Laura Burkhardt


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)

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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….

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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.

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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



Congrats to Nina Tinari and Michael Schulson, 6ABC’s

Good Monday morning. Lots of happenings in the dog days of summer here in Philly. Hope everyone made it out to the 2nd Street Festival. I met old friends, and I mean old as in grade school friends for lunch at LaScala’s Burn in Marlton NJ. They have the hottest long hots that will be memorable the entire week for me. This week I’m gettng ready to cover the Girl Scouts Smores Competition in Chesapeake. Remember I went there last year and stayed at the Hyatt on the Chesapeake. It was fabulous. So glad they asked me back again this year to shoot it. Let’s see what’s happening with our neighbors….


Congrats to longtime couple Michael Schulson and Nina Tinari on their marriage Saturday at Le Cheri. The bride wore creame, the groom wore sneakers and the flowers were by Ten Pennies.


Congrats to Perry O’Hearn, Owner of Philly Phitness and 6ABC’s Melissa Magee on their engagement which happened in Hawaii during the DNC and you know how I missed things then.



Ian Larson and Jamie Reibenbach had their engagement photos taken by Phil Kramer. The duo are set for their nuptials in orange, which is perhaps why Jamie is wearing orange?


Don’t know what to do with that wedding dress after the ceremony, why make tiny wedding dresses for bears. They’re so cute.Nina

Jameer Nelson stopped by D’Angelo’s for dinner Friday night. I was there and saw he was with two friends dining al fresco.  Nina

On the mend, baby Rocky. Keep those prayers coming.



Christopher Wink, Technical.ly and Shannon Wink, Billy Penn commissioned this awesome mural on their home by artist Sean Martorano.



Happy Birthday to Kathyrn Ott Lovell


And Laura Burkhardt


Kacie McDonnell , Marisa Magnatta, Laura Burkhardt, Brian Sims and Maria Papadakis: Cheer for Prohibition

In the “spirit” of the National Constitution Center’s world-premiere exhibition,
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Philadelphia’s top
bartenders will compete to create the “Best ’20s-inspired cocktail” using Blue Coat Gin,
hand crafted by Philadelphia Distilling, as their primary ingredient.

Their creations were judged by popular Philadelphia personalities including
Laura Burkhardt, WHERE Magazine Publisher; Marisa Magnatta, Associate Producer of WMMR’s Preston and Steve Morning Show;
Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State Representative. Maria Papadakis, Emmy award-winning media personality
and host of “Out and About” on Philly.com; and   FOX 29 traffic reporter
Kacie McDonnell serves as emcee. 

 Maria Farricielli, Fox 29’s Business Development Account Manager. and Margaret Cronan, Chief Communications Officer at National Constitution Center
About American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition – Now
through April 28, 2013, the era of flappers and suffragists,
bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and real-life legends like Al
Capone and Carry Nation vividly
come to life in the National Constitution Center’s world-premiere exhibition
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
(I saw it, it was fascinating.)
Mixologist Nate Churchill, XIX restaurant and bar, tells me he created his prohibition drink in about a minute.
He’s a big fan of Bluecoat and knew which ingredients would work well with the gin, lemon juice, fresh OJ, dashes bitters, and honey. He then poured it in a mason jar, as this was the prohibition era and that was what people might drink cocktails in back them.

 Then there was Stephen Diaz’s “The Red Fizz Charleston”, made with 2oz Bluecoat, 1oz Germain, his own reciepe of fresh raspberry syrup topped off with a dry Brut champagnes and a twist of lemon and fresh raspberries on a skewer.

 A recent addition to Palomar Hotel’s Square 1682, Chaucey Scates’ created the popular “Powder Room Punch” with gin, cointreau, jasmine tea, lemon grenadine, peychaunds bitters and angostura bitters.

 Finally house bartender, Bess Gulliver created “The Jazz Baby”, gin, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth with Pierre Reeand and Dry Orange Curacao, Averna Amaro garnished with a flamed orange peel.

 South Philly Fashionista blogger Michelle Boyles, Julie Shannon, Editorial Events Coordinator for Metro US, Delsea football beat writer, foodie, fitness guru and Philly sports and Anna Aagenes, Greater Philadelphia Area – District Office Director, Office of Representative Brian Sims

Lisa Bass, Bourse Building (Who tells me she loves the Blue Coat as it’s not real ginny) and Lisa Breen

 It was good to catch up with Karen Gross, a former Where Magazine editor that works at the Constitution Center, but is also pursuing a cabaret singing career divides her time between Philly and Manhattan in pursuit of that goal, with Laura Burkhart, Where Magazine publisher.

 Rudy Fleisher, Here’s My Chance (PS I didn’t notice his flawless finger nails til late, I would have asked him if he were a typist?)

Michelle Boyles and Brett Copol both of Metro Philly Newspaper

Alison Young, Vice President of External Affairs at the National Constitution Center and Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State Representative.

Laurel Fairworth,  President at Cachet Communications and Kathy Zapp, Of Montgomery Media

 Kacie McDonnell, Fox 29 Traffic and Maria Papadakis, Philly.com plus has become a regular contributor to Fox 29 Good Day Philly. Prizes were awarded in two categories—Judge Favorite and Guest Favorite.  

The Guest Favorite will win an annual membership to the National Constitution
Center. And the winner is The Ritz Carlton Fizz!!

 Happy February Birthday to Matt Vlahos, Vlahos PR (2/28), Sarah Cooper Bobersky (2/8) and Big Rube Harley (2/23)

 Adam Judeh, GM XIX restaurant, winning bartender Nate Churchill thanking the organizers, Maria Papadakis, Marisa Magnatt and Brian Sims. Adam Judeh tells me that Orange Blossom will now be served at the XIX bar. (The Judge’s Favorite will receive
an annual membership to the National Constitution Center; a one night’s stay at the Hotel Monaco; a
With Love gift bag, courtesy of VisitPhilly.com and the Greater
Philadelphia Marketing and Tourism Corporation; and a feature on the
National Constitution Center’s website.)

Sunset from the Stratus Lounge. Can’t wait until summer, this place is going to be kickin it

 Then Laura and I headed to Red Owl Tavern for a bite to eat. OMG the Chicken Pot Pie keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend it, as I do the

The curry mussels.