We’re here to help you get started on your Jersey Shore plans — perhaps you need a seafood shack or a great bar or even a hearty breakfast. Also this week, a new vegan takeout concept has arrived from LUHV Foods, and restaurant critic Craig LaBan uncovers “an overlooked gem.”
Get out! I mean, get outside. Outdoorsy, our newest newsletter, launches June 2 with tips for the best photo ops, secret spots, and itineraries. Sign up here.
Personal note: Catch my favorite chef (and one of my favorite children) — Rachel Klein of Miss Rachel’s Pantry in South Philadelphia — competing on this week’s Beat Bobby Flay (9 p.m. Thursday, Food Network).
⬇️ Read on for a quiz.
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Mostly sunny skies are in the Memorial Day Weekend forecast, and we offer a similarly clear first look of seasonal food-related activities at the Jersey Shore. But first! You really need “Down the Shore,” our seasonal newsletter by colleague (and full-time Shore resident) Amy Rosenberg. The first edition of 2023 will hit inboxes tomorrow. Sign up here.
Great bars: Colleague Jenn Ladd spent the tail end of the offseason surveying Shore bars, and she came up with 16 old-school haunts, polished newcomers, and veteran spots, all worth bending an elbow.
Seafood shacks: One of contributor Regan Stephens’ greatest joys is “diving into an aluminum tin of fried clam strips or tipping down cold, briny oysters at a no-frills seafood shack.” She offers 13 destinations.
Bests of the rests: Colleague Tommy Rowan took a ride from Long Beach Island to Cape May, stopping at four rest areas named after famous New Jerseyans along the way. Which lived up to their name?
Ocean City is open for business: Amy checked into downtown O.C. to see what’s new. Among them: Green Eggs Cafe, in the old Chatterbox, and Groovy Smoovies. What is a former Eagles player doing slinging smoothies?
A great diner breakfast in A.C.: Jenn skipped the casinos and found a gem on the Boardwalk.
Free tolls: If you’re headed down on Friday, know that Chickie’s & Pete’s is running a party all afternoon on the Atlantic City Expressway. And if you time it right, you can score a free toll.
LUHV Foods was inspired by a chef who started cooking vegan food for his wife while she recovered from a stroke. Last week that couple, Daniel and Silvia Lucci, opened a bistro in Point Breeze that combines all the convenience of a sandwich shop with the utility of a market serving refrigerated and frozen food to go.
Critic Craig LaBan’s lament about Redcrest Kitchen? That it’s largely undiscovered. He found himself eating “perfect” fried chicken sandwiches drizzled in Thai curried hot sauce in a dining room where “you could hear the sound of my teeth crunching through the buttermilk crust.” 🔑
Shortly after a van drove into Lee’s Deli in West Philadelphia last year, owner Scott Lee’s neighbors and customers started a Go Fund Me campaign to help get him back in business. “He’s kind to people,” one neighbor told my colleague Mike Newall as the store reopened recently. “And the kindness spreads to his customers.”
Boqueria, the New York-based tapas hot spot, has signed on to open a location at 1608 Sansom St., in that new apartment building that’s been going up (seemingly forever) next to Happy Rooster. When Boqueria opens, it will fill a void left by the pandemic closing of Tinto nearby.
River Twice (1601 E. Passyunk Ave.) will adopt a single menu (five courses, $65) starting June 1 as Amanda and chef Randy Rucker move to dinner /service on a Thursday-to-Monday schedule. Menus will change every two weeks. Though this is positioned as a summer thing, no return date for the seven- and 16-course tastings has been announced. Restaurants all over have been reevaluating their menus. River Twice neighbor Laurel, for example, just returned to a la carte while Collingswood’s Hearthside switched to tasting menus.
Chef news: Lola’s Garden at Suburban Square in Ardmore has brought in a new chef, Greg Vassos, most recently executive chef of Ferry & Main at the Logan Inn in New Hope. This move by FCM Hospitality means that Lola’s executive chef, Andrew Wood (formerly chef-owner of the late, great Russet), has moved downtown to Harper’s Garden (31 S. 18th St.). New menus all around.
Need a good happy hour in Philly? We have some ideas. Don’t sleep on the fried pickles.
Stay tuned to Inquirer.com next week for a roundup of dozens of imminent restaurant openings. One piece of follow-up news: Walnut Garden, the beer garden filling the vacant lot at 1706-10 Walnut St., is looking to open next Wednesday.
Ten years after he stepped out of the kitchen at Bistrot La Minette in Queen Village, chef-owner Peter Woolsey is back behind the stove. While he’s learned a thing or two while he was out opening other restaurants, Bistrot’s classic atmosphere and food (such as this oeuf du pêcheur) have not missed a beat.
The family-friendly Stables Beer Garden opens Thursday in Chester Springs from the team that operates the nearby Bloom Southern Kitchen, Oori near Pottstown, and Morgantown Coffee House. (Levante Brewing previously ran it.) Operators David Backhus and chef Michael Falcone built a two-story kitchen to expand not only the food offerings but the whole shebang to year-round operation. Oori chef Matt Florentine oversees this kitchen, turning out pizzas, wings, a burger, a crunchy chicken sandwich, 12-inch hot dogs, and a kielbasa from Konopelski Meats with sauerkraut, long hots, and caramelized onions. Twenty beers are on tap, plus cocktails.
The Stables Beer Garden, 160 Park Road, Chester Springs. Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday, noon-midnight Thursday to Sunday.
Chef Jezabel Careaga of Jezabel’s Cafe is one of the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America TasteTwenty chefs — 20 chef teams from across the country collaborating on meals and championing the Beard’s mission of Good Food for Good. Careaga will host an event in March 2024.
R&S Keystone Diner in Telford closed last week after 75 years. WFMZ reports that the family retired and that the site will become a dentist’s office.
The National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute’s biennial Beer Serves America report on the economic impact and importance of the American beer industry found that the U.S. beer industry supports nearly 2.4 million local jobs and contributes more than $409 billion to the economy, and pays more than $132 billion in wages and $63.8 billion in taxes. In Pennsylvania specifically, the industry supports 87,664 jobs and more than $15.7 billion to the state’s economy as the industry pays more than $5.1 billion in wages and generates $2.3 billion in tax revenue. See the report here.
The South 9th Street Italian Market Festival last week hosted its first-ever cheesesteak contest. Who won?
C) Lorenzo’s Pizza
D) Vernick Food & Drink
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