Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene: Fast Food 2.0 Sizzling As New Restaurants Open

Look to this month’s openings for restaurants that are killing it in Pittsburgh. Last week, Burgatory opened its sixth location in Murrysville, the day after BRGR opened its fourth location in the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon. Earlier this month, Big Burrito opened the 13th Mad Mex in Erie. And in mid-December, the third location of Hello Bistro from parent company Eat’n Park will open Downtown.

These local restaurants are taking a page from national chains, borrowing from systems that streamline staff and menus, leading to higher profits than a traditional restaurant without the base ingredients of fast-food conglomerates. They also take measures to personalize experiences, blurring the line between fast food and full-service, offering satisfying meals and an inexpensive night out. And they’re doing better than ever.

Welcome to fast food 2.0, or maybe it’s 4.0, as the genre has been reinventing itself sinceMerriam-Webster added the definition in 1951. The trend here mirrors what’s happening around the country. Although the new breed doesn’t look like Wendy’s or taste like McDonald’s, it’s bringing fast food back in a big way. For years, the fast-food industry has received criticism for disconnecting people from community and culture as well as playing a role in the obesity epidemic. But the updated fast-food market is on a mission to revamp its image from villain to hero.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/dining/2014/11/27/Restaurant-Scene-Fast-food-2-0-sizzling-as-new-restaurants-open-here/stories/201411270057

Youngwood Gets 1st Full-Size Grocery In Nearly 20 Years

Editor’s note:  Glad to hear the residents of this Westmoreland County community have a proper grocery store.

The opening of Youngwood’s Shop ‘n Save — the first full-sized grocery in the borough in nearly 20 years — will occur next month.

“We’re planning on opening on Dec. 11,” said Jamie Fincke, vice president for Jamieson Family Markets. “We’ll have all the bells and whistles that Shop ‘n Save has and sale items.”

Jamieson Family Markets owns the store and 70,000-square-foot plaza in which the grocery is situated along South Third Street.

Beer Warehouse, also scheduled to open Dec. 11, an auto parts store and several smaller retailers are in the plaza.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourhempfield/yourhempfieldmore/7231867-74/grocery-store-jamieson#ixzz3KNiaa8uB
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Social Still In Bethlehem Set To Open As The Lehigh Valley’s First Distillery Next Month

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adam Flatt’s mother, Elaine Pivinski, opened the Lehigh Valley’s first winery in 1981.

Flatt is now on target to open the region’s first distillery next month.

Flatt, who co-owns Franklin Hill Vineyards in Lower Mount Bethel Township with his mother, is just weeks away from opening Social Still distillery in Bethlehem.

“It’s cool we have that pioneering tradition continuing,” he said.

Social Still is on target to have a soft opening the first week of December, Flatt said last week during a tour of the new operation. Work on the building is about 80 percent complete and the company is planning its first batch of vodka and gin later this week, Flatt said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/11/social_still_in_bethlehem_set.html

Der Belsnickel Craft Show In Boyertown, Coming Soon

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2014 Show will be held
November 28 and 29, 2014
at the Boyertown Senior High School
The hours are:
11:00 AM-6:00 PM (Friday)
10:00 AM-4:00 PM (Saturday)
$5.00 Admission
No charge for children 12
and under.

 

Belsnickel website: http://www.boyertownhistory.org/craftshow.html

Casino Also-Rans Leave Big Question Marks In City’s Landscape

The Philadelphia Inquirer-Daily News Building ...

The Philadelphia Inquirer-Daily News Building in Philadelphia, PA. Taken from North Broad and Callowhill Streets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Held hostage for a year by hope that they might snag a casino license, two pieces of prime central Philadelphia real estate lost that gamble this week – but may yet cash in, as all eyes await Plan B for both locations in a hot downtown market.

Developers who had proposed casinos at Eighth and Market Streets and the former Inquirer Building at Broad and Callowhill Streets said they had no alternate plans after learning Tuesday that the city’s second gaming license would instead go to a site near the sports arenas in South Philadelphia.

But with new apartment and retail development deals being inked virtually every week in and around Center City without public subsidy, it should not be long before new plans are hatched for both, as long as property owners agree to quick action, officials and market watchers said.

One top city official said market conditions were so favorable to development that the Nutter administration would have little patience if movement were not swift at one of the locations, which has remained inert for two decades as repeated plans have fizzled: the open-air lot at Eighth and Market owned by Ken Goldenberg and other investors.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141122_Casino_also-rans_leave_big_question_marks_in_city_s_landscape.html#FiqqgVTmwOSW0RAU.99

Chester County Food Bank Needs Turkey Donations — Now

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exton, PA – An anticipated donation of 500 turkeys fell through Friday morning and now Chester County Food Bank is scrambling to collect frozen turkeys by Monday.

“We have families and a number of our food cupboards that are depending on having these turkeys Monday afternoon and we are in need,” said Phoebe Kitson, the Food Bank’s manager for agency and community partnerships.

The Food Bank serves more than 100 organizations in Chester County. The yearly average distribution of turkeys is about 2,000, but this year requests for turkeys increased about 20 percent compared to previous years.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20141121/chester-county-food-bank-needs-turkey-donations-now

Update: Philadelphia Area Restaurant Openings

To update the crop of projected restaurant openings over the next eight weeks or so:

Mere hours old is The Crazy Sofa, a sushi/small plater, next to the Regal theater in Newtown Square (the former Roux 3).

Any day now, Collingswood will see the debut of Local Market and Cafe (714 Haddon Ave.), which will sell foods to go or eat-in and will have a coffee bar, deli, butcher, bakery and grocery sections.

Friday, Nov. 21 is day one for Latin Flavor, a Caribbean cafeteria at 627 South St.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Update-Restaurant-openings.html#kJeUoftlBK7KtdFG.99

Light Up Night, Games, Shows, Concert To Attract 400,000 To Downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington

Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership expects more than 400,000 people to jam Downtown on Friday night as Light Up Night coincides with a Penguins game, WPIAL championships at Heinz Field and a crowded Petersen Events Center in Oakland likely triggering traffic headaches and a parking shortage.

The Andy Warhol Bridge will close at 9 a.m.; the Roberto Clemente Bridge will close at 10 a.m., both remaining closed until midnight. A host of roads Downtown will close in the afternoon.

“With Light Up Night, we encourage people to use public transportation. People can look at parking on the North Shore and taking T,” said Leigh White, vice president of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

“There’s a lot of different, good options like parking at Station Square. People can come in early and have dinner, and it’s a great day to take in other things around town.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/7174806-74/downtown-pittsburgh-garage#ixzz3JdGYCXfM
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Downtown Bethlehem Association Creates App For One-Stop-Shopping For Restaurants, Stores And Parking

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Downtown Bethlehem? There’s an app for that.

The Downtown Bethlehem Association on Wednesday debuted its new app that puts information about local attractions, restaurants, stores, hotels, parking and events all in one place.

“It’s a way for allow people to find things in Bethlehem all in one place – on their smartphone,” said DBA President Neville Gardner, who owns Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar at Main and West Walnut streets. “Bethlehem may be a historic town, but we’re definitely in the next millennium.”

The association has been working to develop the app for more than two years, Gardner said. Smartphones are increasingly being used in making plans, officials noted.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/11/downtown_bethlehem_association_2.html

ArtsQuest Looking For Bakeries For 2014 Cupcake Bowl

English: A cupcake

English: A cupcake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ArtsQuest’s Cupcake Bowl is the definition of a “sweet Saturday.”

The annual fundraising event brings together bakeries from around the area for a day of sampling.

The 2014 event will be held 12:30-2:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way in Bethlehem.

According to a news release, ticket sales have opened. Buy a ticket at artsquest.org or call 610-332-3378. Tickets cost $30, $25 for ArtsQuest members. Proceeds from the event will go to ArtsQuest’s Arts Education Programming Fund.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/11/artsquest_looking_for_more_ven.html

PhillyDeals: Expansion Planned At King Of Prussia Plaza And Court

King of Prussia Mall

King of Prussia Mall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based retail giant that owns 200-plus shopping malls nationwide, is sacrificing more than 400 parking spaces at its King of Prussia Plaza and Court to make room for at least 50 new stores and restaurants that it hopes will draw more wealthy shoppers to the region’s biggest retail complex.

At extra-large shopping centers such as King of Prussia, at least, “the mall business is good, contrary to some of the naysayers,” David Contis, president of Simon Malls and a corporate senior vice president, told me Monday.

His company bought out other investors to take control of the King of Prussia mall in 2011, in deals that valued the complex at over $1 billion.

Contis said he expected to attract luxury stores from outside the region and “the best of the Philadelphia eateries” to the new space, rather than shifting current tenants there.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141118_PhillyDeals__Expansion_planned_at_King_Of_Prussia_Plaza_and_Court.html#4mWT6geTQWCWiwR1.99

Center City Allentown High-End Apartments Renting Far Faster Than Expected, Developer Says

English: View of Allentown City from east side

English: View of Allentown City from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Developer J.B. Reilly has been building apartments for 25 years, but he’s never seen demand like he’s seeing now for his high-end apartments in Center City Allentown.

His company, City Center Lehigh Valley, announced Sept. 8 it was accepting deposits for 170 apartments in the under-construction Strata Luxury Flats at Four City Center. Two months later, almost half have deposits on them.

“I’ve been in the apartment development business my whole career and we’ve never experienced this kind of demand – even close to this kind of demand,” Reilly said Friday.

The interest in the apartments is tied to the new attention on Allentown’s downtown, Reilly said. In recent months, new restaurants, office space and a minor league hockey arena have opened, with Reilly leading much of the development.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/11/center_city_allentown_high-end.html

Gangster Vegan Organics In Jeffersonville Aims To Change Lives With Raw, Organic Food

Location of West Norriton Township in Montgome...

Location of West Norriton Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WEST NORRITON TOWNSHIP, PA – Gangster vegan?

Like “jumbo shrimp”, the two words are contradictory and seemingly incompatible,

After all, vegans are peace-loving, sandal-wearing hippie types, and gangsters are hoodlums who are prone to violence, so the two breeds have no business ever hooking up in any sensible world.

Welcome to Vince DePaul’s world.

The Norristown native admitted he set out to bedevil the traditional vegan stereotype by naming his specialty raw food market in Jeffersonville Gangster Vegan Organics. But playing around with incongruities is only a small part of DePaul’s story.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/business/20141117/gangster-vegan-organics-in-jeffersonville-aims-to-change-lives-with-raw-organic-food

Healthy Eats Stir Pottstown’s Food Scene At iCreate Cafe

New logo

New logo

Until a few years ago, Ash Khalil ate meat.

Learning the health benefits of a nutrient-rich diet made of mostly plant-based foods inspired him to open the iCreate Cafe in Pottstown in 2012.

Those who visit the cafe often describe it to others as a mix of vegan, vegetarian and in some cases gluten-free menu musts, with strong Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences in many of the dishes.

Khalil is an eight-year survivor of kidney cancer and said not once did his doctors ever talk to him about the foods he ate and how they might have impacted his health situation.

See more at: http://readingeagle.com/money/article/healthy-eats-stir-pottstowns-food-scene-at-icreate-cafe#sthash.yi5Oznyg.dpuf

Spring House Brewing’s $2M Lancaster City Project To Be Completed In Spring

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next May or so, Matt Keasey will be able to take his foot off the proverbial brake.

That’s when Keasey will no longer need to ration how much of his Spring House Brewing beer he sells to his wholesale distributors.

By then, Spring House Brewing’s new city brewery and brew pub will be operational, replacing a smaller brewery in Conestoga.

“It’s difficult,” said Keasey, the founder, brewmaster and co-owner.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/spring-house-brewing-s-m-city-project-to-be-completed/article_26864ea2-6b75-11e4-84f5-87894514c58c.html

Fall Chocolate Festival Sweetens Saturday At Allentown Brew Works

Calling all chocoholics.

Fegley’s Brew Works is bringing back its Fall Chocolate Festival, 4-7 p.m. Saturday at Allentown Brew Works.

The festival features chocolate samples, 50 chocolate vendors and a chocolate bar. Allentown Brew Works will debut a Chocolate Lager and Bethlehem Brew Works will offer a Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout – both of which can only be found at the Fall Chocolate Festival.

“You’re going to leave on Saturday with chocolate overload,” says Fegley’s Brew Works Corporate General Manager Jesse Albertson. “I’ve never experienced a chocolate festival like this.”

Read more:  http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/11/fall_chocolate_festival_sweete.html

Wilkes-Barre Announces Annual Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The City of Wilkes-Barre has announced plans for this year’s annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The city will kick off the holiday season on Nov. 22 with a full day of downtown events, concluding with the arrival of Santa in the annual parade, followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree on Public Square.

“The City of Wilkes-Barre’s Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting ceremony is the perfect way to bring the holiday season to life in downtown Wilkes-Barre,” Mayor Thomas M. Leighton said in a news release. “We are thrilled to offer many free family friendly activities for the young and young-at-heart to enjoy throughout the day.”

Festivities will begin at 11:30 a.m. with storytelling by Mrs. Claus at Barnes & Noble on South Main Street.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50673067/