This week, I’m looking ahead at new restaurants for 2021, while critic Craig LaBan looks back at 2020. Meanwhile, Jenn Ladd has word on tasty carbs as well as good shopping news from South Philly.
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.
Looking ahead at the 2021 restaurant openings
The pandemic, devastating as it has been for the hospitality industry, apparently has had little to no impact on the number of restaurant and food projects on the books for 2021.
Why? I can explain as I run down more than two dozen in the city and suburbs, including two on the Main Line from chef Nicholas Elmi and veteran restaurateur Fia Berisha, as well as an urban winery in Kensington, a Di Bruno’s location on the Main Line, two Mexican restaurants in Kensington from the owners of Jet Wine Bar, a Mexican restaurant from Stephen Starr, a sandwich shop from the owners of SliCE pizza, a massive Victory Brewing Co. brewpub on the Parkway, and a Sugar Factory American Brasserie in Cherry Hill.
There is a painful side-effect, though: Few people are opening small BYOBs.
Our critic looks back on 2020
Critic Craig LaBan looks back on 2020 with incredulousness: “It almost seems frivolous to remember the culinary pleasures of the oblivious days early in the year before it all came to a halt with the pandemic closures in March,” he writes. “And yet, in a year that we hunkered down and struggled through the prolonged challenges of shutdowns, mass layoffs, mask politics, sickness, social justice awakenings, and social distancing, the story lines I witnessed playing out in Philly’s food world also showcased incredible beauty, resilience, and courage to temper the heartaches.”
Local bakeries without a storefront
So many carbs. The pandemic has shed a new light on — and given rise to — local bakeries without brick-and-mortar locations. Hop on Instagram and you’ll find plenty. Reporter Jenn Ladd tells the stories behind six of them.
Food co-op opens in South Philly after a decade of planning
It’s opening day at South Philly Food Co-Op after a 10-year wait. Jenn visited the store at 2031 S. Juniper St. Because lines are expected in the first few weeks, the co-op has ordered umbrellas to distribute to patient shoppers as they queue outside.
The Pennsylvania trout farm that supplies top restaurants
Green-Walk Trout Hatchery in Northampton County, in the foothills of the Poconos, supplies some of the area’s better local restaurants with fish. Craig breaks out his waders for a look at this remarkable operation.
John Taus, a well-traveled chef who won three bells from Craig at the old Snackbar near Rittenhouse Square, found himself out of work this fall when Kensington Quarters shut down temporarily. He’s landed very much on his feet at Rob Wasserman’s restaurants Rouge and Audrey Claire (and Twenty Manning Grill when it reopens), where he is now corporate chef. His first assignment is the Mediterranean menu at Audrey Claire, 20th and Spruce Streets.
Philadelphia is one of dozen cities nationwide that can get delivery from MrBeast Burger, a brand-new eatery fronted by the YouTube phenom. How is it? Won’t change your life.