PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Maggie Kent and Alicia Vitarelli check out new spots to dine for the new year. Plus, one of Philly's most iconic snacks and a plant-based spa.
New Modern Greek restaurant Almyra will transport you to the islands
Almyra's decor is a warmed-up version of a white-washed village in Greece, with florals dripping from the ceiling, Greek urns planted throughout, a floral wall handmade in Greece and a DJ spinning tunes Friday and Saturday evenings.
It's all designed to make you feel like you're at a beach bar in Mykonos or Santorini.
Almyra is the creation of the same family that opened Estia at Broad and Locust Streets 18 years ago. While Estia is traditional "Grandma's house" Greek cuisine, Almyra is more modern fare.
The dumplings are a twist on the traditional spanakopita.
A Greek/Asian fusion dish, they are stuffed with spinach, cheese and onions and served with house-made tzatziki.
The Australian lamb chops are marinated for days in herbs and olive oil and served with a layered potato version of a French fry that makes them crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside.
The lavraki, Greek for Sea Bass, is a whole fish, deboned and grilled.
Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m.
1620 Chancellor Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
Bake'n Bacon is Philadelphia's 1st and only bacon-inspired restaurant
Bacon is often for breakfast food or paired with something else.
But at Bake'n Bacon, co-owner Justin Coleman is making bacon the star of the show.
There's bacon Mac n' cheese and hanging bacon, dripping over cornbread.
You can get baby back ribs or go for a pork board, with pork shoulder, million-dollar bacon, bacon burnt ends, and bacon-infused grits.
There are cocktails with bacon and house-made pound cake with a bacon caramel sauce.
While Bake'n Bacon is obviously bacon-centric, it's not the only thing on the menu.
There is a vegan spaghetti and meatballs, pasta with chicken, mussels with linguini, a lobster roll, and a half dozen varieties of that mac n' cheese.
Coleman launched Bake'n Bacon as a food truck in 2019, with business partner Kelvin Alexander.
The two now own three food trucks and they bought and did massive renovations to the building that now houses their brick-and-mortar restaurant.
The business was inspired by Justin's younger brother, Derek, who died in 2016.
He hopes to continue growing fast, building what he calls "a bacon empire."
Ogawa Sushi and Kappo brings new omakase to Old City
Master sushi chef Minoru Ogawa set his sights on the culinary scene of Philadelphia when he chose to expand his knifeprint beyond his two current spots in Washington, DC.
Ogawa Sushi and Kappo is a small omakase, or 'chef's choice', offering a big experience.
The reservation-only 12-seater features 23 courses, in 29 pieces over two hours.
Chef Ogawa says he will source almost all of his fish from Tokyo, with many pieces considered delicacies.
'Kappo' literally means 'cutting and simmering' and focuses on the proximity of guests to the chef - Ogawa will be extending to have a wagyu-focused service upstairs.
Seatings are daily at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
310 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
The Dish: Philly Pretzel Factory's soft pretzels
Fewer flavors say "Philly" better than a soft pretzel and we're finding out the secrets and the backstory of a local institution: Philly Pretzel Factory.
It all started when CEO and co-founder Dan DiZio was just 11 years old.
"I used to sneak out of school," DiZio laughs. "I used to check in and then sneak out and go sell pretzels all day on the corner."
His neighbor had leftover pretzels from their bakery and offered DiZio a chance to make a buck.
This is how DiZio became an entrepreneur.
"Within a couple of weeks, everybody in my school saw me walking around with big wads of $1 bills," he says. "They wanted a job and I started organizing kids to stand on the corners."
Fast forward to 1998 when DiZio and his college roommate Len Lehman opened Philly Pretzel Factory.
Today, there are 175 Philly Pretzel Factory locations across the country - and counting.
Want to make their pretzels at home? Here's the famous recipe:
Baking Soda Bath
1. Whisk together yeast, warm water, salt, sugar, and melted butter. Use a mixer to add the flour. The dough should have a bouncy consistency.
2. Knead and roll out into log strands. Create pretzel shape. Refrigerate overnight.
3. Dip in a boiling baking soda bath, drain and then salt.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
Boodle Fight Night at Oloroso
Spanish tapas restaurant Oloroso in Center City is hosting a Boodle Fight Night feast on Monday, January 22nd.
Called Kamayan by Filipinos, the traditional communal feast earned the nickname Boodle Fight when the American military occupied the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century.
The meal is a collaboration between Elizabeth Grothe and Oloroso's executive chef Jason Peabody.
The feast, designed to feed four people, will include dishes like Max's Style fried chicken, curried Squash and mussels, empanadas, croquettes and the Oloroso pig's head.
The menu was based on Grothe's favorite dishes growing up.
She advises diners to skip lunch and wear their stretchy pants because it's a lot of food.
Monday, January 22. Seatings, at 5:30 and 8pm; reservations are strongly encouraged
1121 Walnut St, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
South Street shop DreamEerie has plenty in store for goths and spooky nerds
The DreamEerie is a new vintage home decor spot with gothic flair in the heart of South Street.
Owner Daryll Jones calls his creation 'a shop for goths and other spooky nerds'.
The items are perfect for anyone who enjoys a dark aesthetic and things of a macabre nature.
They carry things like coffins and taxidermy, as well as furniture, jewelry, and artwork.
Jones says he discovered goth culture through music in the early nineties and is still part of the community -- now a member of what his contemporaries refer to as the League of Elder Goths.
623 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Dviniti Skin Care takes self-care to the next level
Marquita Robinson Garcia is the owner of Dviniti Skin Care, making skincare products that are 100% plant-based.
She started online in 2018 making skin care products in her kitchen. A year later she opened her own studio space.
Garcia offers one-on-one consultations to create custom blends with clients to target what their skin needs.
She offers spa services and products for all skin types like her Sugar Scrubs, the Vitamin E Serum and the Hydrating Toner and Serum.
For more skincare guidance, Garcia also has a book called The Sustainable Beauty.
The book is filled with seven chapters of self-care and skincare guide.
You can attend a custom blending workshop with Garcia called 'Love Your Skin', February 10-11.
For more products you can visit Dviniti Skin Care shop or her website for more.
1500 Locust Street Suite #3801, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Arden Theatre Company Presents Ladysitting through March 3
Ladysitting is making its world premiere at the Arden Theatre Company.
It is based on Lorene Cary's 2019 memoir about caring for her dying Nana.
Zuhairah McGill is directing the production.
She says the show portrays "the stress and the joy" that comes along with caretaking.
"She came to us on hospice expecting to live between six weeks and six months. She lived with us for a little over a year and a half," says Playwright Lorene Cary of her Nana.
Melanye Finister plays Lorene Cary in the show.
"Lorene always felt very loved and affirmed by her grandmother," says Finister. "But it is a more complicated relationship."
Tony Award-winner Trezana Beverley plays Nana.
"We're really seeing this woman at the end of her life," says Beverley. "She wants to die on her own terms."
"Nana is a huge personality, willful, strong," says Finister.
And Cary is carrying a lot.
"It's very hard to go out in the morning and talk about what really happens," says Cary.
Finister says that while Lorene is taking care of her Nana, she's also taking care of her own family and navigating her career. She says amid all of that, Nana still wants to have control over things.
"The play is full of pathos and also humor," says Beverley.
Lorene's daughter and husband are portrayed in the production and death plays a role.
"And she staves off death for a very, very long time," says Beverley. "It's a story about her strength, her inner will, to live as long as she needs to live to finish off what she needs to do."
"But this play is so much about coming together as a family, and being together, and about legacy," says Finister.
McGill says the show also touches on the themes of love and memories.
"There is joy in life together, even when it's really hard," says Cary.
Ladysitting runs through March 3 at the Arden Theatre Company.
40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106