Food & Drink

New cafe serving “tea, coffee and snacks” coming soon to 4500 block of Walnut

Posted on 10 August 2015

lulucafeA new cafe that will offer tea, coffee, snacks and desserts is opening soon on the 4500 block of Walnut Street. The new establishment, called Lulu Café (as we understand, named after the owners’ French bulldog) is expected to open this month at 4508 Walnut St., next door to Hunter Gatherer Tattoo and across the street from University City Chinese Christian Church.

The full menu hasn’t been posted yet, but it will include varieties of tea (caramel milk tea, sea salt green tea, plum tomato green tea), coffee (sea salt iced coffee), blended drinks (mocha, watermelon, pistachio), and snacks (popcorn chicken).

According to its website, the Chinese owned business is currently hiring part-time and full-time employees (speaking both English and Mandarin is a must; email: for more info).

For more information and updates, visit Lulu Café website or Facebook page.

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Big fences, small zines and hands-on learning: West Philly in the news

Posted on 28 July 2015

Here’s a round up of some of the latest news coming out of the area.

St. Francis de Sales School photo

St. Francis de Sales School (Photo from

Cool things are happening at St. Francis de Sales, the local Catholic school. The school recently received a $13,000 grant from the nonprofit faith-based Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia to help fund its Science and Arts Innovative Learning on the River (SAILOR) program. The program provides real-world, hands-on engineering experience to participating students who visit the Delaware river, build boats and learn how to operate them. The program has inspired many St. Francis de Sales students to pursue an education in engineering, according to The Philadelphia Tribune. By the way, the school’s highly-acclaimed after-school music program, Play On Philly!, has also been featured in the news many times.


Photo from

Have you checked out The Soapbox yet? Philadelphia City Paper has recently published a nice feature on the West Philly-based independent publishing center. Co-founders Mary Tasillo and Charlene Kwon opened the space at 741 S. 51st St in 2011 to be used as a community studio for book arts and zine-making. Now, in addition to the studio, which is free to use for their members, The Soapbox also hosts a variety of workshops and houses a vast collection of zines (about 1,500!), over 500 of which have been cataloged. In other independent publishing news, the annual Philly Zine Fest will take place at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut) on Aug. 30Continue Reading

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‘We’re getting tired': Long-time restaurateurs put The Gold Standard up for sale

Posted on 16 July 2015

goldstandardcafeAbout 35 years ago Roger Harman and a partner opened a small café in a former laundromat at 47th and Chester. They named it The Gold Standard. A few years later they renamed it The Palladium and moved it to Penn’s Arts, Research and Culture House (ARCH) on Locust Walk where it operated for 20 years.

Then, Harman teamed up with Vince Whittacre to open Abbraccio, an Italian restaurant at 47th and Warrington (where the Vietnam Café is now). That closed, but six years ago they were back in business at 48th and Baltimore with a name that saluted the old days, opening The Gold Standard Café, the ever-pleasant coffee shop/restaurant/outdoor bistro that quickly became an institution along that section of Baltimore Avenue.

Now it’s on the market.

“We’re getting tired,” said Harman.

He couldn’t provide too many details on the effort to sell the restaurant, but said that its future will be a lot more clear in a week or two. We’ll keep you posted.

Mike Lyons

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West Philly restaurant and business news

Posted on 15 July 2015

Here’s a short roundup of some latest news from local restaurants, bars and cafés.

DiningDays1University City Dining Days kicks off this Thursday (July 16), with over 30 restaurants participating in the event. During the 11-day promotion, you can choose a pre-fixe three-course dinner menu best suiting for your wallet: for $15 – at Dahlak, Desi Village, Dock Street Brewery, The Gold Standard Cafe, New Delhi, Vietnam Café, and more restaurants; for $25 – at 48th Street Grille, Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House, The Farmacy Rx, Han Dynasty, Harvest Seasonal, and more restaurants; or for $35 – at City Tap House, Distrito, Penne Restaurant & Wine Bar, Pod, and White Dog Cafe. Reservations should be made directly at participating businesses.

In addition, you can win some great prizes offered by the event organizer, University City District (UCD), including an iPod Touch, an Apple TV, and a $200 bundle of restaurant gift certificates. For more information go to:

UCD has installed a new and the largest parklet in the area – on 40th Street between Walnut and Sansom, in front of the retail space that hosts several eateries, including Hai Street Kitchen, Jake’s Sandwich Board, and Zesto Pizza. The new parklet, designed by Shift_Design, measures about 60 feet long and is among the longest parklets ever constructed. Now you can enjoy your sushi burrito outside.

CafeRenataKatieWe’ve been keeping an eye on the progress of Cafe Renata‘s opening at the new location near 46th and Baltimore. As we reported earlier, Renata co-owners Katie Steenstra and Yasser Aiq, were planning to open the new location this summer, after their old space near 43rd and Locust was heavily damaged in a fire in March. They even participated in the recent Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll (pictured right). It turns out, the opening will not happen until later this summer because Katie and Yasser are busy preparing for a big personal event – they’re getting married early next month! Once they’re “refreshed with marital bliss” they’ll be “back on the street” figuring out the opening date. We’ll keep you posted. By the way, the name of the new place is Renata’s Kitchen.

The Gold Standard Café is hiring Front of House staff, including a busser/runner (for weekend brunch), a server (3-5 days a week), and a barista. Please drop off your resume in person at 4800 Baltimore Ave. or stop in and ask for an application on Monday-Friday from 10-10:30 a.m. or 2:30-5 p.m.. For more information, check out this Facebook post.

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University City Dining Days return next week. Reservations now available

Posted on 10 July 2015

DiningDaysUniversity City Dining Days, a popular annual event helping drive traffic to local restaurants during slow summer months, will return on Thursday, July 16 and you can make your reservations now. This event is a great chance for those who like to eat out, but can’t always afford it, or want to check out some new restaurants in the area. As always, the event is based on the concept “3 course, 3 prices” – a pre-fixe three-course dinner special for $15, $25 or $35.

Thirty three restaurants, including craft beer bars, cozy BYOB’s, celebrity chef and ethnic restaurants, are participating in this year’s Dining Days. Six restaurants are participating in the event for the first time: 48th Street Grille, Hai Street Kitchen & Company, St. Declan’s Well, Wahoo’s Tacos and More, William Street Common, and Zavino University City.

See the full list of participating restaurants, menus and prices at Please note that prices are for dinner only and do not include tax, gratuity or alcohol. Reservations should be made directly through the participating restaurant.

The event runs through July 26.

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Greensgrow’s low-cost farm share program kicks off this Thursday (updated)

Posted on 09 July 2015

UPDATE: Registration for Session 1 of the SNAP Box program is still open. Please go to: or contact Greensgrow at: or 267-496-0148.

snapbox2_72-496x298 (2)Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great thing, but most farm share programs are costly and inaccessible for many city residents. Greensgrow Farms is bringing back its low-cost SNAP Box program this summer to help connect low-income individuals and families with local farmers and their produce. The program launches on Thursday, July 9, and here are more details:

SNAP Box participants in West Philadelphia can purchase their produce from Greensgrow West located at 4912 Baltimore Ave. on Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. The SNAP Box program consists of three sessions, and each session runs for four weeks. Session 1 begins the week of July 9th, session 2 begins the week of August 6th, and session 3 begins the week of September 3rd. A one time fee of $26 valued at a retail price of $64 will offer participants an assortment of 5-8 weekly produce items sourced from local farms throughout the four-week program. In addition, program participants will have access to an onsite nutritionist and herbalist who will answer general health related questions and to free culinary education classes. Recipes, food prep and storage tips will also be offered. Additional information about the farms and farmers who contributed to the share will also be available.

Sign-up is still open for sessions 2 and 3. More information and a sign-up form are available here. If you have questions, please email: or call 267.496.0148.

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