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Philly’s loveliest street dining | Let’s Eat

Also: A Halloween-themed pop-up bar in time for spooky season, a great take on Hawaiian pizza in Wyndmoor, and restaurant news from around town.

The yellow bike and floral arrangements designed by Maindencreek Co. in front of La Casita at Bar Bombon.
The yellow bike and floral arrangements designed by Maindencreek Co. in front of La Casita at Bar Bombon.Read moreAlex Cahanap

It’s Wednesday and that means another full plate from The Inquirer’s food team. This week, we have a look at some of Philly’s nicest spots for street dining, three new additions to our list of favorite burgers, and word about a new Stephen Starr restaurant in Center City. There’s also a poignant report about food insecurity in our community.

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Michael Klein

Philly’s most beautiful streeteries

Streeteries have come to signify a lot of different things. To diners, they’re beautifully decorated alcoves where we can eat safely and comfortably while watching the world go by. To restaurants, streeteries are a lifeline, allowing them to add seating when indoor dining capacity was limited. Contributor Kae Lani Palmisano found seven special outdoor spots worth a look as fall approaches.

Whom food insecurity harms the most

The pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity for households with children, particularly among Black and Hispanic people, as colleague Alfred Lubrano reports. “There are major problems with the way we treat children and the way we treat Black and Latino families in America,” said one researcher. “We fail to protect those who need the most protecting.”

Aloha, Hawaiian pizza

Hawaiian pizza gets a bad rap, and I get that. Tomato sauce and cheese enveloping hot chunks of canned pineapple? Then I tried the sweet Leilani from the brand new Terra Nova Woodfired Pizza & Grill in Wyndmoor, and aloha. Well-traveled chef John McLaughlin, who learned the art from one of the best Italian chefs around, Pete McAndrews, makes a tomato-mango chutney, which hits the zingy pepper jack cheese, sweet grilled pineapple, and smoky chunks of bacon on his 12-inch neo-Neapolitan crusts. Other varieties include a white pie with goat cheese, herb-roasted mushrooms, and umami mushroom sauce; a roasted chicken and Gouda with barbecue sauce and fried onion; and Buffalo chicken with a spicy sauce, Gorgonzola, and celery heart. There are honey-wheat crusts as well as a gluten-free crust (though it’s a shared kitchen). It’s takeout only. And how about that: Little Wyndmoor, a slice of Springfield Township just over the city line from Chestnut Hill, now has three pizzerias, after Tony’s Pizza City and Enza down the block. (There’s also the new Yankee Chipper, a regulation Irish chip shop, around the corner.) Hours: noon-8 p.m. Sunday, 4-9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Tuesday.

Sad news on the pizza front as the lovely 19 Bella, tucked off Skippack Pike in the Montgomery County burg of Cedars, has closed.

More cheeseburgers we love

Our field guide to the tastiest burgers in Philly has been updated. We added three more, including this double-smash with raclette-covered panisse at Forsythia in Old City. (Oh, and get this: Chef-owner Chris Kearse plans to add a junior version to his happy hour menu next week.) Why the beef? Two reasons: 1. Saturday, Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day, and 2. Why not?

Stephen Starr is opening a sports bar? Not quite.

It’s not a sports bar. Bankroll Club, which will take over Center City’s former Boyd Theater next year, is being positioned as a restaurant where customers can view games and other entertainment events while using a proprietary app to make it a more immersive experience. Stephen Starr, an investor, tells me that he will design and operate the restaurant.

Let’s get cooking here

The Washington Post’s Ellie Krieger has come through with a late summer/early fall-ish recipe, eggplant roll-ups with spinach and goat cheese.

“Why am I stricken with anxiety anytime I see my Instant Pot peering back at me?” contributor A.E. Harter asked. Then she took the plunge, and lived to write about it. Cute essay, and now I’m craving Cuban pork from my Ninja.

Primal Supply, the whole-animal butcher that serves cuts to the public and restaurants, reopens its Brewerytown shop Thursday, Sept. 16 after a month’s closing that its owner calls a pandemic reset.

Scaring up a Halloween destination

Witching hour is Friday, Sept. 17 for the Halloween-theme pop-up bar Nightmare Before Tinsel, which returns to its previous format this year at 116 S. 12th St. (Last year, you could not stay on premises because of pandemic restrictions). Exhibits, props, and range from scary and gory, to ironic and funny, to retro and vintage. New for 2021: a flaming hot and bloody cave dripping with what is billed as human remains (but is likely not), and a stand-off with the Grim Reaper. Ends Halloween night. Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Restaurant report

Chef Jorge “Coco” Sanzetenea has added a touch of his native Bolivia to the menu at Glory Beer Bar in Old City. Order the salteñas. Similar to empanadas, they boast a sturdier outer pastry that envelopes souplike fillings. I’ll tell you how to eat salteñas as they do in La Paz without getting a burnt tongue.

Briefly noted

Sisterly Love Food Fair will bring vendors and live music to East Market (1118 Market St.) from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. Organizer Sisterly Love Collaborative is an alliance of women restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs. Admission is free; food and drink are pay as you go. (Update: This event was postponed.)

Veganish, the vegan/pescatarian sandwich shop that entrepreneur Lamarr Ingram started in early 2020 in West Philadelphia, will open its second location Saturday, Sept. 18 at 1519 Spring Garden St.

Arpeggio BYOB in the Ambler-area Spring House Square Shopping Center will donate 100% of all hummus sales on Tuesday, Sept. 21 — which is also National Peace Day — to the Nationalities Service Center to help Afghan refugees.

Bubbakoo’s Burritos, a build-your-own-burrito concept out of Point Pleasant, N.J., has opened a location at 227 Plaza Blvd. in Morrisville.

Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philadelphia and Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue in King of Prussia are collaborating on a smoked brisket and queso wiz barbecue cheesesteak for one day only, Wednesday, Sept. 22, at both locations. Fifty percent of each sandwich sale ($14) will go to Sanctuary Farm, a Philly nonprofit that seeks to address the health inequities resulting from systemic racial oppression and economic injustice by converting abandoned and neglected areas in the community into spaces that promote safety, hospitality, nutrition, and growth.

Dine Latino Restaurant Week from the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is coming Oct. 11-15. The deal is one complimentary appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two dinner entrees.

Reminder that Center City District Restaurant Week(s) starts Saturday, Sept. 18 and runs through Sept. 30.

Frannie Nicks’ Ilisha “Fluffy” Sampson has brought in chef Tim Thomas to cook Sunday brunch at her South Philly restaurant, which opened at 824 S. Eighth St. mere weeks before the pandemic shutdown. Thomas, whose stops included his own restaurant, Southern Belle (formerly in Jenkintown and Erdenheim), starts with avocado toast with shrimp remoulade, blue crab deviled eggs, and hush puppies in sweet corn puree. Menu includes include four grits dishes; vegan crabcakes; and the chicken and waffles (with crispy turkey bacon) you see here. It’s walk-in and cash-only, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Frannie Nicks, meanwhile, is open the rest of the week with such specialties as the carnival crack chicken sandwich (it’s built on funnel cakes) and chocolate chip cookies made with Herr’s potato chips. That’s from the recipe box of Sampson’s grandmother, Frances Nicholson.