Food & Drink

West Philly restaurant news (Part I)

November 20, 2014

We have compiled some of the latest local restaurant news and updates. Here’s Part I.

NewTavernquizzosignBest in Philly Quizzo comes to the New Tavern

New Tavern, a new bar and restaurant that recently replaced Watusi II at 45th and Locust, held its first Quizzo night last Thursday. It was inaugurated by award-winning quizmaster JB Farley (Local 44, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”). Three rounds of Best in Philly quizzo will be held at the New Tavern every Thursday, starting at 9 p.m., and we hear that the first and second prizes are worth “some serious dinero.” Also every Thursday, from 6 to 9 p.m. is Ladies’ Night, including some drink specials. Gentlemen are invited to recharge their batteries and watch the game on Sundays (Happy Hour is at 4-7 p.m.). Oh, and here’s a question to get you warmed up: What word is the name of a color and the name of a magazine, and also means a nozzle, and a type of vehicle?

Clarkville Beer update

As was recently reported, Local 44 folks were interested in opening a bar and restaurant, tentatively called Clarkville Beer, at the corner of 43rd and Baltimore at the former Best House Pizza space. They have presented their plans at the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning meeting. But they were still in the process of signing the lease at that location. At the end of last week, Local 44 owners, Brendan Kelly, Leigh Maida and Brendan Hartranft, announced that the lease was finally signed and “plans are now full steam ahead to open Clarkville at the corner of 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue.”

“Owners Kelly, Maida and Hartranft are excited for the challenge of transforming the space into a great new neighborhood destination,” the email announcement reads. “Menu plans are still in the developmental phase. A giant pizza oven and (much coveted) dough mixer came with the space—those items will be put to use immediately in the preparation of a pizza-like offerings. Rounding out the menu will be sides and sides and sides of vegetable and small plates, making family style dining fun, dining alone exciting and (as always) keeping it real for our many vegan and vegetarian guests. The beer on draft will max out at a dozen taps and plans include wine on draft as well. Growlers will be available for home consumption.”

Repair and renovation work is expected to continue through February 2015 and the new owners will be working to open Clarkville Beer before late Spring. We’ll keep you posted.

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Third World Lounge at 49th and Catharine to reopen as The Bar(n) under new management

November 17, 2014

The Bar(n)

From left to right: Danielle Coulter, Ross Scofield, and Tim Blair. (Photo West Philly Local)

The three young restaurateurs who run Rx The Farmacy (45th and Spruce) have big plans for the Third World Lounge, the bar and dance club with a checkered history, at 49th and Catharine.

Tonight they will talk through those plans, which include a new bar that will feature live music and a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits, at the monthly meeting of Cedar Park Neighbors, which runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Calvary Center (48th and Baltimore).

Ross Scofield, Danielle Coulter – the owners of The Farmacy – and chef Tim Blair have been quietly renovating the Third World Lounge since striking a deal with building owner Noel Karasanyi, who will retain ownership of the building and rent it to the trio. The new place will likely be called The Bar(n) to reflect the connection with The Farmacy and its rustic, farm-fresh cuisine, but also to sidestep any airs of pretension. The name, craft beer on tap and plans for a daily rotating $2 draft special signal a place that will appeal to a wide spectrum of clientele.

“A melting pot,” Blair said of the crowd the trio hopes to attract. A place for beer connoisseurs and “the friend who is broke,” said Scofield.

Karasanyi, who fled Idi Amin’s Uganda in the early 1970s, opened the Third World in 1986 as an establishment aimed at African and Caribbean immigrants. The establishment has had several brushes with city inspectors, tax collectors and police in recent years, which, along with changes in neighborhood demographics, have prompted Karasanyi to close it down. Earlier this year he sold the Watusi II (45th and Locust), which recently reopened under new ownership as the New Tavern.

Scofield said the building’s interior has been thoroughly rehabbed and will include several large flat screens and a dance floor. Local bands interested in playing have already approached the trio. Future plans include possibly adding sit-down dining on the second floor. Scofield said he doesn’t expect to need any zoning variances to get the operation going.

The Bar(n) looks set to open next month.

Mike Lyons

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Annual ‘Chili Bowl’ Cook-off, new photo exhibit this weekend at UC Arts League

November 7, 2014

chiliIt’s getting chilly out there. How about some chili? No, how about a LOT of chili? On Sunday, Nov. 9, there will be a chance to try many versions of this popular dish and vote for your favorite during University City Arts League’s 6th Annual “Chili Bowl” Cook-off, an event that benefits its great pottery studio.

Participants showcasing their chili-making talent at this year’s event include: Philly Cow Share, Greensgrow Farms, Guacamole, Green Line Cafe, The Gold Standard Cafe, Rx The Farmacy, Harvest Seasonal, Café Renata, Tortas Frontera, New Deck Tavern, Local 44, Atiya Ola’s, and Heathland. In addition, Milk & Honey will be serving Mac and Cheese and Metropolitan Bakery will supply bread. Drinks will be served by Yards Brewing Company. There will also be some music and entertainment: Ann Schwartz of Green Tambourine and her students will be performing throughout the event, from 1 to 5 p.m.  Continue Reading

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West Philly weekend: Fall festivals, tree giveaway, Day of the Dead, Hot Taco Massacre

October 31, 2014


Photo by Eva Jacobs.

This weekend is not only about Halloween (that said, you can check Halloween events here). A bunch of other fun community events are being held this Saturday and Sunday, including food-centered events (End of Season Fall Market, Vegan Day celebration, a taco fundraiser), a tree giveaway and a couple of fall festivals. For more upcoming events or if you want to submit an event, go to our Event listings.


Saturday, Nov 1 

• End of Season Market Celebration & Tree Giveaway

Neighborhood Foods Farm (53rd & Wyalusing), 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Photo courtesy Urban Tree Connection.

Urban Tree Connection (UTC) and Neighborhood Foods (NF) invite neighbors to an end-of-season market, featuring fall farm produce, $3 chicken platters (cooked by NF Coop Members Gale and Nicole) with potluck sides, vendors, and giveaways: recycling bins and yard trees provided thanks to a grant from TreePhilly. You can also bring your own food or items to sell. There will be 50 trees available for property owners with yards – an open (unpaved) area on private property – and are absolutely free. They come with a free planting demonstration, educational materials, and a bag of mulch from the Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center. Several species will be available, ranging from large shade trees to medium-sized trees to smaller fruit trees. A full list of available species can be found here. To reserve your tree and for species list, contact Karen: 215‐900‐1292 or 


• Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) Celebration

Penn Museum (3260 South Street), 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

DayoftheDead 5

Photo courtesy Penn Museum.

This Saturday, the Penn Museum presents the third annual Day of the Dead Celebration. Throughout Mexico and around the world, Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) brings family and friends together to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. The celebration includes pageantry, traditional music and dance, storytelling and puppetry, paper maché artistry, sugar skull and mask making, face painting, special foods and more.

Guests can also view colorful altars (ofrendas) designed by regional community groups, and a large Day of the Dead altar created by the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia and the Mexican Cultural Center, co-organizers of the event, with the help of local artist Cesar Viveros. The event is free with Penn Museum admission ($15, general admission; $13, seniors [65+]; $10, children [6-17] and full-time students [with ID]; $2 ACCESS Card holders; free to children under 5, members, active U.S. Military, STAMP and PennCard holders). For more information, go hereContinue Reading

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Local 44 owners present plans for ‘Clarkville’ to zoning committee

October 28, 2014


A giant dumpster is already in front of the former Best House Pizza. A zoning hearing for 4301 Baltimore Ave is scheduled for Nov. 19. (Photos by West Philly Local)

Tentative plans for a new restaurant and bar at 4301 Baltimore Ave. – formerly Best House Pizza – include a stripped down facade, craft beer on tap, second floor dining and, possibly, pizza by the slice.

The owners of Local 44 introduced their plans to open the establishment, tentatively named “Clarkville,” to the Spruce Hill Community Association planning committee and a roomful of nearby neighbors last night.

Plans call for the removal of the awning and the installation of floor-to-ceiling windows on the restaurant’s first floor, which will also include a bar that serves only tap beer, wine and high-end spirits. In other words, no Jägermeister shots.  Continue Reading

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West Philly restaurant news: 48th Street Grille opens; Preview party for Amari’s at 50th and Baltimore

October 24, 2014

Apart from the proposal for a restaurant/bar with second floor dining at 4301 Baltimore, we’re happy to report on two more new restaurants opening in the area.


Photo from 48th Street Grille’s Facebook page.

After much anticipation and a few delays, 48th Street Grille, a full-service restaurant and catering business offering “fresh, modern Caribbean-American cuisine” has opened at 310 S 48th St (between Spruce and Pine). The first day of soft opening for the restaurant, which occupies a portion of the retail space at the Center for Culinary Enterprises, was last Friday.

Executive chef/owner Carl Lewis Sr. prepares some delicious food, according to neighbors who already visited the restaurant. In addition to the restaurant’s standard menu, it will offer daily and weekly specials, “highlighting the chef’s talents with seasonal produce, meats, and fish,” according to its Facebook page. While the food is great and the staff are super friendly, the service needs fine-tuning, according to neighbor reviews. But it’s understandable since the restaurant has just opened. Also something to keep in mind for those who like a glass of wine/beer with their dinner: the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol and currently doesn’t have a BYOB option. We’ll let you know if this changes.  Continue Reading

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