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Category Archives: Openings

COOK Restaurant Sneak Peek: coZara

cozara

Last week, COOK was thrilled to host a sneak peek of Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka’s soon-to-open University City restaurant, coZara (meaning “small plates” in Japanese).

Zama has come far in his three-plus years on 19th Street on Rittenhouse Square, and his Zama is one of the city’s go-to spots for sushi. Now,  Zama is on the move with a second restaurant. This December, he is set to open a 140-seat, two-story Japanese restaurant whose menu will include yakitori, noodles and dumplings.

The lucky 16 guests at Zama’s class last week got a special, early taste of the menu which was not only beautiful but delicious as well. Below are the menu as well as photos by Yoni Nimrod for COOK.

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Will-ing and Able: Chef Chris Kearse’s solo debut

I got to know COOK alum Chris Kearse over the past year through writing this profile of him for Philadelphia City Paper. The Levittown native and former chef of Pumpkin, who’s cooked in some of America’s best kitchens, will be the first to tell you he’s not fond of attention, but his latest accomplishment demands it. This weekend, he opens Will (1911 E. Passyunk Ave.), the 28-year-old’s long-awaited chance to be both chef and owner.

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Opa opens Drury Beer Garden

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When normal people redesign parking lots, they plant nondescript trees, designate “Employee of the Month” spots and tweak the angle of space lines by imperceptible degrees. When food-industry people redesign parking lots, they roll in repurposed power cable spool tables, fill beach bins full of iced-down craft cans and agonize over the placement of cornhole boards and ping-pong tables. So went the ramp-up to Drury Beer Garden, which Opa owners George and Vasiliki Tsiouris unveiled late last week in the formerly vacant space behind their mod-Greek bar and restaurant (1311 Sansom St.).

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Second location of Underdogs opening in South Philly

Robert Amar, who’s got quite the food-industry-friendly hit on his hands with the four-month-old Underdogs (132 S. 17th St.), is expanding his wiener reach into South Philly. By late August or early September, he’ll introduce a second location of his hot-dog/sausage restaurant at 1205 S. Ninth St., the long-vacant former home of O Sandwiches. “I’m really keen on being right next to Pat’s and Geno’s,” says Amar, who lives in South Philly. “As much as people like to frown on [them], I don’t know why — I think it’s great. They bring so many people to the city. They are landmark places.”

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Starr veteran opening Growler’s in Bella Vista

growlers

Jay Willard, a veteran of the Stephen Starr collective who most recently worked as GM of The Dandelion, is targeting September 1 for a new project: Growler’s, a neighborhood bar he’s opening in the former Vesuvio/Little Bar at Eighth and Fitzwater with Jason Evenchik, owner of Vintage, Time, Bar and the forthcoming Garage.

“It’s always been the plan,” says Willard, who remembers watching the Phillies win the 2008 World Series at Vesuvio, of branching out on his own. “I remember saying to myself, ‘It doesn’t get any better than Starr. The only way I would leave is if I open my own place.’”

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That’s Your Queue: Behind the Shake Shack Line

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The greatest trick Danny Meyer ever pulled? Convincing the world that it wants to wait in The Line.

Since 2004, when the effervescent restaurateur opened his first Shake Shack in New York City, Meyer’s dealt with heavy queues — snaking through Madison Square Park regardless what’s falling from the sky, trickling out of a glitzy Theater District doorway, packing a greenified courtyard on the Upper East Side. Now, with Philadelphia’s one-week-old Shake Shack spreading crinkle-cut love all over Center City, The Line has a permanent 215 area code. It clings to the eastern wall of Shack’s former-dry-cleaner digs, stretching, at its longest, to the corner of 20th and Moravian, where late lunch-rush arrivals stare at their shoes, closer to Tower Style Pizza‘s graffiti’d Dumpster than to chilly salvation via Termini cannoli-studded “Liberty Shell” concrete.

And that’s precisely how the founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group wants it. “We didn’t engineer having the line,” Meyer told CNBC in 2010, “but we did embrace it.”

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