We get by with a little help from our friends. That applies to Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan, who crowd-sourced some worthy takeout restaurant options in the suburbs. Read on for Craig’s list, as well as reports on the green light at a long-delayed food co-op, the cancellation of a summertime happy-hour staple, and your new-found ability to order caviar from Jean-Georges.

Also: Keep an eye on Inquirer.com for word on Pennsylvania’s cocktails-to-go bill. The state Senate is expected to pass it Wednesday, and Gov. Tom Wolf is supposedly on board. This move would give a shot in the arm to struggling restaurants and bars by granting them temporary authority to sell mixed drinks for pickup.

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.

Quality takeout food options in the suburbs

Sushi from Bluefin in East Norriton is popular for takeout.
Yong Kim
Sushi from Bluefin in East Norriton is popular for takeout.

With the stay-at-home order in effect since mid-March, critic Craig LaBan feels stymied by geography, as he hasn’t been venturing too far from Center City for his eating adventures. (You know the drill: Food does not always travel well.) But he has plenty of suburban friends and colleagues who offer recommendations and advice, and Craig lays them out for us, area by area. A few of the ideas are included in his suburban dining guide, as well, such as the luscious burger from Ripplewood in Ardmore, the sushi from Bluefin in East Norriton, and the seasonal flavors from Andiario in West Chester.

Long-delayed food co-op intends to open during pandemic

Leigh Goldenberg, president of the South Philly Food Co-op board, outside of the future store at Juniper Street and Snyder Avenue.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Leigh Goldenberg, president of the South Philly Food Co-op board, outside of the future store at Juniper Street and Snyder Avenue.

Backers of the South Philly Food Co-op have been waiting for the dream of a community-owned grocery store to become a reality seemingly for eons. Much progress has been reported: 1,250-plus members have signed up, more than $1 million in capital was raised, and ground was broken a year ago. The elusive grand opening may be on the way, despite the pandemic, writes Jenn Ladd.

Caviar and blini! Four Seasons opens for takeout

The caviar egg, as served at Jean-Georges at the Four Seasons Hotel.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The caviar egg, as served at Jean-Georges at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Restaurants are slowly returning to offer pickup and sometimes delivery. Among the new options are Le Virtu, Spice Finch, and the Four Seasons Hotel, which offers dishes from the menus of Jean-Georges and Vernick Fish (alas, without the view).

Online sales spike at Pennsylvania liquor stores

Curbside pickup is one option from Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
Curbside pickup is one option from Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores.

Since Pennsylvania’s Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores were closed for much of April, online sales helped consumers get that bottle.

Center City District Sips won’t happen this year

Center City District Sips drew thousands to a hundred or so downtown bars.
Matt Stanley for Center City District Marathon
Center City District Sips drew thousands to a hundred or so downtown bars.

To the surprise of no one, the coronavirus crisis has led to the cancellation of Center City District Sips, the Wednesday happy-hour promotion that would have begun its 17th season in June at a hundred or so bars and restaurants.

Camille Cogswell is a best new chef from Food & Wine

Pastry chef Camille Cogswell with her wares.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Pastry chef Camille Cogswell with her wares.

Camille Cogswell already has a James Beard Award on her shelf. Now, the executive chef at K’Far (and exec pastry chef at Zahav) is in the 2020 class of best new chefs from Food & Wine.

Eli Kulp on the way back

Chef Eli Kulp records the CHEF Radio podcast at Radiokismet's studio near 10th and Spring Garden.
Christopher Plant / Radiokismet
Chef Eli Kulp records the CHEF Radio podcast at Radiokismet's studio near 10th and Spring Garden.

Chef Eli Kulp, whose personal and professional lives were shattered in the 2015 Amtrak derailment, hosts the CHEF Radio Podcast. Last week, he launched his first CHEF Radio Podcast web summit. The three-part livestream series, called Seizing This Moment, is discussing the importance of social impact and community leadership in restaurants as the industry starts to rebuild after COVID-19. Jump in next week for the finale.

Handy resources