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Philadelphia

ChitChat: The Pod Hotel to Open in Center City

ChitChat: The Pod Hotel to Open in Center City

Center

About a year or so ago a slither of a building was torn down on 19th Street (31 South 19th Street, ) with lots of speculation on what would be going in this spot, which is south of Market Street. Today a friend tipped me off that a cool hotel that I’ve stayed at in NYC would be built there – Pod, not to be confused with the sushi restaurant of the same name. With a little internet sleuthing I discovered a few articles on the new, exciting modern sleek new hotel – the POD Hotel where I’ve stayed in NYC and they are so cool.


They’re great for budget, no frills stays in the City, (Currently in NYC and DC)

with micro, but very functional and fun rooms.


(Can you imagine if you’re not specific with a cab driver “Take me to Pod” and they take you to the incorrect one; it reminds me of when there were two Bookbinders in the City)

Check out (Philadelphia Speaks) 

AND for a great behind the scenes, in-depth article where the story was “rumored”  read Sandy Smith’s

Is There a Big Hotel in the Works on 19th Street? over at Philly Mag

The story broke on Commercial Observer

Last year Pod Chinatown in DC, and the DC Business Journal covered it in detail.

Philadelphia

#PCCBuzz DelFrisco’s Grille Headed to Broad Street, Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff ; WXTU’s Crockett on the Move

Hope you’re Friday was awesome!! Yesterday morning  I made my debut on WOGL radio and then prepared two columns about Thursday night’s party – Philly Mag Best of Soiree, check out photos here: Philly Mag and one for Metro Philly ; I ran kinda late getting my post up earlier today so let’s just call this Saturday Scoop

P.S. Did I photograph you this week. Click on the links at the bottom for the links to the party pictures, but first check out what’s happening around town

Will
What a dream come true to be live on air on my favorite radio station WOGL FM Thanks to the extraordinary producer Kevin Crockett, and the legendary Marilyn Russell for today. Listen to me again next Friday at 830am, and hopefully every Friday afterwards til eternity. I’ll be chatting about events around town and dropping some dope news, and celebrity stories that happen in Philadelphia, just like you’re about to read below:

Good news for Crockett on the horizon..

Cumulus Media announces that veteran Philadelphia on-air personality Kevin Crockett has been named co-host of 100.7 WLEV/Allentown’s new morning radio show Selena and Crockett. The new show will air weekdays from 5-10am and debuts in mid-August. Crockett joins 100.7 WLEV and Cumulus-Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA, from CBS Radio-Philadelphia, where he’s been heard in the market for the last eight years. Crockett most recently served as the Executive Producer of 98.1 WOGL‘s The Breakfast Club and was previously heard mornings on 92.5 WXTU. He also spent time at the former Wired 96.5, where he started his career.

 

OH I forgot to mention Kevin and I both graduated from Paul VI High School, 20 years apart – ha

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Ok let’s get to the big breaking news. Everyone has been wondering what restaurant is going to be a part of the new CAMBRiA hotel & suites Philadelphia project being built in Center City at Broad & Locust Sts.

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On June 8th, 2016 Choice Hotels International Inc., Pearl Properties (who owns the parcel of land – 3 lots running from mid block to the corner of Broad and Locust Sts) and Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. broke ground for the for the CAMBRiA hotel & suites Philadelphia ( 219 S. Broad St.)

will
Ground Breaking Shot: Rob Wonderling, President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Meryl Levitz, President and CEO, Visit Philadelphia; Steve Joyce, CEO, Choice Hotels International; Reed Slogoff, Partner at Peal Properties; James Pearlstein, Founder and President of Pearl Properties; Janis Cannon, Senior Vice President of Upscale Brands, Choice Hotels International (photo provided by PHI-TNC)

The 15-story, 223 room hotel is being designed by DAS Architects Inc. (they do most of Pearl Properties) and will be managed by Concord.  The hotel sounds spectacular in the amenities they are planing including a state of the art fitness room, free wi-fi, a grab-and-go gourmet salads, sandwiches as well as a barista bar and a 3,000 square foot rooftop bar with views of the city where I can’t wait to hang; And it’s just been announced that

8-4-2017 7-38-45 PM (Custom) Del Frisco’s Grille . “a more casual take on the upscale Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House” will offer seating for 230 in the main dining area, with a private dining room to accommodate special occasions and celebrations for up to 35 people, as well as patio seating for 30 fronting Broad Street. There will be an extensive selection of wines in custom designed displays throughout the dining area and the space will highlight the high ceilings, expansive storefront windows, and a prominently positioned curved bar to create a modern, elevated and vibrant feel. (According to DelFrisco’s spokesperson in a DM on Aug 1, 2017, they stated it’s going in at Broad & Locust Sts., which could mean the Perch/Varalli Restaurants, of the main hotel since the whole project is at Broad & Locust Streets) and the press release

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The company describes its’ Del Frisco’s Grille delivers a more creative twists on American classic comfort food. Menu examples at the eatery include ahi tacos, wild mushroom flatbread, steakhouse salad, burgers, chopped chicken and farm greens salad, Filet Mignon, prime rib-eye and mesquite smoked pork chop.

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(Illustrations from website and press releases)

Del Frisco’s Grille is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018 and is going to have spectacular views of Broad and Locust Streets. The Grille, will be located across the street from the very hot, newly renovated and opened Palm Restaurant at the Bellevue (had lunch there yesterday, they’re starting to put up fun caricatures), and a couple blocks away from the delicious DelFrisco’s Steakhouse down the street (Was there Thursday night, and it was jammed packed with singles. Better than Tinder.)

Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind
Will
You might have read last year that Actor/rapper Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff  are “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit it” as they are reuniting and touring this summer. They’ll be headlining Livewire Festival in the UK on August 27, and then  stopping by Croatia’s MTV Summerblast on August 25 and 26. The duo will no doubt performed songs from their new CD Consequence Of Sound, as well as songs from the five CDs they did together, including 1991’s Homebase, which spawned the Grammy-winning Summertime.  For the three weeks running up to the tour, the West Philly guys are rehearsing the tour in Philadelphia. There have been sightings of Will Smith running on Broad Street, and unfortunately for Jazzy Jeff, his car broke down on RT 95 near the Linc the other day as he was heading into town from the Wilmington area, where he lives.

Will
The Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Comcast NBCUniversal held a special screening of Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ animated film, “Despicable Me 3” while it is still in theaters. CHOP President and CEO Madeline Bell and Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice President David L. Cohen delivered opening remarks prior to the movie screening. Patients got to interact with Minions in the Hospital’s atrium. Following the screening, the movie was streamed into hospital rooms for patients who were unable to attend in-person.” (Photo provided)HD1_6279 (Custom)
I could write a whole blog on what’s happening on Walnut Street, this week bad news True Religion is going out of business after nearly 6 years at the Ritt Row location. The good news everything is 50% off. You can still buy them at Macy’s across from Broad Street.

DATEBOOK
Will

On Thursday, August 10 the PSPCA will partner with 62 Chipotle locations throughout the Philadelphia area, Central Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey as part of their community giving efforts.

For the second consecutive year, Chipotle will invite customers to make eating a selfless act, by joining the fundraiser to support the PSPCA. Those who visit any Philadelphia or Central PA Chipotle on Thursday, August 10 from 10:45am-10pm, bring the below flier, show it on their smartphone or simply mention the fundraiser will have 50% of the proceeds from their meal donated to the PSPCA.

The participating locations will donate 50 percent of their sales from August 10 (10:45 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.) to the PSPCA’s life saving-mission when the fundraiser is mentioned at check out or the designated flier is presented via hard copy or smartphone.

Did PCC Photograph You This Week?

Photos: East Passyunk Car Show and Street Festival 2017

PHOTOS: Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop house hosts Sunset Soiree

The Gerald Henderson Charity Golf Invitational

Christmas In July At Stratus Rooftop Lounge

Amino Payments Official Launch

East Passyunk Car Show on PHL Biz Journal

Published on: Aug 5, 2017 @ 01:25am

Philadelphia

Rumor: Ruth’s Chris Steak House is on the Move…

Not really a rumor, now as I have a second source.

 Ruth’s Chris Steak House has been a fixture on Broad Street as long as I can remember.

When I was growing up in Jersey my parents would take us kids there for our birthday dinners, it was one of the rare times we headed over the bridge except to watch the Mummer’s parade from the Maglio’s 2nd floor windows near Broad Street. Then in the 90s I moved down the street, and when I walked by it would always bring me back to those memories. I’ve eaten there a few times in the past years and it’s always been delicious.

I’m excited for them as I just heard that they are moving into the space that used to occupy
Elephant & The Castle. I love that space, I love that it has an outdoor area for al fresco dining. I love that Ruth’s Chris is going to have a much larger space to serve their delicious steaks, and it’s connected to Sonesta hotel for their guests. I’m glad the former Elephant & Castle space has finally found a tenant. I was sad it was empty all last summer, although I do like the Art Cafe next door much better than what previously was there. Anyway, I think business will be booming this summer for Ruth’s Chris in this new location, with it’s large plate glass windows inviting people in. I was surprised Morton’s Steakhouse didn’t scoop it up, it’s got to be tough for them on the 2nd floor of a building with no street visibility. Look for a mid-summer opening, September, and my favorite light night service, and a reasonably priced bar menu they tell me.
Philadelphia

Qdoba Mexican Grill Closed at 19th and Chestnut, Pearl Properties Moves Ahead with what I reported weeks ago

I first reported a few weeks in November it looks like Pearl Properties is planning to build an apartment highrise down the street from Rittenhouse House Square. 

Follow me on Twitter   where I break news & rumors.
UPDATE 3/31/14: 

RESIDENTIAL HI RISE PLANS AT 19TH AND CHESTNUT
Pearl Properties has created preliminary plans to erect a high rise
residential apartment tower on the southwest corner of 19th and Chestnut
with the residential entrance on 19th. The project is just east of the
Boyd Theater site and across the street from the CVS pharmacy. The
plans call for the preservation of the property situated on the
southwest corner of 19th and Chestnut, recently occupied by the Qdoba
restaurant. Sketches show retail on two
floors accessible from the ground floor with the entry on Chestnut. The
site is zoned CMX4 (center city commercial mixed use), which prescribes a
floor area ratio (FAR) of between 500% and 700% depending upon whether
the property qualifies for Section 14-702 bonuses for amenities such as
public art, public space, underground parking or green elements. A 7
story building with a footprint occupying 100% of the buildable space
on a lot has an FAR of 700%, while a 14 story building with a footprint
occupying 50% of the buildable space would have an FAR of 700%. CCRA has
created a major development taskforce which has met twice with Pearl
Properties and is making arrangements for Pearl’s representatives to
present their plans at a public meeting to be held on April 29 at 7:00
PM, at a location still to be determined. Stay tuned.

I had heard that the deal between Little Pete’s and Mac’s Tavern fell
through after Little Pete’s owners got an offer they couldn’t refuse from Pearl
Properties. Pete was very generous when he broke the news to the
Mac’s Tavern peeps, who are now on the lookout for a new home on the west
side of Broad Street. Of course I was 100% this thing was going to happen, I am sensitive to the fact that it affects people and their livelihood. I wouldn’t have reported this had I known it wasn’t happening. (I probably could have waited on the Bloomingdale’s story since it’s so far out, but that is happening too. They are waffling on whether it’s going to be going in BCF or the KMart space. They definitely didn’t want the old Strawbridge because of 8th & Market area. Bloomies really isn’t fond of the KMart space.)

Qdoba Mexican Grill closed on Saturday. Now Pearl owns all the property from the corner to the Boyd Theater.

How amazing that Pearl Properties held on to the empty lot on the right for nearly a decade and then it all fell into place for them.
Look for Pearl Properties to build a 1st class, 20 – 25 story apartment building, with retail on the first floor. Look for a high end wrap around restaurant on the corner of 19th and Chestnut. This is a very exciting project for the Rittenhouse Square area, especially for the Chestnut Street revival which I’ve been writing about for the past year. 16th Street to 22nd Street. Great things are happening in the City.

check out my year end review here

Philadelphia

Serafina Philadelphia Names Their Chef

Serafina opens in April, but today another piece of the puzzle can be revealed

Vittorio Assaf (left) and Fabio Granato (right) owners of Serafina, a restaurant coming to Rittenhouse Square, are excited for the grand opening in April. The duo already own a handful of restaurants in NYC. The location is perfect as it’s on what I think is going to be the next little restaurant row, 18th Street between Walnut and Chestnut (After Audrey Claire opens her new place in the former Snackbar, Cook.)
Buddakan’s former longtime executive chef Scott Swiderski, left the Starr restaurant last summer saying he wanted to spend time with his family, then look for a restaurant “with a good fit.” First he did a stint at The Tap House in West Philly late last summer, then he opened The Corner on Thirteenth Street in December with sous chef John “Chainsaw” Taus (previously of Snackbar where he received rave reviews from Craig Le Ban, then he left to take a break landing at the Diving Horse in Avalon [licking my chops thinking of my birthday dinner there]). (Scott’s departure was first noted by Grubby Gossip

“Swiderski out @, which means Taus is back as Exec. What menu changes can we expect?,” I already knew but I was waiting for confirmation from Serafina to release the news as it was a done deal last Monday.)

Now Scott Swiderski moves on to Serafina with the well wishes of the folks at The Corner. “It’s a great opportunity for Scott to work for a large outfit like Serafina” said the folks at The Corner.

The Corner was thrilled that Scott Swiderski was on board to open the 13th Street restaurant, and is equally thrilled that Scott is going to helm the latest restaurant to join the thriving restaurant community in the hot market of Philadelphia. (first floor dining room The Corner above)
Celebrated chef John “Chainsaw” Taus will now head up the kitchen and continue producing the delicious, cutting edge dishes he’s popular for. The above two photos were taken of The Corner last Friday night. Bottom shot is the outdoor patio, which will open again when temps climb above 60F