With Labor Day in the rear-view, we're headed into peak restaurant-opening season. Read on for word of a few newcomers. Also this week, I visited a new BYOB in South Jersey, a sushi newcomer on City Avenue in Wynnefield, and an Indonesian snack shop in Southwest Center City. Need food news? Click here and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Email tips, suggestions, and questions here. If someone forwarded you this free newsletter and you like what you're reading, sign up here to get it every week.


At last, it’s P.J. Clarke’s time

On a cold winter morning in 2016, former Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Kenney, and a crew of restaurant and real estate nabobs gathered at the Curtis, the landmark at Sixth and Walnut Streets, to proclaim that the New York City bar P.J. Clarke's would open a branch there that summer. Only 921 days later, P.J. Clarke's did, in fact, open at the Curtis. ("Lots of design changes" is the stated explanation.) It's suitably classic and grand – encompassing a dramatic bar, a handsome raw bar, and charming dining rooms decorated with checkered tablecloths and a century's worth of Philadelphia sports photos. Hometown chef Ned Maddock's dinner menu is deliberately tight in the early going, the better for training. (Get the burger, which is 7 ounces of beefy perfection on a potato roll.) At Tuesday's surprise opening, wine and beer were free – and will be until Harrisburg rubber-stamps the liquor license. Website is here.

This week’s openings

Attico | Avenue of the Arts

This lush bar-restaurant atop the new Cambria Hotel (219 S. Broad St.), managed by chef Jason Cichonski and partners, is doing nighttime drinks for now and should ramp up to add its light, small-plate menu this weekend. Views are spectacular.

Little Baby's | Center City East

The hip ice cream shop opens a branch at the East Market development – 12th and Ludlow Streets – on Friday, Sept. 7. Something new: soft-serve from Trickling Springs Creamery.

Koukouzeli | Italian Market

Chef Spyros Tsibogos' modest Greek street-food specialist is due to start slinging souvlaki from its storefront at 1134 S. Ninth St. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

P.J. Clarke's | Historic District

See above.

Rosy's Taco Bar | Center City West

Bright Mexican-style corner bar at 2220 Walnut St. from FCM, the folks behind such destinations as Harper's Garden and Concourse.

Sarvida | Fishtown

A second Filipino BYOB from Perla's Lou Boquito opening soon at 300 E. Girard Ave.

Stats on 17th | Rittenhouse

Sports bar/nightclub beneath Davio's, at 111 S. 17th St., opens at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.

Stock | Rittenhouse

The Asian BYOB from Fishtown sets up at 1935 Chestnut St. with an assortment of soups, salads, cold noodles, banh mi, and snacks.

This week’s closings

Cedars | Queen Village

The clock has run out on the Sawan family's Lebanese restaurant on Second Street below South after 32 years.

Root | Fishtown

The bistro near Frankford and Girard closed for the month of August. Owners Greg Root and Nick Kennedy are ceding the space to bartender Aaron Deary, who will reopen it later this month as a cocktail bar under the same name.

Where we’re enjoying happy hour

Spicy BBQ tuna appetizer at SOMO in Manayunk.
Spicy BBQ tuna appetizer at SOMO in Manayunk.

SOMO4311 Main St.
6-7 p.m. weekdays, 10-11 p.m. every day

A split happy hour? That's just the ticket at SOMO, a lively bar-restaurant in Manayunk. You can dive in after work to snag $5 snacks (herbed salmon and avocado toast; heirloom tomato flatbread; spicy BBQ tuna on potato gaufrette), and get half off drafts and well cocktails and $3 off specialty cocktails – or make it a late night at the low-lit marble bar.

Where we’re eating: Porch & Proper, Jason’s Toridasu, Martabak Ok

Doughnuts with foie gras at Porch & Proper.
Doughnuts with foie gras at Porch & Proper.

Adding to Collingswood's enviable restaurant scene is the gracious, Euro-rustic Porch & Proper (619 W. Collings Ave., 856-477-2105), where owner Jason Simkins and chef Ryan McQuillan turn out a seasonal menu full of surprises. To wit: the "doughnut and foie" ($15), pairing two cardamom-sugar doughnuts with luscious, creamy foie gras studded with blueberries and burnt rosemary. You tear into the doughnuts and dip. Dining room is reservation only (Resy), while the lovely porch is first-come, first served. It's also BYOB. Wines from Atco's Amalthea Winery are sold by the bottle.

Spicy salmon rolls at Jason’s Toridasu.
Spicy salmon rolls at Jason’s Toridasu.

Sushipreneur Jason Kim has added to his empire of Japanese restaurants. Jason's Toridasu is tucked into the ground level of Presidential City (3800 City Ave., 267-292-2099), just off I-76 in Wynnefield. "Toridasu"? It means "takeout," but this location has a comfortable if spare dining room as well as cases full of maki, nigiri, and sashimi. Snag the $10 lunch, including a roll, miso, and garden salad. Kim is using the super-size kitchen to expand his sushi outlets, which now include Maido, the Japanese market in Ardmore.

Martabak from Martabak Ok, 1801 Washington Ave.
Martabak from Martabak Ok, 1801 Washington Ave.

Martabak, the thick, spongy stuffed pancake found in Indonesia street fare, is the focus of a boldly decorated storefront at 1801 Washington Ave. (267-534-3644). In its early days, Martabak Ok is offering sweet varieties. All are topped with sharp white Cheddar, while chocolate, peanuts, Toblerone, and even Ovomaltine are options. Savory ones are a few weeks away. A few tables are available for dining in; most customers take out. At $14.95 to $21.95 per, these buttery-rich loaves are meant to be shared.

Dining Notes

Sometimes, the sweetest treats in life are the simplest. Few desserts showcase that better than affogato, an effortless marriage of two of Italy's finest exports, espresso and gelato. These are the best spots to get one in Philly.

Carson Wentz's free food truck, Thy Kingdom Crumb, will park Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. It is scheduled to be at other home games throughout the year.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte. Here's why the drink still sells, despite the online shame (and 90-degree weather).

Craig LaBan is on assignment.