Philly, doing a bang-up film business of late, will stand in for New York in

The Best and the Brightest

, a farce about two Delawareans trying to get their daughter into an elite Manhattan private kindergarten.

Shooting will start Thursday, and they'll be doing exteriors all over Center City. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Bonnie Somerville (Cashmere Mafia) play the couple. Also cast are some wickedly great comic actors: Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy), Peter Serafinowicz (BBC), John Hodgman (the PC guy in the Mac commercials), Bridget Regan (Legend of the Seeker), veteran Kate Mulgrew, and Christopher McDonald (yes, Shooter McGavin himself from Happy Gilmore).

Josh Shelov (Mayne Street), who wrote the screenplay with Michael Jaeger, will direct. The project reteams Bigger Stronger Faster producers Robert and Patricia Weiser with Richard Schiffrin while bringing on board Nicholas Simon. The Greater Philadelphia Film Office helped producers set up a production office within shouting distance of City Hall.

Two young actors are needed, and Mike Lemon is leading a casting call for an Asian or Asian American boy to play age 5 or 6 and a Hispanic or African American boy to play age 9 or 10. Open call for those roles only will be from 3 to 5 p.m. tomorrow at Lemon's office, 413 N. Seventh St., Suite 602.

Claws for a lawsuit

Call 'em Crabfries, Crab Fries, or even Krab Fries, and you'll hear from Chickie's & Pete's lawyers. The Philly sports-bar chain sued the Chesapeake Inn of Chesapeake, Md., in U.S. District Court here last week, alleging trademark infringement because the inn listed fries topped with crabmeat, Old Bay seasoning, and cheddar as "crab" fries.

In 2007, Chickie's & Pete's trademarked Crabfries for its seasoned potatoes; the name had been applied to its dish for years.

The complaint, filed by Blank Rome's Timothy Pecsenye, says that when Chickie's & Pete's lawyers demanded a change in December, the inn changed the spelling to "krab" fries. Not acceptable, says restaurateur Pete Ciarrocchi, who was loath to talk about the suit for fear of giving the inn publicity. He did say he has pursued "hundreds" of eateries for using the term and spends big bucks defending his trademark. "Blank Rome is not cheap," he says.

A rep for the inn did not return a call for comment Friday.


Larry Mendte

's six-month house arrest will end tomorrow, and the U.S. Probation Office is expected to remove the monitoring equipment from his Chestnut Hill home. Mendte pleaded guilty in the summer in federal court to cyber-spying on former CBS3 colleague

Alycia Lane

and passing sensitive info to gossip columns. Meanwhile, Lane's civil lawsuit, in which she alleges Mendte and the station ruined her career, continues. Mendte, who has not divulged his next career move, still has to serve 21/2 years of probation.

Branding firm rebranding

Gyro Worldwide, the Center City ad agency, is renaming itself Quaker City Mercantile, effective June 9. Founder

Steven Grasse

says it "comes in recognition of our expanded role as a creator of consumer products and intellectual content. We are a hybrid of 19th-century mercantilism and 21st-century brand artistry." And no longer sharing a name with a tasty sandwich.

Social networking

Ya gotta believe, as any baseball fan will tell you, but hundreds of people are following phony Phillies on Twitter, the microblogging service. Pitcher

Chad Durbin

is the only regular Twitter user (@chaddurbin) in the clubhouse, a team rep says.

Second baseman Chase Utley is not online, says his wife, Jen. But last week, an impostor who calls himself @Chase_Utley proclaimed about a rival Twitterer: "Just to let you know @chaseutley is a fake, I am the real Chase. He has made multiple fake accounts." (The user @chaseutley also misspelled Utley's wife's name as "Jenn.")

Heidi Strobel says her husband, pitcher Cole Hamels, is not @colehamels.

The Twitter-ganger of shortstop Jimmy Rollins (@jimmyrollins) set off titters in March: "I'm so excited to play the Netherlands I've gone out and bought some clogs and some lederhosen."

Food for thought

Rick's Philly Steaks, ousted last year from Reading Terminal Market, expects to do a soft opening (or perhaps a properly chewy one) on Thursday in the food court beneath the Bellevue. Owner

Rick Olivieri

says he hopes to stage a grand opening June 19.

Susanna Foo's last night at 1512 Walnut St. will be June 13. All who dine there over the next two weeks will receive coupons good for 20 percent off their dinner tabs at Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen in Radnor, where Foo will be full time. The Walnut Street building is under agreement of sale. The Inn Flight on Old York Road in Abington, across from Abington Memorial Hospital since 1970, has been sold. It closed Thursday. Buyers plan a pub, so far unnamed, to open by September.

Briefly noted

HGTV is in town with host

Carter Oosterhouse

and designer

Monica Pedersen

as they rebuild a house off Frankford Avenue for the Pennsylvania American Legion Housing for Homeless Veterans Corp., which will put up three veterans there.

Jack Prichard


Adam Norbutti

, and

Chris Wray

, three electricians from Local 98 and Iraq war veterans, are among the volunteer workers. The project will be shown on Veterans Day on an HGTV special that also will profile local veterans, including

Stanley Fabiszewski

, who served under Gen.

George Patton

in World War II. Flyers coach

John Stevens


Mayor Nutter

attended Friday's opening ceremony. Closing ceremony is scheduled for June 28.

Flyers right winger Mike Knuble and Quakertown's CorrTableSports company gave a table-hockey table - a Tockey - to the activity room at the Center for Grieving Children, Teens and Families in Juniata Park. Knuble was 15 when he lost his dad, and with wife Megan he has a foundation to raise money to support youths who have experienced tragic losses. The donation was made through the Comcast-Spectacor Foundation.