Barnes & Noble to Become a Restaurant and other Notable News

Around Town With Hughe Dillon is the name I chose for my Metro Philly column, but it’s also what I use when I aggregate news and use it here.

Happy New Year!! No really, I finally feel confident that we are back after the pandemic. My business is picking up, most of my columns have returned. Thanks to Metro Philly, CBSPhilly, Philadelphia Tribune and my blog PhillyChitChat for continuously publishing through those 3 years. During the past year Main Line Today approached me to do a party photo column, and last fall Philly Style began publishing again in print and now in 2023 online again. Philly Chit Chat and our team are ready to photograph your events, openings, parties and get you the newsworthy publicity you desire, in this very tight market.
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The Legendary group En Vogue is coming to Rivers Casino Philadelphia for an unforgettable concert!

I took a walk down Walnut Street last week. It had been a minute or months really. SO MUCH has changed, and I do note some of it on IG, but will be updating to my readers here on the blog this week as I know many of you are not on all my social channels. I appreciate your readership now numbering at more than 45ks subscribers, thanks.

The Barnes and Noble is getting ready to move to it’s new location at 1708 Chestnut Street, the former Forever 21 clothing store. It was so exciting when that opened, but it’s great that the B&N is just moving and not closing like they did. Right now at the old B&N location, 1805 Walnut St. , everything is 25% off, with calendars being 50% off. I got a few. I’m old school and love a book.

Wasting no time, the Barnes and Noble space has been filled. Sources have told me that a Stephen Starr restaurant is going to occupy this space, all three floors. That’s 24,000 square feet of fun dining with views of Square.
Could it be the Pastis that he hinted at in Philly Mag last month that might bring an all day party to the tony Rittenhouse Square area? Or is it his new concept he’s been planning for before the pandemic. Which reminds me I saw an Allan Domb real estate (mayoral candidate) rent sign up at the old Alma de Cuba, so a Starr concept will not be opening there.

We’ll have to wait and see what Starr concept will be going into 1805, as the normally tight lipped Starr releases this info on his time table, but I know it’s gonna be good:

Starr in December’s Philly Mag: QUOTABLE: “I’m looking for the new restaurant that will be iconic in 10 years.”

Speaking of a scene, I met friends at Steak 48 the other night for drinks at the bar and a bite to eat. It’s one of my favorite spots to see who’s out and about. It was a Thursday and it did not disappoint.
Spotted: Avenue of the Arts Executive Director Laura Burkhardt and Visit Philly’s Michael Newmuis, Carl Dranoff, and new co-artistic directors of Philadelphia Theatre Company, Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky. Nearby was Philly legends DJ Arun, and DJ Aktive, the later just got back from DJing for Janet Jackson’s New Year’s Eve Party. He’ll be going on tour with her this year as well.

Also if you haven’t had a chance go catch “Jagged Little Pill” playing on the Kimmel Cultural Campus at the Academy of Music. It’s not a bio, but inspired by her iconic album. It’s there thru 1/15/23

Speaking of DJ Aktive, he normally spins at Ms Patti LaBelle’s New Year’s Eve Party, which I normally attend as well. Both of us had other gigs, but Patti’s team was nice enough to send photos my way. I love this one that NBC10 anchor Jacqueline London has on her IG with NBC10’s Brittany Shipp and Frances Wang.

Hosting the New Year’s Eve Party this year was Ms. Patti LaBelle’s daughter in law Lona Azami (green dress) and her husband Zuri Edwards. Here with Jackie, Brittney and Frances. (I hope you had a chance to read about Frances in the December People’s health magazine where she revealed her battle with perioral dermatitis, or skin inflammation. Ms. Patti LaBelle was in the same issue talking about living with Diabetes 2) Also spotted at the party were Mike Jerrick, Michelle Miller and Josh DeMarco, James “Miss Patti Pie” Wright, Troy Clemons, Terra Neff, Nicole Hill and my friend Danielle (don’t use my last name; Danielle and I met over 15 years ago on the red carpet of VH1 Fashion Rocks)

Last night we (Danielle and I) attended the Sixers together with my bud Michael Newmius, Visit Philly (although he did just announce he’s leaving for a fantastic opportunity.) Who knew there was a VIP dining section under the “bleachers” at the Wells Fargo Center. Talk about a hot spot, so many movers, shakers and chitchat readers there. A great group of people from all walks of life, and age groups. I captured a few and posted on my IG Reel.

photo: Kelly Burkhardt

Finally speaking of vibey spots: Restaurateur and Co-Owner Justin Veasey, and partners Mike Connors and William Muhr Jr., announce the construction of SIN Philadelphia at 1102 Germantown Avenue, on the ground level of The Beverly – a 51 luxury apartment complex also slated to open later this year. 

SIN, which stands for Steak Italian Nightlife, is currently under construction and it aims to open in September. When opened, it will offer vibe dining, which is found in New York, Miami and LA – where a nightlife experience (music/entertainment) is paired with the dining experience. SIN will also specialize in the city’s newest upscale brunch that will be the hottest spot in the city on Sunday afternoons. 

And if Pastis doesn’t open on Rittenhouse Square, maybe it’s destined for Fishtown as I heard that was the spot it’d go last summer. When you get out and about, people remember you are the rumor king.

Thanks for all your tips, and rumors. We appreciate it. BTW I hear Dranoff is about to announce his new restaurant to open at Broad & Spruce Streets at Art Haus, next month.

One last thing, last fall I did hear the rumor Michael Nutter was running for mayor; I tweeted about it in October. I ran into him a few weeks later, and he told me he wasn’t running, but that was 2 months ago. Maybe he’s changed his mind. You should ask Shelton Mercer, I ran into former Mayor Nutter and he grabbing a bite to eat Christmas Eve Eve Eve at Time in Midtown Village. Tobias Harris was nearby celebrating a Sixers win with his wife and friends.

Speaking of Tobias Harris, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I took this shot of he and his BFF, Charles Terry III at the opening of his friend’s new storeCrumbl Cookies, in Wynnewood . Did you know Tobias serves as a brand ambassador?

I just got this in the mail today: Broomall is about to get a whole lot sweeter on Friday, January 13, when
locally owned and operated Broomall Crumbl Cookies, located at 1991 Sproul Rd, Unit 42B,
Broomall, PA, 19008, opens its doors at 8am.

No word or even a rumor if Tobias will be there this time. OK ChitChat tomorrow. Thanks HughE