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Outdoor dining in the wind and rain? Why not. | Let’s Eat

Also: Word of new restaurants, fall cocktails, and free snacks for early Philly voters.

The Liberty Bell Beer Garden at Parx Casino has retractable glass panes in the ceiling, a unique restaurant design that is particularly well-suited to handle the need for outdoor dining.
The Liberty Bell Beer Garden at Parx Casino has retractable glass panes in the ceiling, a unique restaurant design that is particularly well-suited to handle the need for outdoor dining.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

With cold, miserable weather approaching, what’s a restaurateur to do? We answer this question and share a crop of new restaurants this week.

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Michael Klein

How to offer outdoor dining in foul weather

We did a poll recently to ask whether you’re comfortable with dining indoors during the pandemic, and the answer was a resounding no. That said, what can restaurateurs do to weather the wind and rain? Reporter Jenn Ladd found three creative solutions to the problem, including igloos. (Just FYI: Alaska allows its restaurants to be open indoors at 100% capacity.)

Fuel the Vote: Snacks for early voters

Pat’s King of Steaks, Osteria, Federal Donuts, Angelo’s Pizza, Vernick Food & Drink, and Starr Restaurants are teaming up with the Committee of Seventy, League of Women Voters, and the Voter Project to bring snacks to people who show up to one of the city’s designated early polling sites from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. Locations: Philadelphia City Hall Room 140; A.B. Day School (6324 Crittenden St.); the Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St.; Roxborough High School, 6498 Ridge Ave.; Tilden Middle School, 6601 Elmwood Ave.; Julia De Burgos Elementary, 401 W. Lehigh Ave.; and the Creative and Performing Arts High School, 901 S. Broad St.

P.S. I’m hearing of some excellent snacks, such as Buddakan’s dip sum donuts at City Hall, Frankford Hall’s Bavarian pretzels and El Vez’s chips and salsa at Creative and Performing Arts, and Parc’s croissants in the morning at City Hall.

New restaurants

Rittenhouse Row has expanded the hours of its “outdoor dining rooms,” effective Oct. 14, from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Sunday, weather permitting. The street zones are on 18th Street from Locust to Walnut (Parc, Devon, Rouge, Via Locusta, PS & Co., and 1701 Steaks & Seafood); on 18th Street from Walnut to Sansom (,, Bar Bombon, HipCityVeg, The Love, The Dandelion, and Tria Rittenhouse; and the 1500 block of Sansom Street (Giuseppe & Sons, Harp & Crown, Oscar’s Tavern, 1518 Grill, Oyster House, and Mission Taqueria).

To round up some recent and imminent restaurant openings:

Autana Authentic Venezuelan Food (6 Station Rd., Ardmore): New. Pickup and delivery of mandocas, empanadas, arepas, patacones, and the like Thursday to Sunda out of the old Ardmore Station Cafe.

Bloom Southern Kitchen, 123 Pottstown Pike, Chester Springs. Opening Thursday, Oct. 15 at the old Eagle Tavern, this is a graciously appointed Southern-style farm-to-tabler from chef Michael Falcone and restaurateur David Backhus, who also have Oori near Pottstown. Indoor dining and takeout.

Buna Cafe, opening Saturday, Oct. 17 at 5121 Baltimore Ave., fuses Ethiopian and American cooking with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m. daily.

The Daily, 699 N. Broad St. (entrance on Fairmount Avenue): A new coffee shop at the Divine Lorraine, billed as the first of several projects from chef Natalie Maronski and partners. Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Indoor dining and takeout.

eeva, 310 W Master St., opening Thursday, Oct. 15, is an expansion of ReAnimator Coffee’s Kensington flagship with naturally leavened wood-fired pizzas, a few salads, natural wines, beers, and eventually a full bakery. Open Thursday to Sunday. Takeout only for now.

El Purepecha opens Thursday, Oct. 15 in the former Brick & Mortar/Johnny Mañana’s space at 315 N. 12th St. This expansive Mexican cantina, now with a bar, grew out of a snug spot nearby at 10th and Buttonwood Streets. Indoor dining, takeout, delivery.

Federal Donuts, 21 S. 12th St., is now open in East Market inside the new Canopy by Hilton. This location has espresso drinks in addition to the doughnuts and fried chicken. Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Takeout.

Fitz and Starts, Fourth and Fitzwater Streets, is a retooling of Hungry Pigeon with a somewhat more casual menu. Outdoor dining, takeout, delivery.

Jane’s Tea House, 602 Station Ave., Haddon Heights: I just found this cute tea room, which opened in August in the former longtime Station House. Open for indoor dining — breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea.

Ken Love’s BYOB, Third Street and Fairmount Avenue, opens Monday, Oct. 19. It’s a revamp of Jaxon BYOB, whose chef, Paul Zelinsky, is now the owner. American menu, sidewalk dining. Open for dinner Wednesday to Monday, but is expected to also serve Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Morea, opening Monday, Oct. 19 at 110 S. 11th St., is a stylish bar-restaurant companion to Wrap Shack next door. Open for lunch and dinner, indoor and outdoor.

Nourish, routed from South Street by fire in September, resurfaces Friday, Oct. 16 with vegan eats at 943 S. Ninth St.

Pizzata (240 S. 22nd St.) pairs two seasoned pizzaioli at the former Gusto near Fitler Square. Takeout.

Keep an eye on The Inquirer’s Food page for more, and follow my adventures on Instagram.

A dance club for the pandemic age

Center City’s Concourse Dance Bar, where customers once frolicked in a ball pit, gathered at the bars, and danced till 2 a.m. on a packed dance floor, can have none of that in the pandemic era. The 15,000 square feet of space tucked downstairs behind 1635 Market St. has been temporarily redone as what owners call a “sensory experience” that maintains the social aspect of club life down to the dancing, lighting, and Instagramming opportunities. There’s an ice room for literal chilling, but no ball pit for now.

Cocktails (and one mocktail) in the fall spirit

We could all use a drink this fall, writes Adam Erace, who spent the better part of 2020 working with Lee Noble, Art in the Age’s resident mixologist, on The Cocktail Workshop, a recipe book for ambitious home bartenders. It’s inspired him to flex his drink-mixing muscles, and he’s come up with three original cocktails, one of which contains no alcohol, that are tuned to autumn with flavors like apple, pumpkin, and brown butter.

What’s next for Stephen Starr?

In early October, Stephen Starr closed his two Atlantic City restaurants, both branches of the Continental and Buddakan. He also shuttered the Old City Continental pending a redo expected next spring. His initial pessimism about the state of the biz during the pandemic has yielded to what I’d call reserved optimism. He has more irons in the fire, including two new ghost kitchens.