Icepack | Oct. 1-8

With eating in getting thumbs up for more capacity, will the city extend the OK for outdoor structures?

Dining out
With the city growing indoor dining capacity to 50% can establishments make that up with holding dining outdoors? One would seem to think, but for how long before Mother Nature forces them to pack it in and cuts deep into much-needed revenue? Icepack opines this week. | Image provided

Dining out, or in, whatever – eaters are making the most out of the four to the (dining room) floor arrangement that the mayor has imposed (even Adam Sandler had to eat outdoors.

Restaurateurs seem to have created a patchwork quilt worth of diverse outdoor, raised, patio-like settings. Blue Corn in the Italian Market, Brauhaus Schmidt and Pumpkin on South Street. Positano Coast in Old City. The array of Schulson-Tinari locations in Center City (yeah, they’re opening their private bowl-a-rama, Elbow Lane, this week – ask them). Each has its own entrée, I mean, entre, into how they appropriate, designate and design solid, structural, al fresco dining locations for comfort and culinary enterprise. 

So could the City’s licensing peeps start breathing down some of these restaurant’s necks, or is City Council actually looking to keep these structures up through 2021? Permits for many of the outdoor “streeteries” expire Dec. 31, 2020, but restaurateurs wish to keep them up beyond that so to survive winter and to save rebuilding time and costs. Look for Philly City Council to do something positive for a change and push that idea into legislation. 

New eateries at Live! 

The still-building Live! Casino on Packer Avenue in South Philly just signed up local eateries for its food hall: my neighboring Termini Bros. and Lorenzo & Sons Pizza, along with Sang Kee Noodle Bar & Kitchen for early 2021 opening. 

Barstool neighbors 

We know that you either love or hate the sweatily machismo-driven Barstool Sports with no grey area between those emotions. But along with its unbeloved owner, Dave Portnoy, it’s probably moving to Philly (unless he’s kidding) to join his money in what’s been a successful $450 million partnership with the area’s Penn National Gaming (and the Penn National Sportsbook) and its launch of the Barstool Betting App. To go with that, Penn National Gaming just announced that it was issuing almost $1 billion in new shares after its Barstool-branded sports book opened in Pennsylvania. Of course, Penn National wants to cash in on the gold rush of investments toward internet sports betting operations such as Golden Nugget Interactive and DraftKings.

RBG tribute 

Sure, the late great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was as down, and iconic, as Notorious B.I.G. But, did Biggie get a memorial window at Rittenhouse Square’s tony boutique, Sophy Curson? Nope. The legendary ladies-who-lunch salon, where Ginsburg was said to have shopped, has been featuring RBG’s signature white collar in its window on several black-and-white outfits, along with photos and Ruth-quotes. Pour out a 40-ounce when you see it (yu know, but neatly) and the tribute is complete.

Masked Philly: Thaddeus Phillips

In Icepack’s continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to beyond the pale during C-19, this week I reached out to Philly-raised, Bogota, Colombia-living cover boy, Thaddeus Phillips who this week opens his “Zoo Motel” online. 

With Colombian quarantine different from U.S. quarantine (they’re only allowed out of the house three days a week, with travel bans only now lifting), Phillips and his family got away from work by going to the birds. 

“We hung hummingbird feeders, and now have two species of amazing hummingbirds coming to our garden,” he said. “We also took the Lego Hong Kong Alley we made, and made it much more ‘virus friendly,’ turning it into a plaza and then turning that into a 3,000-piece Lego magical city that filled an entire room. Look, here in Colombia,  the government did impose a quarantine, a nationwide, legally binding one. From March 17 to September 1, you could not leave your house, only for essentials. Everyone, nationwide, must wear a mask. That is totally different than the U.S. one, but only on paper, as they issued 43 exceptions to the quarantine as early as April, allowing actually most people to go out, thus making Colombia, not far behind the USA as one of the worst affected countries.”

As for wearing the masks, Phillips believes they are essential. 

“The U.S. government ushered in a genocide with their refusal to issue a nationwide mandate on masks in February. However, while totally necessary, and I will always wear it, I do not like wearing it at all. Mine is a costume element from a one-day shoot I did playing a robber in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ movie, which was never used in the film, but I dug it out of a box and use it for the 30-minute weekly allowed exercise to skateboard during the five-month lockdown. 

As for the very first thing that Phillips will do when the masks are allowed to come down, he can’t wait to drink in theater festival bars in post-show settings. 

“In 1918, masks were mandated and worn in many nations during the flu pandemic, and then they were not. Thus they should come off in a year or so. However, the world is riddled with such idiocy, incompetence and greed, that major nations are failing their response to this pandemic, that I am afraid they will need to be on much much longer.”

Celebrating … bricks?

Things are getting desperate if we’re celebrating bricks. And yet, here we were, at a socially distanced opening soiree for the Australian brick manufacturing company’s first design/architecture studio in the U.S., Brickworks, popping the top on its shoppe at the Witherspoon Building at 13th & Walnut with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a champagne toast at 11am in the morning. It’s got to tell you something is not so hot when I begin drinking at 11 in the morning. And look, I come from a family of marble and tile contractors, and making a mountain out of … well, brick … is not a good look for any wild child, former or not. THIS PANDEMIC REALLY NEEDS TO FUCKING END. I AM SO BORED.

Kanye’s shout out 

Kanye West may be goofy (just pick a manner in which that is true), but over the weekend he shouted out Philly native, Cheyney U’s James Lindsay’s Rap Snacks dynasty – where hip-hop stars get their own chips and bag design with an occasional unreleased track to go with each snack, a la  Fetty Wap’s honey jalapeño – with a tweet that read, “JAMES LINDSAY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AND POWERFUL ENTREPRENEUR IN THE WORLD … HE DON’T GOT TO BEG TO BE ON BOARDS SEATS   HE MADE HIS OWN   JAMES IS TRULY FREE.”

Sixers hires

The 76ers may have lost new stadium ground on Penn’s Landing (too watery, gents), but they’re showing off brand diversity and female empowerment by bringing in women for executive positions: Brittanie Boyd is the new VP of marketing, and Katie O’Reilly is the Sixers’ chief revenue officer. Now, they got to do some winning.

Back in town 

M Night Shyamalan is in Philly again, shooting the C-19 aborted finish to season 2 (four episodes left) of AppleTV’s “Servant,” according to a Sept. 14 tweet. Night also got busy on Instagram, surprisingly showing off a mock-up poster of his due-for-2021 flick, “Old,” that he’s currently shooting. Oddly enough, his recent Instagram feed features a handful of stacked Alfred Hitchcock coasters and shots of his daughter Saleka whose new single “Clarity” is out with a video shot at the old Ortlieb’s by her film school-attending sister, Ishana Night Shyamalan. 

‘Hustle’ 

And since Night’s Servant shoot doesn’t count as it was in cinemus interruptus, Netflix’s b-balling “Hustle”  from producer LeBron James is the first new studio production to shoot in Philly since the beginning of C-19’s shutdowns. Like starting next week. “Hustle” star Adam Sandler dined with a crowd of four-or-more (even the Sandman can’t eat beyond four indoors – fucking Kenney) outside Osteria, while director Jeremiah Zagar stopped by to see mom and dad, artists/curators/unofficial Mayors of South Street, Julia and Isiah Zagar, at home.

Giant donation

I don’t normally talk about nice things and good deeds, but the Giant grocery chain gave $1.2 million to Philly’s Please Touch Museum along Centennial Drive so to save its grocery store exhibit (really?) and to bring much-needed funding to the cool, but sadly out-of-the-way (c’mon, who goes there?!) curatorial curiosity. 

  • 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.