Roast pork and cheesesteaks tend to overshadow the venerable hoagie in today’s Philly sandwich scene, but we love them all the same. Get into the NCAA Sweet Sixteen spirit, and vote in our bracket. Also this week, Honeysuckle Provisions offers breakfast meal kits, Dîner en Blanc is coming to the Jersey Shore, and we ask that burning dining question: “Are you Del-aware?”
❓ But first, a quiz:
City Tavern, the colonial-theme restaurant in Old City, is being prepared for a comeback after it closed in 2020. Who owns the building?
A) Stephen Starr
C) The U.S. government
D) TriArtisan Capital and MFP Partners, parent company of TGI Fridays
Pick your favorite hoagie in our bracket. Call it Munch Madness.
Which Philly shop makes the best hoagie? In the spirit of the NCAA tournament, we’ve set up a bracket of 16 fine contenders for the title, chosen with help from critic Craig LaBan. (We’re specifically comparing Italian hoagies, to level the playing field.) On April 5, we’ll name the winner and tell you the hoagie favorites of such local notables as Gritty and Mayor Jim Kenney. Meanwhile, go online now to pick your favorites.
While we’re on a roll here, how about sinking your teeth into this roundup of 22 of our favorite hoagie shops in the city.
Meanwhile, I’m looking for your favorite hoagie shops in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs. Send your favorites (including sandwich of choice) my way, please.
Honeysuckle Provisions offers breakfast meal kits
Chefs Omar Tate and Cybille St. Aude are moving closer to their goal of opening Honeysuckle Provisions, a planned cafe, market, and community center in West Philadelphia built around a celebration of Black food culture. Craig writes that the couple has been connecting with the public by producing breakfast box meal kits featuring some of the provisions, crafted largely from ingredients raised by local Black farmers, that will be staples. The breakfast sandwiches that Craig made from his breakfast box are eye-opening.
Dîner en Blanc is bringing its party to Atlantic City
Dîner en Blanc, the popular “chic picnic” event that draws thousands of white-clad diners to Philadelphia and other cities at a mystery location, is coming to Atlantic City. My colleague Amy Rosenberg explains how the town’s mayor, an event planner in his previous career, worked with his personal videographer to land the hot-ticket event.
Craig LaBan explores 4 restaurants in the Wilmington area
Are you Del-aware? There’s an unmistakable hum of new dining energy in Wilmington and its outskirts right now. After visiting four restaurants — Bardea, Le Cavalier, Snuff Mill, and the House of William and Merry — Craig now wonders why he waited so long to check them out for himself. For other things to do while in town, check out our guide to some local activities and hot spots.
The new Wilder goes big
“We decided to go big,” said chef Brett Naylor of Wilder, the restaurant he opened this week with his wife, Nicole Barrick, near Rittenhouse Square. It’s 150 seats over three floors, two full bars, an open pizza kitchen, crudo and raw bar, and a 25-seat private dining room. And a big menu from chef Bob Truitt. Big design, too. How about a vintage Persian rug that was first sewn together and then sculpted to the walls?
These crab cakes, served with a warm corn relish over arugula, may be familiar. They’re made by chef Dan Brodeur, who with his wife, Debbie, operated Brodeur’s on Main in downtown Media from 2005 to 2009, followed by Anthony’s Caterers at the IATSE Ballroom, the popular party venue in South Philadelphia.
Thousands of crab cakes later, the Brodeurs and partners last week took over the former Lucky Dog Saloon in Conshohocken (previously Spamps) as Daniel’s.
The vibe says “suburban,” but in a good way. The Brodeurs kept the layout: tin-ceiled, TV-topped bar with seating and high-tops off the entrance, plus dining room next door behind leaded glass. (And they kept a terrific server named Vanessa Johnson from Lucky Dog.) Besides the crab cakes, best sellers so far are the filet tips (with mushrooms and hazelnut cream in puff pastry, topped with toasted pine nuts) and the 12-ounce New York strip (served with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach, and the most expensive entree, at $39). You can also go the sandwich/burger and salad route.
Happy hour, with seven dishes and drinks for $7 each (sliders, mac and cheese, wings, etc.), runs from 4-6 p.m Wednesday to Friday, and a late-night bar menu from 10 p.m.-midnight starts this weekend. Mother’s Day is the target for brunch.
Daniel’s, 16 E. First Ave., Conshohocken. Hours: 4-11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, and 4-9 p.m Sunday.
Prunella, a pizzeria from Michael Schulson, opens Wednesday night at 13th and Sansom Streets. Lots of pizza and Schulson in that part of town.
Mochi Ring, a franchise specializing in mochi doughnuts and Korean corn dogs, opens a Center City branch on Friday, March 25 at 102 S. 21st St., where Rione was before its move next door. That’s a soft opening, befitting a doughnut shop. The grand opening is noon-7 p.m Sunday, March 27, with a free doughnut for every purchase. (The shop in Jenkintown is under different operators.) New locations are on the way to the Jefferson Hospital area and to Cherry Hill.
Delco Steaks’ 2022 Cheesesteak Bowl, running the afternoon of Saturday, March 26 at Splash Swim Club (2705 Sunset Blvd. in Broomall), will be emceed by former Eagle Brent Celek. The eating contest, with associated fun and frivolity, is a fundraiser for the Headstrong Foundation.
Barstool Sports Bar opened last weekend at 1213 Sansom St. with three bars and some controversy.
Fitz on 4th will replace Fitz & Starts at Fourth and Fitzwater Streets. Got all that? (It has some controversy of its own.)
The Sisterly Love Collective (part of Les Dames d’Escoffier Philadelphia), chaired by Jezabel Careaga, Jennifer Carroll, Jill Weber, Ellen Yin, and Robin Broughton Smith, is hosting “Sisterly Love Work / Shop” in partnership with The Deacon in recognition of Women’s History Month. The summit, a first of its kind for the collective, will take place on Monday, March 28 and it will be capped by a reception that evening.
Stock, the Vietnamese-inspired eateries first in Fishtown and then also in Rittenhouse, is gone. “While feeding our community has been an honor over the years, we came to realize that the restaurants were not built to weather a 2+ year pandemic for a lot of reasons,” wrote founder Tyler Akin on Instagram.
Pinefish, the seafood bar at 12th and Pine Streets, has closed, just shy of six years. Owner Peter Dissin is opening Fayette Street Oyster House & Grill next month at 128 Fayette St. in Conshohocken, most recently Tierra Caliente.
Penn campus favorites Abner’s Cheesesteaks and Koreana, which share a building at 3801 Chestnut St. in University City, will close this spring, following the recent shuttering of Sitar India next door. The site will become a high-rise to house high-tech offices and labs. Some trivia: Abner Silver, the late owner of the Jim’s Steaks location at Fourth and South Streets, owned Abner’s but sold it in the early 1990s. Koreana has a second location, at 37 S. 19th St., near Rittenhouse Square.
What happens when The Dutch’s stick-to-your-ribs stylings migrate from Pennsport into the former Fond space across from the Singing Fountain at East Passyunk?
Hearty breakfasts, lunches, and now dinners, plus cocktails, wine, and beer, in a somewhat more refined setting. Chef Kevin Watters (below, now a partner with Lee and Jessie Styer) put up a savory chicken and gravy Dutch baby — hey, that rhymes! — a pot pie-like situation with a sunny-side-up egg on top (above).
You can get the breakfast-y Dutch babies at night, too. The Fond favorite chicken liver mousse with pickled red onion, and the Fond pork belly are on the dinner menu, as well, along with probably the only fish and chips around that uses skate wing; two kinds of mussels; steak frites; and for dessert, malted milk chocolate ice cream topped with Jessie Prawlucki-Styer’s outrageous peanut brittle.
The Dutch, 1537 S. 11th St., is open for breakfast/lunch from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dinner: 3-9 pm. Wednesday-Friday and 5-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
What you’ve been eating this week
Sulimay’s, which has been feeding Fishtown from 632 E. Girard Ave. almost since before it was cool (that’s 2002), is a favorite of @geemtriste. She has a special affinity for the vegetarian Benedict, which includes sauteed baby spinach, avocado, paprika, and a poached egg and Hollandaise on a Merzbacher’s Philly Muffin.
@noahgrantlevine swung over to Northeast Philly’s mini-Chinatown (that’s Cottman Avenue just east of Roosevelt Boulevard) to Magic Noodles (2833 Cottman Ave.). The ramen specialist’s Mount Qi pork noodle soup is a warming bowl of pork, long beans, carrots, bean curd, black fungus, cilantro, scrambled egg, and scallions in spicy beef beef broth.