There’s a pandemic going on, but many restaurants that had been in the works for months are still on the way. Also this week: Black Is Beautiful beer, an Indonesian feast packed into a pizza box, empanadas at the Jersey Shore, and word on more fun coming to the riverfront.
Word of closings across the Philadelphia area never ends, the pipeline of significant new projects has mostly dried up, and the outlook for the industry is grim. Even so, the show is going on for owners who had planned to open before the shutdowns. Mindful of commitments, investments, and other expenses, restaurateurs are moving forward to complete their projects, though they are vexed by the uncertainty. I offer a first look at Steak 48, a splashy steakhouse at Broad and Spruce Street; The Wayward, a polished brasserie that plans to open its outdoor patio next week; Clementine’s Stable Cafe, an all-day cafe/market eyeing an Aug. 10 debut at 631 N. Broad St.; as well as seven others, including a Stephen Starr restaurant that’s finished but won’t open till next year.
A craft beer was brewed in Philly to support Black Lives Matter, and it’s already sold out. Reporter Brandon T. Harden tells how a handful of local brewers made Black is Beautiful beer at Callowhill’s Love City Brewing. It’s the local offshoot of a project started by Weathered Souls Brewing Co., a Black-owned brewery in San Antonio, Texas, to bring awareness to the ills of police brutality and social injustice.
Pizza is one of chef Diana Widjojo’s favorite foods. That, plus the challenges of a pandemic, sparked the inspiration for the #NotPizza box. At Hardena, her family’s Indonesian restaurant in South Philadelphia, she’s using a pizza box to pack up a version of rijsttafel, the classic multidish meal, to go, as critic Craig LaBan writes.
Craig LaBan writes that he’s had some of his best Jersey Shore meals over the years at the Red Store in Cape May Point, which has resorted to takeout for survival. It’s a good thing that the Argentina-born chef Lucas Manteca’s vast repertoire of empanadas is destination-worthy. Manteca offers at least eight varieties, including breakfast empanadas stuffed with house chorizo.
Charisse McGill, who specializes in bites of French toast, foresaw disaster when the pandemic forced the cancellation of public fairs that had been her bread and butter (as it were). Then the organizers of Spruce Street Harbor Park came calling, and now she’s back in business. This year, she’s offering French toast-flavored shakes.
FCM Hospitality will open not one, not two, but three open-air eateries, cafes and beer gardens along the waterfront on Friday, July 24, effectively extending Penn’s Landing north from Spruce Street Harbor Park to Race Street Pier.