Restaurant notes: A new crabhouse; La Colombe's new old roaster
Old-fashioned coffee; Jolly Weldon branching out; two local kids on "24-Hour Restaurant Battle."
Need a Sunday activity? Check out what two of my favorite entrepreneurs, Todd Carmichael and Jean-Philippe "JP" Iberti of La Colombe, will be doing at 1 p.m. Aug. 8 behind the cafe at 130 S. 19th St., just north of Rittenhouse Square. They'll roast coffee in a 1967 French panel van (originally used as an ambulance and later as a bread-delivery truck) that pulls a circa-1930s Vittoria roaster (found during a trip to Bologna); they refurbished the beast and converted it to propane. Why? Because these guys never do things simply, or for that matter by the book. (Especially Carmichael, with his physical feats and his taste in women.) La Colombe roasted its own coffee on-site at its founding 17 years ago. If you miss this event, no worries. Carmichael says it will be rolled around the city for various promotional events.
Jolly Weldon of Jolly's Dueling Piano Bar (2006 Chestnut St.) will get in touch with his Baltimore roots -- he and his brother Garth ran the Prime Rib there and in Washington for many years -- with a casual Maryland-style crabhouse at the former Mio Sogno at 15th Street and Oregon Avenue (2650 S. 15th St.). It will have a piano bar, but not dueling pianos, he said. Steaks on the menu, eight craft beers, 50 seats outside/90 inside. There's no name yet, and he's looking at a September opening.
Lisa Fernandez, a third-year student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and her fiancé, Zach Gaynor, who works at Rum Bar (2005 Walnut St.) are contestants on Wednesday's episode of Food Network's 24 Hour Restaurant Battle (10 p.m. Wednesday, August 11). They'll do retro comfort food. Viewing party will be at Rum Bar.