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Eat up!

New restaurants open in Italian Market

Image | Alex Haney

Man, had it not been for Jalen Hurts, Nick Sirianni and a pull-it-out-of-their-ass, last-minute 21-18 win over the Panthers, this would’ve been a verrrrrry different column’s carrot top. I don’t want to always be the eternal pessimist, but, in football’s week 5, things were looking really bleak for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

How bleak? We’re already bypassing unhatched chickens and concerning ourselves with what the Eagles will need during the 2022 draft. We’re already finding ways in which to pull the ripcord on the hidden floor hatch in which to lose Howie Roseman and his bad decisions for good. We’ve already found the Eagles’ true villain, Philly football season’s affectional disorder, a la Ben Simmons, in the curdling and consistently underachieving Jalen Reagor, and hate on him hard every week. We’re already complaining about how we haven’t really seen much of Ryan Kerrigan or Josh Sweat on the field though there’s only been a few games played. We’re already forgetting about the just-decent dining options at the Linc, and hungering for spring, baseball season and The Bull’s BBQ. Ack. And yet, with Oct. 10’s hard-won victory, the Eagles new motto from three years ago, “Embrace the Target,” actually seems to be just a little more possible. Not probable. But possible. 

Hoping for a Celek jersey 

Brent Celek remembers when things were good with the Eagles. He went out on top after having played his final NFL game as an essential part of Super Bowl LII when the Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33 in 2018, and wrapped up his prolific his career with 398 catches (the fourth-most in Eagles history) and 4,998 yards, the eighth-most all-time yards in Eagles history. To commemorate better times, Celek showed up at 13th & Walnut’s Mitchell & Ness on Saturday to sign Eagles merchandise and memorabilia. That’s cool. I’m hoping for a BC throwback jersey next time.

New restaurants 

The Italian Market is getting two new restaurants sooner than later, both with finishing touches being made to physical design and build-out plans. What was once the legendary D’Angelo Brothers butchers rare meatery on S. Ninth Street – opened in 1910 and closed for good since Dec. 31, 2016 – is now finally making way for a new space: the stained mahogany wood slat front of Kyushu Ramen & Sushi. The Kyushu people have a similar Connecticut sushi and soup salon, so here’s to them. Then there is the corner of 901 Christian – most recently Monsu – which has been vacant too long. That is until now, as something called the Conn Restaurant Group LLC just laid down roots and posted its orange flag/liquor sticker in the window of the glass front corner property.

New Rex at the Royal address 

The rustically Southern-inspired Rex at the Royal moved all the way from one address (1516) on South Street into something regal, and two doors down with its final finishing build-out touches just the other day. And now Rex owners Jill Weber and Evan Malone, executive chef Aaron Paik and chef Valerie Erwin will open the new R@tR at 1524 with a vaccine-only (sorry, invitation only) preview this week. I’ll let you know.

Chappelle’s show 

Stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle’s “The Closer” on Netflix has stirred many an emotion and roused more than a few controversies, and all in under 90 minutes. What it also did was remind people of the memory of his friend, fellow stand-up comic and trans icon, Daphne Dorman, who died by suicide in 2019, and whose story was the rough-to-take closing tale in “The Closer.” What wasn’t mentioned in Chappelle’s special was that Dorman was Philadelphia born-and-bred. So we mourned her then, and we got to mourn Daphne all over again, now.

Biden back home 

By the time you read this, Delaware Joe Biden will have returned home (his old one, not the one in D.C.) for a very secret and very quickly put together surprise wedding ceremony between his nephew, Cuffe Biden Owens, and his beloved girlfriend, the one-time reality star and Bravo network “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Meghan King.

A decade of donuts

Somehow, it is 10 years ago this week that Michael Solomonov, Steven Cook and Felicia D’Ambrosio figured out that nicely-brined fried chicken and lightly fluffy donuts worked gorgeously together: so thanks for a decade of Federal Donuts you three.

New executive director

Though Saturday’s Indigo Ball at Sofitel was designed to donate and celebrate all things William Way Center and its LGBTQIA+ heroes, Way boss Chris Bartlett also shouted out its baby brother-sister advocacy organization, Attic Youth Center’s newly anointed new executive director John Fisher-Klein, who assumed the role on Sept. 27. Bravo. From there, the Attic website finds Fisher-Klein saying, “I plan to start my work at the Attic with efforts to create a new, three-year strategic plan. We will engage in a reflective process that will help us define who we want to be as an organization, what we would like to do, and how to get there. The result will be a living document that will guide the Attic’s Board of Directors and us, the staff, in our work over the next few years.”

Image | Courtesy of Peter Pryor

Masked Philly: Peter Pryor

In Icepack’s way too-long and now way overly complex and continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to, beyond the pale, during C-19 – from lockdown to the current reopening, present-day unmasking and re-masking, worrying about Delta variants, freaking out about Fauci’s call for a potential third round of vax shots mere five months after the last, and new mask and vax card mandates – I reached out this week to Peter Pryor.

If you act, seen acting, or been anywhere within a 10-feet radius of a live theater in Philadelphia, you have witnessed the wonder of Peter Pryor. Along with having acted with, for, at and on every stage in this city, Pryor was also a co-founder of 1812 Productions in 1997 with its still-reigning artistic director Jennifer Childs. Pryor has even appeared in Philly-filmed flicks such as 2011’s “Limitless” and the legendarily local, 1998 “Surrender Dorothy” (the latter worth its own cover story, someday). Pryor ducked out of town for a minute, only to return with his wife and child in 2016. So what did Pryor do during the Delta-COVID downtime?

“I graduated with my master’s in Early Childhood Education from Holy Family University in Philly,” says Pryor, putting any off or chill time to remarkably great use. “In the midst of the pandemic, I completed my student teaching and learned from some amazing elementary school teachers, albeit from a virtual platform. Currently, I am finishing up my special education certification. I have also been grateful to keep working at the Pathway school throughout the pandemic and have produced a few virtual school productions. So, school, my students, my family and especially my curious 2-year-old have kept me very occupied.”

As far as the vax and the mask is concerned, both are musts for Pryor. “Everyone in my family who can get the vaccine has been vaccinated,” he says. “I think everyone should get the vaccine. If not for themselves, for everyone else.” 

That everyone else of which he speaks includes students, fellow teachers and family alike. “We have to wear masks at school. I am really used to it by now. I wish masks weren’t necessary, but it has become part of the routine and seems to be working very well on our campus. My favorite mask was made by a very good friend and excellent stage manager, Kate Fossner. She is an amazing artist and one of my favorite people to work with in theatre. I love her design and think it’s important to support each other and speak up for each other, especially now, when the divides and inequalities can sometimes feel insurmountable.”

Beyond school and fam, what is occupying Pryor, the actor’s, time is director Claire Moyer’s production of playwright Conor McPherson’s provocative dramedy “The Weir” at Philly’s Hedgerow Theatre, on stage now.

“I am so excited to be part of ‘The Weir’ at Hedgerow,” says Pryor. “It’s an award-winning Irish play that celebrates the art of storytelling. It captures the grief and loneliness of the human condition and is even more timely now with our universal struggle through these past few years. It is helmed by an all-female or non-binary design team and crew and features the Hedgerow’s new executive artistic director, Marcie Bramucci. The show is presented with multiple special events, including live Irish music, beer gardens, whiskey tastings, Q & As with the artists, and relaxed and Audio Described Performances. Better still, ‘The Weir’ runs live and in person – finally – until Oct. 31.” 

Whiskey, “The Weir,” and loud,  live and in person Irish music and theater. What’s not to love?

@ADAMOROSI

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  • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

    A.D. Amorosi is a Philadelphia-based journalist who, along with Philadelphia Weekly, writes for numerous local, national and international publications including Variety and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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