New Restaurants in Philly


Coney Island Comes to Philly

Popular New York City Coney Shack has expanded to Philadelphia, bringing the taste of Coney Island to our area – in the company’s first expansion out of that market – with more Philly locations to come!

Chef, partner and founder Lawrence Mach (r) started as a small food cart in Coney Island, graduated to a food truck, then opened a brick and mortar, then opened a pod kitchen in partnership with Times Square Foundation. Then the pandemic set in, slashing his business, and several of his locations paused due to the pandemic, but he moved forward with the plans to open in Philadelphia. He’s partnered on this project with SET NoLibs’ owner Michael Tang to open his largest brick and mortar to date; his NYC business are slowly coming back on line.

Coney Shack is represented by Kory Aversa, Aversa Pr, who never seemed to pause during the pandemic.

Earlier this month Coney Shack held at media night tasting.

Coney Shack combines Mexican and American street food favorites, with a Southeast Asian twist.

One must-try dish is the Mach Dog, with Vietnamese caramelized pork, crispy onion strings, Mexican cheese melt, sweet chili spicy mayo, scallion and toasted sesame. The cheese is melted using a blow torch at the front of the open-air kitchen.

Coney Shack 3818 Chestnut St. opens 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Delivery currently is available through Grubhub, and will be available through Uber Eats, Postmates, Caviar and Doordash starting next week.


Sneak Peek of Pod Hotel and Eateries

I had an opportunity to check out the public spaces of the newly opened Pod hotel at 31 S 19th Street.

The popular, economical micro hotel by Modus Hotels is in the midst of it’s soft opening, and they are already completely booked this week. What people are really excited about is the hotel’s food program which will be operated by Greg Root and Nick Kennedy, the team behind Fishtown’s Root and Suraya restaurants. The pair’s Defined Hospitality group also will run the hotel’s rooftop bar, which is to feature a retractable canopy.

The Lobby of the Pod Hotel, is expansive with tables and couches. The public space is spacious as the rooms are micro at 170 sq. feet or as Jacob Adelman at the Inquirer describe, about the size of two cars next to each other. (Source)

Adjacent to the lobby, with a view of 19th Street is an all-day cafe – El Cafe– centered around baked treats from Suraya pastry chef James Matty, and will feature coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters of Portland, Ore. When I was there last night people were already enjoying the lounge area.

The team that brought you R&D, Pizzeria Beddia and Suyraya are excited to bring you their next passion project, Condesa. Inspired by their trip to Mexico City and beyond Chef Nick Kennedy, Greg Root, Al Lucas with Natalie DiBattista (Project Manager at Defined Hospitality) are opening the full service restaurant around October 1, a Mexican inspired coffee bar (El Cafe) this week, and

an exciting all season rooftop Taqueria/bar (El Techo) in the heart of Center City Philadelphia shortly. The food will be inspired by all seven regions of Mexico as well as the beverage program which is being designed by Aaron Deary of R&D and Suraya fame. (They are hiring too)

Check out the retracting roof. The room was spacious, with lots of tables, nooks and crannies for all kinds of get togethers with friends, loved ones and future loved ones. The room has wrap around views of Center City, and when the roof is retracted the skyline is right there casting light on you. I can’t wait for it to open, I really liked the layout, can’t wait to try the food, and look forward to it’s late night loungy future.

The main entrance is on Ludlow Street. This leads directly to the restaurant and the Front Desk.

Welcome to Philly Pod. I loved you in NYC, and we’re so lucky to have you. It’s amazing what you have built on what seemed to be a tiny lick of land. The 11-story Pod Philly Hotel by Modus Hotels, which broke ground in April 2018 and is now opened in September 2019. Not only is it a hotel, but it’s a destination for us, in the Philly area.


The Four Seasons Hotel Lobby, Jean-Georges and View Review – That Elevator

Welcome back. I’ve lit my pumpkin spice candles and I’m ready to get back to work. How about you? Recently I stopped by the new, much anticipated Four Seasons hotel in the Comcast Technology building to check out the view and food. They were open for about a week when I wandered in, here’s what I found.

Looking towards Jean-Georges restaurant from the JG Sky Bar which is a floor above and looks down on it

An incredible architectural gem we get to claim as part of Philadelphia.

The glass elevator ride was not as scary as I first anticipated, unless you actually look out the glass panel side. There is a full side that is not glass and if you are nervous you can focus on that area and you will be fine.  Do not miss out on the Four Seasons if you are afraid of heights, nothing will happen, the elevators are really amazing and it’s the safest Instagram moment from a height you can imagine.

The check in desk

The ride from the elevator takes about a breathtaking minute, breathtaking cause it’s beautiful not because you’ll be having a panic attack, although I suggest you look towards the doors, or to the left if you are prone to them. The lobby is sleek, modern and mirrored. In fact the whole 60th floor is, which allows you to not only enjoy the beautiful lobby, but the views of the whole City if you just look up. Here I am taking a selfie while facing the check in desk, and enjoying North Philly.

In the lobby I found Brittney Shipp , NBC10 Philadelphia, which is located in the same building on a lower floor, with her mom. From here there are breathtaking views and flower arrangements ( Celebrity Floral Designer Jeff Leatham creates the arrangements. He’s the go to florist to the stars, like Oprah Winfrey, the Kardashians, and Madonna.) ), which is a great location for family photos, Instagram moments, or to just stop and smell the flowers. They are changed every few weeks. This week I saw photos and they’re white.

From the ground floor you take the elevator to the 60th floor, then you go to another bank of elevators to get down to your room. You can’t go from the ground floor to your room without first going back to the lobby which is on the 60th floor. These are the elevators to go to the rooms. There are benches to relax as well as a spectacular view looking west.

The sunset is best viewed from this area looking west, but if someone is sitting in those chairs go to the other elevator bank where there’s an identical view, and no chairs.

On the floor where JG Skybar is the windows have dots on them, making them less than picture perfect. I ran into the Four Seasons GM Ben Shank who told me these were to reflect the sun and keep the room cool. Clever idea without disrupting the views too much. You might recall how hot the Hamilton Garden Roof Top event space was before they added a “roof” and a/c. It might have become a hot box without this added feature.

JG Skyhigh is more than just the hotel’s bar, it’s a destination. It’s more lounge, with tables and comfortable chairs that hug you, spread out on a generous space on the 60th floor. There are nooks and crannies with deuces, or four tops where conversations can be enjoyed as well as lite bites. Jean George takes care of the menu in this space as well, but don’t expect a large menu selection. You can make reservations to sit in the lounge, but you can also walk in as well and wait for a table to open up, sit at the bar or stand around. The day I went the doorman as I entered the building told me it was standing room only.

When I looked around JG SkyHigh I saw a lot of the business leaders, movers and shakers, scenesters, Philebrities and people on dates filling every corner of the breathtaking space. It was like going to a Philly Style Magazine party, my neck was hurting from people saying hello. I wish I had taken more peoples photos, I was taking it all in. Photo top left: Ben Shank, GM Four Seasons Hotel with Sam Cooper and girlfriend Lauren Villa . Sam is in a band, Mt. Joy, they’re playing the Fillmore in Philly Oct 4.

I had promised my friend AJ Mattia we would eat dinner at Jean-Georges in September, but I couldn’t wait and decided to have a bite, I promised myself I wouldn’t do any social media around it so he wouldn’t know.

I’m not to be trusted. I was able to get a seat in Jean-Georges and I dived into the SUMMER TASTING MENU $128 which friends of mine had earlier in the week. It’s a steep price, but the build up to the Four Seasons, and rave reviews about Jean-Georges whet my appetite. (Menu)

Great service by Whitman and Ray. Ask to be seated in Ray’s section.

It was a luxurious treat I don’t regret, a great way to end the summer. Now I can’t wait for the Fall Tasting Menu, and the amazing views that come with it. There are so many restaurants I haven’t tried because of the cost, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the world renowned Jean Georges restaurant, my friends have all raved about over the years. They were right. Plus the view, oh my the view. I was so wrong in my earlier Social Media posts, it’s spectacular at night as well.

Before I left I was treated to this magnificent lightning storm; no longer will I need to wonder what it would be like to be there during a storm, or experience the view of the City without tinted windows as is the case in most skyscrapers in Philly, or catch the sunset from the tallest building in Philadelphia. You could enjoy all the splendor of this magnificent gem by just going to the lounge, enjoying a cocktail, or even just taking the ride to the 60th floor to to the lobby, take a few photos and head back down again. I have been known to direct tourists to certain buildings, and hotels just see the beautiful views of our City, you know your curious. Just do it.
Check out additional info here and at Visit Philly.


Cinder Blume’s, Jessica Boyington, Preakness at Piazza is no More,

Happy Spring, last year it snowed. Today we’re getting an epic rainstorm. It’s Thursday, let’s gossip….

But look the Cherry Trees are starting to bloom at the Art Museum

There’s a New Kid On The Block

Speaking about bloom, a few weeks ago I wrote about one of my favorite places to grab a cider and a pizza, Cinder Copper & Lace closing for renovations, and posted a few pixs which looked like they were changing their name and concept. I just received a press release from Kory Aversa, Aversa PR and it’s true. ” From the heat of the glowing embers will rise up a stylish and colorful bar and restaurant that is designed to be light, fun, casual and yet sophisticated. Blume will open in approximately three to five weeks, and launch with lunch and dinner service seven days a week. Look for boozy brunch, happy hour and late night menus to follow later in spring.” “Craft Concepts Group is excited to announce our newest food and drink concept, Blume, at 1500 Locust Street,” said Teddy Sourias. “We are aiming to create a fun, light, energetic and comfortable concept – that also puts the focus on cocktails and natural wine, which is new for us as a company. – Congrats to them. Looks like it will be Rosé All Day at Blume.

Speaking of rose, my friend Erin Como posted this photo over the weekend of her at a Wawa, near where she lives in DC. I noted everyone’s favorite traffic gal Jessica Boyington like it. Why that is significant is everyone has been writing me to ask what Jessica is up to, and why she isn’t on NBC10 anymore. I am in the dark as much as you, but I did find this article published by Nick Vadala , at Philly.com. I’m sure Jessica would love to hear from you, and although her social media has been silent since 2/7/19, she’s still active on it.

A Rose By Any Other Name

Another popular eating spot underwent a refresh this winter – Rouge. I stopped by earlier this week to see the unveil and it’s beautiful. The bar has been relocated to the wall where a banquette used to be, which allowed Rob Waserman to add 20 additional seats for dining. The menu and cocktails are new as well; the only item that came over from the old menu was Rouge’s very popular burger. I loved the new carpet as well, with it’s vines and rose colored butterflies.
Spotted Around Town

Speaking of dining out Julianne Moore was spotted at Parc on Monday night, she’s in town promoting her new movie “Gloria Bell” which is getting rave reviews. Tyler Perry dined at Scarpetta, he’s in town appearing in Tyler Perrys Madeas Farewell which is at The Met this week. Dolph Lundgren in town for an autograph session, was spotted there the week before. Last week Desean Jackson celebrated his new contract with the Philadelphia Eagles with a steak at Capital Grille. Soon the eatery, which is celebrating 17 years at Broad and Chestnut, will be opening their sidewalk dining area.

I’m Not Horsing Around

I chatted with the organizers of Preakness on the Piazza, a popular event which took place annually for 6 years at the Piazza in Northern Liberties on the 3rd Saturday of May, and benefited the National Multiple Sclerosis Society . The event attracted a millennial crowd dressed in their Derby finest. Despite the rain that seemed to fall every year, the event was always packed and raised nearly $100,000 every year for MS. Geoff Gross, the co-founder of Preakness at the Piazza, tells me he wants to do something different this year, which would still benefit MS, perhaps in the Fall so stay tuned. But don’t fret I have alternatives where you can still wear your bonnets and springtime outfits.

Bow Ties, Big Hats & Bourbon: A Kentucky Derby Party head on over to West Laurel Hill Cemetery & Funeral Home on May 4th for their annual Kentucky Derby Party. Proceeds from the event will benefit Gateway HorseWorks, a nonprofit which offers transformative Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Services to children, adults, and families in a healing, farm-based environment. (INFO) Also check out other events West Laurel Hill will be having this year to celebrate their 150th Anniversary.

If you’re looking to party on Preakness Day, celebrate 89 years of horseracing on the Main Line. With everything from amazing tailgates, fancy hats and bow ties to the parade of antique carriages and thoroughbreds racing for the finish, Radnor Hunt Races is a day filled with elegance, excitement and fun. I’ve attended for the past 8 years, and it really is fun, it was odd, even though it seemed to rain on the Preakness on the Piazza in the evening, it was often dry at the Radnor Hunt Races held during the day. The event is held rain or shine, and last year everyone looked very fashionable in their boots. Check out the photos here.

Another event happening on Preakness day, is right here in our own back yard – The Rittenhouse Row Festival. Who says you can’t wear your Derby finest to stroll Philly’s Rodeo Drive. Don’t forget this Saturday is the annual
Rittenhouse Row Spring Fashion Crawl 1-4.
Fashion is always in bloom! Jason Matthew Salon, along with numerous Rittenhouse Row retailers, will host simultaneous in-store parties with cocktails and special drinks from our best mixologists. Think First Friday, but on Saturday, and shopping for clothes for spring… See you back here on Friday for more PhillyChitChat, and if I’ve photographed you this week I will post the links from all the parties on Saturday as I do every week. Don’t forget your umbrella today….