What this town needs, London-raised chef Sam Jacobson has been saying for years, is a pie and mash shop.
And in about a month, we'll get that humble taste of England at Stargazy, Jacobson's bake shop. He's taking 1838 E. Passyunk Ave., the storefront that until recently was Ms. Goody Cupcake. Jacobson has been cooking in the Philadelphia area for about 10 years, winning praise at such diverse kitchens as the late NoBL and Sycamore in Lansdowne, Southwark in Queen Village, and Leila in Jenkintown.
Jacobson says he has to do little to the space beyond decorating. Stargazy will offer counter service as well as take-away; he'll offer family size pies and is experimenting with a bake-at-home version.
Perhaps a word of explanation is in order. Popular in London, pies and mash provides low-cost, savory sustenance. Meat pies are served with a side of mashed potatoes topped with parsley liquor (that is, a sauce made of parsley - no alcohol involved). Traditionally, they're served with jellied or stewed eels, which Jacobson will source locally.
He'll offer daily specials (lamb curry or wild mushroom with kale, for example), plus savory items such as sausage rolls, Cornish pasty, and a Bedfordshire clanger - a single, long pastry with a savory filling at one end and a sweet filling at the other.
Tea will be free, and he'll sell Fentimans beverages as well as some British groceries.