FYI Philly takes a dining tour of of the region

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Sunday, March 12, 2023
FYI Philly takes a dining tour around the Delaware Valley
Ducis Rodgers and Alicia Vitarelli host a culinary tour of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Ducis Rodgers and Alicia Vitarelli host a culinary tour of Philadelphia on this week's show.

The Hayes a new addition to the Townsend Wentz Restaurant Group

The menu at the Hayes is American comfort food with a chef's touch.

Acclaimed Philadelphia chef Townsend Wentz opened the Midtown Village spot after spending the pandemic shutdown renovating the space.

It's located in the old Irish Pub at 1123 Walnut Street.

Wentz did much of the work himself; refinishing the bar, refurbishing the floor, replacing the kitchen and finding new furniture.

The new look provides a warm environment to enjoy a menu that ranges from casual to upscale.

You can enjoy wings and a burger or raise the game with beef tartar and grilled branzino.

Chef has a collection of shareable dishes like a cheese board with assorted accouterments or the baked feta comes with tomatoes and oregano baked in a cast iron dish and served with pita.

The bar has a rotating tap of 18 beers with local and seasonal craft selections and the cocktail menu includes a mix of creative drinks and the wine list is robust.

The Hayes | Facebook | Instagram

1123 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

Gilda is a new cafe with character and a really cool love story

Gilda is a new cafe from married couple Brian Oliveira and Brian Mattera.

The space has a "take it easy" vibe that comes from Oliveira's grandparents.

That was one of the few English phrases the Portuguese family said growing up in the heavily Portuguese Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey.

The dishes that Brian's grandparents shared are featured on the Portuguese-inspired menu.

Pasteis de nata, pastéis de bacalhau and piri piri chicken are a few of the flavors on the menu.

They serve Elixir coffee and have a market section featuring pantry items like olive oil, rolls and other Portuguese specialties.

Brian Mattera is Italian and his grandmother's cookbook sits atop the dining area featuring some of her handwritten recipes Mattera uses for the pastry menu. The name of the restaurant comes from Grandmom Gilda and so does the pronunciation.

Although the inspiration comes from family the space also has meaning to the Brians.

They met at the restaurant when it was previously known as Girard. Oliveira owned that restaurant and Mattera was a neighborhood guest. Now the couple is married and have come full circle, owning the restaurant and running it together.

Gilda Cafe & Market| Facebook | Instagram

300 East Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Lifelong friends re-open 1950s-style diner Muffins

Muffins Diner is back in business thanks to lifelong best friends Paul Salamy and Steve Sicilia.

The 1950s-style diner was open for more than 40 years until the previous owners retired in 2019.

"They helped us out and gave us some recipes," says co-owner, Paul Salamy. "They're excited for us."

Paul and Steve attended preschool together in King of Prussia, and first became business partners during their senior year at Upper Merion Area High School.

They bought a food truck and named it the Hedgehog Grill. It quickly became a staple at community events.

The self-taught cooks brought some Hedgehog Grill favorites to the menu at Muffins Diner, including the breakfast cheesesteak.

The Muffins Diner menu features many diner classics and new originals, like the Captain Crunch French toast.

"We're starting to build up our own regulars that are coming back three or four times a week," says co-owner, Steve Sicilia.

Muffins Diner

138 W 4th St, Bridgeport, PA 19405


Kelsey's in Atlantic City offers soul food at the shore

Kelsey's in Atlantic City is a supper club experience designed by husband and wife team Kelsey and Kim Jackson.

Kelsey handles everything in the kitchen, and Kim runs the front of the house.

The menu is soul food classics with an emphasis on seafood, and live music acts are on the scene most nights.

The couple wants customers to sit back and relax and enjoy being served - no rushing.

This dinner spot also has a brunch buffet on weekends.

Kelsey's | Instagram

1545 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401


closed Monday & Tuesday

Cherry's Baking Company serves up cheesecakes on the go

Teresa Jones started her mobile baking company to make and sell gourmet cheesecakes in over 30 varieties.

Cherry's Baking Company delivers to the greater Philadelphia and Wilmington areas for orders placed online about a week in advance.

Teresa also sells her cheesecakes at pop-ups and farmer's markets.

Cherry's Baking Company | Facebook | Instagram


Persimmon serving coffee and community in Fishtown

Persimmon Coffee opened last summer on Girard Avenue, with fresh pastries from Bloomsday Cafe and small batch, house-roasted coffee.

The cafe offers a single roast each month and brews it in all kinds of ways-from drip to iced to pour over.

Persimmon has a subscription service called Friday coffee club. On First Friday, they ship out that month's new coffee roast to customers.

There's also matcha made in Japan and a specialty drink that changes with the seasons.

Co-Owners Kai Talim, Sawyer Beckley and Chaereen Pak met while working in a coffee shop.

When they all lost their jobs at the start of COVID, they decided to launch their own business, hosting sidewalk popups around the city, with dreams of someday opening their own brick-and-mortar cafe.

That someday came much sooner than expected when the owner of Weckerly's Ice Cream reached out to say the storefront next to his Fishtown shop was open and hosted the Persimmon Coffee popup cart for 6 months, enabling the trio to build a customer base in the booming Fishtown neighborhood.

The whole experience has taught them to dream big and they're already looking forward to opening another location.

Persimmon Coffee | Facebook | Instagram

11 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, Pa. 19123

'SIX: The Musical' lets Henry VIII's 'wives' tell their story

'SIX: The Musical' turns HIStory into HERstory.

"The story of the six wives of Henry VIII, but told by the six wives," says Frances Egler, Vice President of Theatrical Programming and Presentations for the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center.

The performance is presented as a pop concert.

"They are a girl group of pop stars, all trying to claim who is number one in the group," says Erin Ramirez, who is an alternate queen in one of the touring companies of 'SIX.'

Egler says it's all about telling their story - "the lives they could have had if they hadn't been with Henry."

And showing that these women are more than the fates that made them famous.

'SIX: The Musical' won a Tony Award for its Tudor-inspired costumes and one for Best Original Score.

The musical also features a multicultural cast.

"I think it represents the unspoken voices in history," says Ramirez.

'SIX: The Musical runs March 21-April 9 at the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Cultural Campus.

'SIX: The Musical' | Buy Tickets

The Academy of Music

240 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Vietnamese Pho gets an upgrade featuring Wagyu beef out of a ghost kitchen concept in Philadelphia.

Chubby Noodles Meets Chubby Cattle for amazing Pho dish

Vietnamese Pho gets an upgrade featuring Wagyu beef out of a ghost kitchen concept in Philadelphia.

Melissa Hoang developed the concept for Chubby Noodles.

She is collaborating with Chubby Cattle, known for its elevated hot pot restaurants.

Chubby Cattle raises its own Wagyu cattle on a ranch in California.

That is where they get all the meat they use for their hot pot spot in Philadelphia's Chinatown.

Melissa's Vietnamese Pho will capitalize on the high-end beef already sourced to the restaurant.


Dinner and a show go hand in hand and Center City District is partnering with the Kimmel Cultural Campus and Avenue of the Arts to offer discounted tickets when dining in the city.

Through May 31, guests can purchase reduced price tickets to more than 35 shows while enjoying dinner in one of center city's participating restaurants.

Center City District Dinner and a Show | Facebook | Instagram

She Rocked It is back for a second year to celebrate Women's History Month.

The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District has gathered a panel of women business leaders to discuss the experiences, challenges and successes with inspiration and real talk on the agenda as they look to inspire the next generation.

The event is Monday, March 13 from 6-9 pm at the Society Hill Dance Academy.

She Rocked It: Women Mean Business | Facebook | Instagram