Another year! 2022 was a busy one, judging by the 70-plus restaurants that opened. Also this week, we look at the future of the city’s streeteries, offer tips if you’re hosting a New Year’s party, and drop big news about one of Philly’s hottest chefs.
👀 Stay tuned for my 2023 Philly-area dining preview, coming next week.
💡 Get a restaurant gift card recently? Use it, pronto. Given the volatility of the restaurant industry, it will do you no good if it sits in a drawer.
🔽 Read down for a quiz.
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2022 in Philly dining, digested
Luxury was in. But so was low-key. South Philly, Kensington, and Fishtown were hot. But so were Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, and Conshohocken. Mexican cuisine flourished, as did Turkish and vegan. The 2022 restaurant scene in the Philadelphia region was full of openings, and I run down more than 70 here.
(Above is Redcrest Kitchen, a cozy newcomer and current personal favorite at Sixth and Bainbridge Streets in Queen Village. It had to overcome a watery challenge shortly after the lease was signed.)
Food banks have more demand, and the worries are mounting
“We don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” one emergency food services executive told my colleague Erin McCarthy. Food pantries and programs everywhere are continuing to struggle as inflation has driven up demand and, in some cases, driven down the overall number of donations. Here’s how to help.
What’s to become of Philly’s streeteries?
Philly restaurants are reluctantly dismantling their streeteries ahead of a city crackdown. No licenses have even been approved yet. Colleague Max Marin looks at the rules that restaurateurs must follow if they want to continue. 🔑
How to host a New Year’s Eve Party
Hosting a get-together this weekend? Colleague Hira Qureshi chatted up Daniel Solway, a sommelier who knows how to create fun, both low-key and not so low-key. I mean, you could bring out a porrón, one of those Spanish drinking vessels from which you pour something straight into people’s mouths.
Need a NYE party that ends early? Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery in Pilesgrove, Salem County, N.J., will run a pay-as-you-go event Saturday, Dec. 31. Its shop opens at noon, offering wine, cheese baskets, soup, and more. During the party, from 7-9 p.m., you can order a Ravello wood-fired pizza, enjoy a fire pit, make s’mores, and sip a Ruby Port hot chocolate. They’ll screen the movie Charade, which will be accompanied by Erik Marley Jazz Trio, and hand out favors. You’ll need to reserve.
Drinks: Homemade coquito and a Mummer-theme ‘tea’
This time of year, Facebook groups flood with requests for coquito, the Puerto Rican beverage made of coconut cream, spices, and rum. Colleague Beatrice Forman talked to a few sellers, who make it from prized recipes.
Members of the Fancy Brigade Association said they felt the Mummers needed a drink of their own. They’ve partnered with Montgomery County distiller Kiki Vodka in making the 12-ounce cans of Mummers Row Philly Tea, and colleague Ximena Conde has the story.
If dry cleaning bills or at least washing machine use is rising in South Jersey, one reason may be the opening of the sleek Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao in Towne Place Shopping Center on Haddonfield Road near Route 70 in Cherry Hill. It’s the third location (first in the Philly area) for the Queens, N.Y-rooted specialist in Shanghai-style xiao long bao, which are dumplings filled with soup. (Tip: Lift up the dumpling in a spoon and nibble off just the very end, letting the scalding broth flow out into the spoon while you let the dumpling cool. Your first attempts may be messy.)
NXXLB, which the Michelin Guide recommended a few years ago, opened a Manhattan shop, near the Empire State Building, over the summer. The open kitchen is a fun visual.
Can’t make it to Cherry Hill? No problem. Xiao long bao are fairly common, especially in Philly’s Chinatown (Dim Sum Garden and Tom’s Dim Sum are two favorites). Craig has you covered in his dumpling round-up, too.
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao, Towne Place Shopping Center (901 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill). Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Amina in Old City is launching a Wednesday night fundraiser featuring $5 glasses of prosecco available with the restaurant’s fried chicken basket entree ($26). All of the proceeds from prosecco sales will benefit the African American Museum of Philadelphia through the end of March.
Chef Amanda Shulman of Her Place Supper Club not only is marrying fellow chef Alex Kemp Roussy in 2023, but the two of them are opening a restaurant at 20th and Walnut Streets, a six-minute walk from Her Place.
The Bulletin Building across from 30th Street Station, aka the Brandywine Realty Trust’s Schuylkill Yards development, will get a food hall from Urbanspace, a New York-based developer of public markets. There will be room for 16 national and local vendors, none of whom have been named. It’s due to open in late 2023.
That quiz I promised you
Veteran distiller Andrew Auwerda has opened a bottle shop in Center City that offers brands of small-batch spirits not sold elsewhere in Pennsylvania. What’s it called?
B) Gin & Juice
C) Spirits & Hooch
Think you know? Read about it here.