Rosa Blanca - Jose Garces' Cuban diner that opened this week at 707 Chestnut St. - might be his most ambitious restaurant to date.
He and his crew are executing several different concepts. It's a diner, takeout shop, rum bar, and sit-down restaurant with dishes from chef Yun Fuentes, last at JG Domestic.
Hours are 7 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, so there will be breakfast served in a part of town short on options.
Creme Design's curved, stainless-steel-rimmed linoleum counter, coral-pink, aqua-accented walls, black-and-white-tile floors, metal-caged ceiling fans, and booths topped with ersatz shutters shout "Caribbean." The back dining room is darker and more sedate.
At the front door are a counter and a small kitchen where coffee, pastries, fresh fruit shakes, pasteles, tortas, and such are available for takeout off a chalkboard menu.
Fuentes' menu (all under $20) includes small plates, sandwiches, entrees (vaca frita, pernil asado, etc.), and nightly dishes served family style.
The weather outside is inhospitable for the food-truck crowd, but Lynette Gueits Sutton is not complaining for a minute.
The chef/owner of Delicias - the popular Venezuelan food trucks mainly in West Philly - has just opened a full-fledged restaurant in the brick-walled storefront at 526 S. Fourth St. in Queen Village, which you might remember as Django a decade ago. (The trucks will return in the spring.)
Sutton's restaurant menu is a bit more extensive than the trucks', but it's still tight: a vegetarian plate, two chicken, a seafood, and three meat dishes, plus a seafood soup of the day and empanadas. All are served with Sutton's arepas. Most dishes are $14 to $17.
Sutton also offers pitchers of five different mixers, since it's a BYOB. Bring tequila, for example, for a jalapeno-cilantro margarita or red chile sangrita, or come in with rum for a pineapple-mango mojito.
Dinner is on Tuesday through Sunday, and brunch - with mainly churros and egg dishes - is on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Stateside, the East Passyunk pub, has picked up another pedigreed chef: Kevin D'Egidio, an alumnus of Tangerine, the Pass, Lacroix, and most recently Will BYOB. He replaces Elijah Milligan.
John Torres has expanded dinner at his Italian BYOB Predella (932 S. 10th St.) to include Friday.
After 13 years, the pioneering pub Standard Tap (Second and Poplar Streets) has relaxed its rules and now accepts reservations. Management said managing walk-ins was too frustrating.