What a week for Philly food, what with Cristina Martinez winning a James Beard Award. We also visit Philly’s first Latino-owned nano-distillery, advise you on the best eats at the Philadelphia Flower Show, share details about that Stephen Starr restaurant at the Comcast Center, and tell you about Greg Vernick’s forthcoming pop-up at the Jersey Shore.

Oh, and if you need a rooftop bar, we have you uncovered.

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Mike Klein

Philly glams up at the James Beard Awards

(Clockwise from top left, Corinne Bradley-Powers in a gown she designed herself, with her husband, Jerry, Ellen Yin, Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, and Cristina Martinez)

Philly has another James Beard Award winner: Cristina Martinez, a champion of immigrants rights (which informs the mission of South Philly Barbacoa and Casa Mexico), was named the best chef in the six states that make up the Mid-Atlantic region.

The James Beard Foundation Awards, which celebrate the best in American food and restaurants, returned after three years; the 2020 and 2021 awards were canceled by the pandemic and a growing movement to address glaring inequities in the industry. In short, the foundation has honed its mission to reward chefs and restaurants who not only have a great impact and serve delicious food but who have solid reputations among their communities and employees. The organization’s credo is “good food for good.”

Philly’s 2022 nominees are a distinguished, diverse bunch. Corinne Bradley-Powers, who opened her America’s Classics-winning Corinne’s Place in Camden in 1989, was a children’s counselor. Ellen Yin, a nominee for best restaurateur in America, was in hospital administration before opening Fork in Old City in 1997. Jesse Ito (Mid-Atlantic chef nominee) studied business marketing at Rutgers University before following his sushi-master father, Matt, into the business, first at Fuji and now at Royal Izakaya, while Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon owned a Italian restaurant in Bangkok while working as a flight attendant before coming to the United States and opening Kalaya Thai Kitchen in 2019.

Catch my coverage from Chicago here, and peep some behind-the-scenes photos.

Brief bios of the chefs are here.

See all the Philly Beard nominees and winners here.

Must-read: Critic Craig LaBan and photojournalist Monica Herndon accompanied Nok on a trip to Thailand in April. Curl up with your phone, computer, or tablet for this lusciously illustrated story.

Single malts and rum from Philly’s first Latinx-owned nano-distillery

Strivers’ Row in Harrowgate is not only Philly’s smallest commercial distillery, it’s also the first owned by a Latino. “I didn’t start off saying this was going to be a Latino distillery, but it went that way,” owner Francisco Garcia, who is from the Dominican Republic, told contributor Adam Erace. “Bringing some culture into it just felt natural and comfortable.”

Best food bets at the Philadelphia Flower Show

The food options at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show are fairly solid, Jenn Ladd reports. (In other words, last year’s grilled-veggie hoagie travesty has not been repeated.) This sweet-potato pie ice cream from Dre’s is an absolute must.

Need a restaurant recommendation in deep South Philly? We have you covered there, too.

Café Click has an opening date

Workers are scurrying all over the restaurant space on the plaza in front of the Comcast Center at 17th Street and JFK Boulevard, preparing for the June 21 opening of Cafe Click, the Stephen Starr-managed, French-inspired outdoor spot. It will be open weekdays only, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. In other words, no late-night shenanigans.

Talking Tofurky with a vegan icon

The inventor of Tofurky is in Philly as part of the 250th anniversary of veganism in America. My colleague Jenn sat down with Seth Tibbott for the backstory of this popular product. When he launched in 1980, his aunt told him, “This is a terrible idea! This is a meat-eating country and it’s always going to be a meat-eating country.”

Juneteenth activities and recipes

Beer figures into one celebration this Sunday of Juneteeth, as America marks the date in 1865 when federal troops entered Galveston, Texas, and notified the remaining enslaved people that they were now free. South Philly’s Second District Brewing will serve history with a side of craft beer, along with interactive activities and games. Contributor Amber Burns found 12 other ways to celebrate.

Nicole A. Taylor’s (above) Watermelon and Red Birds is believed to be the first major cookbook honoring Juneteenth. Conceived during a particularly painful time for Black Americans, she told Washington Post, “I wanted this cookbook to be a guide to joy.”

Vernick Fish comes to the Shore for a week

Vernick Fish and the Four Seasons Hotel are doing a week of collabs at Steve & Cookie’s in Margate this August, including a fundraising dinner at restaurateur Cookie Till’s farm in EHT. (A farmer named Till. Classic.)

Forîn Cafe in Kensington is going the other way on Saturday, June 18. Glide Surf Shop from Asbury Park is bringing surfboards and beach goods, and Thrive Flower and Forîn will serve CBD drinks, along with beers from Cartesian Brewing, for a pop-up called “City Meets Shore” at the cafe and lifestyle hub from 4-7 p.m.

And speaking of the Shore: A great sigh has been heard in Ventnor, as Anthony Sacco of the Sack O’ Subs family has reopened the shop at 5217 Ventnor Ave., which opened in 1969. Details are still hard to come by, but Sacco, grandson of founder Anthony “Fuzzy” Sacco, struck a deal with franchisee Fred Spitalnick.

Restaurant report

Omakase, set menus from sushi chefs, are fairly common in the city, but here’s a new one in the burbs: Sushi Hatsu, Harrison Kim’s sleek, mod BYOB small-plater in Ambler.

Easing his way back from the pandemic, he and chefs Danny Dong and Mitsutaka Harada offer reservation-only omakases at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays (with a la carte service Fridays and Saturdays). Menus (at $135 per person) change every couple of weeks and include seven courses plus dessert. Shown above is one course: a tasting of hamachi serrano, yuzu miso salmon, and tuna tartare with paddlefish caviar and truffle olive oil. Sushi Hatsu, 51 E. Butler Ave., Ambler.

Briefly noted

Artisan Boulanger Patisserie, which has been opening and closing frequently amid the health issues of owners Amanda Eap and Andre Chin, will reopen at 1218 Mifflin St. on Thursday, June 16.

The Philly edition of Diner En Blanc will be Thursday, Aug. 18, Jenn writes. But where will it be?

Burlington County, N.J., is planning the cleverly named Burlington County Restaurant Week from Sunday, Aug. 15-Saturday, Aug. 20.

Noir will mark its 10th anniversary with a block party from 3-8 p.m. Saturday, June 18 on the 1900 block of East Passyunk Avenue.

Stina BYO (1705 Snyder Ave.) will continue its monthly guest-chef charity series on Tuesday, June 21 from 4-10 p.m. with Diana Widjojo, chef/co-owner of the nearby Hardena. To mark Pride Month, 20% of sales will benefit the Attic Youth Center, which serves LGBTQ+ youth and allies. Widjojo is working with Stina chef-owner Bobby Saritsoglou on a prix-fixe menu starting at $75 per person, reservable on Resy.

Brett Naylor’s Wilder, at 2009 Sansom St. near Rittenhouse has been one of the most-buzzed openings in a while. It’s adding happy hour on Monday June 20 (4:30-6 p.m), with weekday lunch (11:30 a.m-2:30 p.m.) following on Monday, June 27. That’s the sweet-and-spicy pizza, with pepperoni, spicy soppressata, roasted red onion, fresh mozz, honey, and basil.

What you’ve been eating this week

Breakfast/brunch time! The huevos rancheros at Northern Liberties’ Cafe La Maude is one of the heartiest ways to start the day, reports @jarettrovner, grooving on the two sunny-side-up eggs, flour tortillas stuffed with pulled beef brisket and Cheddar, a side of beans in tomato sauce, sweet pepper aioli, guacamole, and crispy tortillas. And don’t sleep on the breakfast sandwich built on brioche from Mighty Bread (1211 Gerritt St.), says @kat_philly. Send me your photos! HMU on IG.

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