Philly’s BYOB scene has a bright newcomer right across from the Betsy Ross House. Sew, what else is happening? A new Center City bar that Harry Potter would feel right at home in, a fresh way of looking at salads, and a loving au revoir to a grand dame of the dining scene. Plus, we have a Jersey Shore sub-shop mystery on our hands.

But first, a quiz:

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has lost a court case over wines directly shipped to restaurants, as colleague Harold Brubaker explains. In that spirit, do you know the top-selling wine in Pennsylvania?

A. Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill

B. La Marca Prosecco

C. Barefoot pinot grigio

D. Blue Nun

Click here for Harold’s article, and read on down for the quiz answer.

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Mike Klein

Craig LaBan reviews Olea in Old City

Olea, a fairly new Old City BYOB, impressed not only critic Craig LaBan but his visiting food-writer friends, who were “tickled that a 32-seat dining room could thrum with such energy, intimacy and quality food.” The primary source of the thrumming is gregarious co-owner Luis Pedrago — “a living, breathing, table-tapping part of Philly restaurant history himself.”

Harry Potter would feel right at home at this new bar

With all kinds of wizardry, including working magic wands (!), The Cauldron in Washington Square West might be the coolest bar in the city. Imagine a high school chem lab, but it’s decorated like some low-lit fantasy out of a Rowling novel. Quite a hands-on experience. You get to make your own drinks under the guidance of a potion master.

Leaf behind your old impressions of salads

Salad is the unofficial food of diet culture, that persistent and damaging idea that fatness must be avoided at all costs, writes contributor Emily Christensen in an engaging reported essay. “These days,” she says, “I’ll pass on watery, uninspiring, and mostly fat-free bowls of greens, but a salad is one of my favorite things to prepare and to eat.” She’ll tell you how to do it right.

Jeannine Mermet, 1928-2022

Way back, before Le Bec-Fin, Jeannine Mermet and another woman, Janine Etienne, created Janine et Jeannine, a pioneering French restaurant on Head House Square. This was 1966. This led to La Truffe, which enjoyed 25 years in Old City, plus others. Jeannine, who fled the Nazis as a teen, died last month at 93. Her story sounds like a movie.

More sad news: Catherine Seisson, who left a big-pharma career to open the French bakery La Baguette Magique in downtown West Chester in 2015, has died of cancer in France. She and her husband, Patrick, sold the business to the owners of the nearby restaurant Andiario in 2019 as she faced treatment. She was 57.

Some Philadelphia Starbucks locations vote to unionize

The labor movement is reaching Philadelphia’s Starbucks locations. Employees at four shops have voted to unionize — with workers at two stores voting unanimously — joining a wave of newly organized Starbucks across the country, as colleague Jenn Ladd writes.

Restaurant report

Where Fergie goes, crowds follow. Fergus Carey and Jim McNamara, longtime bar owners, have opened The Jim. As in, “Back in a little while, babe. I’m going to The Jim.” Meanwhile, your elbow is getting the real workout at the snug, brand-new corner bar in South Philadelphia. The food menu starts next week — a collection of noodles, dumplings, and Korean fried chicken.

Briefly noted

Sack O’ Subs in Ventnor is “closed till further notice.” What’s that about?

Charlie was a sinner. in Washington Square West is marking Pride Month with a Mattachine 76, a riff on a French 76, in tribute to one of the first gay-rights organizations in the country, the Mattachine Society. Owner Nicole Marquis describes: butterfly pea flower-infused vodka, Champagne, lemon, and some “queer magic.” One dollar from the sale of each will be donated to William Way.

Homemade by Bruno’s Janine Bruno, who recently opened her gelato shop and pasta-making space in South Philadelphia, will make lemon berry gelato push-pops and sell them to benefit a Ukrainian charity at a pop-up on Thursday, June 2 beginning at 2 p.m. at the former Le Bus at 129 S. 18th St. in Rittenhouse. The push-pops ($10) will mirror a Ukrainian flag and be available until sellout. Proceeds will benefit Temple University student Kateryna Koshevoy’s Wild Dove Foundation.

Le Cavalier in Wilmington will participate in National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday, June 3 by donating the day’s profits to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

La Collina in Bala Cynwyd will reopen June 9 after an ownership switch. Enzo Valent has sold to the partners behind Otto by Polpo, among others.

We’re playing favorites: Here’s our guide to the best bagels in Philadelphia.

Opening: Friday, June 3 will mark the launch of Essie’s in Clementon, Camden County, a long-planned restaurant/bar/live-music venue from Mike and Cherie Gillespie, who plan a Southern/Creole menu. Stay tuned for more.

🍩 And for your waistline: National Doughnut Day is Friday, June 3. Duck Donuts will give out free cinnamon sugar doughnuts (no purchase necessary); Dunkin’ is giving out a free classic doughnut with the purchase of any beverage; Krispy Kreme will give out a free glazed doughnut and/or a dozen original glazed doughnuts for $1 when purchasing a dozen; and 7-Eleven is offering buy one, get one doughnut from June 3 to June 5.

Earth Bread & Brewery, the Mount Airy brewpub that hewed to a mission of sustainability, will close after business July 1, just shy of its 14th anniversary. “The challenges and struggles of the past 2½ years have caught up with Earth,” say owners and spouses Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver. It’s business as usual till then. Meanwhile the couple are partners in Francisville’s Bar Hygge and its Brewery Techne, still going strong after six years.

What you’ve been eating this week

Townsend EPX, chef Tod Wentz’s date-night destination on East Passyunk, has begun an a la carte bar menu, where we found @bababooooey enjoying escargot and bone marrow. And what would a fish taco dinner be without a sweet ending? The budino at La Calaca Feliz in Fairmount was just the ticket for @sshubitz.

❗ The quiz answer: It’s B. La Marca Prosecco. The state sold 677,355 bottles of the sparkling wine in the last fiscal year, a take of $10,177,625.

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