We’re going up and out as we head into Memorial Day weekend with a look at dining options on rooftops, patios, and gardens, as well as a rundown of outstanding picnic spots. Read on for details about fine canned cocktails and news about two new barbecue eateries this week. Smoked watermelon, anyone?
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Head to a patio, or find a rooftop
Outdoor dining during pandemic times has involved setups on sidewalks and in streeteries, not always a peaceful, easy feeling. Colleagues Jillian Wilson, Bethany Ao, and Grace Dickinson offer more out-of-the-way ideas: The region’s rooftops, patios, and gardens.
Philly’s finest picnic spots
Although Philadelphia can seem like little more than a massive expanse of asphalt and concrete, we have plenty of woodsy, grassy areas to throw down a blanket and enjoy lunch, writes colleague Nick Vadala. Speaking of picnics in the COVID-19 era: What’s the best kind of ant to have at a picnic? Antibodies.
Canned cocktails are raising the bar
Canned cocktails are easily transportable, portion-controlled, and require no extra ingredients or bottle opener to enjoy. And as Grace Dickinson will tell you, they have an advantage over almost every other form of to-go cocktail — they’ll last for months in your pantry or refrigerator. Here’s where to get cocktails in a can.
Quick! Name all 13 animal shapes in this jug!
Colleague Jenn Ladd took on the sweet assignment of sharing an inside look at the D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Co. in York, Pa., home of the animal cracker for 150 years. Even old-time workers sometimes have trouble remembering the crunchy menagerie found in each jug: elephant, bear, buffalo, camel, cow, cat, donkey, goat, hippo, lion, horse, rhino, and tiger.
Upheaval in the beer world
Two members have stepped down from the board of Philly Loves Beer, the nonprofit behind the popular Philly Beer Week, as Jenn writes. This follows anonymous allegations of harassment, sexism, and racism at Tired Hands Brewing Company that roiled the craft beer community last week.
That’s a smoked watermelon, all right — brined, covered in spices, and smoked for many hours at Huff & Puff BBQ, soft-opening Thursday, May 27 at 246 S. 11th St., next to Middle Child and across from Thomas Jefferson University. Huff & Puff’s menu includes the familiar pit stuff but boasts novel twists (chicken-fried ribs) and specializes in a line of vegan dishes, including meatless brisket, pulled jackfruit, cauliflower burnt ends, corn ribs, and that smoked watermelon, which is sliced and served with sides. P.S. Smoked watermelon tastes nothing like watermelon — you’ll get hits of peppery seasonings and bite down into a somewhat crunchy texture. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday (translation: closed Wednesday).
BBQ came to KOP this week in the form of Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue. It’s an offshoot of the Flatbush Avenue destination that opened in Mistral’s old spot beneath Grand Lux Cafe on the Route 202 side of King of Prussia Mall. Unlike most pit-stops, Morgan’s is full service with a bar stocked with eight beers on tap (many locals) and a solid bourbon/whiskey/rye list. Smokehouse faves include a massive beef rib from chef Cenobio Canalizo’s J&R smoker, plus fatty brisket, pork ribs, smoked turkey, candied bacon, various mac-and-cheeses, tacos, and two signature platters — the Holy Trinity (brisket, pork ribs, house-smoked sausage) and Three Pigs (pork belly, pulled pork, pork ribs, slaw, and potato salad). Plus fried Oreos on the dessert menu. Indoor/outdoor seating. Hours: noon-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Reserve on OpenTable.
More BBQ options can be found in our recent roundup.
Also new this week:
Bar Amis’ location at the Philadelphia Navy Yard (4503 S. Broad St.) has been refitted by owner Urban Outfitters as an indoor-outdoor bar-restaurant with beer garden called Gatehouse, after its location at one of the historic base’s gatehouses. It’s in soft-opening mode, running weekdays only, closed Memorial Day. Official opening is Tuesday, June 1. Online presence is not yet there, but here’s a menu. Count on weeknight happy hours (4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3-6:30 p.m. Friday) whose discounts include $10 burger-and-pint specials), trivia from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, and live music 5-8 p.m. Wednesday.
Bagels & Co. rolls out softly on Friday, May 28 at 1001 N. Second St. in the Piazza in Northern Liberties, across from a Starbucks. It’s a Brooklyn-style bagel shop from Glu Hospitality, whose nearby holdings include Vesper DayClub and Germantown Garden. Full line of bagels. Cream-cheese spreads include rarities such as birthday cake, chipotle, horseradish dill, and bacon cheddar, plus sandwiches. Drinks include coffee and espresso as well as Red Bull coolers, which feature the energy drink poured over ice and sweetened with Monin syrup. Between that and the birthday cake cream cheese, my teeth are chattering.
Cicala at the Divine Lorraine (699 N. Broad St.) has just reopened, with indoor dinnertime seating Wednesday-Saturday. Valet is not being offered yet.
Parx Casino reopens its massive beer garden, now known as the Liberty Bell Beer Garden (since it’s adjacent to the Liberty Bell Gastropub), on Wednesday, May 26. It runs from 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and from noon on Sunday, rain or shine thanks to the retractable roof and walls. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Parx also redid its Lucky Cheese stand into a build-your-own burger outlet called Burger-Vana.
Cocktail destination Hop Sing Laundromat (1029 Race St.), closed since March 2020, marked its ninth anniversary Monday, May 24 with a private party at which attendees were asked to show their proof-of-vaccination cards — which very well may become A Thing going forward. HSL’s owner, who goes only by Lê, says the bar will reopen, likely this summer.
Forest & Main of Ambler says it’s building a larger brewery and will move its pub from its quaint house on Main Street to new digs nearby at 33 E. Butler Ave. No timeline has been announced.