Center City and its environs are fine destinations for restaurants, but don't skip our suburban Main Streets. Haddonfield is just one tasty example. Also this week, I found three dishes to ward off the colder temps. If you need food news, click here and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Email tips, suggestions, and questions here. If someone forwarded you this newsletter and you like what you're reading, sign up here to get it every week. It's free. OK, now kindly read on.
A mini-restaurant boom in Haddonfield
Malls and Center City don't have the exclusive on the surge in restaurant activity. Developers' eyes are focusing more on Main Street USA, as you can see by elevated food options in towns like Bala Cynwyd, Ardmore, Phoenixville, and Kennett Square.
Let's check out Haddonfield, whose restaurant scene happens to be fairly mature. The dry town's first and only venue selling alcoholic beverages, King's Road Brewing Company, is about a week old at 127 Kings Highway East. The tasting room is open for now from 3-10 p.m. Friday and noon-10 p.m. Saturday. There's no food (by law), so simply buy something nearby — maybe fish and chips from the British Chip Shop or a turkey meatloaf sandwich from Apron — and tote it inside to wash it down with the seven beers on tap.
A few doors down, the casual Passariello's Italian Kitchen is awaiting a mid-January opening, as is a fourth South Jersey location for Megu Sushi. Braise 116,a romantic small-plater, opened in October at 116 Kings Highway East.
One pleasant new surprise tucked into Kings Court is Leaf, a spare though charming vegan cafe operated by three sisters. The space's former occupant, Marie's Sandwich Bar, will relocate nearby in the spring.
What else is coming to the Philly area? Plenty, including a splashy French restaurant on the Main Line, a cool Italian concept in Wyndmoor, a second location for Vernick, and the Philly debut of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. I'll share the info in my annual "look-ahead" column in the next week.
What we’re drinking
Soda may get a bad rap in Philly, but up the road in the Lehigh Valley locals are toasting the return of Allentown brand A-Treat in glass bottles after 30 years in plastic. The century-old company, rescued in 2015 by entrepreneur David Jaindl, is now selling cream, sarsaparilla, birch beer, and black cherry in glass, with easy-to-open caps. Jaindl uses recipes developed by the brand's founders, the Egizio family. Overall, the nod to nostalgia is a win, as they're not terribly sweet or fizzy.
Where we’re eating: The Metropolitan, Noir, Kurry Korner
Few pull off the diner experience better than the Metropolitan, which opened seven years ago near Costco on Upper State Road in North Wales. It looks like the former Houlihan's that it was. Jill and John Gabriel do it all: phone book-sized menu, all-day breakfasts, wallet-friendly prices, solid bar, and waitresses who've seen it all. Shown is a crab-and-avocado melt on brioche, a special on Tuesday.
Montreal native Marco DeCotiis specializes in Italian cooking at Noir, his bar on East Passyunk Avenue. While you could feast fabulously on the linguine and crab gravy and spinach gnocchi, don't miss his hometown specialty, poutine. DeCotiis tops his fries with Wisconsin cheese curds, brown gravy, and genuine Montreal-style smoked meat.
Burger at Fountain Porter.Si Chen and husband Fai Lam specialize in curry chicken (from her aunt's recipe) at Kurry Korner, their counter-service stand at Chinatown Square food hall in Chinatown. It's a rich stew of stir-fried chicken, carrot, and potato in a medium-spicy sauce. It comes over white rice and broccoli. Also worth a try: katsu and curry fish balls. Best of all: If your dining companion is not a curry-favorer, there are plenty of other options nearby (including bao buns, tacos, poke, and yakitori).
This week’s openings
Indian Cafe & Grille | Northern Liberties
Casual Indian BYOB, with the usual menu, is days old at the corner of Fifth Street and Fairmount Avenue.
Paris Baguette | Chinatown
The French-Asian bakery/sandwich shop opened at 923 Arch St. A Rittenhouse location, at 1717 Chestnut St., is due to open in February.
The Rec Room | Phoenixville
Conshohocken Brewing Co. has expanded to Chester County with a fun-oriented pub at 230 Bridge St.
This week’s closings
Ambler Feedstore | Ambler
The sandwich specialist on the edge of town has moseyed on out.
Gryphon Cafe | Rosemont
Citing an impending move to an undisclosed location, owners have closed the Rosemont location. Kensington and Wayne remain.
Llama Tooth | West Poplar
This indoor-outdoor bar is done. Avram Hornik (Morgan's Pier, et al.) is planning an outdoor Mediterranean grill (name TBA) next spring.
Porto | South Philadelphia
The bruncherie at 11th and Wharton that succeeded the landmark Carman's Country Kitchen has gone dark. Owner Christine Liskowicz has not returned calls seeking elaboration. Note: Unrelated to the Italian restaurant Porta that just opened at 1214 Chestnut St.
Snap Kitchen | Spring Garden and Washington Square West
The prepared-foods chain has shut its locations at 1109 Walnut St. and 1901 Callowhill St., leaving seven in the region. My theory: They could not survive competition from Mom's Organic Market (Walnut) and Whole Foods (Callowhill).
Throwbacks | West Poplar
The chicken-and-rib joint in the storefront next to Tiffin at 712 W. Girard Ave. is gone.
» READ MORE: Philly.com/food
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