Ever so slowly, the region’s restaurants are reopening for outdoor dining. For many people, it’s a major decision. Inquirer critic Craig LaBan took the plunge over the weekend, and his story addresses many questions surrounding it.
Also this week: a few recipes worthy of a Juneteenth celebration, a look at wines from black-owned wineries (the three we’ve found that can ship their wares to Pennsylvania addresses), and a look at a popular Italian restaurant that set up a grocery store on its ground floor.
“Would we be safe? Would it be worth the risk — both for diners and the restaurant staff coming back to work? What could I touch? How would we pay? Who would pour our BYO wine?” A few of many questions facing outdoor diners, including Craig LaBan, who recounts his first restaurant bite in three months — a family dinner at L’anima in South Philadelphia.
We checked in on all 25 of Inquirer critic Craig LaBan’s suburban restaurant favorites from his 2017 Dining Guide — dedicated to the Philly suburbs — to see who’s open during the pandemic. Rest assured that Doug Henri is still putting out superior barbecue, with stepped-up social distancing, from his joint in Folsom, N.J.
Meanwhile, the City of Philadelphia is putting restaurateurs on notice: Do your outdoor dining right, or we will shut you down.
Looking for outdoor dining? I’ve started a spreadsheet with dozens of options. If you don’t see your favorite, add it.
Friday is Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of enslavement in the United States. Philadelphia is one of the cities with the longest history of celebrating it. Even in this year of social distancing, there will be virtual festivals and pop-up takeout dinners that acknowledge the contributions and ongoing struggles of African Americans. We’ve rounded up three recipes, including this gorgeous salad from chef Tiffani Rozier.
EMT Tamekah Bost got into the food business by reaching back into her childhood memories of the egg rolls that her grandmother made for her and her siblings. Then she opened the Better Box (a takeout spot in Northeast Philly), and then a food truck, and last weekend she opened a second eatery in Spring Garden.
Gran Caffe L’Aquila came to Philadelphia after the devastating 2009 Abruzzo earthquake. Now, the Italian restaurant is dealing with a seismic shift of a different kind: the pandemic. Owners have converted the ground-floor cafe into a grocery store/beer and wine shop that also exists as a web store. The popular coffee and gelato remain.
Sunday happens to be both National Smoothie Day and Father’s Day, and so the Planet Smoothie in Horsham will offer free 16-ounce Lunar Lemonade smoothies to all graduates (of any level), and buy-one-get-one 16-ounce Lunar Lemonades for all dads. It starts at 10 a.m. at the franchise location at 575 Horsham Road (in the Horsham Corner Shopping Center).
Saturday marks the opening of a Jersey Shore-based Playa Bowls shop at 1804 Chestnut St.