Kris Serviss, ousted last fall from his chef-partner's role at Blue Duck, Blue Duck on Broad, and the now-shuttered Ugly Duckling, has a brand-new bag.
Although Serviss is not an owner of Northeast Sandwich Co. (1342 Bleigh St., 215-904-6086), his influence is everywhere. You'll see it in the cheesesteak (finely chopped rib eye with not a speck of gristle) and in the Nashville hot chicken sandwich (which has a sweet heat and is not heavily breaded), as well as in cheffier creations, such as the breakfast sandwich called a pork roll cheesesteak that puts Taylor pork roll, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, and cheese sauce on a roll or tortilla. He uses La Colombe coffee and baked goods from Ferry Good Treats.
Prices befit a former corner deli — not Center City. The simple setup is primarily takeout, but there is counter seating in the windows. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.
Starr Restaurant alumnus Josh Coffman and bar owner Khalil Mir (Hilltown Tavern, Paper Street Pub) have gone into the former Union Taco at 4161 Main St. in Manayunk with La Roca, a high-energy cantina.
They have the services of chef David Long, also a Starr alum, who most recently worked in Atlanta with BBQ pro Myron Mixon. Menu veers south (and east and west) of the border, with such dishes as shrimp banh mi tacos, adobo-smoked wings, and roasted corn queso fundido.
The bar and kitchen take up the first floor as before, but Coffman and Mir have wisely converted the small dining space on the mezzanine into a second bar. The dining room, lined with 60-inch flat screens, is upstairs, leading out to a deck and what will be a third bar this spring. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday, till 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Jose Garces has closed his Buena Onda taqueria at the King of Prussia Mall and announced that the Manhattan address of his Spanish restaurant Amada will close March 31. He also expects to revive Amada and Distrito Cantina in Atlantic City this summer; I'm hearing the likely location is the Ocean Casino, formerly the now-shuttered Revel, former site of Amada.
Chef Al Paris has new partners at Paris Bistro at 8229 Germantown Ave. in Chestnut Hill. They're Rob and Vanessa Mullen from Campbell's Place just up the hill, as Robert and Benjamin Bynum, whose holdings include Warmdaddy's, have bowed out. Paris and Rob Mullen, also a chef, plan subtle changes.