A drive-through for cheesesteaks? Fast-food veterans Jim Nasuti and John Marsella, who own 82 Taco Bells, KFCs and Burger Kings in the region, have launched a quick-service concept of South Philadelphia-style street food. At Zio Gio (3901 Veteran Highway, Levittown, 267-583-3575), they've applied fast-food efficiencies to the typically window-service fare such as cheesesteaks, roast pork, and pasta. A second location, in Southampton, Bucks County, is being planned. Both are former Taco Bells.
Philanthropist David Magerman's Main Line kosher empire has expanded with the recent opening of The Dairy Cafe (321 Montgomery Ave., Bala Cynwyd, 610-808-9045).
It's a counterpoint to C+R Kitchen (the former Citron + Rose), Magerman's meat restaurant down the street. He also owns Six Points Kosher Events in King of Prussia.
The Dairy Cafe's vegetarian menu includes lattes, bagels with spreads, breakfast burritos and sandwiches and eggs cooked to order in the morning. The rest of the day's focus is on pizza, pastas, and house-made cheeses, as well as a grab-and-go case. Pastries and gelato are available, too.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Chefs Kevin D'Egidio and Michael Griffiths just opened helm, a locally focused American BYO, at 1303 N. Fifth St. (215-309-2211). It's next to Taco Riendo at Fifth and Thompson Streets, a block above Girard. D'Egidio started cooking at the old Tangerine, followed by Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, Will, and Stateside. He and Griffiths met at Lacroix, followed by Ela, Rittenhouse Tavern, and Fork. It's casual, with a blackboard menu dictated by the availability of vegetables. Figure on low- to mid-$20s for entrées. It's open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner.
Nicholas Elmi, the Top Chef winner and chef/owner of the snug East Passyunk Avenue restaurant Laurel, will be chef this summer at Morgan's Pier, the seasonal beer garden beside the Ben Franklin Bridge. Laurel, incidentally, is moving to tasting menus only starting in May. Morgan's Pier's opening is April 30.
SouthGate, a Korean-inspired gastropub, is targeting a mid-May opening on the northwest corner of 18th and Lombard Streets, the former longtime home of Tangier. Peter Hwang and family, who own Center City's Oh So Good, are behind the project. Hwang has hired the well-seasoned chef Clara Park, an alumna of Osteria and Momofuku Ko who won a Chopped episode last summer. Menu will include Korean spins on bar food as well as more traditional items.
Johnny Manana's - Tim Bonnie's East Falls cantina - is on an expansion streak. By Cinco de Mayo, expect a second location to open at 1080 N. Delaware Ave., across from SugarHouse Casino. In the summer, a third location is expected to be online at 1408-10 Chestnut St., next to Prince Music Theater.
Saturday will be the last dinner service at Ulivo, the Italian restaurant where Sixth and Catharine Streets meet Passyunk Avenue in Queen Village.