Good country cooking is becoming ever more scarce in eastern Pennsylvania Amish country. We keep searching but the results have been lukewarm at best. Schwalm’s feels right but, based on a first visit, we’re just not yet convinced. There were decent things to eat (in a couple of cases, more than decent), but most of what we tried, while all perfectly edible, was simply standard issue luncheonette food. Continue reading
The first Pittsburgh-area and Cleveland-area Graeter’s scoop shops will be open sometime this summer. The Pittsburgh store will be located at 10610 Perry Highway, in the north suburban community of Wexford, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh. The address of the Cleveland store is 261 Main Street, in the city of Westlake, about 25 minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Word is they’re also opening a second Chicago scoop shop this summer. Tomorrow, June 17th, an 11th Columbus, OH area Graeter’s will open, debuting a new store design and updated Graeter’s branding. Yep, Graeter’s is on the move!
New York has its Dr. Brown’s and pastrami, Philadelphia enjoys a hoagie with a wishniak, and the south? Well, you haven’t really experienced southern living until you’ve savored an RC and a Moon Pie, that sugary pick-me-up of cola, marshmallow, and graham crackers. RC Cola was born in Georgia, and Moon Pies come from Tennessee, so it’s only natural that this southern duo would be honored with an annual celebration in Bell Buckle, TN. The 22nd edition of the RC & Moon Pie Festival will be Saturday, June 18th. Continue reading
Time Marches On, Part 643: After 82 years in business at the same Liberty Street location in Allentown (94 years if you count the 12 years before they moved down the street), Yocco’s decided to close last night. For the last few years, business at the old doggery just couldn’t justify remaining open. Third generation owner Gary Iacocca noted that the overall health of Yocco’s is fine, and not only will the other five area branches of Yocco’s remain open, but a sixth location is soon to be announced. Nevertheless, we’ll miss the gritty urban edge that only this Yocco’s location possessed. See the LAF review of the original joint here.
Here’s the perfect solution for those of you who have been advised to step up your consumption of cured pork products, while at the same time sacrificing your body to show your support for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs: the HBK. Primanti’s introduced their HBK sandwich this past Friday to honor the Penguins’ HBK line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel. That’s ham, bacon, and kielbasa, as well as the usual Primanti’s additions of French fries and cole slaw. How does it taste? C’mon, do you really have to ask that question? Primanti’s says it will be available for a limited time only, which we surmise depends on how far the Penguins get in their Stanley Cup quest.
USAToday’s 10Best poll to name Pennsylvania’s best cheesesteak took an unexpected turn, leaving Philly folks crying foul. Everyone knows the best cheesesteaks are found in Philadelphia, but 11 of the 20 cheesesteak candidates were from Philly, while only one came from Pittsburgh. With Philly residents splitting the vote eleven ways, Pittsburgh’s Groove Cheesesteak Co. came out on top. Said Brian Hickey of Philly Voice, “Pittsburgh cheats its way to victory .” Word is that second place finisher Dalessandro’s (of Philadelphia, of course) finished just a handful of votes behind Groove. Dal’s is the quintessential Philly steak joint. But how did Mama’s not make the top ten?
USA Today’s 10Best has got a mess o’ polls going on right now, many focused on regional food specialties across America. In each category, a team of experts has selected 20 candidates, and it’s up to you to choose the winner. For instance, in the category of Best Po’ Boy in Louisiana, one of our favorite spots, Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans, is currently leading the vote tally, which will continue to accumulate until May 9th. Continue reading
This is not a Philadelphia eating contest to see who can eat the most tacos. That wouldn’t even make any sense in The City of Brotherly Love. No, the contest is as follows: who can eat a single Philly Taco the fastest? What’s a Philly Taco? You begin with a cheesesteak from Jim’s Steaks on South Street. Carry it down the street to Lorenzo’s Pizza, where you order one of their giant, pliable slices. Then you roll the cheesesteak in the pizza slice and begin eating! Obviously, this is not a dish born of straight and sober minds. Continue reading
Gotta admit, when we first started making regular visits to Tony Luke’s in South Philly in the early ’90s, we never imagined it would ever expand to a second Philadelphia outlet much less become franchised up and down the east coast. The roast pork Italian and Uncle Mike sandwiches had us thoroughly seduced, as did the very scruffy, bare-bones location, alongside a barbed wire encircled “parking area” beneath rumbling Interstate 95 next door. Continue reading
A story in the student-run Villanova paper performed a taste test of Philly cheesesteaks. Dalessandro’s was chosen as the best of the four they sampled, which also included Pat’s, Geno’s, and Jim’s (we like all four of these spots but there is stronger competition around the city, guys). They like how Dal’s finely dices the meat, leaves the onions in large pieces, adds a generous smear of Cheez Whiz, and lays it all on the largest roll of the four. (Hopefully, by the time writers Molly and Austin graduate Villanova they’ll have learned the difference between compliment and complement.)
Our fascination with mayors’ wagers over sporting events continues: the Cincinnati Bengals play the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL playoff game Saturday, and the mayors of both cities have put up their towns’ signature foods in support of the home teams. Cincinnati’s buffet is headlined by Graeter’s ice cream, which will be accompanied by chili and coneys from Gold Star and unspecified food from the Montgomery Inn (known for their ribs). The Pittsburgh cache features Primanti’s sandwiches and other items from Heinz, Dream Cream ice cream, and Smiley Cookies. We’re giving the edge to Cincinnati, food-wise.
It took a victory by the Buffalo Bills Sunday against the New York Jets to enable the Pittsburgh Steelers to qualify for the AFC playoffs. Don’t think that Pittsburghers aren’t grateful. To express their appreciation, the original, Strip District location of Primanti’s (as in, fries and slaw in the sandwich) shipped a thank you package to the Bills’ front office yesterday, complete with a couple of Terrible Towels. Maybe one day Anchor Bar will have the chance to return the favor.
Let the debate begin! Tom Sietsema, food writer for The Washington Post, did some extensive dining across America, with the goal of determining the nation’s top ten eating cities. Some results? The top three cities are all on the Pacific coast! Houston beats Philadelphia, and both beat Chicago and New York! We’re glad to see the recognition for Charleston, SC and New Orleans, two truly fabulous and unique food cities. Gotta hand it to Mr. Sietsema, agree or disagree, it took a lot of research and a passion for eating (and big brass ones) to produce such a list. There is a ton of great info here for future travelers, and a lot of appetizing reading. See for yourself.
The voting in the Philadelphia Business Journal cheesesteak bracket is down to two finalists, as Dalessandro’s and Jim’s (the one on South Street) go head to head. What’s that, you say? No way these are the two best cheesesteaks in Philly? That’s the point of these brackets, silly, to stir up your loyalties and passions. And while we usually head to Steve’s when we’re in the mood for beef, onions, and Whiz on a roll, the crowning of Dalessandro’s or Jim’s would not, as we see it, be a gross miscarriage of justice. They both produce a fine cheesesteak. Let your voice be heard. Vote here.
Gus’s Fried Chicken, which began life in the 1950s in the small town of Mason, Tennessee, northeast of Memphis, will be opening their 13th store early next year in Knoxville, TN. That’s not all for the spicy-crusted bird that many folks put on their top-ten lists. By early 2016 there should also be new stores in Los Angeles, Detroit, Fort Worth, and Kansas City (where it will face especially stiff competition). Future stores are in the works for St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Fortunes are made on ground beef patties, but squirt the meat into a casing and you’re talking about one of the true mom-and-pop-dominated small businesses in the country. People love hot dogs from sea to shining sea but their regional tastes vary too much for an entrepreneur to hit the jackpot with a national frank. One happy result — no two hot dog joints are exactly alike, making for endless possibilities for tube steak lovers. Continue reading
It began in 2009 with Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. When the stadium opened, Shake Shack was there, and it instantly became a huge hit. In 2011, Shake Shack traveled down I-95 to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. where, despite its New York origins, the Shackburger and Nats fans have become fast friends. Latest word is that, when the Atlanta Braves open in the new SunTrust Park in 2017, Shake Shack will be there for the first pitch. At least, that’s what they’re hoping for, as the two parties are still in negotiations. All that’s left in the National League East would be Philadelphia and Miami. There are already Shake Shacks in both cities but our money is on Marlins Park, as Citizens Bank Park just added Wayback Burgers this year.
THIS LOCATION CLOSED
Hot dog places are often as much about the place as about the dog. That’s why we recommend that if you visit Yocco’s you head to the original downtown Allentown store rather than the newer branches. From the outside, the downtown location looks like a corner bar. Step inside to a narrow room with tables beyond the grill area and ordering counter up front. In keeping with the corner bar theme, there is a double-size self-serve cooler filled with beer, including the largest collection of oversize bottles we’ve ever seen. Continue reading
We both ordered burgers from the long burger menu: Sue a Wert’s Cheeseburger, Bruce an Alyssa’s Barbecue Cheeseburger. Bruce hoisted the burger to his mouth and took a bite, whereupon this virtual Super Soaker of a hamburger took aim on his shirt and pants. These are among the juiciest burgers we’ve ever enjoyed! They also taste very good. The namesake burgers are stuffed with mushrooms and onions. You can also get burgers without the “Wert’s” prefix; these are unstuffed. Continue reading
We find this hard to believe, and it’s incredible if true: the Cherry Fair in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania is said to go back to the 1700s! Presumably they skipped a few years since that first fair for, say, the Revolutionary War or something. The fair, these days, is held at the circa 1736 Historic Schaeffer Farm, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011. Continue reading