Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga, the Fat Ham) and his director of operations, Ben Fileccia, are channeling the 1980s at Juniper Commons (521 S. Broad St., 215-735-1913), new at the corner of Broad and South Streets in the SouthStar apartments.
The look feels just a touch retro, a bit diner-y, as Eimer Design borrowed from the Reagan-era playbook and riffed on that period's love of brass and glass. Newspaper pages are part of the wallpaper. Fileccia's soundtrack starts in the '70s at the beginning of the evening and progresses to 1989 by last call. Chef Greg Garbacz (Sbraga) oversees a menu of unabashedly big-portioned American fare (entrées mostly under $25). Bar is stocked with an enviable assortment of gin.
It serves dinner daily now.
Olivier Desaintmartin has ventured next door from Zinc - and two blocks or so from Caribou Cafe - to open Petit Rôti (248 S. 11th St., 267-457-5447), a French-style rotisseur. It's mostly takeout; there is snug cafe seating for about a dozen. Rotisserie sandwiches of Amish chicken, Black Angus beef, and heirloom pork (all natural, no GMOs) are made on baguettes. Meats are also available as platters. Chickens are sold half and whole, and meats by the pound. Refrigerated cases have cheeses and pâtés.
Almost two decades after opening in Malvern, Classic Diner has expanded with last week's debut at 16 E. Gay St. in West Chester (484-947-0809). Menu is similar to the original, and there is a to-go counter with breads, sticky buns and baked goods and coffee. It serves breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Lower Moyamensing, the slice of South Philadelphia east of Broad and a bit north of the sports complex, now has SouthHouse (2535 S. 13th St., 267-457-3682), a pub run by career-changing public relations executive Thom Sueta (who left Aramark last year) and first-time executive chef Thomas Day. They gutted and transformed the former Quattro's, just off the corner of 13th and Shunk Streets, opening the kitchen to the 60-seat dining room, done up in reclaimed materials.
Chef Chris Paulikas left the employ of University City's coZara, allowing Phila Lorn, from Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanakya's flagship Zama, to take over the kitchen.
Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse in Northeast Philadelphia has added a bar of mostly bottled beer.
New Year's Eve will be last call at the Liquor Control Board's wine shop set up next to Garces Trading Company, Jose Garces' bistro inside the Western Union building at 1111 Locust St. The LCB chose to let the five-year lease for the 600-square-foot glass booth wind down. Garces Trading, which was technically BYOB at its opening, has since obtained a liquor license and opened a bar.
Spaghetti House, a fixture in Marlton for 35 years, has closed. Desiree Saraceno, a daughter of owners Tom and Nina Saraceno, said business had declined: "We knew we needed to upgrade and appeal to younger clientele, but we couldn't afford to do it ourselves." Meanwhile, the Saracenos are keeping in touch with their regulars - some of whom they socialize with - via the restaurant's Facebook page.