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King’s Garden Chinese Restaurant
Address: 8225 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19118
Phone: (215) 753-0246
Hours: Mon.-Thurs 11:30 a.m.- 10 p.m., Fri,-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 1:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Menu: Menu, Luncheon Specials

Description: Tucked next to the Chestnut Hill Hotel is an excellent Chinese restaurant with everything you’d expect (a huge menu, extremely fair prices, wide-ranging and free delivery, and friendly owners on the premises), as well as a couple of things you don’t (tofu and vegetarian selections, delicious desserts, an extensive wine, beer and liquor selection, free parking).

Valley Green Inn
Address: Valley Green Road at Wissahickon Trail, 19128
Phone: (215) 247-1730
Website: valleygreeninn.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs.: 12- 4 p.m., 5-9 p.m.; Fri. 12-4 p.m., 5-10 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 5-10 p.m., Sun, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-9 p.m.
Menus: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner

Description: The Valley Green Inn restaurant is located in the Wissahickon Valley of Fairmont Park. The inviting atmosphere of Philadelphia’s last remaining roadhouse is complimented by the romantic setting of the Wissahickon Creek and the valley in which it’s cradled. Literally one of the best-kept secrets, waiting to be found in the bustling metropolis of America’s birthplace — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

Address: 7402 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19119
Phone: (267) 385-6857
Website: avenidarestaurant.com
Hours: Tue-Sat. 5-10 p.m.,  Sunday Brunch 11 – 3, Dinner 5-9 p.m.

Description: Set in a historic 1700’s Mt. Airy home with a stone fireplace and a romantic outdoor porch, Avenida serves bold Latin American flavors and tantalizing cocktails for adults and some Mexican and American favorites for kids and now features a delicious Sunday brunch.
Menu: Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, For Kids

Selected Restaurants

Hokka Hokka Japanese Restaurant
Address: 7830 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19118
Phone: (215) 242-4489
Website: www.restauranthokka.com
Hours: Lunch: Wednesday to Friday from 11:30 to 2;30pm
Dinner: open 7 days from 5 to 10pm Sunday through Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

Description: Hokka Hokka (“steam hot” in Japanese) is Chestnut Hill’s most extraordinary Japanese restaurant and sushi bar featuring a wide variety of sushi, sashimi and makis prepared by an experienced chef, artfully served in a casual yet elegant atmosphere. Now featuring a Happy Hour 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday with $2 beers and other drink specials.

Address: 8501 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19118
Phone: 215 247-6887
Hours: Tue.-Wed. 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu.-Fri. (7 a.m.-9 p.m. (serving dinner 6 p.m.-9 p.m.) Sat. 8 a.m.5 p.m.; Sun. 10 1.m.-3 p.m.
Website: cakeofchestnuthill.com

Description: A spectacular former greenhouse is fast becoming Chestnut Hill’s most remarkable and popular dining venue, hosting a bakery selling tasty treats Tuesday through Sunday as well as a sun-filled restaurant serving breakfast and lunch every day but Monday, Thursday and Friday dinners and Sunday brunch.


Address: 8136 Ardleigh Street, Philadelphia 19118
Phone: (215) 242-4220
Hours: Dinner: Tuesday-Sunday 5 p.m.-9 p.m.(Fri- Sat ’till 10 p.m.) Lunch: Mon- Friday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday Brunch 9 a.m.-3p.m. Sunday 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Website: http://www.cafette.com/index.htm

Description: Executive chef John McLaughlin creates seasonal menus with an emphasis on fresh local produce, and dynamic global flavor, fusing classic dishes with a modern sensibility.  Now in our 19th year, our easy atmosphere and affordable BYOB menus continue to satisfy regulars and entice newcomers. Experience our garden dining during the spring through fall months.

Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market
Address: 8229 Germantown Avenue
Phone:(215) 248-4344
Hours: Thurs. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Description: Tucked behind the Chestnut Hill Hotel is one of Chestnut Hill’s best-kept secrets, a delightful variety of nearly 20 vendors of local and international food and treats to eat inside or out or take home. Check this week’s Local for special selections and offers.

Top of the Hill Cafe
Address: 186 East Evergreen Avenue, Philadelphia 19118
Phone: (215) 248-6009
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.- 7 p.m.,Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.  Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Description: Tucked behind the crowds on Germantown Avenue at Evergreen is a popular breakfast and lunch café which features breakfast sandwiches and baked goods, delicious hearty home-made soups, healthy salads made to order and a variety of delicious specialty sandwiches, and entrees to take out, or enjoy inside or out.

McNally’s Tavern · Chestnut Hill
Address: 8634 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill, 19118
Phone: 215-247-9736
Hours: Mon-Sat 11AM – 11PM, Sunday Noon – 8PM
Website: www.mcnallystavern.com

Description: For 89 years, simply delicious soups, generous sandwiches, platters and desserts has been the family recipe. Meg’s cakes, baked daily from scratch, are in a league of their own. Enjoy perfectly pulled Imperial pints of Guinness, Harp and more. And while our Schmitter® plays nicely at the ballpark, this little tavern in Chestnut Hill is the Home of Philadelphia’s BIG LEAGUE SandwichSM.

The Little Treehouse Restaurant & Play Café
Address: 10 West Gravers Lane,  Philadelphia, 19118
Phone: (215) 247-3637
Hours: Mon-Thurs & Sun: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday:  11 a.m.-9 p.m
Website: www.treehouseplaycafe.com

Description: Chestnut Hill’s kids’ playhouse now has food for kids of all ages including brick-oven pizzas, house made salads, fresh-grilled Panini and a collection of some of the area’s best delicacies.  Eat Dinner while your kids play – it’s cheaper & more fun than a babysitter! The Little Treehouse is a BYOB restaurant.

Umbria Restaurant
Address: 7131 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia 19119
Phone: 215-242-6470
Hours: Wed.-Sat. 6-9 p.m.

Description: This casual storefront B.Y.O.B. continues to shine after chef/owner Alisa Consorto opened here, well before the neighborhood started to take off.  Stand out appetizers on the seasonal menu include baked brie with carmalized apples and homemade soups. Entrees shine in the way of duck breast with black cherry and shallot sauce. The filet with green peppercorn sauce is a popular favorite. Chocolate mousse offers a sweet ending!

Earth Bread & Brewery
Address: 7136 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19119
Phone: 215 242-6666
Website: earthbreadbrewery.com
Hours: Tue-Thurs: 4:30 p.m.-12 a.m. (kitchen open 5-9:30), Fri-Sat. 4:30 p.m.- 1 a.m. (kitchen open 5-10:30 p.m.) Sun. 4:30 p.m.- 12 a.m. (kitchen open 5-9:30 p.m.)

Description: Earth Bread + Brewery is an earth-friendly place that puts respect for the environment and the comfort of our guests above all else, emphasizing local and organic ingredients and products, The restaurant offers a menu of wholesome hearth-baked flatbreads with a variety of toppings as well as appetizers and specialty desserts.  The bar presents unique house-made craft beer and features a selection of world-class beer and wine.

Geechee Girl Rice Café
Address: 6825 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19119
Phone:215 843-8113
Hours: M-Closed, Tu-Th. 5:30-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5:30-10 p.m., Sun 11-2:30, 5:30-10 p.m.
Website: Geecheegirlricecafe.com

Description: Chef Valerie Erwin and her family serve a variety of tasty cooked-to-order Gullah and Caribbean dishes (and take-out) featuring traditional southern rice delicacies mixed with Chinese, Thai and other world influences at this friendly, Mt. Airy neighborhood BYOB.

Bruno’s Restaurant
Address: 9800 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444.
Phone: 215-242-1880.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. every day except Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Description: Bruno’s Restaurant, perched on the corner of Northwestern Avenue and Germantown Pike, is a second home to Chestnut Hill College students and a welcome port-of-call for Forbidden Drive walkers and just about anyone in the area with a yen for a hot cup of coffee, good food and casual conversation. Bruno’s diner décor delivers with favorites like breakfasts, burgers, fries, milkshakes and an attached ice cream parlor

Trolley Car Diner & Deli
Address: 7619 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia 19119
Phone: 215 753-1500
Hours: Mon.-Thu 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Website: trolleycardiner.com

Description: Voted Best Breakfast by My Fox Philly 2009 and Best of Philly 2009: Kid-Friendly Dining by Philadelphia Magazine, Trolley Car Diner aims to please with their popular all-day breakfast menu and lunch and dinner specialties like homemade meat loaf or roasted vegetable quesadillas.  For a quick bite or take-out, order from their deli or create your own 6-pack from over 140 beer selections.  During warmer months step outside to enjoy spectacular ice cream creations served out of a vintage 1948 trolley car.

Chestnut Hill

Baker Street Bread Co.
8009 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia 19118
215 248-3296

Bocelli Restaurant
8630 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia 19118
215 248-1980

Bredenbeck’s Bakery
8126 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia 19118
215 247-7374

8136 Ardleigh Street, Philadelphia 19118
215 242-4220

8501 Germantown Avenue, 19118
(215) 247-6887

Campbell’s Place
8337 Germantown ave, Philadelphia 19118

8201 Germantown Ave, 19118

Chestnut Grill & Sidewalk Cafe
8229 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia 19118

7838 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19118
215 242-8800

Cosimo’s Pizza Cafe
8624 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia 19118
215 242 9900

Drake’s Gourmet Foods & Catering
8419 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia 19118
215 247-5911

Fiesta Pizza
8339 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19118
(215) 247-4141

French Bakery & Café
8624 Germantown Ave.(rear), Philadelphia 19118
215 247-5959

Hokka Hokka Japanese Restaurant
7830 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia 19118
215 242-4489

8705 Germantown Ave, 19118

Iron Hill Brewery
8400 Germantown Ave, 19118

Jonathan Best Gourmet Grocer
8229 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia 19118
215 248-4344

Manny’s Place
8229 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia 19118
215 242-4600

Mario’s Pizza
7700 Crittenden Street, Philadelphia 19118
215 248-3232

McNally’s Tavern
8634 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19118
(215) 247-9736

Metropolitan Bakery
8607 Germantown Avenue., Philadelphia 19118

Night Kitchen Bakery
7725 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19118
215 248-9235

8605 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19118
(215) 242-5900

Platinum Grille
7719 Crittenden Street, Philadelphia 19118
215 805-1693

Roller’s at Flying Fish
8142 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118

Roller’s Express-o
8341 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118

Tavern on the Hill
8636 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19118
(215) 298-3707

Top of the Hill Cafe
186 East Evergreen venue, Philadelphia 19118

Thai Kuu
35 Bethelem Pike, Suite 109a, 19118

21 East Glenside Avenue

Yu Hsiang Garden
7630 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia 19118
215 248-1922

Mt. Airy

7402 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19119
(267) 385-6857

Bacio Wholesome Italian Cucina
311 W. Mt. Pleasant Avenue, 19119
215 248-2740

Earth Bread & Brewery
7136 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia 19119
215 242-6666

Finos Pizza Restaurant
6784 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19119
(215) 844-1188

Food For All Market
7127 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, 19118
(267) 297-7122

Geechee Girl Rice Café
6825 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19119
(215) 843-8113

Infusion Coffee and Tea
7133 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19119
(215) 248-1718

Mermaid Bar Inc,
6745 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19119
215 438-6221

Mcmenamin’s Tavern
7170 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19119
215 247-9920

ToTo’s Pizza
6555 Greene St., Philadelphia 19119
215 848-4550

Trolley Car Diner & Deli
7619 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia 19119
215 753-1500

Umbria Restaurant
7131 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19119
(215) 242-6470

Wine Thief
7152 Germantown, Ave., Philadelphia 19119
(215) 242-6700


914 Bethlehem Pike, Erdenheim 19038
215 233-1767

Roberto’s Trattoria
700 Bethlehem Pike, Erdenheim  19038
215 233-9955


Scoogis Classic Italian
738 Bethlehem pk, Flourtown 19031

Mister P Pizza & Pasta
1860 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown

Sorella Rose Restaurant
1800 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown 19031
215 233-0616


Amici Italian Restaurant
21 East Glenside Avenue, Glenside, Pennsylvania, 19038


Bhagya’s Kitchen
1010 E. Willow Grove Avenue, Wyndmoor 19038

Flannery’s Grove Deli
918 E. Willow Grove Ave. Wyndmoor 19038
215 233-9915

Tony’s Pizza City
901A East Willow Grove Avenue, Wyndmoor 19038

Yo Dogs
1014 E. Willow Grove Ave. Wyndmoor 19038
215 233-3647

Lafayette Hill

Brittingham’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
640 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill 19444
610 828-7351

9800 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill 19444
215 242-1880

Caspian Grille
539 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill 19444
215 834-7660

General Lafayette Inn & Brewery
646 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, 19444

Lucky Dog Saloon & Grille
417 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill 19444
(610) 941-4652

Whitemarsh Valley Inn
474 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill 19444
(610) 941-0555


Rib Crib
6333 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19144
(215) 438-6793

Urban Café
5815 Wayne Ave., Philadelphia 19144
(215) 844-0296


Spring Mill Café
164 Barren Hill Rd., Conshohocken, 19428
(610) 828-2550

Maria’s Pizza and Pasta
214 W. Ridge Pike, Conshohocken 19428
610 941-2300


Saffron Indian Kitchen
60 E. Butler Ave., Ambler 19002
215 540-0237

Maria’s Pizza and Pasta
34 W. Skippack Pike, Ambler, 19002
215 641-1776


The Drake Tavern
304 York Road, Jenkintown, PA 19046
215 884-8900

East Falls

Franco’s Trattoria
4116 Ridge Ave. Philadelphia 19129
215 438-4848

Fort Washington

Zake’s Cakes & Café
444 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington 19034
(215) 654-7600


The Cedars House
Forbidden Drive @ Northwestern Avenue (Fairmount Park), Philadelphia, PA 19128

O’Towne Tavern
100 Plymouth Ave. Philadelphia 19128
215 483-3947

Under The Oak Cafe
804 Oak Lane. Philadelphia, PA 19126


Adobe Café
4550 Mitchell St. Philadelphia 19128
215 483-3947

Maria’s Ristorante
8100 Ridge Pike, Roxborough 19028
(215) 508-5600

Rita’s Water Ice
7132 Ridge Ave. Philadelphia 19128
215 483-4000

Valley Green Inn
Valley Green Road at Wissahickon Trail, 19128
(215) 247-1730

Art Museum

Waterworks Restaurant & Lounge
640 Waterworks Dr. Philadelphia 19130

Northern Liberties

Sonata Restaurant
1030 North American Street, Philadelphia PA 19123

The Urban Cafe
5109 Rochelle Avenue
Philadelphia, 19128


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Read about restaurants

Erdenheim cook shell-abrates; her seafood stew wins contest
by Sally Cohen
His office desk was more cluttered than usual over the past few weeks, but Chef Al Paris took it all in stride as he pored over the 50 or so entries he received, some as old as 100 years, for the recipe contest he recently conceived.

From Naples to Philly, fired up (900 degrees) with passion
Thanks to its pleasant climate and beautiful location on the Bay of Naples, the city of Naples in southern Italy has been a renowned pleasure resort for more than 2,000 years. In the first century B.C., the greatest Roman poet, Virgil, wrote paeans to the luxurious villas that dotted the coast of Naples. Greek refugees founded the city, but Romans added public baths and aqueducts to improve the quality of life in Naples, which also became celebrated for its many feasts and spectacles and great food.

Chef Carl Drake’s philosophy: ‘Everyone is a VIP!’
by Grant Moser
Carl Drake, 39, owner of Drake’s Gourmet Food & Catering at 8419 Germantown Ave., graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy in 1991. Shortly thereafter, he was studying to be a teacher at the University of Denver when he realized something: he didn’t like any of his professors. So in 1993 he came back to Chestnut Hill, where he was born and raised, to rethink his future. He found work at a local restaurant named Pollo Rosso in the Chestnut Hill Hotel, whose head chef was Amy Edelman, now the owner of The Night Kitchen Bakery.

Great Bakeries in Chestnut Hill

Is there a place with more bakeries per square mile than Chestnut Hill? In a ten-block stretch along Germantown Avenue there are no less than seven terrific bakeries, — two recently featured on national television (see story below) — not to mention several coffee shops and restaurants that sell baked goods and a couple other great bakeries within a short drive.

Here’s a look at where you can spend your dough:

Baker Street Bread Co.
8009 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia 19118
215 248-3296

You can smell the fresh baked bread created daily but you may not know that only natural ingredients are used to create dozens of unique breads and rolls of all kinds voted Best of Philly by Philadelphia Magazine and One of America’s Best Bread Bakeries by Bon Appetit magazine.

Bredenbeck’s Bakery
8126 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia 19118
215 247-7374

The Victorian storefront with a bench out front for savoring the treats inside is a Chestnut Hill landmark for those seeking anything from croissants, cupcakes and rolls to the most elaborate special occasion cakes as well as dozens of special ice cream creations.

8501 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia 19118
(215) 247-6887

What started as a bakery and grew into one of the most spectacular and sunny restaurant settings inside a converted greenhouse in the heart of Chestnut Hill lives up to its name with spectacular cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, scones, cupcakes, coffee cakes and croissants.

French Bakery & Café
8624 Germantown Ave.(rear)
Philadelphia 19118
215 247-5959

The French Bakery sells more than baked goods. The interior has the look and feel of a Paris café and antique baked-goods cases hold raisin scones, coconut macaroons, fresh-made butter pound cake and lemon poppy seed muffins brought in fresh daily


Metropolitan Bakery
8607 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia 19118

What began is an experiment between two friends at the White Dog Café in 1993 has risen into an empire of five locations around the city including the heart of Chestnut Hill featuring a variety of gourmet breads as well as a couple of outside tables for lunch sandwiches and entrees as well as community involvement in training disadvantaged workers and contributing to homeless shelters and featuring local specialties.

Night Kitchen Bakery
7725 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia 19118
215 248-9235

Tarts, pies, brownies, buns and especially cakes increasingly featured in magazines and on television have been created for 10 years for pick up and mail order from this small building which has now expanded to The Night Kitchen Bakery’s Double Fudge Chocolate Brownies made a guest appearance on the Rachael Ray show Tuesday April 2

Poppy’s Seed Bakery
Philadelphia 19118

Pies are created on site and a selection of donuts, bagels, rolls, breads, cornbread, scones and hamentashen — and even coffees and gelato — are brought in from elsewhere to this small stand in the bustling Chestnut Hill Farmers market open Thursdays through Saturdays right behind the Chestnut Hill Hotel.

Earth Bread & Brewery
7136 Germantown Ave., 19119
Philadelphia 19119
215 242-6666

In Mt. Airy, the scenic mural decorates an unusual place featuring both wholesome, hearth-baked flatbreads and house made craft beer along with a wide selection of wine.

Zake’s Cakes & Café
444 S. Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington 19034
(215) 654-7600

Minutes away in Fort Washington is a café and bakery in a Victorian house featuring a wide selection of cakes, cheesecakes, pies and other treats as well as a full menu for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner.

ENVIRONMENTALLY AWARE ‘THIEF’: Sophie and Chris Simpson, seen here with their children, Stella, 5, and Ruby, 8, are the owners of The Wine Thief, which will celebrate its second anniversary next month at 7152 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy. Dedicated to reducing their environmental impact, the Wine Thief has restaurant-wide compost, trash and fry oil recycling. Chef Gabriel Luengas uses grass-fed beef, free-range buffalo and organic chicken. More information at 215-242-6700 or www.winethiefbistro.com

‘EARTH’ SOARS IN MT. AIRY: Earth Bread + Brewery, which opened in 2008 at 7136 Germantown Ave. (at Durham) in Mt. Airy, on April 28 sold its 100,000th flatbread. The lucky customers, Tom and Candida Taylor from Conshohocken (center), received a $100 gift certificate to Earth along with t-shirts and glassware. They have been loyal customers since 2008. Employees Eric Broady, left, and Jeraal Boone look on. Owners Peggy Zwerver and Tom Baker also have an earth-friendly mission for their delightful bi-level space. Almost every item in the homespun décor has been recycled. More info: 215-242-6666 or www.earthbreadbrewery.com

THAI’d TO CHESTNUT HILL: Steve and Atchara Cooley opened Thai Kuu, a BYOB that serves authentic Thai and Asian cuisine, last month at the Top of the Hill Plaza, occupying the former location of Shundeez at 35 Bethlehem Pike. The owners have enhanced the space known for its large windows and proximity to Chestnut Hill’s only state wine/liquor store. With a great-looking new decor, the intimate restaurant now has seating for 40 people and a room for parties of 14, and it’s packed almost every night. (They are open every day of the week for lunch and dinner.) Atchara, who worked at her sister’s restaurant in Thailand and at Thai restaurants in Tulsa and Seattle, is getting great reviews so far from customers for her bold flavors and friendly, knowledgeable staffers. More information at 267-297-5715 or www.thaikuu.com.

Old World Italian charm in Cosimo’s at top of Hill
by Lou Mancinelli

Twenty-one years ago, Cosimo’s Pizza Café part-owner Enzo Mandarano moved from Italy to America, despite his parents’ warnings and concerns. In fact, they thought he was crazy. His father told him he’d be back in three months. Mandarano, then 20, moved to the U.S. to be with a girl from Abington he had met and fallen in love with a year earlier. She had been vacationing and visiting her own parents’ family for three months in Calabria, the region in southern Italy where Mandarano was born and raised.

Successful rebirth of Italian eatery at top of Hill

by Missy and Dick Lee

Why is the storefront at 8630 Germantown Avenue like a bride? Because it’s imbued with something old (the site of two other recent restaurants), something new (a new restaurant), something borrowed (the Bring Your Own Bottle policy of the most recent restaurant — with no corkage fee), and something blue (a midnight blue theme color tastefully presented — even to the blue scallop shell sink in the renovated bathroom).

Zacharia’s: one writer’s choice for ‘Best of the year’
by Len Lear

Since I have been writing restaurant columns for 28 years for the Local and Main Line newspapers, people often ask, “What’s the best restaurant you’ve been to this year?” Or “Where do you get the most for your money?” Or “What’s the best BYOB in the area? We prefer to take our own wine.”

Community involvement the key to success
After 10 years, Trolley Car Diner Still in high gear

by Lou Mancinelli

Diners can be a bit nostalgic. Most people have favorable impressions of them as places where you take the entire family to get lots of comfort food at affordable prices, and they can remind us of the place our grandparents took us out to eat as kids.

At least that is the kind of public perception Ken Weinstein, owner of the Trolley Car Diner and Deli in Mt. Airy, believes has allowed his diner to succeed and remain open long enough to celebrate its 10th birthday anniversary this month.

Much-kneaded Poppy’s Seed Bakery rises to the top
by Audrey Levine

Time after time, Souderton resident Ron Loux would hear comments from customers at the Chestnut Hill Farmers Market on Germantown Avenue about the need for a bakery.

So he decided to fulfill that need. (Their last name is pronounced “Lowx” (German) rather than “Loo” (French) because the family moved from France to Germany many years ago.)

With Under the Blue Moon for 20 yrs
After seven years away, Suzanne’s Deli reopen in Wyndmoor

by Audrey Levine and Len Lear Despite a leave of absence for Suzanne Leaming

Despite a leave of absence for Suzanne Leaming-Bagwell of Wyndmoor, her return to the delicatessen business on May 3 of this year, seven years after she leased it to another local resident, was more fate than anything else.

“Everything happened to fall into place,” she said last week.

For Leaming-Bagwell, 47, working in a restaurant is not just a passion; it is a family pastime. All of her nine brothers and sisters have worked in the restaurant business in one form or another over the years.

Two Hill bakeries star in TLC show
by Shannon Simcox

Philadelphia and Chestnut Hill’s own Amy Edelman and Karen Boyd will be making a national television appearance on TLC.

TLC’s “Fabulous Cakes of Philadelphia,” which will be aired at 10 p.m. Monday, July 26, chose Bredenbeck’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor, 8126 Germantown Ave, and the Night Kitchen Bakery, 7725 Germantown Ave., to be featured along with one other bakery in the area.

Homemade pierogies carry on East European tradition
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.

Great food from Trinidad at Calypso in Farmers Market
by Lou Mancinelli

The Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market is packed full of small stands and booths with an impressive variety of foods that arouse all of the senses. One can find codfish cakes, organic roasted chicken and carrots, Norwegian salmon, chicken in a lobster cream sauce, channa masala, tubbouleh, blackberry cabaret gelato, Ethiopian longberry harrar coffee and so much more..

Sultan: Indian food near Hill is fit for a king

If you periodically check some of the many restaurant blogs, as I do, you’re probably afraid to eat at any restaurant. I guess it’s human nature that people who are upset with an experience are much more motivated to vent their feelings to others than those who have a pleasant experience. As a result, even the best restaurants in the area are trashed by some of the anonymous bloggers. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a blogger accusing a restaurant of serving salmonella tablets for lunch.

Economy closes a door, but another opens in Mt. Airy
Avenida: youthful vibe, family-friendly, fine Latin food

by Len Lear

According to a recent CNN Money article, “More than 45,000 businesses closed their doors for good in 2009, including some that survived for more than a century.” The article profiled six century-old businesses in various parts of the country that were victimized last year by the economic hard times. One of those businesses placed under the microscope was the Delaware Market House, a gourmet food market and catering operation in Gladwyne.

Food columnist picks favorite

First of two articles

It’s a journalistic convention (as opposed to a political convention) at the end of a year for reviewers to announce their personal lists of “Best Movies of the Year,” “Best TV Shows of the Year,” “Best Novels of the Year,” etc. Therefore, even though I am not, strictly speaking, a reviewer (this column is much more “featurish” than “reviewish”), enough people have twisted my arm about my personal “best” choices that I hereby offer for your consideration my favorite restaurant experiences over the past year.

Columnist’s ‘Best Restaurants’
by Len Lear
(The restaurants and photos are listed randomly, not in any order of preference.)

Second of two articles

•Roller’s Flying Fish, 8142 Germantown Ave. (at Hartwell Lane). According to former employees I have spoken to over the years, Paul Roller is probably the most difficult merchant in Chestnut Hill to work for. When I asked him a while back about his reputation as a tyrant, he replied, “This is not a popularity contest. The customers have to get what they’re paying for, and I have to make all employees understand that.”

A great new place to meat
Where’s the beef?


At na Brasa, which justopened in May at 680 N. Easton Rd., across the road from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station (Route 611), a mile and a half off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, about 15 to 20 minutes from Chestnut Hill, you might say there’s always a thriller on the griller.

‘Center city food at neighborhood prices’
Cafette: an embarrassment of riches for 16 sweet years


Operating a successful neighborhood restaurant for 16 years is as difficult as finding a Japanese man named Biff, but Jan Wilson has been doing just that for 16 years at Cafette, 8136 Ardleigh St. And it’s the only Chestnut Hill restaurant not on a major road; in fact, it’s on a residential street that otherwise has only single-family homes.

“I believe we’ve lasted so long,” said Jan, 50, “because we have center city quality food at neighborhood prices, and we have always been BYOB, so people save lots of money by bringing their own wine. We make our own stocks, have layering of flavors and take no short cuts. I can truly say we do things the right way.

Hoping to recapture formula for success
Despite closing of Avenue, Yu Hsiang Garden reopens


When Yu Hsiang Garden at 7630 Germantown Ave. became Chestnut Hill’s first Chinese restaurant in September of 1989, it was a case of baptism under fire. Several residents close to the restaurant had done everything in their power short of poisoning the area’s water supply to prevent Yu Hsiang Garden from opening. They had the usual litany of fears — crowds, parking, noise, smells, etc. While the protesters did not ultimately get their way, they did in fact delay the opening for many months.

New barbecue place a spicy addition to Roxborough

Almost everyone is looking for ways to beat the recession, which is undoubtedly why there was a long line of customers ahead of us waiting to order last Tuesday evening at Phoebe’s Bar-B-Q, which opened to the public April 19 at 5002 Umbria St. in Roxborough, about 10 minutes from Chestnut Hill.

Every night is New Year’s Eve at Cin Cin
By Len Lear and Bennett Fairorth

There’s an old Chinese saying (are there any new Chinese sayings?) which maintains, “You will never stumble upon anything good while sitting down.”

One Chestnut Hill businessman who appears to have lived his life according to this adage is Michael Wei, owner of Cin Cin in our town (7838 Germantown Ave.) as well as Yangming in Bryn Mawr, Nectar in Berwyn, Szechuan East in Northeast Philly and Mandarin Garden in Willow Grove. Until recently he and several partners also owned Maia in Villanova, but Maia was a casualty of the dismal economy and other factors. Wei, whose restaurant empire might warrant the title “The Chinese Stephen Starr,” somehow made a detour into the kitchen while on the road to a career in journalism.

Who says kids can’t run around in a restaurant?
Innovative concept on Hill may spread throughout U.S.


Everyone who eats out at restaurants has at one time or another witnessed this nightmarish scene: a family whose small child screams like his/her hair is on fire, has a temper tantrum, throws food on the floor or maybe even runs around the restaurant like a cheetah sprinting after a rabbit.