Food & Drink

Aksum owner opens a New American-inspired restaurant on Baltimore Ave

Posted on 02 February 2017

Aksum is among the finer dining options on Baltimore Ave, it’s actually one of my favorites to take out-of-towners to when they come to visit. Owner Saba Tedla has held her restaurant to a high standard, plans to continue with her new restaurant, Booker’s Restaurant and Bar. The new 2,400-square-foot space opened last month just a few blocks away – on the 5000 block of Baltimore.

Don’t expect the same menu as Aksum. Booker’s will offer a more expanded and New American-inspired menu thanks to chef Michael Thomas, who worked previously at Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties, Lolita in the Gayborhood, Kraftwork in Fishtown, and Honey’s Sit-and-Eat on South Street among other spots.

Booker’s menu will offer small items such as fried smelt and local mushrooms, large items such as the vegan terrine and pan-seared trout as well as dessert items such as dolce de leche breaded croquettes. This restaurant will also have a bar with a focus on bourbon mixed cocktails and will also feature a wine selection. There are no plans of offering a wide selection of beer options. Tedla describes the menu as “Old classic dishes that are converted to a modern American style.”  Continue Reading

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Dim Sum House opens near 40th and Chestnut

Posted on 24 January 2017

Photos from Dim Sum House’s Facebook page.

Maybe you’ve been there: you want dim sum but you don’t feel like getting on the trolley or the El all the way to Chinatown to go to Dim Sum Garden. Not to worry, Dim Sum House has arrived in University City with a heavy Cantonese lean thanks to restaurateurs Jane Guo and Jackson Fu.

According to captain server Khoa Nguyen, Guo is related to the owners of Dim Sum Garden but she has no shared business interests. “The owner of Dim Sum house is the wife of the owner of this place. We didn’t take any of their servers or chefs or anything like that,” said Nguyen.

Guo also owns Szechuan-style Chinese restaurant Jane G’s in the Rittenhouse Square area.

When you walk into Dim Sum House, the decor is a little upscale and the bar is set up to look trendy. I know what you’re thinking, this must be pricey. Well, it’s not. The cheapest thing on the menu was in the neighborhood of $5 while the most expensive entree was $15, save for a few chef’s specialty items like Peking Duck, which go for as much as $25. The offerings also go beyond just dim sum, including more common entrees like Szechuan Beef.  Continue Reading

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New grocery store operator confirmed for 40th and Walnut

Posted on 11 January 2017

The University of Pennsylvania has confirmed that the Fresh Grocer that has been operating at the corner of 40th and Walnut for 15 years will soon be replaced by another operator.

In an e-mail to West Philly Local, Jennifer Rizzi, Director of Communications at Penn, confirmed that the university, which owns the building where the Fresh Grocer is currently located, “began lease discussions with a new operator and will soon announce plans with this operator for an exciting, upgraded state of the art urban supermarket at the 40th and Walnut location.” The decision to seek proposals from a variety of grocery stores for this location was made after the Fresh Grocer “failed to renew the lease for almost 4 months after the deadline [November 2015],” according to the email.  Continue Reading

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West Philly “Shark Tank” contestants open pop-up restaurant

Posted on 10 January 2017

The two sisters behind LuLu Bang, who recently appeared on ABC’s reality TV show “Shark Tank,” have just opened a new pop-up restaurant in West Philly. Jorrae and Kelly Beard, the owners of LuLu Bang Sauces and Marinades, opened Lulu Bang Burgers & Wangs on Jan. 2 at The Common Table at 310 S. 48th St.. The restaurant is part of the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises (CCE) incubator program.

The pop-up restaurant will operate at this location until March 31; LuLu Bang is an active member of the CCE and will have the organization’s support during their launch phase. While temporarily using space at The Common Table, the program will continue to seek a permanent location for LuLu Bang’s future restaurant and will launch a kick starter campaign for 60 days.  Continue Reading

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Five restaurants sign lease for historic Hamilton Court’s retail space

Posted on 05 January 2017


New Hamilton Court streetscape rendering.

In August 2016, the Post Brothers, the real estate company that has acquired a number of residential properties in University City in the past year, revealed their plans and renderings for the renovation of the historic Hamilton Court apartment complex at 39th and Chestnut Streets. Currently, the company is in the process of making upgrades to Hamilton Court, which was one of Philadelphia’s first apartment buildings when it was built in 1901. The renovations include the conversion of vacant ground-floor space into modern commercial retail spaces, which will be occupied by five dining establishments.

On Wednesday, the developers revealed the restaurants that signed leases for those spaces. Here they are:

Steve’s Prince of Steaks, one of Philadelphia’s most famous cheesesteak restaurant chains, has signed a lease for 2,277 square feet.  Continue Reading

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Fresh Grocer at 40th and Walnut to be replaced by Acme?

Posted on 27 December 2016

Come April 2017, Acme may replace Fresh Grocer at 40th and Walnut. Fresh Grocer, which is affiliated with ShopRite, “did not renew their lease in a timely fashion,” according to a statement released on Monday by the University of Pennsylvania. The statement also said that Penn identified a new operator for this location, which is reportedly Acme.

Fresh Grocer employees and customers have been distributing flyers asking passersby to support Fresh Grocer.

Signed by The Burns Family (Patrick J. Burns is Fresh Grocer’s president and CEO), the flyer urges customers to contact Penn’s executive vice president Craig Carnaroli by phone and email, join the movement to save the store on Facebook, and use a #SavePennFroGro hashtag on social media.

The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s staff writer Jason Nark spoke to Fresh Grocer customers and asked their opinion about the store’s possible closing. Read his report here.

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