How cutting edge. Center City now has an ax-throwing parlor. And there's food and alcohol involved.
Read on also for a tasty happy-hour option in the 'burbs, a solid bruncherie in South Jersey, and a days-old Japanese restaurant specializing in robatayaki cooking.
Competitive axe-throwing (or, ax-throwing, as the AP Stylebook insists) has been a thing here for three years, since Urban Axes targeted Kensington for the region’s first venue. Like other team-building sports (bowling, virtual golf, etc.), it’s spread far and wide (King of Prussia, Doylestown, the Far Northeast, Southwest Center City, Cherry Hill, Glassboro).
Now it's come downtown with Kick Axe Throwing, a range, founded in Brooklyn by former Neshaminy High math teacher Ginger Flesher-Sonnier, that's taken the long-vacant former Tangerine restaurant at 232 Market St. in Old City. She popped open the door Monday, and is planning a May 3 grand opening.
Unlike most ax houses, which are lightly decorated former warehouses, Kick Axe has style — a ski-lodge feel with extensive taxidermy; comfy seating in the lounge, neon signs bearing various ax puns (“Nobody axed you”); and 10 throwing ranges that can handle 12 people. And opposed to the BYO policies at most others, Kick Axe offers food and alcohol (beer and wine, plus flatbreads, quesadillas, nachos, brisket sandwiches, empanadas, seared ahi tuna, gluten-free chicken tenders, and wings). Liquor is also available for special events.
Bincho | Queen Village
Flamez Pizza | Blackwood
Wood-fired pizzeria grand-opens April 27 at 75 S. Black Horse Pike.
Goat House Creamery | Elkins Park
Coffee, ice cream and crepes at 7908 High School Rd. Opens at 6 a.m. weekdays.
Independence Beer Garden | Historic District
Season 6 of the open-air beer garden across from the Liberty Bell on Independence Mall West begins April 25.
Kick Axe Throwing | Old City
Ten Asian Food Hall | Rittenhouse
Poke, bubble tea, ramen, Korean fried chicken, and hibachi all come together at 1715 Chestnut St., next to the new Cava and Paris Baguette. It's an offshoot of one that opened last fall at 706 Haddonfield Rd. in Cherry Hill.
Track 3 | Dresher
Microbrewery and coffee shop in one at Dreshertown Plaza (1650 Limekiln Pike).
Laos Cafe | South Philadelphia
Laotian BYOB on West Passyunk Avenue near Philip's Steaks closed just shy of its first year.
N2 Sweet Cafe | Chinatown
Ice cream shop at 11th and Cherry Streets says it's looking for a new location.
Ocean Harmony | Chinatown (temporary)
New facade is being installed; expect a reopening, with a new menu, in late May.
Pour House, 29 Airport Square, North Wales; 116 N. Pottstown Pike, Exton; 124 Haddon Ave., Westmont: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 p.m.-midnight Sunday
With 40 taps and TVs galore, this energetic suburban sports bar chainlet from the folks behind P.J. Whelihan's is a solid happy hour option — especially on a Sunday night when there's a game on.
Discounts are deep, with $3 for a Miller Lite and $4 Allagash Whites and a house IPA; $5 mixed drinks; and $2 oysters, $4 pretzel bites, $6 crab dip, and the $6 eminently cravable short-rib cheese fries.
Bincho, 228 South St., 267-534-3774.
The Japanese grilling style known as robatayaki, which came to local prominence with Double Knot in Washington Square West, is the specialty of Bincho, a sleek, mod Japanese restaurant that opened this week at 228 South St. For nearly three decades, the address was the Knave of Hearts, which had sat empty for 18 years.
Bincho is a partnership of Brian Calhoun, who for two decades has operated the Haagen-Dazs shop on the same block, and Sat Ly, whose family owns Levittown’s popular Hong Kong Pearl.
The dining room, framed by French doors that face both streets, is set up around a U-shaped counter.
Bincho’s robata grill, headed by chef Jackie Luo, turns out a small-plate menu of mainly seafood (scallops, hamachi collar, mackerel) and vegetables (shishito peppers, grilled avocado, asparagus, king oyster mushrooms). Beef, seafood, and other proteins are showcased in ice in a case built into the counter.
The menu also includes yakitori (chicken wings, liver, meatball, etc.), sashimi, and a couple of rolls, though by no means it's a sushi bar. Figure on about $50 per person for a modest fill-up. Right now, it’s BYOB, though a liquor license is in the works.
Hours: 5 p.m. till late daily.
Roots Cafe, 28 S. Church Rd., Maple Shade, 856-316-3963
Rachelle and Kevin Johnson channeled mod Jersey diner when they opened Roots Cafe in Maple Shade's former Forno pizzeria last fall — a farm-housey dining room with chipper service and fairly priced, made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch menus.
Like most of today's diner-ish BYOBs, Roots — unrelated to other, similarly named eateries in the region — keeps early hours.
We grooved on the breakfast sandwich with pork roll, egg, and cheese and the a veggie skillet (eggs, potatoes. mushrooms, peppers, onions, asparagus, broccoli — mozzarella cheese added on to the one shown here).
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. daily.
Where do we sign up? An Arcadia University class teaches college students to appreciate beer — and to brew their own.