City Tavern, The Moshulu, Nomad Roman, Moriarty’s, Dmitri’s. The roster of temporarily and permanently shuttered restaurants includes some impressive names — and memories, which readers shared with us. Also this week: Iron Hill’s new brewery, the best in bar tools, last-minute New Year’s Eve tips, and the reason why a chef disrobed and adorned herself with five pounds of pasta.
Let me take this chance to thank you, on behalf of our Food staff (editor Jamila Robinson, critic Craig LaBan, and staff writer Jenn Ladd), for being a part of our world. We’re optimistic that we’ll get through this, and we can’t wait to share with you what’s on the other side.
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.
Memories of restaurants gone
Auld acquaintance should not be forgot. We refer to restaurants that closed in 2020, many because of the pandemic. With each departure, a hole is left in the fabric of its neighborhood, in the hearts of customers who cherished it, and in the lives of workers who relied on it. We asked Inquirer readers to share their memories of the restaurants that have temporarily shuttered and those that are gone for good, and they have delivered some poignant stories.
Just to refresh your memory, here is our running list of the closings.
And while the mood in the industry is gloomy, restaurants are still opening around here.
We’re tracking more than two dozen newcomers in the first half of 2021, as well.
Not all restaurants ordered to close are actually following the mandates.
Your guide to New Year’s Eve
We’re eager to say farewell to 2020, too. This New Year’s Eve will look different — there will be no major fireworks extravaganza on the waterfront, and the New Year’s Day Mummers parade is canceled, just for starters — but there are still lots of ways to ring in 2021 in the Philly area. Jillian Wilson and staff writer Jenn Ladd have rounded up the best parties, events, restaurant takeout, and more for your celebration. Loving the celebration planned for Lebanon, Pa.: It’s a bologna drop, live-streamed on the city’s Facebook page. Godshall’s Quality Meats will donate the loaf to the Lebanon Rescue Mission.
Cheers! Where to buy high-end bar tools
It’s a given that a great cocktail needs top spirits. But don’t sleep on the bar tools. Having the right barware — including shakers, spoons, glassware and supersized ice cubes — can make that homemade cocktail taste on-par with the one you order at your favorite bar. Columnist Elizabeth Wellington has the best places to buy barware in and near Philadelphia.
Iron Hill gets into the canning business at its new location
On the eve of its 25th anniversary, Iron Hill Brewery has opened a production brewery in Exton — one large enough to brew 20,000 barrels annually, roughly 20 times what one of its brewpubs can make in a year. It’s also canning beer for the first time. This location is also billed as an Iron Hill TapHouse, a more casual spot where customers walk up to the counter to order, as Jenn explains.
Last month, five chefs posted in the buff for a social-media campaign run by Revivalist Spirits’ Scott & Don Avellino benefiting Pennsylvania hospitality workers through the Hospitality Assistance Response of Philadelphia. The photos, by Kevin York, are a riff on the old Vita Mix ads. The Avellinos are donating $1 for every like or share on Facebook and Instagram, and the campaign raised $5,000. They Avellinos are doing it again, and the models are chef/author/TV personality Hope Cohen (bedecked in five pounds of cold spaghetti di Grangnano) and chef Patrick Feury of Nectar in Berwyn. See @therevivalistgins for info.
Dates to look forward to include Jan. 4, when dining rooms in Pennsylvania aside from Philadelphia may reopen. Dining rooms are closed in Philadelphia till Jan. 15, though some activities may resume Jan. 4, including museums, outdoor sports, gyms, outdoor catered events, and in-person high school classes.
Lauren Biederman has set a Jan. 15 date for the opening of her smoked fish emporium, Biederman’s Specialty Foods, at 824 Christian St.