Laura Burkhardt, Meg Rider, Alex Tewfik, Kevin Sbraga and a few other Make Moves

Laura Burkhardt, Meg Rider, Alex Tewfik, Kevin Sbraga and a few other Make Moves

We’re a day early with our twice weekly Philly Gossip Column (Sunday & Thursday) but a lot of hot is happening:
2017 is turning out to be one of those years where people are making moves, whether it’s Arthur Etchells who left Foobooz last month and headed to Manatawny Still Works as Philadelphia Region Manager,  as written by his former Foobooz intern at Alex Tewfik who later headed to Philly Eater , but has now left Philly Eater, and is rumored to be stepping into Art’s role at Foobooz, full circle complete.

Then there’s


Laura Burkhardt, longtime publisher at Where Magazine and now heading to Visit Philly at the end of the month to lead the department of Tourism Engagement with a title of VP Visitor Appeal. (Laura is pictured above with her former editor of Where Philadelphia, Kristina Jenkins, who is now editor of UWISHUNU at Visit Philly)

1-17-2017 11-42-19 PM

Also on the move is Visit Philly employee Jim Werner (c), who is being promoted to VP of Hotel Initiatives and Tourism Development at Visit Philly.  I hear Laura and Jim will have offices next to each other and report directly to Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. Let the creativity begin….

1-18-2017 12-02-23 AM

A hearty congratulations is in order to Meg Rider, who is the new co-chair of the Board of The William Way LGBT Center.
Meg’s day job is Guest Relations and Volunteer Services Manager at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, and she’s also on the board of Philly AIDS Thrift

Chip Olson, Stephanie Olson and Kevin Sbraga
Michael Klein broke the story yesterday that Kevin Sbraga has closed his namesake restaurant Sbraga at Broad and Lombard, and his other city eatery Fat Ham on Walnut Street (Chef-owner Kevin Sbraga will still run The Fat Ham at KOP Mall with it’s delicious chicken and waffles.) I just saw him on Saturday night at The Lemon Ball and he looked as happy as he always is. In fact he’s slim, slim he should have been included in the People Magazine article last week, which I told you about Monday, where Oprah featured chef’s who lost major LBS. He looks like a million bucks, probably could use a million bucks too as the Philly Mag article by Victor Fiorillo stated that he took a big hit when he closed Juniper Commons in 2015 after 6 months. The Inky’s Craig LaBan torpedoed it in a review, and as this town tends to go, one bell or less can shut a restaurant. Recently Aqimero by Richard Sandoval at The Ritz-Carlton received a bad review and the cleaned house. Of course you can’t get rid of Sandoval, but everyone else is gone including the GM, manager and chef. They have a new Chef de Cuisine and his name is


Paulo Mendoza who hails from San Diego and for the past two years was Chef de Cuisine at Sandoval ‘s Venga Venga Cantina & Tequila Bar. Anywho, last week LaBan skewered Scarpetta and they have already made some serious changes.  A couple of my favorite restaurants have gotten one or less LaBan bells and they seem to still pack them in, Del Frisco’s (LaBan said in his review the only thing Del Frisco’s was missing was a stripper pole. So in his honor they installed one. It’s at the end of the bar near the staircase), Ocean Prime, even the former Haru in Old City hung in there for six years after its 2005 no-bell. The Little Lion occupies that spot now, with their one star, and they’re packed to the rafters. Get the chicken.  OK Back to Kevin Sbraga , at The Lemon Ball Kevin told me that every year he donates a chef’s dinner prepared by him for 6 people. The item was a hot bid again Saturday night, and in the end the auctioneer sold two for $11,000 each. Very nice. I look forward to Kevin Sbraga’s next hot restaurant as well. I’m sure it’s going to be something special.

1-18-2017 2-21-00 AM

If you haven’t read Danya Henninger ‘s article on the food scene (What’s Behind The Sudden Slimming Down of the Food Bloggers), which is a story really about the bloggers who initially started covering food over the passed decade until this year when the last two major players left the field. I feel the beginning of the end started in 2012, which was when Drew Lazor left City Paper’s Meal Ticket. For me it was a great time, as I started my blog in 2007, just when the food scene started to take off, when celebrity chefs meant something, and food was just starting to move away from meat and potatoes. I didn’t set out to cover food, but I definitely wanted to cover the folks that did cover the food. On more than one occasion I was invited into their inner sanctuary to break bread; it was great.  (One of my fav old school food blog events with some of the beginners)


PS Tomorrow I am heading to Florida for a few days. I have pre-posted for the rest of the week, but if I miss something current that I normally would cover, it won’t be here. I’ll have a lot of palm trees and sunshine on my social media though. Best wishes, HughE