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Philly Food

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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.

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Grand Re-Opening: Bridget Foy’s. It was delicious!!

Society Hill Photos

Bridget Foy and husband Paul Rodriguez, along with parents John and Bernadette Foy, announces the grand opening of the brand new Bridget Foy’s at 200 South Street this Friday, February 12th at 4:00pm. Bridget Foy’s is one of Philadelphia and South Streets most beloved restaurants that has served the community for decades since the 1970s. The entire restaurant was lost in 2017 during a devastating fire. After three years of demolition, construction, design, pandemic delays, two COVID shut-downs, a giant snow storm, a East Philly Café Pop-up and limited dining capacity, Bridget Foy’s is finally ready to return and make its grand debut overlooking one of Philadelphia’s most picturesque corners.

Society Hill Photos

The new dining room and bar features a show-stopping gold tin ceiling, striking wood and tiled floors, socially distanced seating, 16 oversized windows and doors opening to the sidewalk, advanced ventilation, artwork by Bernadette and Paul, and other touches of nostalgia and Americana with a light, modern and airy twist.

Outside, look for more outdoor seating than ever before with a patio cafe featuring their first-ever outside bar and service window, state-of-the-art outdoor covered heating space, plus sidewalk seating on the front of the building, with room for more along 2nd Street in nice weather.

For the kitchen team, the Foy’s have tapped the culinary talent of Chefs David Gilberg and Carla Goncalves of Cry Baby Pasta and formerly of Koo Zee Doo. Look for the return of updated Foy’s classics and favorites, plus Gilberg’s spin on American comfort cuisine. Goncalves will present her scratch pastries and desserts.

At the bar, look for cocktails that play a riff on the classics, plus a robust, accessible and affordable selection of wines. On tap, look for craft beers, wine by the glass, sparkling wine, and batched cocktails. New, look for the first-ever Bridget Foy and Cry Baby Pasta canned cocktails that are perfect to go and for take-out. Starting services include indoor and outdoor dining, dinner, weekend brunch and midday weekend menus, cocktails, beer, wine, cocktails to go, take-out, pick-up and delivery.

The Foy’s Bridget, John and Bernadette Foy,

Hours will be Wednesday to Sunday, from 4:00pm to 9:00pm for dinner, and on weekends Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11:00am to 3:00pm, mid-day menu 3:00pm to 4:00pm, and dinner 4:00pm to 9:00pm. For more info and reservations, visit bridgetfoys.com or call 215-922-1813. Connect on Instagram @BridgetFoys.

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Save The Date: Christmas Belle Brunch at the Igloos in Northern Liberties

InBox: Be our guest, be our guest! You and your family are invited to be the belle of the ball at the first-ever Christmas Belle Brunch: The Beauty Princess at the Igloos. This socially-distanced dining experience is perfect for kids of all ages who love Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Northern Liberties’ based A Dash of Magic Events partners with Germantown Garden Grill (1029 Germantown Ave) and Glu Hospitality after the success of the Enchanted in Northern Liberties: Snow Queen Brunch series.

This socially-distanced positive and magical dining experience will include 90 minutes at a private, exclusive and heated igloo just for you and your immediate family members. Get ready to enjoy a safe and socially-distanced photo opportunity, songs from the princesses story and a grand entrance. Each reservation will also receive a private The Beauty Princess visit per each Igloo, a souvenir, and princess themed activity sheets – and a special holiday dessert that would make even Chef Bouche hungry! Leave room for brunch and lunch, plus hot beverages for kids and adults. Food and drink is pay-as-you-go.Tickets are $15.00 per person for Igloo seating and $10.00 per person for outdoor seating without the Igloo. A portion of each ticket will go to charity, and provide a free princess appearance for children in need through the Salvation Army.

This event is open to a very limited number of tickets to make this dining experience very safe and intimate. Capacity for this event will be at less 10% of the entire capacity for the venue, to ensure safety and health protocols. All children and adults above the age of two must wear a mask to and from their dining table. The Beauty Princess already has her special princess themed matching mask. She can’t wait to see your costumes and masks too! Costumes for the little ones are encouraged but not required. All families attending must follow the local and health guidelines at the time of the event. If the event is postponed due to weather, all parties will be able to transfer their ticket to a new date and time. Tickets are on sale now at www.germantowngarden.com

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LaScala’s in CC Reopens renovated and with a new name

One of the perks of my job is meeting so many people, really nice people, and one of them is definitely Alicia DiMichele. You may remember Alicia from her popular VH1 show Mob Wives, but I only really know her from afterwards as a business women, a single mom, a popular social media star, who later married her best friend Rob LaScala, a successful restaurateur.

I attended their wedding 2 years ago at City Hall officiated by former Gov Ed Rendell. It was so beautiful.

And now their new venture, definitely a collaborative effort as Alicia helped with the interior design (the dining floor is the same one they have in their very white walled house) of the newly reopened formerly known as LaScala, now LaScala’s Fire 615 Chestnut St serving delicious, simple dishes created with recipes from Rob’s mom Rosemary LaScala, as well as Alicia, Rob told me.

Chicken wings, Salmon, and the Ricotta Board. Mike loved his Chicken Parm, it was so big he’s having it for lunch today.

Rob told me he wanted to serve good Italian food, at decent prices, where people could pop in and out on their way to someplace exciting. He recommends people reserve a table via Open Table during these times. There’s indoor and outdoor dining. They have heat lamps. I felt safe, there’s hand sanitizer through out the place, and the staff was wearing their masks properly.

Alicia and Rob with their family on the left is my other BFF is my head Maureen Vecere, with her husband and Vince Vecere. Follow Alicia on Instagram and get to know her family. I just adore them, and her authenticity connecting with her followers. Also she shares her recipes with us as she prepares dinner, as well as what it’s like to live in a house with 5 men.

The LaScala Restaurant Group has several eateries in our area, in South Jersey and a newly opened LaScala’s Fire in Villanova.

LaScala’s Fire was a great experience. I loved the new bright look, the big windows looking out on Chestnut Street, great scene watching. The food was so good, each dish made with a little love and it tastes it. Mike wants to go back already, you know happy husband makes me happy.

The homemade Tiramisu was the best Mike’s ever had and that is his go to dessert. ( I snuck a bite and I concur.) Best of all LaScala’s Fire is easy on your wallet with most dishes under $20. HEAD ON OVER TO CBSPHILLY to see who was there last night at the Friends & Family fete, including her mom who I immediately recognized from Alicia’s InstaStories (2nd to last photo). What a doll!!

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The Coventry Deli Closes Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

Before there was Corner Bakery, Naf Naf Grill, Nooks Bakery, Mama’s Vegetarian, Wawa, or any number of eateries on Market above Broad Street there was The Coventry Deli. Located at 2000 Market Street. David Rovner said the pandemic killed his business. I was lunching there today with my friend Michael, and we were reminiscing about all the times we had eaten there especially while working at our first jobs in Philly,

David Rovner says they are closing on Friday after 26 years in business. I asked him what happened and he said they just couldn’t make it work because everyone is working from home these days. When a customer heard Dave and I talk about the closing she ask was it true, would it be forever. Dave said it might be, but he doesn’t want to rule out anything in the future; right now he plans to be back in 2021. Hopefully in January but it depends on on the virus and restrictions; would people come back to the office or would they work from home permanently? Let’s cross our fingers that this will happen. Here’s what is special about the iconic deli.

The Coventry Deli has been the premiere Mom & Pop Deli in the city for 26 years! Open Monday thru Friday from 6 am – 3 pm, The Coventry Deli is a center city staple for breakfast or lunch, as well as take out and catering. Their slogan of “If we don’t have it, you shouldn’t eat it.”
All of their food is made from scratch onsite, using the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Every order is made to order, and is made fresh before your eyes. The lines were long, but the wait was worth it.

Everyone went to The Coventry Deli from executives, to secretaries to people who worked in the file room like I did at my first job. I have so many memories going there, I always got the tuna salad with tomato’s or the BLT, which I had today.

Besides a great place to dine, The Conventry Deli catered many of the business meetings and lunches for the tenants in nearby buildings. No doubt the missing office workers hurt his business. Have you had their pickles?

If you’re downtown in the next two days, stop by The Conventry Deli and thank Dave for all the years of delicious breakfasts and lunches. Cross your fingers that next year people will return, and maybe he will too.

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Sunday Stories: Shipp Surprise, Mad River Closes, Chick Fil A Pivots

COVID19 Day ten thousand, at least it feels that way when it’s cloudy, 68F, and nearly Memorial Day. OH AND of course socially distancing for so long. Sure I go out. I go to the beach more than I normally would in the month of May, but I’ve never had so much time on my hands, and have been so depressed as well. I’m sure we are all in the same boat, wondering when it is safe to hug again. But here’s some good news….

NBC10’s weather gal Brittney Shipp, was surprised with a baby shower spearheaded by her bff, and co-worker, NBC10’s Jacqueline London. Under the premise of doing a NBC10 Promo Shoot, Jackie & Anzio Williams, Vice President of News WCAU – NBCUniversal Media, were able to surprise Brittney while coordinating with her husband Jontue Long to celebrate the socially distant pop up party. Guests included Melissa Magee, 6ABC, Violeta Yas, Telemundo, Annemarie Oswald and Melanie Magill as well as a few very happy friends.

The Sad Reality of Business Due to COVID-19 virus. Killing people and businesses. Mad River in Manayunk announces it’s closing for good.

Friday night I enjoyed Feast Well Foods Sunday Gravy, Taluttos’s Raviolis and meatballs. So good. It’s by Feast Your Eyes Catering, they have pivoted during this time and created delicious meals for Take Out or Delivery.
Saturday Mike and I headed to the beach for a breeze. I stopped by Atlantic City to grab some shots for my column in CBSPhilly. Check them out here.
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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.