farm and Fisherman on the quaint Washington Square West corner []

NORTHERN LIBERTIES — CIA grads Todd and Laura Lyons are launching a fried chicken, pie, and comfort food restaurant called Love & Honey close to The Fillmore. [Foobooz]

UNIVERSITY CITY — Grilled cheese expert Milkhouse is opening a second Philly location in 30th Street Station, replacing Ben & Jerry's. [Foobooz]

EAST PASSYUNK — Heart of Lebanon will be the East Passyunk's first Lebanese restaurant by chef Youssef Masri. [EPHL]

ITALIAN MARKET — No frills Italian Market music joint to get a fry-bar. [EPHL]

EAST PASSYUNK — Manatawny Still Works chooses East Passyunk Avenue for its new tasting room and bar. [EPHL]

WASHINGTON SQUARE WEST — Northeast Philly's finds a new home (with a bar!) on 11th Street between Walnut and Locust. [EPHL]

WASHINGTON SQUARE WEST — After opening a bigger and better Kanella, Cypriot chef Konstantinos Pitsillides returns to his Spruce Street digs with a street food concept. [EPHL]

CENTER CITY — The Oyster House crew moves upstairs to open Mission, a Mexico City-inspired beer garden. [EPHL]

RITTENHOUSE — The old Astral Plane space at 1708 Lombard Street will be rebooted as Keen , a neighborhood restaurant by two Walnut Hill grads and industry-vet Randy Hoppmann. [ EPHL ]

EAST PASSYUNK — Filipino food finds its way onto the East Passyunk dining strip with Lou Boquila's Perla, a BYOB adjacent to Fond at the Singing Fountain. [EPHL]

QUEEN VILLAGE — Chris D'Ambro and Marina De Oliveira, new owners of Queen Village icon Southwark are opening an eency, high-end Italian BYOB right next door. [EPHL]

EAST PASSYUNK — Local roasters Rival Bros. to make their South Philly debut in the old Chiarella's space overlooking the Singing Fountain. [EPHL]

NORTHERN LIBERTIES — The Wahlburg brothers make their Philly debut this monthwith Wahlburgers in the The Schmidt's Commons. [EPHL]

SOUTH STREET — Banh Mi and Bottles, a Vietnamese restaurant and bottle shop by Tuan Phung, will open on South Street. [EPHL]

Watch the March 14 FYI Philly: Jose Garces, daughter launch plant-based venture

This week, we get in the kitchen with Chef Jose Garces and his daughter, Olivia, visit a South Jersey couple's new distillery, get a sneak peek at this year's Philadelphia Flower Show and end with a day trip to Ambler.

Video Transcript

KAREN ROGERS: I'm Karen Rogers.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And I'm Alicia Vitarelli. Tonight on FYI Philly, we get in the kitchen with Jose Garces and his daughter and visit a South Jersey couple's new distillery.

ALICIA VITARELLI: We've got a peek at this year's Flower Show.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And meet a woman cultivating a better life for herself and others. Plus day tripping in Ambler.

KAREN ROGERS: Hey, everybody. Welcome to FYI Philly.

ALICIA VITARELLI: We've done a lot of stories on Iron Chef Jose Garces, but never one quite like this.

KAREN ROGERS: Yeah. The man known for his meat focused menus has now come up with a new vegan concept.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And it was inspired by his daughter.

JOSE GARCES: Salt and pepper those guys.

ALICIA VITARELLI: 18-year-old Olivia Garces has grown up in the kitchen with her famous chef dad.

OLIVIA GARCES: We've been cooking since I was little.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And their time spent cooking together has only increased during the pandemic lockdown.

OLIVIA GARCES: Those look good.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Olivia's diet has changed as well.

OLIVIA GARCES: Since the beginning of the pandemic, I was eating completely vegetarian. It just makes me feel healthier and also environmentally it's more sustainable.

ALICIA VITARELLI: She had gone gluten free a few years ago.

OLIVIA GARCES: This one's mine.

JOSE GARCES: I decided to jump on board. I'm like, wow. This food is actually really tasty. Oh wow. When we had this opportunity to open this ghost concept, decided to name it after my one and only.

ALICIA VITARELLI: So Livy's Plant Based Foods. This is a vegan menu. So Livy, what's on it?

OLIVIA GARCES: We have a lot of vegan burgers and vegan sides.

ALICIA VITARELLI: There's the impossible double double.

JOSE GARCES: Two patties of impossible meat.

OLIVIA GARCES: Double double.

JOSE GARCES: With vegan cheddar, sriracha aioli.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Piled high with fries.

JOSE GARCES: Totally over the top. Really delicious.

ALICIA VITARELLI: What's your favorite thing on the menu, Olivia?

OLIVIA GARCES: I like the love burger.

JOSE GARCES: Yeah, love burger.

ALICIA VITARELLI: It's a quinoa black bean burger smothered in a smoked vegan gouda and topped with a soyrizo mushroom mix.

JOSE GARCES: I had my doubts about vegan cheeses. I'm going to tell you, these cheeses that we have, you won't miss a beat.

OLIVIA GARCES: That's heavy duty.

JOSE GARCES: This as a meal. We're not messing around here.

ALICIA VITARELLI: In the past year, Chef Garces has been leaning into the delivery based ghost kitchen trend.

JOSE GARCES: It's a lower barrier of entry from a cost point and allows you to kind of experiment.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Livy's Plant Based is not his only new concept.

JOSE GARCES: I've always had a passion for rotisserie chicken in particular, polla la braza from Peru.

ALICIA VITARELLI: So he created Rustika, specializing in brined and roasted chicken along with traditional Latin sides.

JOSE GARCES: Anything from empanadas, to chard corn--

ALICIA VITARELLI: The Iron Chef is working on another big project that will launch this summer.

JOSE GARCES: A Latin inspired retail, ready to eat, shelf stable meals.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Olivia is set to launch as well.

OLIVIA GARCES: I'm going to college in the fall. So I definitely need to learn a few things.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And the skills she's learned at the hands of one of the industry's best should serve her well.

JOSE GARCES: I'm a happy proud dad. That's all I could say. Good job.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And the chef's the Garces Foundation has been partnering with us for our Feed Our Food Workers fundraiser.

KAREN ROGERS: Yeah, distributing the meals made by the Philabundance Community Kitchen. Thanks to viewer donations and corporate donors, we have raised more than $111,000.

ALICIA VITARELLI: That's enough money to provide meals to restaurant workers in need through at least June. So incredible.

KAREN ROGERS: Now as we continue to celebrate Women's History Month, we're heading to Chinatown.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And a Burmese restaurant run by three women for nearly three decades.

- I will bring a rice for you.

KAREN ROGERS: Rangoon has been a Chinatown staple since 1993.

JENNY LOUIE: We just have 28th anniversary.

KAREN ROGERS: Owners Christine Gyaw, Chiu Sin Mee and Jenny Louie met 30 years ago after emigrating from Burma, also known as Myanmar.

JENNY LOUIE: When I came to this country, my first job is at the beauty salon. I met her and I met her.

KAREN ROGERS: The women bonded over their love of Burmese food.

JENNY LOUIE: All of us like to cook.

KAREN ROGERS: Opportunity knocked when a neighborhood restaurant closed.

JENNY LOUIE: Why don't we take over the place. And we want to start a Burmese restaurant. We want to introduce the Burmese food to Philadelphians.

CHIU SIN MEE: Farming country is a small country, very poor country. Our food, [INAUDIBLE]? I said, we don't care. We try it.

KAREN ROGERS: And they never looked back.

JENNY LOUIE: In Burma, a lot of women they just stay home as a housewife only. In this country, we can show our ability.

KAREN ROGERS: The restaurant features the distinct flavors of their home country.

JENNY LOUIE: Burmese food is exotic and very flavorful.

KAREN ROGERS: The menu is a collection of family recipes.

CHIU SIN MEE: Sister cook, Mom cook, Dad cook, and we put in a menu.

KAREN ROGERS: The tea leaf salad blends toasted chickpeas and lentils, sesame, tomato, peanuts, and cabbage.

JENNY LOUIE: This is a basil noodle.

KAREN ROGERS: It's rice noodles, chicken, and peppers.

JENNY LOUIE: We make our own seasoning sauce.

KAREN ROGERS: The chili shrimp stir fry can be as spicy as you like.

JENNY LOUIE: With garlic chili sauce.

KAREN ROGERS: And the thousand layer bread is a companion for every meal.

CHRISTINE GYAW: Actually, in Burma we called hundred layer bread. But when it come to America--

KAREN ROGERS: Because of the pandemic, they are doing takeout only.

CHRISTINE GYAW: Online and they can call and they can come to pick up.

KAREN ROGERS: The dining room filled with decor imported from Burma is closed for now.

JENNY LOUIE: Customer miss us and then we miss our customer too.

KAREN ROGERS: The pandemic has Mimi and Christine back in the kitchen cooking.

CHRISTINE GYAW: We don't have a chef. Our chef is go back to New York. So she's the head chef now.

KAREN ROGERS: Just like it was 28 years ago when they first started. And they are still going strong.

CHRISTINE GYAW: We put a lot of sweats and love into this establishment.

JENNY LOUIE: Like a system, we have fun, we have a fighting, we have tearing. There's a lot of things going on. But we're still very strong.

KAREN ROGERS: That thousand layer bread looks amazing, doesn't it Alish?

ALICIA VITARELLI: I am dying to try this. Now from dinner to drinks--

KAREN ROGERS: Yeah. And a South Jersey couple who opened their own distillery.

ALICIA VITARELLI: They named it The Striped Lion in memory of their first date at the Philadelphia Zoo.

ERIN WRIGHT: We had been joking for years about moving to somewhere warm and growing sugarcane and making rum. But then it started to become something that was maybe more feasible to do. At the very beginning, it was really a treasure hunt. Me and my husband spent the past 14 years learning a lot about rum and how it's made and how it's enjoyed. So we have a collection of more than 300 rums at our house. And we both came to the same conclusion that we had the skills and the know how and started looking for a place to start our project.

KEVIN WRIGHT: Going be starting a new fermentation today, 48 to 72 hours for the products that we're making now. And then for the next four days, you strip most of the alcohol off of that water. And then you put it all in for a spirit run the next time. From start to bottle, about 10 days.

ERIN WRIGHT: We have citrus rum, we have a cocoa rum, and then cinnamon rum. It's been interesting to go into this region because we're a rarity. And I think that people see that as a benefit. People want to support Black owned businesses. And people want to support small businesses. We're in a pandemic. So people have really started to focus on that. So even though the timing is not perfect, it kind of it's perfect. We make the most of what we have in this situation. And hopefully people who come out for whatever reason come and enjoy it and come back.

We're only open for reservations on Saturdays and on Sundays because we both still have day jobs. It's a lot of work and we're tired a lot of the time. But we're building something that we've dreamed of building for a long time. And it's really nice to do it. And we're doing it together. Cheers.

ALICIA VITARELLI: The Striped Lion Distillery is open for reservations on Saturdays and Sundays.

KAREN ROGERS: And we've got more info on our website. And what goes better with cocktails than pizza?

ALICIA VITARELLI: That's what I'm talking about. Every week in March, the chef owners at Cicala at the Divine Lorraine have been sharing some recipes with us.

KAREN ROGERS: It's a partnership with Portofino Italian tuna. And this week, pizza's on the menu.

JOE CICALA: Today we're going to make a classic pizza from Southern Italy. This is just a store bought pizza dough. We're going to start by dusting a table with flour. So to open the pizza, we're just going to push the air out into the crust, flip it, push it out into the crust.

GINA GANNON: Now chefs, could our viewers at home also use precooked dough?

JOE CICALA: Yeah. You can absolutely pick up one of those. Once we have the pizza opened about say like 12 or 14 inches, depending on the size of your pan, you can use a cast iron for this project. But today we're going to use this seasoned pan. And all we have to do is just brush it with a little bit of olive oil, use your hand to get the sides here.

GINA GANNON: And that's important so it doesn't stick. Correct?

JOE CICALA: It also helps with the browning too. We're going to a Chicago style.

JOE CICALA: I'm going to go with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella. Instead of shredding it, we got some really nice slices. I think it looks really nice as a garnish.

JOE CICALA: Yeah, give me one or two more. Then let's do maybe some artichokes.

ANGELA CICALA: These are canned artichoke hearts.

JOE CICALA: Yeah. You can get the jarred or the canned. Just make sure that you slice them in bite-sized pieces so they cook evenly. These are just roasted, or grilled, or sauteed mushrooms. Little black olives for good measure. Lastly, what we're going to do is we're going to take our Portofino tuna. What makes Portofino so unique is that it's packed with just tuna, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt. But what I love about it is that it's a whole fillet, which is really, really nice, especially when you're talking about pizza.

We're going to break it apart just a little bit in a bowl on the side. Don't worry about draining it because that olive oil gives it a really mild and rich flavor. And I'm going to season this with a little bit of classic pesto from Genoa. And we're just going to toss it.

ANGELA CICALA: This is a great way to get more fish into your diet. Because who doesn't love pizza?

JOE CICALA: A little bit of fresh basil as garnish. And then we're going to put it into a preheated 450 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. So here we have the pizza right out of the oven. Look at how well the tuna just melted into the pizza. It's a great way to elevate any pizza. Look at that.

GINA GANNON: Wow, that looks so delicious. I'm so jealous right now.

JOE CICALA: This is good. Really good.

KAREN ROGERS: You can find that recipe on our website along with a sweepstakes link.

ALICIA VITARELLI: That's right. You can enter for a chance to win Portofino tuna and a $50 gift card to Cicala at the Divine Lorraine.

KAREN ROGERS: And that gift card can be used for the restaurant's monthly pizza popups.

ALICIA VITARELLI: You may remember that Joe built a pizza oven in his backyard during lockdown and started making and selling pies speakeasy style to support the couple's furloughed staff.

ANGELA CICALA: It really took off. People loved it. So we moved it here to the restaurant.

JOE CICALA: This pizza will be making an appearance in our next pizza popup.

KAREN ROGERS: Sign up for the restaurant's newsletter to get word on when the pop ups are. And you can preorder your pies for pick up.

ALICIA VITARELLI: The couple also does recipe demos, including this one for focaccia. And if the recipe isn't reason enough to watch, Angela is making that bread in Tuscany. And the video includes some beautiful shots of the town of Montepulciano where Karen and I wish we were doing the show right now.

KAREN ROGERS: In my mind, I'm already there.

KAREN ROGERS: Speaking of beautiful, we've got details on this year's PHS Philadelphia Flower Show when we come right back.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And meet a woman giving back with greeting cards that celebrate her culture.

KAREN ROGERS: But first, here's an FYI for you.

- Venue opened in South Philadelphia last May as a takeout only operation serving elevated American bar food. Now as pandemic restrictions are easing, it could indeed become a venue for sports fans and concert goers at the stadium.

MING FILKILL: We have great burgers, [INAUDIBLE] this is our signature, we have our fried rice, wings, quesadillas, fun food.

- This week's FYI Philly is sponsored by Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board. Plan your visit to one of Montgomery county's main streets at

ALICIA VITARELLI: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to FYI Philly. As we celebrate the arrival of spring, we're also getting ready for the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, two things we couldn't be more excited for.

KAREN ROGERS: That's true. Now typically, of course, this is usually held in March. But we know this has not been a typical year. By early June, South Philadelphia's FDR park will be transformed into a garden oasis.

MATT RADER: We thought it was the perfect answer for a healthy, safe, and beautiful flower show.

KAREN ROGERS: The park's iconic gazebo on the banks of the lake will serve as the show's entrance garden.

SAM LEMHENEY: We're going to put flowers all over it. Jeff Letham, he's the florist for the Four Seasons, florist for celebrities all over the world. He is going to really bring that to life.

KAREN ROGERS: He'll stroll over the historic bridge to the design district, the huge lawn between the boat house and the Swedish museum.

SETH PEARSOLL: We have 27 gardens or floral sculptures.

KAREN ROGERS: The plant district will be on one side of the line.

SAM LEMHENEY: We have an all new plant gallery where we're having the newest, and the best, and the hottest flowers, and plants, that you can buy them right here right on the site.

KAREN ROGERS: The garden district will be on the other side.

SETH PEARSOLL: The garden district is a place where you're getting your hands dirty.

KAREN ROGERS: Subaru will host its popular potting parties outdoors this year. And there's a new class on beautifying those so-called hell strips.

SAM LEMHENEY: The hell strips are that strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the curb. And nobody really knows what to do with it.

KAREN ROGERS: There will be a gardener's grove too.

SETH PEARSOLL: And this is one of my favorite spots. It has this kind of enchanted forest feel.

SAM LEMHENEY: We're creating picnic baskets for everybody. It's a socially distanced safe way to eat.

KAREN ROGERS: With the pandemic, he just considered not doing a flower show this year.

MATT RADER: And we looked at the flower show as this incredible thing.

SETH PEARSOLL: To be able to just connect with friends or family in a safe way outside, it's relieving for the soul.

KAREN ROGERS: The theme is habitat, nature's masterpiece.

SETH PEARSOLL: All right, you ready?

KAREN ROGERS: And while this will be the first time in its 193 year history that the flower show will be held outdoors, it is not the first time it will be held in June.

MATT RADER: Very first one was in June actually during the week of this year's show in 1829 at Ninth and Chestnut.

SETH PEARSOLL: You can take what you've learned and put it right into practice. So we really close that gap between inspiration and action.

SAM LEMHENEY: Everybody's He's been inside for so long. So we're hoping that this flower show transports you to a different world.

KAREN ROGERS: Tickets are on sale now. And we cannot wait. You can find that link on our website.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Next, we meet a woman on a mission to cultivate a better life not only for herself but others as well.

KAREN ROGERS: And she's doing it through a line of Earth friendly greeting cards.

ALICIA VITARELLI: That celebrate her culture while also giving back to the community.

- Carmen Aranda's cultivate cards are little works of hand painted art.

CARMEN ARANDA: I've got everything from floral to some cupcakes, mountains, and fish.

- They're frame worthy keepsakes that can be enjoyed by anyone.

CARMEN ARANDA: One in English and one in Spanish.

- But with imagery that celebrates her culture.

CARMEN ARANDA: My dad is from Acapulco, Mexico.

- She makes cards depicting family members.

CARMEN ARANDA: Nana loved cheesecake so much.

- Along with symbols of her Mexican heritage.

CARMEN ARANDA: My ears are almost piercing as I hear the loud sounds of mariachi bands.

- Filling a void that she saw in the mainstream greeting card industry.

CARMEN ARANDA: Just wanting to figure out, how do I celebrate things that really identify with us specifically.

- And she's doing it in an eco-friendly way.

CARMEN ARANDA: 100% recycled material with the paper I use as well as the envelopes.

CARMEN ARANDA: Everything is watercolor.

- Carmen launched Cultivate Cards last fall as a full time grad school student with a full time job.

CARMEN ARANDA: A lot of my community was wondering, Carmen, how are you going to balance all of these things?

- But the art has become an avenue for self care.

CARMEN ARANDA: It's actually really fun when you're just in the zone after a long day because you're able to step away from the noise of everything else.

- She studied studio art in college. But when it comes to the greeting cards, she's essentially self-taught.

CARMEN ARANDA: It was about a year ago that I started thinking, gosh. How cool would it be to have a company? How much more incredible to have that company give back?

- She used her savings to launch Cultivate on Black Friday last fall.

CARMEN ARANDA: The inspiration came from this idea of wanting to cultivate a life that I am excited about. This is where I come alive.

- And Carmen created a monthly 10% give back program for local community organizations.

CARMEN ARANDA: This month I am partnering with Vamos Juntos. They're a South Philly community based organization that's helping immigrant specifically, the Latinx community.

- Her goal is to grow Cultivate to the point where she can build her community up.

CARMEN ARANDA: I'll know I've made it when I'm able to pay for another Latina's full ride to college. And I think that's also part of the success is believing that what you're doing matters. I'm thinking big.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Pretty Green Geraniums is the plant shop that first Carmen's cards.

KAREN ROGERS: Yeah. You can buy them blank or with a pre selected message.

ALICIA VITARELLI: We make it a day on Ambler's Main Street when we come right back.

KAREN ROGERS: But first, here's another FYI for you.

- Le Virtu on East Passyunk Avenue is back for outdoor dining as well as takeout and delivery. The restaurant inspired by Italy's Abruzzo region is serving dinner in Il Campo, its spacious patio and garden, seven nights a week doing brunch on weekends and making house prepared foods to go.

KAREN ROGERS: Welcome back to FYI Philly. Throughout the pandemic, we of course, have been staying close to home.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And there's also been a real push to support and shop local.

KAREN ROGERS: Yeah. The town of Ambler has really become a great day trip destination.

RACHEL RILEY: Main Street really makes up Montgomery County.

- Downtown Ambler offers a collection of walkable destinations.

RACHEL RILEY: There's so many different types of shops, really quaint unique boutiques.

- PureSpa has been an Ambler staple for 14 years.

MIMI BOURGEAULT: We are a full service day spa.

- The spa offers a variety of massages and facials.

MIMI BOURGEAULT: Everything that we offer is customized to the individual client.

- Hydra facials infuse a variety of serums based on a client's skin.

- This is three-step facial. It's deep cleanse, exfoliation, and hydration.

- Essential oils are part of the experience.

MIMI BOURGEAULT: The client chooses them based on how they're feeling that day.

- Your neck and shoulders? OK.

- The hope is to offer an outlet for built-up stress.

MIMI BOURGEAULT: During the pandemic, everything is elevated. Stress is clearly part of all of that.

MIMI BOURGEAULT: I want them to just--

- Looking for a bite to eat?

BOB ROSS: We have different dining areas.

- Bob Ross bought Gypsy Blue in June.

BOB ROSS: In the middle of pandemic, I decided to buy the biggest restaurant around.

- With 11,000 square feet, there is plenty of room for socially distant seating on the main floor.

BOB ROSS: You have to go through this bookcase.

- A secret staircase takes you to the second level.

BOB ROSS: This building is from 1893. And it was the Wyndham Hotel.

- The original mirror that graced the hotel still hangs and two outdoor patios are being utilized for dining.

BOB ROSS: The nicest part of the restaurant, I believe, is this beautiful deck.

- The menu has been revamped.

BOB ROSS: Upscale American comfort food.

- Crab cakes, shrimp tacos, and a loaded burger are a few of the highlights.

BOB ROSS: This is the hot mess.

- It's topped with cheese sauce, short rib, and a fried egg.

BOB ROSS: The specialty cocktail menu was created by Bob's son, Kevin.

KEVIN ROSS: Tastes like chocolate.

- The Italian after midnight mixes La Colombe espresso with Amaro and vodka.

KEVIN ROSS: Before dinner, after dinner, during dinner.

- This is Bob's first foray into ownership.

BOB ROSS: I've been in the restaurant industry for 43 years.

- With his family along for the ride, he is loving every minute of it.

BOB ROSS: We're having a lot of fun. We can't wait for the future.

- Cracking beer cans has become more common at Forest & Maine.

DANIEL ENDICOTT: We've been doing more beers than ever.

- The space has been a brewery and a restaurant since opening nine years ago.

DANIEL ENDICOTT: We're predominantly known for our saisons and British style beers.

- The owners closed the restaurant during the pandemic but kept the brewery humming.

GERARD OLSON: Be able to shift all our production from 100% nearly draft beer to 100% canned and bottled beer.

- The you look Forest & Maine is focused on takeout and delivery.

DANIEL ENDICOTT: It's a good way to stay connected with all those regulars.

- They also started self distributing to locations throughout the Philadelphia area.

GERARD OLSON: It's been great to see our audience expand a little bit.

- Over the last year, they've developed a slew of new beers.

GERARD OLSON: Lucid mitosis, New England style IPA.

- They brewed their first ever line of lagers.

GERARD OLSON: Star all the time lager.

- And released a mild wine in March including Beer in a Box.

DANIEL ENDICOTT: It's an old British style beer, low alcohol, low bitterness.

- The latest creation is an ode to Ambler, an IPA featuring the town's iconic theater.

DANIEL ENDICOTT: We're going to donate the proceeds to the theater, just our little way to give some money back to them and show some love from down the street.

ALICIA VITARELLI: You can find a link to all of those fun things to do in Ambler right now on our website,

- Something's special about you.

KAREN ROGERS: A very modern take on Shakespeare's "Hamlet" when we come right back.

ALICIA VITARELLI: But first, here's another FYI for you.

- There's a new exhibition at West Chester University that is a stunning showcase of post consumer waste. It's called Carnival of Ruin and includes costumes, sets, and props made from thousands of plastic bags, soda cans, hula hoops, bottle caps and repurposed clothing. The exhibit is open to the public March 22nd through the 26th by appointment only.

- This week's FYI Philly is sponsored by Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board. Plan your visit to one of Montgomery County's main streets at

KAREN ROGERS: Welcome back to FYI Philly. The Wilma Theater is putting a very contemporary spin on Shakespeare's classic "Hamlet".

ALICIA VITARELLI: All right, so it's still a tragedy about murder and revenge. But this time it has a focus on sexuality and toxic masculinity.

- This "Hamlet" is called "Fat Ham" and it's set in the American South.

LINDSAY SMILING: James Imes who wrote the play was curious about what happens if we introduced the queer narrative into "Hamlet" and make it Black family.

- "Hamlet" in this production is named Juicy. But for anyone who's ever seen the Shakespeare version, the plotline is very familiar.

LINDSAY SMILING: Juicy, in this case his uncle, kills his brother.


LINDSAY SMILING: His father. And marries his mother.

- Juicy is haunted by his father's ghost asking for revenge.

BRENNAN S. MALONE: There's a cycle of violence that keeps happening throughout the generations. Do I go on and keep doing what my father's done, my father's father's done? Or do I break the cycle?

- Juicy is struggling with his sense of self and his sexuality.

BRENNAN S. MALONE: You don't like the scar? He's trying to figure out where he fits in in this world, and his family.

- The digital production was shot on location in Virginia.

- Oh, he going to fight today.

- And explores the friction between traditional values and acceptance of self.

BRENNAN S. MALONE: It's just simply be yourself. Just choose pleasure over harm.

LINDSAY SMILING: Knowing that you have a choice in how you define yourself as a man in your sexuality.

KAREN ROGERS: The Wilma is streaming "Fat Ham" in April. We posted that link on

ALICIA VITARELLI: That's where you'll also find information on all of the stories we've brought to you in this week's show, along with the link to our Feed Our Food Workers fundraiser.

KAREN ROGERS: Partnering with Philabundance and The Garces Foundation, we've raised over $111,000 and counting to provide meals for restaurant workers struggling during these difficult times. We hope you'll give too if you can.

ALICIA VITARELLI: We really hope that you enjoyed this week's show as much as we enjoyed working on it. And guess what? Happy birthday, Karen Rogers. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Another--

Get Ready for Ceviche, Tacos, and Empanadas at the Food Market by Jose Garces

More details have emerged about Jose Garces' Latin American-themed food hall following yesterday's groundbreaking event. The still unnamed marketplace associated with Union Market and developer Edens is slated for 1270 4th St. NE. It will bring together an array of street food stalls, retail vendors, and residential units.

Chef Garces told Eater they're still in the process of figuring out the food details, but he has several ideas in mind. "What I want to do is create a great Latin American market experience," he says. A cevicheria with top-notch fish is a definite due to the chef's Ecuadorian background. He also hopes to offer pernil (roast pork shoulder), empandas, a taqueria with fresh tortillas, and a plancha bar.

There will also be some sort of full-service component in addition to street food-style eating with counters . Also expect retail like wine, cheese, and hard-to-find Latin American produce. "We're trying to create all these experiences in 20,000 square feet," the chef explains .

Some More Details from Jose Garces on His New A.C. Restaurants

A couple days ago, we put together everything we knew about the three new restaurants by the Garces Group that are opening at the Tropicana in Atlantic City. But as we get closer and closer to the actual opening date (which will be March 4 for all three properties), we’re getting more specific detail.

This time, from Jose Garces himself.

I talked to him today from the dining room at Olon, where he was overseeing the final run-up to opening. We talked about a bunch of stuff (including the opening of his new Buena Onda location at 1735 Chestnut Street, which should happen this summer, and the other opening that he’s keeping his eye on–of his new Manhattan restaurant, Ortzi, which is opening in Bryant Park later this month), but mostly we focused on the three new places: Olon, Bar Olon and Okatshe.

Broadly, all three of them will be opening to the public together on March 4. He’ll have Maria Schmidt on board as his chef de cuisine (she’s a serious Garces veteran with 9 years in the organization, who opened Distrito with Garces then went on to work at Amada, Tinto and 24) and Patrick Sterr (who started with Garces at Revel but hung on after the closures) as executive director of fine dining. And the reason for this sudden shift in direction with three completely new concepts, rather than installing restaurants he’s already comfortable with?

“We now have the luxury and ability to have this creative space,” he told me, talking about his new offices at 2401 Walnut Street and his Estudio test kitchen. He’s had that space for over a year now, and was making good use of it long before 24 opened to the public. “[Estudio gave us] the resources and the physical space to step outside a little bit.” These concepts–the Japanese street food and the Ecuadorian beach bar with its “really good pilsner beers, seafood and ceviche” were ideas that Garces had been kicking around for a long time. All they needed was the right moment and the right space. And as for putting them all into the Trop?

“Opposites,” Garces said. Like Tinto and Village Whiskey right next door to each other. The opportunity for discovery that it offers people. “I like creating that effect.”

Specifically, here’s what we now know about the three new outposts in the empire.

–Olon is a city in Ecuador–a beach town full of coastal seafood and beer. “I would go there when I was a kid,” Garces explained. And Olon, the restaurant, is inspired by his memories of that place, offering “a lot of recipes from my family, from my upbringing.”

–You’ll enter through custom-made gates and immediately see a 43-seat ceviche bar which is probably the thing Garces is most excited about. He explained that that’s where all the energy is–cutting the fresh fish, the marinades, the raw bar.

–The dining room is 128 seats with ocean views. And it was these views of the beach and the water that reminded Garces so much of his time in Olon. There will also be 40 seats available on an outdoor deck overlooking the beach, and some cabana-style seating as well.

–Beyond the ceviche bar (which will offer ceviche, natch, plus oysters, seafood towers, and a full raw bar), Olon’s full menu will offer steamed clams, crab cakes, jumbo fried shrimp and surf and turf plates, plus wood-fired Wagyu skirt steak, roasted chickens, jumbo gulf prawns, big-ass lobsters and plenty of crab.

–Olon will be open seven days a week, for lunch and dinner.

–Situated next door to Olon, between it and Okatshe next door, Bar Olon is Garces’s interpretation of the beer bars he knew in Ecuador. Fun, loud, casual, full of cold beer and seafood. “The experience there is really about beer, ceviche carts, these little food shacks on the beach.” And that was what he wanted to capture with Bar Olon.

–The bar will offer 16 draft lines plus 35 bottles. There’ll be live entertainment (on weekends at least), and a menu made up of some offerings from Olon’s ceviche bar, plus “some crispy fried things.” Which, as we all know, are the best kinds of things.

–The bar itself is double-sided and seats 60.

–There will also be seating in a lounge area around the bar and (from the press release): “Vintage looking fans provide a cool, “ocean” breeze with whimsical bongos and neon signage completing the nostalgic vibe. An elevated platform with tropical mural wall-hanging backdrop will serve as a stage for live entertainment.”

–The bar will also offer 20 wines by the glass, over 75 bottles, and eight cocktails.

–Garces went to Tokyo as an Iron Chef. Then, because he liked it so much, he went back later, with his kids. This idea for an izakaya has been in his head for a long time, he tells me. He just never found the right place for it. Until now.

–“With [Okatshe], I’m bringing all the things I really liked from Tokyo,” Garces said. And that doesn’t just mean the menu of yakitori, sashimi, ramen, maki and tonkatsu, but also the vibe. The feeling of the place, which he captured by trying to recreate a kind of “gritty, urban part of Tokyo” right there in the space.

–Guests will enter through a Japanese candy store. “It’s kind of an homage to Japanese packaging, and how creative it is,” he explained. Plus, it’s just cool. It’ll be a full retail shop and, behind one of the counters, there’ll be a door that leads into the Okatshe space.

–“I want people to kind of discover the restaurant,” Garces explained. Which I think is kind of awesome.

–Okatshe will seat 80 people, and will be a full, table-service restaurant.

–The menu? Glad you asked. Here’s the official word from Garces PR: “The full-service, 80-seat sit-down restaurant will serve a selection of small plates, yakitori, ramen, sushi and sashimi. Yakitori skewers include chicken, beef, pork, vegetable or seafood. Ramen noodles are served in three unique styles: Tokyo, light chicken and Dashi broth Tonkastu, rich pork broth and Okatshe, lobster dashi. Sushi, sashimi, and maki offerings include everything from scallop and wasabi tobiko to spicy rolls, black jack eel rolls, and the signature Tropicana roll.”

–Okatshe will also have a bar, offering a curated selection of Japanese whiskies, 50 varieties of sake, beers and specialty cocktails.

–The whole place will be open from 4pm until 2am, seven days a week. No reservations are taken. Personally, I can not wait to get drunk and stumble into this place at midnight on a Tuesday.


Garces Trading Company will officially make a grand return and debut this week as a brand-new, advanced ghost kitchen, restaurant hub and online marketplace. Fans of Chef Jose Garces will be able to order, for the first time ever, their favorite dishes from iconic restaurant brands such as Amada, The Olde Bar and Village Whiskey – all in one order and from one location for pick-up, take-out and delivery. When indoor dining shut down city restaurants this past week, Garces has consolidated all restaurant kitchens into one giant ghost kitchen and hub that will now operate out of The Olde Bar in Old City District. Patrons will be able to order, with one click of a button, their Garces favorites like The Olde Bar’s Crab Cake, Jeff’s Fried Chicken, and Crab and Corn Chowder Amada’s Pulpo a la Gallega, Albondigas and Jamon Serrano and Village Whiskey’s Village Burger, Baby Back Ribs, Golden Hot Wings and the new Bing Crosby Burger of the Month. Additionally, the new online marketplace will allow consumers to order cocktails, cocktail kits and beer to-go from The Olde Bar. Garces Trading Company also comes back with a massive robust selection of occasion family meals to go, online catering options smartly priced and designed for your current household (two or more), and an assortment of Garces pastries and baked goods only available before in the various restaurants. Dishes from Volver and J. G. Domestic are also making a reappearance – and look for other dishes from other iconic Garces restaurants to be added in the near future. The new marketplace also introduces new experiences – where patrons and their families can dine with a Zoom from Chef Jose Garces himself, make a Gingerbread House with Garces’ Pastry Chef, or enjoy Garces Cookies with Santa – with other experiences on the way. For ordering dinner tonight or this week a la carte, to place your holiday order, or to plan and sign-up for Garces experience, visit:

“We are excited to give new life to our beloved brand, Garces Trading Company,” said Chef Jose Garces. “We started catering out of GTC back in 2010, which grew into our full-service catering and events division, Garces Events. It’s fitting that our guests can now order their favorites from our restaurants and try our new heat and serve packages created out of this new massive ghost kitchen and restaurant hub. Just because indoor dining has caused a major impact on the city’s restaurants, we wanted to continue to bring our customers their favorite dishes and continue to operate as many brands as we could during this delicate time.”

Garces added, “We wanted a solution for our guests that was thoughtful and sustainable. We saw heaters as a limited time option, as at some point it’ll be too cold to sit outside. Creating unique dining experiences that make being at home, or any location post-COVID, more fun and enjoyable. While we do have a delivery partner to supplement busy times, but we are able to service guests who may not feel comfortable coming to the city and create employment opportunities.


Dine tonight with your favorite Garces dishes ordered a la carte and ready for pick-up, take-out, and delivery from Garces iconic restaurants. Order from one, two or three of your favorite restaurant brands!

The close of indoor dining in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania has caused restaurant and restaurant groups to pivot in all new ways during the global pandemic. Garces has consolidated all kitchen operations for The Olde Bar, Amada and Village Whiskey into their space in the former Bookbinder’s Restaurant – at 125 Walnut Street, in the heart of Old City. The kitchen will operate ghost kitchens for the various Garces brands in this giant kitchen hub that will showcase 8-12 dishes from each restaurant. Current selections

All items for dinner tonight, or this week, through the website will be available for take-out, pick-up and delivery through the Garces Trading Company website – which is then executed through Door Dash. Delivery is available for one fee – no matter how many restaurants you order from. Please note cocktails and beer are through The Olde Bar – and must be picked up in person – as they can’t be delivered.

In January, look for other Garces restaurants to be added to the mix – with exciting news and a virtual grand opening coming to start off the new year.


Garces Trading Company also acts as a brand-new innovative and robust online marketplace that will offer dozens of new packages and meals to go – where patrons can enjoy them in their home with two or more family members or household members.

“Our chefs had a blast developing these new Garces Trading Company at-home packages, from our twist on the classic Seven Fishes Christmas Eve tradition to hosting a birthday dinner or bridal shower brunch,” added Garces.

Let Garces do the cooking! Garces chef’s have curated heat and serve packages that allow you to spend more time friends and family. Follow the heating directions, plate and enjoy the things that really matter. Fans of Volver, J.G Domestic and other Garces restaurants can also look for their favorite dishes to start to return in packages on the site, as well, with more to be added!

Cheers to the season with a selection of our favorite small plates from Garces restaurants for the perfect cocktail hour! Includes: Family-style portions of Whipped Feta & Garden Vegetables (JG Domestic) , Bacon-Wrapped Dates (Amada), Crab Fingers (The Olde Bar), Shrimp Cocktail (The Olde Bar), Deviled Eggs (Village Whiskey), and Spanish Meatballs & Manchego-Stuffed Cherry Pepper (Amanda). $45 person, minimum two people. This meal requires 2 days notice

Don’t miss the action because you’re figuring out what to eat! Pre-order our Build-Your-Own Burger & Sides package from Village Whiskey! An 8oz Village Burger patty per person with toppings to build your own champion using: Cabot Sharp Cheddar, Roth Moody Blue Cheese, Bacon, Avocado, Caramelized Onions, Truffled Mushrooms, Tomato, Boston Bib, and Sesame Pain au Lait Rolls. Served with family-style orders of Golden Hot Wings, Cobb Salad, and Deviled Eggs. Order one day ahead for next day pickup or delivery. $30 per person.

Enjoy a trip to Spain from home with seven of Amada’s favorite Tapas. Family-style portions of Bacon-Wrapped Dates, Crab-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, Spanish Meatballs, Grilled Chorizo, Verde Salad, and Spanish-Style Tortilla. Finished with Chocolate Cream Puffs. Order one day ahead for next day pickup or delivery. $35 per person.

Other packages also include Classic Weekend Spread, Classic Brunch, Something for the Kids, Pasta Night and many others.

Add-on to the above meal packages any of the following baked goods and pastries:
• Caramel Apple Pie
• Bourbon Pecan Pie
• Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake
• Spanish-Style Cheese Cake
• Brown Butter Cheesecake
• Citrus Olive Oil Cake
• Assorted Muffins
• Cinnamon Sticky Buns
• Classic Cookies
• Pre-Portioned Cookie Dough
• Parker House Pull Apart Rolls
• Whole Wheat Pullman Loaf
• Seeded Multigrain Batard
• Sourdough Baguette
• Bloody Mary Mix 12oz

While in-person events are not possible, Garces presents the debut of new hybrid experiences sure to leave Garces fans excited to stay home. Look for a variety of virtual sessions with an &#[email protected] home” element that can be picked up or delivered right to your door.

* Chef’s Table Experience – This unique dining experience features a menu development session with a Garces chef. Choosethe Chef de Cuisine of your favorite Garces restaurant, or Chef Jose Garces himself, for a 30-minute virtual chat about your menu. Your selected Chef will provide a customized meal for you to Heat & Serve. Includes:
• 30-minute Zoom consultation call with the Chef of your choice to ideate your personalized menu
• 3 Small Plates
• 1 Salad
• 2 Main Plates
• 2 Sides
• 1 Dessert
• Signed Copy of the Menu

Chef Choices include: Chef Jose Garces, Chef Nathan Johnson (Director of Culinary, Garces Group), Chef Brooks Tanner (Executive Chef, Garces Events), Chef Joe Mikitish (Chef de Cuisine, Amada), Chef Jeffrey Grimes (Chef de Cuisine, Village Whiskey), Chef Sam Neuman (Chef de Cuisine, The Olde Bar) and Chef Ben de la Pena (Chef de Cuisine, Buena Onda).

* Garces Last Minute Santa Visit
Sunday, December 20, 2020, Between 10am & 2:30pm – custom times per group
Cookie pick-up by December 19, 2020
Virtual with in-person cookie pick-up ahead

Garces has a direct link to the North Pole! Treat the family with this new Garces holiday tradition – which includes a personalized virtual chat with Santa while he takes a break from the workshop to check his list. This virtual experience includes:

$45 per experience and includes Holiday cookies, personalized letter from Santa and 10 minutes with Santa. Add-on Morning Spread for $18 per person includes Sliced Fruit, Green Salad, Pastries & Jams, Deviled Eggs, and individual selections of Bagel (Plain, Onion or Everything) and Cream Cheese (Plain, Scallion, or Avocado Spread for +$2).

* The Gingerbread Man (12/19 at 2pm)
Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 2:00pm
Gingerbread House pick-up by December 18, 2020
Virtual with in-person Gingerbread pick-up ahead

Join Garces Executive Pastry Chef, Marko Krancher for an fun, interactive 45-minute group lesson in creating your dream gingerbread house. Includes:
• Gingerbread House Kit (please set pick-up or delivery date at least one day before 12/19)
• 45 minute zoom lesson on Saturday, December 19th at 2pm

Includes: 45 minute Gingerbread House Zoom Lesson on Saturday, December 19th at 2pm, and one Gingerbread Making Kit. Add-ons:
Completed Formal Gingerbread House +$80.00
Gingerbread Cookie Kit +$25.00
Holiday Hot Chocolate Kit +$12.00

Garces presents its first ever Hanukkah Dinner. Celebrate with a Chef-cooked Hanukkah dinner for $30 per person, minimum of 2 people, Ready-to-Heat with instructions. Includes: Family-style portions of Matzo Ball Soup, Crispy Latkes, Braised Brisket, Kugel, and Cinnamon Apple Cake.

* Amada Christmas Eve Dinner

Garces fans will still be able to enjoy this annual Christmas Eve tradition. Celebrate Christmas Eve with an Amada Tradition at home with you and your family. $55 per person for Turkey or $75 for Prime Rib, minimum 2 people, Ready-to-Heat, Instructions Included. Includes: Choice of Main to Share (Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Crust & Pan Gravy -or- Prime Rib with Bordelaise & Horseradish Crème Fraiche) Served With ALL of the following: Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Salad Verde, Bacon-Wrapped Dates, Whipped Bone Marrow, Parker House Rolls, and Holiday Cookies with Spiced Hot Chocolate.

* The Olde Bar Seven Fishes Christmas Eve Dinner

Enjoy a traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast cooked in the style of The Olde Bar! $67.50 per person, minimum 2 people, Ready-to-Heat, Instructions Included. Includes: Cured Hamachi Pastrami, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Curried Mussels, Crab and Corn Chowder, Bay Scallop Pappardelle, Lobster Pot Pie, and Tile Fish en Pappillote. Finished with a slice of 9-layer caramel chocolate cake with el Corazon curd and sea salt .

* Garces Trading Company Christmas Family Dinner

* New Year’s Eve (inspired The Olde Bar)

Want to keep it classy? Enjoy our classic Surf & Turf as you welcome the new year. Includes:
• Family-Style Portions of: Prime Rib with Bordelaise & Horseradish Crème Fraiche, Half Poached Lobster for each guest, Herb-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Artichoke Gratin, Green Salad with Grapefruit, Parker House Rolls, and Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake.

This menu requires 3 days of notice. $65 per person, Minimum 2 People. Ready-to-Heat (with instructions).

The new online marketplace is a dream come true for fans of Garces pastries and desserts. Currently the launch of Garces Trading Company brings access to the desserts of the various Garces restaurants to your door with options to order Pumpkin Butternut Pie (Ginger Walnut Streusel, Meringue Kisses, Maple Gelato), Cheese Cake (Spanish style cheese cake with passion fruit curd), Pasteles (Chocolate Pasteles with chocolate pastry cream), Baker’s Dozen Cookies (currently with chocolate chip, snickerdoodles and oatmeal raisin), Bourbon Pecan Pie, 9 Layer Cake (9 layers with caramel chocolate cake with el Corzon curd and sea salt), Brown Butter Cheesecake (Brown butter cheesecake with compressed apple cider apples) and Holiday Cookies (with 13 cookies featuring Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Linzer Raspberry Cookies, and Speculoos Cookies).


When patrons pick up their Garces Trading Company orders, they can also pick-up seasonal and signature cocktails from the Garces restaurant brands – including:

The Olde Bar Aged Egg Nog – A Premium Selection of Bourbon, Brandy, Rum, and Port, Blended with Eggs, Milk, and Nutmeg. Including Russell’s Reserve, Knob Creek, Elijah Craig, Remy Martin 1738, Copper & Kings, Paul Beau Cognac, El Dorado, Ron Zacapa, Rhum Barbancourt, Smith and Cross.

Partridge in a Spiced Pear Tree – Averell Damson Gin Liqueur, St. George Spiced Pear, Domaine De Canton, Lemon
Rose Gold – Vodka, Passionfruit, Rosemary, Angostura Bitters

Fsh House Punch – House Blend of Rums, Brandy, Peach, Lemon, Tea

The Olde Bar Sour – Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Disaronno, Lemon, Demerara, Angostura Bitters

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down – Citrus Vodka, Rosemary, Lemon

The above cocktails can be ordered online and picked up only. Servings are for two to ten, with various portion options available.

For beer to go, look for six to eight selections of draft craft beers, seasonals, cider and more – with this week’s selections include Sly Fox Pikeland Pils, 2SP Baby Bob Stout, Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale, Jack’s Cider, Ommegang Brewing: Game of Thrones My Watch Has Ended Draft, Dogfish Head 90 Minute, Naragansett Lager and Slyfox Helles.


Garces Trading Company is gearing up to also launch pantry items, gifts and baskets – starting with a Bartender Kit, Spanish Gift Basket, and more. Check back regularly to see what has been added – with more debuts to come in 2021!

For more about Garces Trading Company, please visit

To engage Garces on social, follow @garcestradingco on Instagram, and Garces Trading Company @garcestradingcompany-philadelphia

The Olde Bar, located in Philadelphia’s landmark Old Original Bookbinder building, is a seafood and cocktail bar steeped in the city’s nautical and culinary traditions. Serving oysters on the half shell, alongside a smart menu that features a modern twist on traditional seafood cuisine and a comprehensive cocktail and spirit list, The Olde Bar is at once a tribute to the city’s storied past and an updated version of one of our most beloved dining spaces.

Amada is Chef Garces’ iconic first restaurant. Since opening in 2005, the gorgeous rustic-chic restaurant and bar has embraced the rich traditions of Spanish cuisine. Amada’s capacious dining room features a six-seat chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen, a comfortable second dining room and lounge area, an intimate private event space and a spacious bar area reminiscent of a typical Spanish bodega, complete with hanging jamòns.

Featuring a comprehensive selection of more than 200 whiskeys alongside what has been called the country’s best burger, Village Whiskey is an instant classic. Envisioned by Chef Garces as a spot where he and his team could enjoy a drink and a snack after a long night in the kitchen, the restaurant’s focal point is the central bar that is home to their near-encyclopedic catalogue of Chef Garces’ favorite spirit, whiskey. Our able bartenders shake and stir classic and contemporary cocktails in a space evocative of a Prohibition-era speakeasy.

Jose Garces Opens New Fish Taqueria in Philadelphia - Recipes

There’s a lot on our plate this week: Lenten fish fries, word of a one-of-a-kind culinary collaboration, a revival for Pennsylvania rye, and plenty of restaurant news, including a slew of reopenings and a comeback of restaurant weeks.

If you need food news, click here and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Email tips, suggestions, and questions here. If someone forwarded you this newsletter and you like what you’re reading, sign up here to get it free every week.

In cod we trust: A Lenten tradition lives on

The Lenten tradition of the Friday fish fry lives on among churches and community groups. This story by my colleague Jenn Ladd officially is making me hungry.

A Philly-style collaboration at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Upstate New York’s Stone Barns Center has started a chef-in-residence program, and the first two chefs happened to be Philadelphians Omar Tate and Shola Olunloyo, who tell food stories of West Africa and the Black American diaspora. Completing the experience at Blue Hill at Stone Barns are ceramics made by Glenside artist Gregg Moore, writes critic Craig LaBan.

Reviving Pennsylvania’s once-celebrated rye

In the 19th century, Pennsylvania was as synonymous with rye whiskey as Kentucky is with bourbon and California is with wine. As late as 1937, brands like Rittenhouse were still touting “that same Pennsylvania ‘rye-ier rye’ flavor.” But the industry was battered by a changing American palate. Now, a network of farmers, distillers, and one particularly determined agriculture advocate/whiskey buff are working to change that, and Jenn writes that they’re starting with the grain.

Biscuits get a starring role on Rittenhouse Square

The Rittenhouse cocktail destination at 18th and Walnut has been reinvented as a bottle shop focused on natural wine and cocktails to go, and Craig thinks chef Eli Collins’ bake-at-home biscuits — offered as part of a small retail section — might be the sleeper item. I mean, just look at that breakfast sandwich he made from one.

Restaurant revivals

The pandemic did a major number on the local restaurant scene, particularly in Philadelphia, where occupancy restrictions were the most stringent. But with spring on the way and the city’s recent change of guidelines, restaurateurs are getting back in the game.

Osteria, closed since December, comes back to 640 N. Broad St. on Wednesday, March 3 with Ed Pinello as executive chef, as he’s moved over from Michael Schulson and Jeff Michaud’s Via Locusta. New “from the grill” menu the chicken liver rigatoni remains. Hours: 4-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3-9 p.m. Sunday.

Jose Garces brings back Tinto on Friday, March 5 as Tinto Pintxo, pairing a wine shop (open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday) with a Basque-style pintxo bar (open 4-9 p.m. Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, and noon-9 p.m. Sunday). Initial occupancy at 114 S. 20th St. will be only six customers outdoor dining is on the way. Menu includes paellas, olives, and other snacks bikinis (ham and cheese sandwiches) and a new “tins-and-toast” menu. Next door at 20th and Sansom Streets, Village Whiskey, with expanded seating, reopened recently.

Among the restaurants that recently restarted are Gigi Pizza, Barra Rossa, and South Philadelphia Tap Room.

White Dog Cafe in University City (March 3), Heritage (March 3), Libertee Grounds (opening indoors with food and mini-golf March 4), Jerry’s Bar (March 4), For Pete’s Sake (March 4), American Sardine Bar (March 4 as a soft reopening, March 10 grand reopening), Fergie’s Pub (March 5), Prohibition Taproom (March 5), Kensington Quarters (March 5), Vintage (March 5), Olly (March 10), Soup Kitchen Cafe (March 10), Soup Kitchen Cafe (March 10), Stratus Rooftop Lounge (March 12), Dos Tacos (March 16, delivery only), the Moshulu (March 17), Fond (March 17), The Dutch (March 17), Devil’s Den (March 18), Twisted Tail (sometime in March), Milkboy in Center City (sometime in March), Cicala at the Divine Lorraine (late March), Twisted Tail (late March), Silk City (March 31), Royal Boucherie (April 1), Choolaah Indian BBQ (early April), Southwark (May 1), and Ambra (May, with one table/reservation per night). In addition, Townsend “Tod” Wentz’s entire empire is looking at April revivals: Oloroso, A Mano, Townsend Rittenhouse, Townsend Wine Bar, and Pearl (with a new, yet-to-be-determined concept).

On the flip side: Neighborhood Ramen in Queen Village says it’s closing for about a month after this weekend. Right now, it’s dealing in ramen kits, available only by preorder.

Restaurant weeks are coming back

Restaurant week promotions, which have been largely sidelined for the last year, are also easing their way toward a comeback. This year, we’ll see the debut of a restaurant week in Northern Liberties, while Haddonfield will reprise its week for a second year. East Passyunk’s is happening right now.

Restaurant notes

Ben Bigler and Jeff Walcott of Soup Kitchen Cafe in Fishtown (coming back next week) are doing a casual vegetarian/vegan thing at Pom Pom (1425 Frankford Ave.), a bright, new cafe with a simple menu of mainly sandwiches and salads. They do an Impossible smash burger, a griddled greens melt that’s a riff on a Reuben but with kale instead of beef, and a charred-cauliflower salad. Particularly recommended is the black-bean veggie burger, which you can get with Cooper sharp or vegan “Cheddar.” Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Takeout and limited outdoor seating for now.

Rittenhouse’s Mission Taqueria will join the national tenants Starbucks, Saladworks, and Hissho Sushi as part of the food-hall options inside the two-story Giant supermarket opening March 19 at Riverwalk, 23rd and Arch Streets. Expect made-to-order tortillas from house-made masa, plus some grocery items and taco night kits.

Watch the video: Chilaquiles. Cooking Space. Chef Jose Garces (January 2022).