Wild week here, what with the PLCB dropping Russian vodka and Philly considering new rules to make it difficult for streeteries (as the city dropped the indoor-mask mandate). We also have a rave review of a hip restaurant in Fishtown, great news for pizza fans, a tasty benefit for the Ukrainian people, and word of imminent new locations for Goldie and Federal Donuts.

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Mike Klein

Is this the coolest restaurant or what?

Does Center City Philly’s most hipsterish sandwich shop succeed in its bigger, more ambitious incarnation in Fishtown? Critic Craig LaBan says yes to Middle Child Clubhouse, an all-day space with a bar under the El. Craig says owner Matt Cahn has made it clear that the Middle Child brand is not so much about sandwiches. It’s a way of life lit by neon nostalgia, a hip sprinkle of irony and vintage 1970s pop art. And trash can amaro.

Philly’s streeteries may be in jeopardy

Philadelphia’s popular streeteries, those outdoor structures that helped restaurants cope with occupancy restrictions for the last two years, are subject of proposed regulations by the Kenney administration. My colleague Max Marin says the smaller restaurants, at least, tell him that this red tape could spell doomsday for streeteries — what with the planned $2,200 annual license fee and the need for a $60,000 bond to cover potential removal costs that could be mandated during snowstorms, among other changes. One city councilmember’s hot take: “This is basically the administration saying, ‘We don’t want outdoor seating.’”

The city’s indoor-mask mandate was dropped today in most public spaces, including restaurants. Individual restaurants may say “not so fast” and still require or recommend them.

A bake sale to benefit Ukrainian refugees

The war in Ukraine has come home to pastry chef Abby Dahan, who has organized Philadelphia pastry chefs and bakers to contribute to a high-powered bake sale this Sunday to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees via World Central Kitchen. (It follows Bakers Against Racism’s emergency bake sale.) Dahan will be at Her Place Supper Club in Center City, along with wares from such chefs as Davina Soondrum, Michal Shelkowitz, Stephanie Arbelo, and Alexandra Crossman. Dahan, by the way, has something in common with the article’s author, Jenn Ladd. They’re both new moms, and Jenn returns to work with this sweet bit of news.

FCM Hospitality will host “Support Ukraine” from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 3 at Craft Hall (901 N. Delaware Ave.) to benefit Voices of Children, a charitable foundation focusing on addressing the psychological effect of armed conflict on children in Ukraine. For every $1 of food and beverage purchased, FCM will donate $2. There’s free parking, a family friendly atmosphere, and music from Ukrainian-born DJ IRKA. (By the way, FCM and owner Avram Hornik recently donated $50,000 of food and supplies to the 12 culinary arts programs of the School District of Philadelphia. Hornik stepped in after hearing that a vendor abruptly canceled school food contracts nationwide. The donation was timed to Career and Technical Education Month, observed in February.)

In a largely symbolic move, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board stopped purchasing and selling Russian spirits. True Russian brands happen to be a minuscule part of the PLCB’s business — about 0.06% of the state’s $1.7 billion in annual vodka sales. Want to support Ukrainian wineries and distilleries? Not in Pennsylvania. The PLCB told me that it has not carried Ukrainian spirits in two years. Grab a beer at Philly’s Ukrainian American Citizens’ Association, the so-called Ukie Club.

Pizza, rising

It isn’t luck that makes the gluten-free pizza dough rise impressively at Philly’s new Good Luck Pizza Co., operated by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran across from Barbuzzo. It’s the results of painstaking R&D by chef George Sabatino that impresses Craig, who grooves on the regular pizzas, too.

The biggest news on the Philly pizza scene is the scoop that Paulie Gee’s out of Brooklyn will be setting up shop in Center City this spring. The old-school shop is not simply some 718 carpetbagger. The founder’s son, who will run it, has called Philly home for nearly a decade.

Black people’s impact on American food, 406 times over

Next time you’re in New York City, pop into the Museum of Food and Drink for its new exhibit, “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table,” up through June 19. Its centerpiece, nearly 14 feet tall and 30 feet wide, is the Legacy Quilt, including 406 blocks that illustrate Black people’s impact on American cuisine.

Restaurant report

Alex Tewfik flipped the script by giving up his career as Philadelphia Magazine’s food editor to become a restaurant owner. He’s now in his third week with Mish Mish, a cozy Mediterranean bistro that glows warm orange in the space that previously was Noord, across from East Passyunk’s Singing Fountain. (Tewfik waited tables there awhile back.) Chef Kyle McCormick, previously Nicholas Elmi’s right hand (from Nick’s Le Bec-Fin days to ITV), is using citrus and other bright flavors.

Most popular of the nine starters priced in the teens: the grilled baby octopus with muhammara and chilis (pictured above), the fried Armenian string cheese, and mussels with lobster. Technically, there are only two “entrees”: pomegranate-lacquered grilled chicken ($28) with soft leeks and lebnah, and grilled swordfish skewers ($32) with warm farro salad and parsley puree.

Mish Mish’s liquor license came through on Monday (which means wine, a few batch cocktails, some beer), so it will be BYOB only for the next couple of weeks.

Mish Mish, 1046 Tasker St. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Monday. BYOB for now.

Briefly noted

The CookNSolo eatery Goldie (falafel, fries, tehina shakes) and its sibling Federal Donuts (coffee, doughnuts, chicken) are setting up side by side in new permanent homes on the 1900 block of Sansom Street within the next week. Goldie is up first, opening at 1911 Sansom on Thursday, March 3, while FedNuts goes live at 1909 Sansom on Monday, March 7. Goldie will get 22 seats, mainly counter, while Federal Donuts will get 26 at the counter plus more at schoolhouse-style desks and dining tables. Goldie hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m., FedNuts 7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Fitz & Starts owner Pat O’Malley has called it quits after a rocky two years, and the bruncherie’s last day will be March 20. A new tenant is on the way to Fourth and Fitzwater.

Cornelia Sühr, the chef de cuisine at Jean-Georges Philadelphia, was in a much different place two years ago when she was laid off during the economic downturn at the height of the pandemic: her childhood home in a village in Germany. Here’s how she came back.

Pita Chip will mark its expansion into the suburbs this spring — Oxford Oaks shopping center in Yardley, Bucks County, to be specific — by giving the neighborhood a taste of its fast-casual Middle Eastern food. Cofounder Omar Alsaadi will host a food truck pop-up on Friday, March 4 in front of the new space, 1623 Big Oak Rd., from noon-2 p.m. or while supplies last. Featured will be falafel and chicken shawarma pita wraps. Customers can pay what they want, with all money raised going to Kisses for Kyle Foundation, which offers services to families affected by childhood cancer.

What you’ve been eating this week

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yada yada. Instagram’s @samnsch shared her indulgent breakfast brisket sandwich from Sidecar Bar & Grille, 2201 Christian St., while @phillyrissa succumbed to her gluten-free cravings with the doughnuts from Okie Dokie Donuts, 1439 Snyder Ave.

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