July 29, 2010

Chestnut Hill Dining Guide

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Lafayette Hiller the next Stephen Starr?
His new City Tap House will always have Paris

Co-owner Brian Harrington is a resident of Lafayette Hill. His wife, Molly, is a Flourtown native and Mount St. Joseph alumna. Brian and his partners own 12 restaurants, and they have two more opening in the near future. (Photos by Len Lear)

Watch out, Stephen Starr, four young Philly guys are gaining on you. While Stephen Starr is the undisputed king of independent, upscale restaurants in Philadelphia with showcases like Morimoto, Barclay Prime, Butcher & Singer and Buddakan, and nobody outside the restaurant business has ever heard of Gary Cardi, Brian Harrington, Frank Falesto and Chris Coco, this quartet of local thirtysomething entrepreneurs is definitely moving up quickly along the rail.

While their business, Public House Investments, does not have a very romantic name, banks supplying millions in loans must be finding them pretty sexy. Early in 2005 the quartet opened Public House in the former home of Dock Street Brewery at 1801 Arch St. in Logan Square. It offers a new modern-meets-traditional decor and an American comfort food menu. At Happy Hour, their 77-foot-long granite bar is a real “meet market.” It is said that money talks, but if all yours is saying is “goodbye,” then perhaps you should try their enormous salads, which are a meal in themselves for $9 to $16. For more information, call 215-587-9040 or visit

Homemade pierogies carry on East European tradition

Marie Thorpe behind the counter at The Pierogie Kitchen, 647 Roxborough Ave. (Photos by Lou Mancinelli)

For some, tradition has its value. To others, the art of tradition seems to be disappearing over the hills, lost among youths, fast food and the internet.

But for those of you seeking the old homey Slavic roots, perhaps sautéed in silky caramelized onions and topped with sour cream, The Pierogie Kitchen, a little shop in Roxborough, might send you home smiling or at least put your mind in the old country through one of mankind’s oldest pleasures — eating.

Marie Thorpe, 32, and her employees boil hundred-pound batches (how many in all, she cannot share) of potatoes each day and prepare custom fillings to be pinched between thin dough. It’s all in tune with her grandmother’s recipes, which Marie keeps secret, to make fresh handmade  pierogies six days a week.

One can have them sautéed at the shop, located at the intersection of Henry and Roxborough Avenues, just up the street from Dalessandro’s, or buy them frozen by the dozen and half-dozen.

Recycle, and you may win free Snapple and underwear

Are you done with that vitamin water? Good. I'll take the bottle;  just stuff it into my backpack if you don't mind. No, I haven't turned packrat. I've simply joined the RecycleBank, which bills itself as “The premier rewards and loyalty program that motivates  people to recycle and to engage in environmentally virtuous activities.”

The way it works is that you paste a city-issued bar code on your  recycling bin, and the trash collectors (who obviously didn't have  enough to do already) scan your can so that the authorities can keep track of which neighborhoods are doing the most recycling. Individual citizens in those neighborhoods then receive “RecyleBank Points,” based on their neighborhood's performance, which can be redeemed for goods and services (like maybe a $200,000 grant from State Rep. Dwight Evans).


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