Food & Drink
This year’s contributors: Tara Behan, Patrick Berkery, Michael Bradley, Michael T. Dolan, Katie Doud, Shannon Hallamyer, Tara Lynn Johnson, Bill Kent, Maxine Keyser, Catherine Quillman, Emily Riley, Hobart Rowland, Jim Waltzer and Dawn E. Warden.
Al Fresco Brunch: Newtown Grill
With dry-aged Black Angus beef to rival what you’d find in Florence, Italy, this handsome steakhouse is a sophisticated venue with many facets, including a spacious patio and Sunday brunch specials like delectable grilled brioche French toast. Inside, you’ll find an impressive list of wines, sundry potables, pasta specials and more. 191 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square; (610) 356-9700, italiansteakhouse.com.
Al Fresco Dining in Philly: City Tavern
City Tavern has one of the prettiest backyards in Center City, with its lush willow oak and honey locust trees, azalea bushes that sprout ruby-red flowers in spring, plus a bounty of hydrangeas and other seasonal flowers. The quaint, shady garden area is popular with parents, who can sip cocktails and nibble on appetizers while the little ones play in the grass. 138 S. Second St., Philadelphia; (215) 413-1443, citytavern.com.
Al Fresco Dining with Rockies Flair: Redstone American Grill
Lounging on the patio at Redstone—and, in winter, basking in the heat of the roaring fire pit—will make you forget all about the nearby parking lot. Ditto the tasty food, enticing cocktail menu, fragrant wood-burning grill and rotisserie, and rustic ski-lodge vibe. Just don’t whine if you have to wait—you’re not the only one looking to escape. 512 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting; (610) 941-4400, redstonegrill.com.
Al Fresco Event: Dining Under the Stars in Downtown Media
Every Wednesday night through mid-September, a portion of Media’s State Street is closed to traffic and transformed into an oversized open-air café complete with live entertainment. Some of the town’s best restaurants participate in this summertime ritual, including Margaret Kuo’s, La Belle Epoque and Azie. After dinner, save time to visit some of the great shops along State. Visitmediapa.com.
Alternative to a Burger and Fries: Kabab Café
Bright yellow walls echo the golden, saffron-tinged basmati rice that accompanies most dishes at this cheery spot. But it’s the well-marinated grilled kababs that are the stars here—vegetarian, beef, chicken, or lamb and beef gyro, all paired with that lovely rice and a small Persian salad. Want more than a kabab? Try the koreshte goosht, a special stew of beef, potatoes and peas, intriguingly spiced and served with rice. Gateway Shopping Center, 231 E. Swedesford Road, Wayne; (610) 975-5850, kababcafe.com.
All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Buffet:
Kotatsu Japanese Steak House
All-you-can-eat sushi for $24.95 is a great deal on all fronts. And with fish this varied, well-handled and fresh, the buffet setting is almost a nonissue. The eye-catching spread tastes as good as it looks, and there’s always plenty to offer the less adventurous eaters in your crowd. And because Kotatsu is family-friendly, it’s a stellar way to indulge the kids without having to monetize every bite and miscue. 36 Greenfield Ave., Ardmore; (610) 642-7155, kotatsusteakhouse.com.
Antipasti Menu: Trattoria Giuseppe
This reminiscently Sicilian spot boasts a bountiful selection of antipasti, starting with bruschetta, calamari fritto and many more of the usual suspects. If you haven’t filled up on these, proceed to the salad and pasta selections—all excellent. We also recommend the chicken cacciatore. Desserts run the gamut, from tiramisu to profiteroles. 4799 West Chester Pike, Edgemont; (610) 353-4871, mussotra.com.
Appetizer: Rock Shrimp Tempura at Azie
Crunchy on the outside, tender and piping-hot on the inside, and served with a creamy-spicy aioli, these petite bites are as addicting as potato chips. Our only request: May we have the yummy aioli on the side? 217-219 W. State St., Media; (610) 566-4750, azie-restaurant.com.
*Appetizer (Readers’ Pick):
Calamari at Glenmorgan Bar & Grill
593 E. Lancaster Ave., St. Davids; (610) 341-3188, glenmorgan.com.
*Bagels (Readers’ Pick): Bagel Factory
Various locations, bagelfactory.info.
*Bakery (Readers’ Pick):
Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery
700 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn; (610) 647-2119, claysbakery.net.
Bakery for the Calorie Conscious: Ultimate Bake Shoppe
Devotees make special trips to the Ultimate Bake Shoppe for bags of its fat-free, low-sugar biscotti made daily fresh from scratch without additives or preservatives. Equally good are the scones, which come in a variety of tasty flavors, like whole-wheat oatmeal blueberry and whole-wheat oatmeal banana walnut. Ardmore Farmers Market, 120 Coulter Ave., Ardmore; (610) 649-2332, theultimatebakeshoppe.com.
*Bartender (Readers’ Pick):
Milena Bish at Glenmorgan Bar & Grill
593 E. Lancaster Ave., St. Davids; (610) 341-3188, glenmorgan.com.
Bartenders: Ralph Romano and
After a long day at the office or with the kids, Fleming’s is the perfect place to unwind with a sizable martini, Manhattan or glass of wine served by the dynamic duo of Ralph Romano and Jen Weisbrod. Even if they’ve had a rough day, too, they’ll never forget your favorite drink—or to ask you how your day went. You’ll leave in far better shape than you were in when you arrived. 555 E. Lancaster Ave., Radnor; (610) 688-9463, flemingssteakhouse.com.
Beer and Food Pairings:
Teresa’s Next Door
On Tasty Tuesdays, the Teresa’s kitchen outdoes itself with its outrageously eclectic and sumptuous couplings of beer and food. On occasion, owner Andy Dickerson even taps Dogfish Head, Stonekeep Meadery and other special guests to spice things up. With combos like pan-seared Tasmanian trout and citrusy Allagash White, you’ll find yourself waiting eagerly for Monday to come and go. 124 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne; (610) 293-9909, teresas-cafe.com.
*Brew/Gastro Pub (Readers’ Pick): Victory Brewing Company
420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown; (610) 873-0881, victorybeer.com.
Brunch: Mendenhall Inn
Champagne Sunday Brunch at the Mendenhall is decadence in the best sense. Sip your Grey Goose Bloody Mary as you carefully scan the overloaded menu to map out your game plan for what to fill up on—everything from eggs Benedict and the inn’s signature omelets to crème brûlée French toast and filet mignon. Just be sure to save room for bananas Foster, a dip (or two) in the luscious chocolate fountain, and the dizzying array of cakes, pies and other dessert options. 323 Kennett Pike, Mendenhall; (610) 388-1181, mendenhallinn.com.
Burgeoning Franchise: Machismo Burrito Bar
Though they’re from Bucks County, the Caton family has targeted the western suburbs as a major growth area for their Southwestern-style burrito franchise. Machismo already has a busy location in Manayunk, two in Virginia, one in Florida and another set to open in the Andorra Shopping Center. West Chester is rumored to be next on the list. And with salsas and sauces this lively and complex, look out, Chipotle. 4330 Main St., Manayunk; (215) 508-3333, machismoburritobar.com.
*Burger (Readers’ Pick): BRGR Joint
1011 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (484) 380-3465, brgrjoint.com.
Flavorful, rustic Italian dishes, high-quality, locally grown ingredients and a friendly vibe make this sophisticated BYO a great place to unwind with friends. Its artisan cheese and charcuterie table has earned it a cult following among those content to gorge on wine and cheese, and the four-course, small-plate Giro del Menue is a great midweek deal at $35. Signature dishes include chicken liver soffritto and agnolotti stuffed with caramelized Gruyère and topped with sautéed escargot in a garlic-infused beurre blanc. 312 S. High St., West Chester; (610) 436-4100, avalonrestaurant.net.
*BYO (Readers’ Pick): Sola
614 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 526-0123, solabyob.com.
*BYO in Philly (Readers’ Pick):
276 S. 20th St., Philadelphia; (215) 731-1222, audreyclaire.com.
BYO Thai Restaurant: Thai Orchid
Price, spice and everything nice. A three-course lunch at this Main Line stalwart will set you back just $10.95. Whether it’s noon or 7 p.m., Thai Orchid never veers from its simple formula for culinary longevity: balancing fresh ingredients with perfectly curried sauces. Berwyn Shopping Center, 556 E. Lancaster Ave., Berwyn; (610) 651-7840, thaiorchidberwyn.com.
Café for Business Types: Cream & Sugar Café
Cream & Sugar takes the weekday hustle-and-bustle down a notch with its laid-back, efficient staff, ceramic coffee mugs, sit-down breakfast options, and roomy tables perfect for impromptu business huddles. Or, if it’s just you and your laptop, grab said mug and find a seat by the window—there’s no need for a “Do Not Disturb” sign. 163 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 995-2757.
Cafeteria Menu Item: Chicken Patties at Episcopal Academy
It’s spawned its own Facebook page and dance of celebration. Seniors give up their off-campus privileges to partake. EA’s legendary chicken patty is smothered in gooey gravy and accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes and corn. It comes in sandwich form, too. “It’s amazing how these kids act on chicken patty day,” says dining service director John Familetti. And for good reason. 1785 Bishop White Drive, Newtown Square; (484) 424-1400, episcopalacademy.org.
Carrot Cake: Elegance Café
Speckled with chewy raisins and smeared with velvety buttercream frosting, Elegance Café’s dense, delicious carrot cake reigns supreme. It’s decadence to the nth degree. Feed your appetite—and your soul. 15 Paoli Shopping Center, 82 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, (610) 640-0404; 131 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 687-5454; elegancecafe.com.
Casual Lunch: Spot House
Either you know about House, or you don’t. Those who do aren’t averse to taking an extended lunch break to make the trek from their Center City offices for owner Michael Hackett’s made-from-scratch, restaurant-quality specials. House favorites include the tomato soup, innovative grilled cheese sandwiches, and paninis on bread from Philly’s famed Metropolitan Bakery. 110 S. Jackson St., Media; (610) 566-2505, eatathouse.com.
Caterer: Delightful Desserts and Culinary Creations
Merrill Simon-Johnston has long been a tour de force in entertaining in the western suburbs. This past January, she and her staff received another “best of” award from OneWed.com, given to its most highly rated wedding vendors as voted on by customers. With her microscopic view of the details—including your budget—and expertise and innovation in the kitchen, Simon-Johnston can deliver a memorable event all around. The preferred caterer at West Chester’s Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast, Culinary Creations works with a number of unique venues across the region. 510 E. Barnard St., West Chester; (610) 692-5551, ddcccatering.com.
*Caterer (Readers’ Pick): J Scott Catering
189 Pennsylvania Ave., Malvern; (610) 725-9420, jscottcatering.com.
Chain Seafood (That Doesn’t Taste That Way): Bonefish Grill
Nightly specials in the hip bar and lively dining room keep the menu fresh at the Exton and Edgemont outposts of this Florida-based chain. And there’s always something delicious for landlubbers to sink their teeth into—like the brawny Vintner’s Burger, Fontina Chop and Angler’s Steak Special. The appetizers are as creative as the entrées, and the fish … Well, that’s what this place does best. Various locations, bonefishgrill.com.
Cheesesteaks: Vic & Dean’s Pizzeria
Unfortunately for more urban types, a cheesesteak means Geno’s, Pat’s or maybe Jim’s. Main Liners know better. They head over to Vic & Dean’s. Stoics can opt for the standard meat and cheese with onions, while freer spirits delight in pepperoni, pizza and buffalo chicken cheesesteaks. Grab a side of waffle fries, a tall soda and a stack of napkins for the ultimate Philly-outside-Philly experience. 409 W. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 225-0025.
*Cheesesteaks (Readers’ Pick): Garrett Hill Pizza
910 Conestoga Road, Rosemont; (610) 525-8813, ghpizza.com.
Chef: Carlo deMarco
Carlo deMarco’s many local fans consider him one of the most consistently great chefs on the Main Line. Surprisingly, he’s managed to stay under the radar and keep his ego in check while remaining both budget-conscious and innovative. At Firecreek, he displays a keen eye for aesthetics and an uncanny prowess for cooking tender, thick, uniquely marinated and seasoned meats and seafood over an open fire. He knows his way around a hamburger, too. 333 Belrose, 333 Belrose Lane, Radnor, (610) 293-1000, 333belrose.com; Firecreek Restaurant & Bar, 20 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, (610) 269-6000, firecreek-restaurant.com.
*Chef (Readers’ Pick): Clark Gilbert at Gemelli
232 Woodbine Ave., Narberth, (610) 660-0160.
Chocolate Chip Pound Cake: Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery
Moist, dense and loaded down with chips, this exceptionally rich recipe keeps them coming back for more. It’s available in thick slices at the counter, as a birthday cake or even a wedding option for truly over-the-top brides. Good things come to those who hustle for this popular treat, which has been known to sell out at a moment’s notice. 700 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn; (610) 647-2119, claysbakery.net.
Chocolates: Bevan’s Own Make Candy
We’d love to say Bevan’s buttercream chocolates and chocolate-drenched marshmallows are sinfully good—but the truth is, they won’t linger in the hand long enough after the first bite. This mom-and-pop shop in Media is known for its friendly counter staff, cash-only policy, and heavenly candies of any size or shape—which, incidentally, can be shipped anywhere in the country. 143 E. Baltimore Pike, Media, (610) 566-0581.
Classic Dining: Gilmore’s
Great food deserves a great atmosphere. And so it is at Gilmore’s. Though it’s perched on quaint Gay Street, the interior is anything but. Flower-flecked wallpaper and elegant fabrics are true to their French inspiration, but in the kitchen, chef/owner Peter Gilmore veers a bit from his classical training. Still, his innovative cuisine is French at heart. His warm seafood pâté, crab cakes and duck breast with peppercorns are all classics with a slightly new twist. 133 E. Gay St., West Chester; (610) 431-2800, gilmoresrestaurant.com.
*Cocktails (Readers’ Pick): Old Guard House Inn
953 Youngsford Road, Gladwyne; (610) 649-9708, guardhouseinn.com.
Coffee with a Side of Live Music: Steel City Coffee House
There’s always something going on at Steel City, whether it’s an open-mic night, a show by a local singer/songwriter, a visit from a national touring act, a poetry reading, or a book signing. With its fun, artsy, contemporary feel, this popular spot has fast become a “come one, come all” institution in downtown Phoenixville for all age groups, its crowd varying wildly depending on who’s performing. 203 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (610) 933-4043, steelcitycoffeehouse.com.
Comeback: Daddy Mims Creole BYOB
In a classic case of “negative press is better than no press,” John Mims has proven that life does indeed go on. After a public and contentious split with his former business partner, the notorious Cajun-Creole chef made tracks for Phoenixville, where he created his own version of the twice-reincarnated Carmine’s. Despite the perceived fall from grace, Mims’ culinary talent has earned him accolades from numerous devotees, who appreciate the bold flavors and ample portions his creative, well-seasoned dishes have always been known for. The crawfish spring rolls are a must, as are the Boursin cheese grits and sweet potato fries, the short ribs with polenta, the lump crab cakes, and the pan-seared filet over truffle frites. 154 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (610) 935-1800, daddymims.com.
Crabmeat Shumai: Yangming
Bites of jumbo lump crabmeat are bundled into a tidy wonton purse and steamed just long enough to soak in the accompanying soy-ginger dipping sauce. Feel free to consume these beauties in one bite—they won’t fall apart. 1051 Conestoga Road, Bryn Mawr; (610) 527-3200, yangmingrestaurant.com.
*Deli (Readers’ Pick): Narberth American Family Market
230 Haverford Ave., Narberth, (610) 664-1648.
Destination Ice Cream Parlor: Chester Springs Creamery
Linger in the Chester Springs Creamery’s spacious ice cream parlor or stroll the grounds of the Matthews family farm, where the Holsteins line up along the fence to check out the visitors. They’re hand-fed, clearly loved, and the source of more than 25 flavors of creamy, rich ice cream. Many are offered seasonally and named for the cows—like Bessie’s Black Raspberry, Geneva’s Chocolate and Blossom’s Butter Pecan. 521 E. Uwchlan Ave., Chester Springs; (610) 363-8500, milkywayfarm.com.
Dinner and a Show: D’Ignazio’s Towne House Bar & Restaurant
Few and far between are such cozy places, where one can enjoy a crock of French onion soup and a mammoth seafood platter, along with live entertainment from local cover bands, Rat Pack impersonators and everyone else in between. Friday crowds can enjoy a BYO option without a corkage fee. 17 Veterans Square, Media; (610) 566-6141, townehouse.com.
European Grocer: Euro Market
A cornucopia of unusual, imported foods, this inspired family-run grocery is the ultimate local source for European and Mediterranean cheeses, juices, teas, cookies, chocolates, preserves and coffee. Cooks will love the enormous containers of olive oil and feta cheese, both offered in far more varieties than you’ll find elsewhere. The shelves are lined with colorful jars of grilled marinated vegetables, spreads and sauces. There’s even an exotic olive bar. 30 S. Sproul Road, Broomall; (610) 359-9021, euromarketphiladelphia.com.
Exterior Renovation: The Terrace at Bar Savona
Swanky, sophisticated and pricey, Bar Savona makes little
people feel like high rollers. But this Gulph Mills gem is about more than good looks, thanks to chef Andrew Masciangelo’s stellar fare. During the sultry summer months, the terrace is especially romantic and sexy—and ideal for people-watching. The impeccable service and European- and Mediterranean-inspired menu leaves you feeling like you’re on the Riviera. 100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills; (610) 520-1200, savonarestaurant.com.
Finger Desserts: Aux Petits Delices
Its name translates to “small delights,” so it’s no surprise that sweet, finger-size treats are a strong suit at this popular cake shop. Show up to any party with a tray of Aux Petits Delices’ mini-éclairs, creampuffs, macaroons, petits fours, handmade chocolates and petite tarts, and you’re sure to be invited back. 162 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 971-0300, auxpetits.com.
First-Date Place: Primavera Pizza Kitchen
Relaxed yet not too casual, with a large, reasonably priced Italian menu, Primavera is a great place to go when you’re looking to impress a finicky eater in a just-sophisticated-enough setting. The bar offers signature martinis, classic cocktails and wines by the glass, with plenty of seats for those who like dining bar-side, which is sometimes a more comfortable way to approach that first date. 7 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore; (610) 642-8000, primaveraardmore.com.
French Bistro: A La Maison
Even on the hottest day of the summer, we’d be happy as clams with this quaint BYO’s short-rib boeuf bourguignon and flavorful onion soup gratinée. In this comfortable and unpretentious space, you can enjoy a meal that’s as formal—or informal—as you’d like. And there’s no corkage fee. 53 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore; (484) 412-8009, alamaisonbistro.com.
Frozen Yogurt: Kiwi Yogurt
Customers line up nightly for coveted cups of Kiwi. At this DIY dessert operation, you can choose from an array of flavors—like Bananarama, Birthday Cake, Bubble Gum and New York Cheesecake—along the self-serve wall. Offbeat toppings include Fruity Pebbles and Cap’n Crunch, along with more nutritious options like blackberries and pineapple. 22 S. High St., West Chester; (484) 266-0887, kiwifrozenyogurt.com.
Gourmet Grocery Store: FoodSource
Calling all bon vivants: FoodSource should top your list for rare quality ingredients. This market carries it all: specialty pastas and sauces, herbs and spices, imported balsamic vinegars and truffles, marinades and mustards, and freshly squeezed fruit and veggie juices. You’ll also find a gourmet olive bar, imported and domestic caviar, European pastries, artisan breads and rolls, even gourmet gift baskets and cookbooks. 663 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 581-7209, afoodsource.com.
*Gourmet Market (Readers’ Pick): Carlino’s Specialty Foods & Catering
2616 E. County Line Road, Ardmore, (610) 649-4046; 128 W. Market St., West Chester, (610) 696-3788; carlinosmarket.com.
Grilled Whole Fish: Lourdas
After an appearance on NBC’s 10! Show earlier this spring, word is out about this mother-and-son team’s whole fish dishes—all simply prepared so the flavor shines through. Highlights include golden-brown, caramely sweet pan-seared scallops, Mediterranean sardines with lemon and olive oil, and Copper River salmon with tomatoes and capers. Also worth savoring is Lourdas’ signature dish: Mediterranean sea bream grilled with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon. 50 N. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 520-0288, lourdasgreektaverna.com.
Happy Hour Specials: Parker’s Prime Steakhouse
Happy is an understatement. With $2 drafts, $3 glasses of wine and $6 martinis, revelers can imbibe to their heart’s content while snacking on small appetizers for $3. Or try an app-and-drink combo for under $15. Just be sure to arrive at 5 p.m. Everyone wants in on a deal this good. 4755 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; (610) 353-5353, parkersprime.com.
*Happy Hour (Readers’ Pick): The Paddock at Devon
629 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 687-3533, devonpaddock.com.
Hoagies: Antonella’s Italian Kitchen
Along with its tasty Italian specialties, Antonella’s is known for its reasonably priced, overstuffed hoagies named after the locals. We love the Patti Behler Pesto Scandal (grilled chicken, tomato, Parmesan and pesto with melted mozzarella) and the Al Conicella (grilled chicken, romaine, tomato, honey mustard, roasted peppers and balsamic vinegar). 841 Conestoga Road, Rosemont; (610) 526-1966, antonellaskitchen.com.
*Hoagies (Readers’ Pick): Primo Hoagies
Various locations, primohoagies.com.
Holiday Pies: Sweet Potato Café & Bakery
The holidays bring out the Martha Stewart in everyone—out with the takeout boxes, in with all the fixings needed to bake those Thanksgiving and Christmas treats from scratch. After the novelty wears off and the kitchen is coated in brown sugar, Sweet Potato Café & Bakery has you covered. Its rich, creamy pumpkin pie is a perennial hit, but be sure to stop in for all the other holiday offerings, too. 21 W. State St., Media, (610) 566-6791; 1331 Chester Pike, Sharon Hill, (610) 586-3560.
Homemade Ice Cream Worth the Drive: Scooped Ice Cream
Velvety varieties at Scooped include classics like vanilla, plus pumpkin, black raspberry truffle, Bailey’s Irish Crème and English toffee—all made with local ingredients from grass-fed, hormone-free cows, and organic chocolates and nuts from abroad. Among the sugar-free options: strawberry, chocolate, coffee and butter pecan. Scooped also blends sorbet, water ice and organic Italian gelato. 130 Pottstown Pike, Eagle; (610) 458-8209, scooped-icecream.com.
Homemade Water Ice: Capri Water Ice
For six years, this Wayne institution has been keeping the summer heat at bay with its selection of 50 flavors. There’s always tried-and-true lemon, and PB&J should appeal to more adventurous tastebuds. For the ultimate summer indulgence, try any of their flavors swirled with creamy soft-serve ice cream. 238 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 386-1999, capriwaterice.com.
House-Made Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Whip Tavern
It arrives as a rather inconspicuous circular piece of cake surrounded by a warm sauce. The moist circle crumbles ever so slightly under the pressure of the fork, as you sweep into the pool of buttery toffee. It’s an artful combination of flavors, with hints of fresh dates—not too sweet, but memorably satisfying. 1383 N. Chatham Road, Coatesville; (610) 383-0600, thewhiptavern.com.
*House-Made Desserts (Readers’ Pick): Nectar
1091 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn; (610) 725-9000, tastenectar.com.
Indian Food: Khajuraho
Even if you don’t know the difference between naan and puri, you’ll love this vibrant BYO—and so will the kids, as all is not heavily spiced at Khajuraho. And if the little ones inquire about the many erotic drawings and statues, just tell them they’re Indian acrobats. Meanwhile, you’ll be diving into the delicious selection of samosas, tikkis and vindaloos. 12 Greenfield Ave., Ardmore; (610) 896-7200, khajurahoindia.com.
International Beer Selection: Pinocchio’s Beer Garden to Go
The suburban brew scene has gotten noticeably better with the opening of Pinocchio’s Beer Garden to Go, an offshoot of the restaurant of the same name. Truth be told, it’s a dream come true for manager/owner Tim Volikas. You’ll discover more than 750 different beers from more than 200 American craft and international breweries, all of which can be sampled in mix-and-match six-packs to satisfy every suds craving and budget. 131 E. Baltimore Pike, Media; (610) 566-7767, pinbeer.com.
Informal Family Dining: Stadium Grille
Owner Bob Batley has found success with a simple concept: Keep kids and grown-ups coming back with a diverse menu and burgers made fresh daily. Its high-tech grills seal in flavor—whether it’s the beef, ostrich and bison burgers, ribs, or chicken (with delicious honey mustard sauce). Watch the experts behind the grill, and customize your meal with fresh ingredients from the build-your-own toppings bar. 104 Turner Lane, West Chester, (610) 344-7860; 570 Simpson Drive, Chester Springs, (610) 321-2595; stadiumgrille.com.
Italian West of the Line: Limoncello
While there’s plenty of the citrus digestivo behind the bar, it’s the decadent southern Mediterranean fare that makes this family-owned eatery truly divine. The antipasti starter is more than enough for two to share, while the sacchetti pasta with prosciutto and Fontina cheese makes for a delicious second act. Limoncello honors its namesake with specialty martinis and a fruity limoncello raspberry cake. Try both—and enjoy the buzz. 9 N. Walnut St., West Chester; (610) 436-6230, limoncellowc.com.
Italian Hoagie: John’s Village Markets Delicatessen
John’s has been a local fixture for more than 30 years—and it’s no wonder. Among other things, it consistently cranks out the most delish Italian hoagies. No special gimmicks here—just high-quality, thinly sliced Genoa salami, capicola, pepper ham and Provolone piled high on a fresh Amoroso’s roll with your choice of fixings. 1 Pennsylvania Ave., Wayne, (610) 688-2633; 676 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 251-9720; johnsvillagemarket.com.
Italian Takeout: Bravo Pizza
Aptly named, Bravo Pizza serves up scrumptious pizza and pasta dishes that are so good many regulars would rather just eat them on the spot. Whatever the topping, we doubt you’ll want to share. But if you do, it’s a win-win for everyone. 24 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, (610) 647-5122.
Junk Food That’s Good for You: Fire-Roasted Veggie Burger at Elevation Burger
Once a week (at least), our food editor gets a craving for this healthy hamburger alternative, tacking on a side of shoestring potatoes fried in olive oil. The patty is made with rice, roasted corn, bell peppers and other veggie bits, topped with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and balsamic mustard, and served on a pillowy roll. 50 E. Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood; (610) 645-7704, elevationburger.com.
Kids’ Menu Value: Bertucci’s
For just $5.25, Bertucci’s serves your hungry little ones their pick of kids’ entrées, along with unlimited fountain soda, juice or milk, and ice cream. Favorites include brick-oven pizza, a crispy chicken cutlet and grilled cheese on focaccia bread. And who says kids shouldn’t play with their food? Bertucci’s “just for fun” side of pizza dough says otherwise. Various locations, bertuccis.com.
Late-Night Takeout: Campus Corner
This might be the only place around that’ll bring a strawberry milkshake to your door. The collegiate mainstay’s extensive menu is available on wheels until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday (so long as the bill is $5 or more). Bored with the same old same old? Try the Greek wrap, stuffed with romaine lettuce, olives, onion, feta, cucumber and tomato, and dripping with tangy balsamic dressing. 829 Lancaster Ave., Villanova; (610) 527-3606, campuscornerpizza.com.
Locavores’ Heaven on Earth: Swarthmore Food Co-Op
The perfect place for eco-activists and local foodies alike, this green-as-it-comes grocer hosts gardening workshops, tree drives and plant sales as it peddles a range of organic, locally grown fair trade foods. The full-service market includes an old-fashioned butcher shop that’s well stocked with grass-fed and smoked meats, plus homemade sausages. You’ll also find a boatload of sushi offerings. 341 Dartmouth Ave., Swarthmore; (610) 543-9805, swarthmore.coop.
Local Wine Know-It-All: Rob Peters at Ardmore Wine & Spirits Store
If drinking wine comes more naturally than choosing it, Rob Peters is a man you need to know. This well-informed spirits enthusiast and wine educator is at the ready with a variety of tried-and-true suggestions. And if you’re looking for a great way to spend a night with friends, he’ll bring the bottles to you with an in-home tasting. 56 Greenfield Ave., Ardmore; (610) 645-5010, pawineandspirits.com.
Lunch Under $8: Chipotle Mexican Grill
With a simple menu (only five entrée options) and deliciously seasoned, tender, protein-packed selections, Chipotle is the spot for a satisfying meal on the cheap. At $6.75, its spicy barbacoa beef burrito bowl with cilantro-lime rice will leave you with enough cash to feed your appetite and the parking meter. Various locations, chipotle.com.
Lunch with the Ladies: A Taste of Britain with Easy Elegance
With its cozy décor and flexible seating options, A Taste of Britain is the ideal spot for a sophisticated midday meal with girlfriends. Its new Eagle Village Shops location strikes the perfect balance between casual and refined. The teas, scones, mini-pastries and other sweet accompaniments are divine. The lunch menu is equally impressive, with an array of quiches, salads, and English-inspired sausage rolls and Cornish pasties. 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 971-0390, easyelegance.net.
*Microbrew (Readers’ Pick): Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Various locations, ironhillbrewery.com.
Muffins: My Favorite Muffin
The choices here are many—but don’t make it hard on yourself. Fill a bag with mini-muffins. That way, you can have your cinnamon bun and eat your chocolate cheesecake, too. There are never less than eight “mini” flavors at a time, and more than 20 jumbo varieties, including conventional favorites like blueberry. And My Favorite Muffin is set up like a coffee shop, so you don’t have to grab your bag and run. 1130 Valley Forge Road, Phoenixville, (610) 933-3393.
Nachos: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
For something so seemingly simple, ordering nachos is seldom as satisfying as one would hope. Sometimes, it’s the chip. Sometimes, it’s the cheese. Often, it’s the disproportionate amount of one to the other—or the surprise ingredient that has no business being there. Not at Iron Hill, where the nachos are prepared by wise hands, fashioning large, warm plates of fresh chips covered in real melted cheddar cheese, and topped with diced tomatoes, black beans, green onion, (optional) jalapeños and sour cream. Grab a friend, and dig in. Various locations, ironhillbrewery.com.
Neighborhood Bar: Stone Rose Restaurant
Melt-in-your-mouth braised short ribs, tender pork chops, spinach salad with poached egg and potato, addicting fries, duck specials and a mean hamburger are just some of the selections at Stone Rose that keep the regulars cooing. Throw in the indulgent desserts and an array of wine, spirits and drink specials, and you’ll want to move right in. 822 Fayette St., Conshohocken; (484) 532-7300, thestoneroserestaurant.com.
*Neighborhood Bar/Tavern (Readers’ Pick): Oakmont National Pub
31 E. Eagle Road, Havertown; (610) 789-4000, oakmontnationalpub.com.
New Addition to the KOP Dining Scene: Seasons 52
Seasons 52 doesn’t have much in common with most of its King of Prussia Mall counterparts—and that’s a good thing for anyone who isn’t craving fatty appetizers, oversized entrées and belly-busting desserts. This new local outpost of the national chain stands by its commitment to use only the freshest ingredients and best cooking techniques while keeping all of the entrées on its lunch and dinner menus under 476 calories. The custom flatbreads are amazing (we love the Spicy Chipotle Shrimp). And try one of the luscious mini-desserts, like the chocolate peanut butter mousse. 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia; (610) 992-1152, seasons52.com.
New Restaurant: Gemelli
Though he made headlines at Taquet, chef Clark Gilbert truly shines in his new Narberth digs, where he delivers exquisitely prepared homestyle cooking with the same enthusiasm and care he’d devote to a dinner party with friends. Gemelli’s cuisine is unfussy and full of depth—and you don’t need a food dictionary to surmise the ingredients. And look out, kids: Gilbert’s Brussels sprouts are to die for. 232 Woodbine Ave., Narberth, (610) 660-0160.
*New Restaurant (Readers’ Pick): Azie on Main
789 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova; (610) 527-5700, azieonmain.com.
New Restaurant in Philly: Bibou
Chef/owner Pierre Calmels’ years of experience at Le Bec-Fin shows through in everything at Bibou—from its foie gras, veal sweetbreads and signature escargot in an atypical Bordelaise sauce, to its lavendar crème brûlée and rich, house-made butter. Be sure to bring along one of your best bottles of wine. 1009 S. Eighth St., Philadelphia; (215) 965-8290, biboubyob.com.
*New Restaurant in Philly (Readers’ Pick): Amis Trattoria
412 S. 13th St., Philadelphia; (215) 732-2647, amisphilly.com.
Next Best Thing to Culinary School:
Viking Culinary Arts Center
The Food Network makes it look so easy—soufflé this, poach that. The truth is that all these techniques require skill and practice. So, for all those future Bobby Flays on the Main Line, there’s Viking. From tossing the perfect pizza to concocting the fluffiest mousse, there’s a class for every age and talent level. 1 Town Place, Suite 100A, Bryn Mawr; (610) 526-9020, vikingcookingschool.com.
*Outdoor Dining (Readers’ Pick): Newtown Grill
191 S. Newtown Square Road, Newtown Square; (610) 356-9700, italiansteakhouse.com.
Paninis: 320 Market Café
This Swarthmore gem’s gourmet paninis are packed with the freshest ingredients, many from local sources. Veggie lovers can sink their teeth into a version with grilled portobello mushrooms, locally made goat cheese and tangy roasted red peppers. You’ll also find lunchtime favorites with clever culinary twists—like smoked ham and Cuban-style roast pork, plus grilled chicken slathered with a spread made of cumin-spiced black beans and sharp cheddar. 713 S. Chester Road, Swarthmore; (610) 328-7211, the320marketcafe.com.
Piano Bar: Columbia Bar and Grille
This stylish, meticulously renovated Victorian landmark has been drawing devoted patrons since 1893. You can’t beat the downstairs bar for its Victorian authenticity. But on Saturday night, most regulars head to the elegant upstairs rooms, where Dale McCauley tickles the ivories all night long. 148 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (610) 983-0300, columbiabarandgrille.com.
*Pizza (Non-Chain) (Readers’ Pick): Apollo Pizza
Various locations, apollopizza.com.
Place for a Special Birthday: Talula’s Table
Reservations require a year’s notice, so Talula’s Table is a perfect birthday choice for those who prefer an intimate setting and exquisite, locally grown, gastronomically inspired food. Owner Aimee Olexy’s memorable feasts are simple, yet layered with nuance. Less is more—except when it comes to the symphony of flavors. And Olexy might even share in a birthday toast. 102 W. State St., Kennett Square; (610) 444-8255, talulastable.com.
Place for Cheeses: Wegmans
Whether you’re looking for the basics or to throw down with international style, Wegmans offers a treasure trove of fromage and the requisite accoutrements. The assortment is dizzying, so don’t even try to make a list. You’ll love the savory toppings to dress up that warm wheel of brie, and the zesty dips will kick your cheese board up a notch. Various locations, wegmans.com.
*Place for Kids (Readers’ Pick): Gullifty’s
1149 Lancaster Ave., Rosemont; (610) 525-1851, gulliftys.com.
Place to Catch a Rising Star: MilkBoy Coffee
No one breaks the live music mold quite like MilkBoy Coffee. Nightclub clichés like beer-soaked floors and mediocre refreshments are nowhere to be found. In their place: a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere scented with coffee and buzzing with acoustic riffs. Tuesdays are open-mic nights in Ardmore (Wednesday nights in Bryn Mawr). The rest of the week features a full and diverse lineup of entertainment. 2 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 645-5269; 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 1, Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-0690; milkboycoffee.com.
Place to Catch the Big Game: Landmark Americana
If you can’t get comfortable here on game day, you better head back to the couch. With 18 bottled beers, 15 more on tap and 12 big screens, Landmark Americana is the perfect place to catch the action. The menu offers traditional bar fare, plus specialties like crab cakes and a prime rib cheesesteak. Football fans have the NFL Sunday Ticket at their disposal, and those looking for a little more can hit the dance floor to celebrate a big win. 158 W. Gay St., West Chester; (610) 701-9900, landmarkamericana.com.
Place to Dine on the Brandywine: Simon Pearce
See this month’s Epicure review. 1333 Lenape Road, West Chester; (610) 793-0947, simonpearce.com.
Place to Eat and Stay: General Warren Inne
Old World elegance defines this Malvern landmark, where the M.O. is sophistication and class in a serene environment. After a night of dining on colossal crab cakes and snapper soup, guests can retire to one of eight suites, where they can relax by the fireplace in the General Washington, or soak in the Franklin’s Jacuzzi with a bottle of Piper Sonoma champagne. No wonder this is such a popular place for weddings. 9 Old Lancaster Road, Malvern; (610) 296-3637, generalwarren.com.
Place to Hobnob with Celebrity Chefs: Williams-Sonoma
The next best thing to dining at Thomas Keller’s Per Se or French Laundry? Picking up a box of his cake mix or a jar of his dressing at Williams-Sonoma. Now, guests of this gastro-hub can get up close and personal with their favorite culinary personalities while browsing pastas. Giada De Laurentis made an appearance at the King of Prussia location this past April, and other Food Network phenoms like Rachael Ray and Ina Garten have shown up here for book signings. 160 S. Gulph Road, Suite 5100, King of Prussia; (610) 337-3135, williams-sonoma.com.
Place to Kick Back with Girlfriends: Gypsy Saloon
This Conshohocken staple has been the backdrop for many a ladies’ night, thanks to its cozy, upscale dining room, unassuming bar with nightly drink specials, sharable comfort food, and live music on Thursdays. Go in jeans and a tee, or a dress and heels—either way, co-owner Kim Strengari will make you feel at home. 128 Ford St., Conshohocken; (610) 828-8494, gypsysaloon.com.
Place to Meet for Wine & Cheese: Blue Pear Bistro
It can become delicious a game—matching different cheeses with just the right wines. And this intimate bistro just across from the historic Dilworthtown Inn is more than happy to oblige your culinary whims. Grab a small plate of assorted goat cheeses and a glass of sauvignon blanc at the mahogany bar. Or nibble on a selection of blue cheeses between sips of a perfectly chilled chenin blanc or riesling. 275 Brintons Bridge Road, West Chester; (610) 399-9812, bluepearbistro.com.
Place to Stock Up on Fresh Produce: Fruit and Veggies Farm Market
This family-owned market is the Cheers of the local produce scene. One visit, and you’re officially in the loop. Find your way back, and it’s inevitable that someone there will remember your name. Along with a large selection of organic and “regular” produce, there’s a deli with Boar’s Head products, plus a great selection of gourmet cheeses and Sabra hummus. You’ll also find tubs of fresh tofu, pre-cut veggies and sauces for stir-frying, pasta fixings, fresh organic bread, a notable nut selection, and time-savers like peeled whole garlic and cleaned and trimmed string beans. 2533 Haverford Road, Ardmore, (610) 642-1995.
Place to Take the Kids for Sushi: Sushi Land
Though you may have to fight the Villanova University crowd for a table, this affordable, no-frills sushi spot delivers perfectly cooked edamame, veggie and shrimp tempura, teriyaki dishes, and creative sushi rolls loaded with fish and flavor. It’s a BYO, so while the kids are enjoying their free soda refills, you can indulge in a glass or two. 861 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 527-5427, (610) 527-5527, sushiland.us.
*Power Lunch (Readers’ Pick): Georges’
Eagle Village Shops, 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 964-2588, georgesonthemainline.com.
Prepared Bruschetta: Tori’s Butcher Shop
The bruschetta at Tori’s Butcher Shop may look like any other out there—but it doesn’t taste that way. Its medley of diced tomato, onion, oil and seasonings is perfectly proportioned, and its spicy kick is a nice surprise. Add a soft baguette to your order, and make a meal out of it. 4300 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, (610) 789-2500.
Prix-Fixe Menu: Blackfish
Chip Roman’s decadent combinations make Blackfish a great place to go when you can’t bring yourself to think about what’s for dinner. Every Tuesday, Roman crafts a four-course chef’s tasting menu for a reasonable $45/person (plus tax and gratuity)—one that focuses on a featured ingredient each week. Past menus have centered around lobster, foie gras, oysters and beef. And it’s BYO, so bring the wine—and your appetite. 119 Fayette St., Conshohocken; (610) 397-0888, blackfishrestaurant.com.
*Prix-Fixe Menu (Readers’ Pick): Restaurant Alba
7 W. King St., Malvern; (610) 644-4009, restaurantalba.com.
Quiet Country Brunch: The Stone Barn
A glorious ride through the Chester County countryside sets a tranquil tone for Sunday brunch at the restored Stone Barn. Inside, the plentiful spread includes fresh fruit, creamed chip beef, an omelet station and cooked-to-order eggs, a Belgian waffle bar, carving stations, chef’s specials, salads, and fresh and smoked seafood. For dessert, there are assorted pies, cakes and other sweet treats. Walk off your meal with a stroll along the natural pond and historic waterwheel. 550 Upland Road, Kennett Square; (610) 347-2414, thestonebarn.com.
Reason to Drive to Phoenixville: Marly’s
This quaint but lively BYO should be a centerpiece to any night out in Phoenixville. The quarterly menu and seasonal specials feature whatever sounds good to chef Michael Favacchia. That could mean enormous cuts of fish paired with a selection of locally grown veggies, a heaping plate of piping-hot shrimp and grits, orange-molasses-glazed hanger steak with corn and sweet-pea risotto, or the signature apple-cherrywood-smoked scallops with roasted chestnut risotto, caramelized Brussels sprouts and lobster jus. 108 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (610) 933-7471, marlysbyo.com.
Reason to Drive to Pottstown: Funky Lil’ Kitchen
Eclectic, whimsical, charming and teeny-tiny, Pottstown’s favorite BYO caters to those who enjoy different ingredients, flavors and textures. If duck confit is on the menu, you already have one decision taken care of. The best plan: Order a variety of appetizers and entrées so everyone can sample the diverse combinations emerging from its ambitious kitchen. 232 King St., Pottstown; (610) 326-7400, funkylilkitchen.com.
*Restaurant (Readers’ Pick): Margaret Kuo’s
175 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 688-7200, margaretkuos.com.
Restaurant for Date Night: Rose Tree Inn
An old-school atmosphere and charming décor set the tone for a romantic evening spent lingering over a bottle of wine and any two of the Rose Tree Inn’s steakhouse classics with a twist—like the teriyaki tuna steak with wasabi dipping sauce or the succulent striped bass with potato-chip crust. The only date-night danger here is not leaving room for conversation between bites. 1243 N. Providence Road, Media; (610) 891-1205, rosetreeinn.net.
Restaurant Makeover: Más Mexicali Cantina
Under the direction of new owners Dave Magrogan and John Caulfield, the cave-like environs of what was once Coyote Crossing get a serious airing out. The building’s massive windows are now largely uncovered, flooding the vast interior with natural light. The running theme is kitschy border-town festive, with faux-weathered stencil art, exposed brick offset by bold paint colors, and quirky light fixtures (seemingly) straight from an open-air Mexican flea market. Small groups looking to party in style should head to the upstairs dining room, with its hubcap ceiling “sculpture.” In warm weather, don’t forget to wander up to the roof deck, where more surprises await. 102 E. Market St., West Chester; (610) 918-6280, mascantina.com.
Roadside Café: Peppers Café
Six seats inside and 20 out make this an offbeat destination—and that’s just what regulars like about it. Friendly service is the cherry on top. Eat in or take out, but definitely sample the Peppers MLT (a huge portobello mushroom with lettuce, tomato and a yummy basil vinaigrette), the Peppers Pork (with Provolone and spicy brown mustard), the hearty—and creamy—crab and mushroom penne, and the farfalle with salmon. Right about now, the kitchen should be breaking out its legendary gazpacho. 2528 Haverford Road, Ardmore; (610) 896-0476, pepperscafe.net.
*Seafood (Readers’ Pick): Creed’s Seafood & Steaks
499 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia; (610) 265-2550, creedskop.com.
Seafood Store: Philadelphia Lobster and Fish Co.
Tucked into the Whole Foods shopping center in Wynnewood, this pristine retail seafood market offers fresh fish (plain, marinated and cooked), a bountiful display of regionally grown produce, prepared soups, zesty marinades, and sushi. Prices are extraordinarily low, and the quality high. We love the seared tuna with peppercorn crust, the tender skate, the jumbo soft-shell crabs and the plump halibut. 333 E. Lancaster Ave., Wynnewood; (610) 642-1082, philadelphialobsterandfish.com.
Signature Appetizer: Shrimp Le Grog at Grog Restaurant & Bar
Sizable enough for two bites, these crispy, skewered, bacon-wrapped beauties arrive with a zesty, horseradish-laced dipping sauce for a combination that always delivers. 863 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-5870.
Signature Cocktails: Derek’s
More like magicians than bartenders, the staff at Derek’s can do some truly amazing things with a few ingredients and a shaker. Even the staunchest of martini snobs can appreciate the refreshing Ruby Zealander, brimming with grapefruit vodka, fruit juices, sauvignon blanc and Tahitian vanilla bean. For the more lighthearted, try a martini with candy-infused vodka (think Jolly Ranchers). 4411 Main St., Manayunk; (215) 483-9400, dereksrestaurant.com.
Signature Cocktails in Philly: Square 1682
Master mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout’s signature and classic cocktails will hit your senses with such wonderful flavors and aromas that you won’t want to move upstairs for dinner. Crafted from seasonal ingredients, his concoctions will soothe your mind and body, while delighting your palate with lip-smacking ingredients like Canton Ginger liqueur, mango jasmine tea, Angostura bitters, espresso and cinnamon sugar. Standout libations include the Bell Pepper Smash (Ketel One Citroen vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, muddled raspberries and bell pepper) and the Aperiteaf (Belvedere orange vodka, mango jasmine tea, Campari and Cointreau). 121 S. 17th St., Philadelphia; (215) 563-5008, square1682.com.
Soft Pretzel: Pretzel Boy’s
Broomall Pretzel Boy’s owner Brad Dickerson knows how to customize. Let others call his pretzels Philly style; he prefers Pennsylvania Dutch—soft but chewy on the outside and tweaked to perfection. Years of awaking in the pre-dawn light to prepare batches of hand-twisted pretzels has taught Dickerson three variables: the movement of heat in the revolving oven, the amount of pre-dip to achieve that golden sheen, and when to say “when” on the coarse salt. 2056 Sproul Road, Broomall; (610) 325-3500, thepretzelboys.com.
Source for Middle Eastern, Greek and Armenian Treats: Armenian Delight
This modest spot is an unexpected resource for a variety of treats. The sweet-sticky baklava is a great way to revive after a big meal, or with a late-afternoon cup of coffee. The thick-crust lahmajoon (Armenian pizza)—topped with vegetables, beef and chicken—is an easy and unusual snack for game time. You’ll love the zesty artichoke, eggplant and bean salads, too—not to mention the homemade cracker bread, hummus, grape leaves, fresh phyllo and mega-jars of ready-to-stuff artichoke hearts. 2591 West Chester Pike, Broomall, (610) 353-7711.
Specialty Pizza: Peace A Pizza
For something out of the ordinary, try one of Peace A Pizza’s most satisfying gourmet pizzas—the Chicken Ranch. Rather than marinara sauce, a modest layer of ranch dressing is spread beneath the mozzarella, cheddar, chicken breast, tomato, bacon and onion. It does Hidden Valley proud. Various locations, peacepizza.com.
*Steakhouse (Readers’ Pick): Sullivan’s Steakhouse
700 W. Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia; (610) 878-9025, sullivansteakhouse.com.
Strawberry Shortcake: Jacquette’s Bakery
Light, airy and layered with just-sweet-enough whipped cream and the ripest berries available, this elegant classic comes in both chocolate and vanilla. While the adult in you says “no thanks” to a second slice, the child in you will cut another one twice as big as the first. 2076 Sproul Road, Broomall, (610) 353-2550.
Sushi: Blue Fin
It’s tough to remember a year when this coveted sushi haunt didn’t make our list. Its diverse, inventive maki, hand rolls, small plates and more are the reason. First-timers should sample the spicy tuna sundae, but there are so many tempting ways to get your omega-3 fix, you’ll be making your second reservation before you leave. And that’s a good thing, because this tiny BYO is always packed to the gills. In fact, we’re pretty sure that even its most popular patron, Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, needs one. 1017 Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, (610) 277-3917.
Taste of Provence: Spring Mill Café
Country French with Moroccan influences, the enticing cuisine at this “rustic BYOB” tempts with authentic pâtés, Paris-evoking baguettes, tagines, escargot and other traditional French (with a twist) dishes. Chef/owner Michele Haines’ lamb is mouthwatering, as is the Thai-style duck breast. Desserts are also lovely—and the perfect excuse to linger in the romantic dining room. 164 Barren Hill Road, Conshohocken; (610) 828-2550, springmill.com.
Tequila Bar: Verdad
With 29 different tequilas and 15-plus flights (running $14-$40), Verdad has plenty of ways to get you hooked on this suddenly trendy spirit—whether you like it straight up or in a seasonally inspired margarita. Specialty cocktails include the Bird of Paradise, with tequila blanco, crème de cacao, amaretto, coconut milk and chocolate; and Iced Mocha, a jump-start-your-heart combo of espresso tequila, white crème de cacao, half-and-half and chocolate. 818 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 520-9100, theverdad.com.
Thai Food: Chabaa Thai
Aromatic, spicy, sweet, sour, creamy and downright intoxicating are just some of the ways to describe the dishes at this longstanding Manayunk spot. The traditional Tom yum soup—served “spicy”—will clear the worst stuffed-up nose, and the lush curries are divine. Add to that ample portions, a generous hand with the good stuff (seafood, meat and poultry) and a BYO policy. 4371 Main St., Manayunk; (215) 483-1979, chabaathai.com.
Tried-and-True Lunch Spot: Appetite’s Delight
Why the plentiful crowds of regulars at this longtime Gateway tenant? Simple, really. Appetite’s Delight does everything well—burgers, cheesesteaks, Reubens, hoagies, meatball sandwiches, wings, nachos and so much more. Call it a deli; call it a diner; call it whatever. We call it a Main Line institution—one that deserves some love. Gateway Shopping Center, 265 E. Swedesford Road, Wayne; (610) 688-2129, appetitesdelight.com.
Turkey Hoagie: Neopolitan Deli
Every morning at Neopolitan Deli, fresh turkeys are cooked and sliced for heaping onto its famed “Thanksgiving hoagie,” spruced up with cranberry sauce, thyme and sage. There are hoagies—and then there are hoagies worth driving from one end of the Main Line to the other to get your hands on. Guess which category this one falls into? 1022 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn; (610) 647-2050, neodeli.com.
Unconventional Dessert: The Upcake at Dixie Picnic
Despite efforts to craft the perfect recipe, for many, a cupcake is merely a disposable holder for the frosting. Not so with Dixie Picnic’s Upcake, smeared top to bottom with frosting of almost any flavor. It’s finger-lickin’ good. 215 Lancaster Ave., Malvern; (484) 320-8024, dixiepicnic.com.
Unconventional Pizza: Ovals at Ron’s Original Bar & Grille
Special seasonings, thick toppings and hand-tossed crust are the key to Ron’s one-bite-and-you’re-hooked Ovals pizzas. What makes it unconventional is its origin: It was accidentally invented one day when the folded sides of a stromboli opened in the oven. Today, the growing minions of Ovals fans can enjoy dozens of toppings—everything from spicy Italian sausage, charcoal-grilled chicken and homemade meatballs to crispy bacon, steak or chicken steak, smoked ham, and breaded eggplant. 74 E. Uwchlan Ave., Exton; (610) 594-9900, ronsoriginal.com.
*Vegetarian Dishes (Readers’ Pick): Siamese Princess
36 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 896-2755.
Wedding Cakes: Bakers of Buffington
From traditional three-tiered chocolate-and-vanilla to heart-shaped carrot cakes with pink frosting, Bakers of Buffington has harried brides covered. Cakes can be customized to resemble Tiffany’s turquoise box, decorated with delicate flowers or iced to create a cheetah-print effect (for those looking to take a stroll down the aisle on the wild side). 131 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown; (610) 873-8033, bakersofbuffington.net.
White Pizza: Mom’s Bake at Home Pizza
When it comes to white pizza, it’s all about the cheese-to-sauce-to-garlic ratio—plenty of the first, not too much of the second, and just enough of the third to add a little zing. Beyond that, the crust better be good enough to add heft and texture to what, in lesser hands, can amount to a pretty bland combination. That said, Mom’s gets the precarious balance just right. And don’t shy away from the low-fat mozzarella—trust us, you’ll never know the difference. 4007 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; (610) 356-4099, momsbakeathome.com.
*Wine List (Readers’ Pick): Dilworthtown Inn
1390 Old Wilmington Pike, West Chester; (610) 399-1390, dilworthtown.com.
*Wine Store (Readers’ Pick): Wine & Spirits Premium Collection Store
Devon Village Shoppes, 821 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 110, Wayne; (610) 964-6516, pawineandspirits.com.
Wonton Soup: Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen
With so much tempting Asian-fusion fare coming out of Susanna Foo’s kitchen, it never occurred to us to try the wonton soup. The spice comes on the side, so you can adjust it to your taste. But don’t overdo it, because you’ll want to enjoy every nuance and chunk of this seafood version, made with sake-steamed shrimp, wakame and a rich broth. 555 E. Lancaster Ave., Radnor; (610) 688-8808, susannafoo.com.
Antique Shop: The Antique Store in Wayne
AnnMarie Palumbo-Parks has a pretty good thing going—hundreds of good things, actually. Her showrooms are packed with antique furniture, estate jewelry, silver pieces and Japanese porcelain from more than 50 dealers. Not just a place for the home decorator or casual browser (though it’s great for that, too), the Antique Store also offers a bridal registry, certified appraisals and custom framing. 161 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 687-1900, theantiquestoreltd.com.
Art Supplies: Merion Art & Repro Center
Artists of every age can feed their passion at Merion Art & Repro Center. Necessities like drawing pads, paint brushes and sculpting tools are always in stock, as are printmaking supplies, craft materials, easels, presentation cases, storage solutions, projectors, studio lights and much more. And did we mention the knock-your-smocks-off sales? 17 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore; (610) 896-6161, merionart.com.
*Baby Boutique (Readers’ Pick): Kids ’N Kribs
112 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne; (610) 687-5437, kidsnkribs.com.
Once mid-afternoon rolls around, most folks stuck in the 9-to-5 grind can’t wait to flop back onto a giant, fluffy bed and not budge for the rest of the evening. The fantasy only gets better with bedding from Ashton-Whyte, whose extensive selection of gorgeous designer linens has its customers daydreaming. Owner Ellen Yazujian and her staff will even make house calls to assist the design-challenged. The downside? You’ll have to get out of bed to answer the door. 835 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 525-5756, ashtonwhyte.com.
*Bookstore (Readers’ Pick): Chester County Book & Music Company
975 Paoli Pike, West Chester; (610) 696-1661, ccbmc.com.
Boutique for Fashionistas on a Budget: Heavenly Couture
It’s hard to believe there’s a boutique on the Main Line where the clothes are cheaper than what many others charge for a pair of earrings. Heavenly Couture has all the latest styles without the huge markups, with nothing more than $17.95. Shoppers swear by the boutique’s designer-like clothing—especially its jeans and dresses. 33 Leopard Road, Paoli, (610) 647-6474.
Boutique for Preppy Women: Skirtin’ Around
Main Line women adore their preppy attire, making Wayne the perfect hub for Skirtin’ Around’s third location. Aside from skirts, the collection features Jackie O-inspired dress coats, flattering tunics, flirty dresses and shorts in a variety of prints and solids. And not to worry: You’ll find plenty of pink, green and blue. 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 225-0000, skirtinaround.com.
Boutique Jewelry: Posh Collections
Posh Collections has always been synonymous with the likes of Trina Turk, Christopher Fischer and other renowned designers. Owner Tina Corrado also offers shelves of jewelry perfect for finishing off any ensemble. You’ll flip over the selection of bangles, necklaces and cocktail rings, plus chunky earrings in silver and gold accentuated with the summer’s two hottest colors—turquoise and coral. 103 E. King St., Malvern; (610) 644-7220, poshcollections.com.
Boutique That Keeps Customers in the Know: Skirt
Most boutiques only contact their customers when they’re having a sale. Skirt’s Maureen Doron stays in touch with hers monthly via the Skirt Style File, an informative fashion-forward e-newsletter touting the latest looks and accessories. The File also offers glimpses into the personal lives of Skirt’s stylists and everything they love. 931 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 520-0222, shop-skirt.com.
*Bridal Boutique (Readers’ Pick): Priscilla of Boston
46 Saint James Place, Ardmore; (610) 896-8290, priscillaofboston.com.
*Bridal Registry (Readers’ Pick): Crate & Barrel
160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia; (610) 354-9600, crateandbarrel.com.
*Caterer (Readers’ Pick): J Scott Catering
189 Pennsylvania Ave., Malvern; (610) 725-9420, jscottcatering.com.
*Clothing for Kids (Readers’ Pick): Peanut Butter & Jane
200 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 254-9300, peanutbutternjane.com.
*Clothing for Men (Readers’ Pick): Hassis Men’s Shop
3533 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; (610) 353-3115, hassismensshop.com.
*Clothing for Teens (Readers’ Pick): South Moon Under
205 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 964-9064, southmoonunder.com.
*Clothing for Women (Readers’ Pick): Knit Wit
905 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (484) 592-0576, knitwitonline.com.
*Consignment Shop (Readers’ Pick): Junior League of Philadelphia Thrift Shop
25 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore; (610) 896-8828, jlphiladelphia.org.
Consignment Shop Expansion: Butterflies & Blossoms
This popular West Chester destination for kids and moms recently became thrice as nice. The store tripled in size and overall inventory, expanding most in its supply of children’s clothes. Owner Amy Buckman is now taking in about 2,000 articles of gently worn clothing, rather than the 1,000 she previously accepted. B&B also enhanced its selection of toys and plans on specializing in early-intervention items as the collection widens. 1 N. Five Points Road, West Chester; (610) 430-7601, butterfliesandblossoms.net.
Consignment Shop for Guys and Gals: Plato’s Closet
There’s no reason to come out and say your new outfit was a steal—just tell them you bought it at Plato’s Closet, and they’ll get the hint. Hollister, Juicy Couture and other popular brands are the norm. And the already-low prices on its gently used, name-brand clothing are often slashed even further thanks to various clearances and customer-appreciation discounts. 27 Paoli Plaza, Paoli; (610) 647-7788, platosclosetpaoli.com.
Consignment Shop for Women: Accent on Design
Accent of Design owner Diane Wulk has a discriminating eye when it comes to buying the designer-label clothing, shoes and accessories for her resale shop—so much so that it’s hard to believe anything in her inventory was “previously loved.” Sellers appreciate the fact that she pays cash or store credit up-front; buyers can’t get enough of the pristine inventory and jaw-dropping prices. And many items still have price tags. 83 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli; (610) 640-1200, accentondesignpaoli.com.
Custom Clothing for Kids: CPC Designs
The work of Main Liners Caroline Linz, Carrie Grau and Gaby Evers, CPC Designs started out with preppy dresses for little ladies. Much to the delight of its growing customer base, it has expanded into clothes for the little guys, including seersucker shortalls, shorts and pants. Buyers pick their own fabrics, trims and monograms. And once you spy the ingenious details that accommodate growth spurts—like the dresses’ adjustable ribbon shoulder straps and pants with contrasting cuffs for rolling up or down—you’ll know this stuff was designed by moms. Wayne, (484) 580-8408, cpcdesignsinc.com.
Custom Residential and Corporate Furniture: Paul Downs Cabinetmakers
In Paul Downs Cabinetmakers’ 33,000-square-foot workshop, woodworkers hand-craft everything from dining and bedroom furniture to display cabinets and coffee tables. For the office, their breathtaking standard-, premium- and ultra-grade conference tables offer personalized features like logo inlays and electrical wiring. Clients include Harvard University, the New York Jets, NASA and the Pentagon (to name a few). 401 E. Fourth St., Building 8, Bridgeport; (610) 239-0142, pauldowns.com.
Custom Shirts for Men: B. Gross Menswear
While men’s fashion hasn’t changed drastically over time, there are a few finer details that do evolve with the trends. Enter B. Gross, which allows patrons to select fabrics, stitching, cuffs, pockets and collars for everything from short-sleeve pop-overs to modern dress shirts. Production takes about four to five weeks, but the handcrafted look and feel is worth the wait. State and Jackson streets, Media; (610) 566-7990, bgrossmenswear.com.
Everyone already knows Sorella is the go-to boutique for prom night. Lately, it’s also been attracting an older crowd with its gowns from the likes of Jovani and La Femme. The varied inventory works for every occasion, from black-tie galas to captain’s dinners. And for those with wedding bells in their future, Sorella is up to the task. 23 E. State St., Media; (610) 566-2393, sorellashop.com.
Fashionable Frames: Rose Tree Crossroads Eye Care
Often, the wider the selection of frames, the tougher it is to pick the right pair. Fortunately for bespectacled Main Liners, Rose Tree Crossroads Eye Care offers the best of both worlds: wall upon wall of frames for kids and adults, and frame stylist Marianne Dolente. Dolente’s got a few things up her sleeve (including an esthetician’s license) to expertly match the best set to a client’s face shape, skin tone and personality. 1315 N. Providence Road, Media; (610) 566-6484, rosetreeeyecare.com.
*Florist (Readers’ Pick): Accents by Michele
4003 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; (610) 356-5683, accentsbymichele.com.
Flower Stand with European Flair: Pushing Daisies
Forsythia branches, tulips and daffodils in early spring; peonies in May; peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers and zinnias in summer; and mums, poinsettias, amaryllis and paperwhites over the holidays. No matter what time of year, there’s something to catch your eye—and nose—at Pushing Daisies. Ardmore Farmers Market, 120 Coulter Ave., Ardmore, (610) 642-4600.
Funky Fashion Finds: Styche
Sometimes a girl needs to inject a little extra funk into her wardrobe, and Styche has numerous options for anyone looking to jazz up a simple outfit with fun accessories, along with labels like the vintage-inspired Tulle and sexy Red Engine jeans. And the cherry on top: complimentary alterations. 57 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore; (610) 645-6562, stycheonline.com.
*Garden Accessories (Readers’ Pick): Waterloo Gardens
200 N. Whitford Road, Exton, (610) 363-0800; 136 Lancaster Ave., Devon, (610) 293-0800; waterloogardens.com.
Handbags: Ellie Boutique
For every outfit, there’s a handbag. For every handbag addict, there’s Ellie. The Wayne version of this trio of boutiques features a choice selection of hobos, wallets, clutches and totes. For a bit of Hollywood-meets-Main-Line glamour, check out the collection by Rebecca Minkoff. 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 293-6822, ellieboutique.com.
Handcrafted Furniture: UpHome, Ltd.
After years in Glenmoore, Linda Ritter has found a more visible presence for her home furnishings shop in downtown Malvern. Tired of mass-production furniture stores, where everything looks like something you’ve already seen? Then UpHome is for you. The new location has two floors filled with impeccable handcrafted 18th- and 19th-century reproductions custom-made by Linda’s husband, Bryce. His armoires, farm tables, sideboards and vanities are made with pine that’s more than 150 years old, along with square nails. No two pieces are alike. 138 E. King St., Malvern; (484) 318-7109, uphomeltd.com.
Hardware Store: Paoli Hardware Center
Who needs a national chain when you have a gem like Paoli Hardware Center at your disposal? PHC has everything the big guys have and much more, including a third floor dedicated to toys and sporting goods. Whether its flowers for the garden or a quick fix for a leaky faucet, PHC’s friendly, knowledgeable staff is there to help. 16 Paoli Shopping Center, Paoli; (610) 644-2013, hardware-toy.com.
*Home Accessories and Furnishings (Readers’ Pick): The Finer Things in Life
711 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 687-9500.
Home Accessories: Chez Georgette
Congrats to Erin Jackson for hitting a home run with her first venture into retail. Chez Georgette boasts a wide selection of chic home accessories, including ornate miniature picture frames, delicious-smelling candles and decorative lamps. Don’t miss the super-charming tabletop room in the back, where brides and others can mix and match sets of unique dishware by Portmeirion, Baking Days by Spode and Shiraleah, along with French glassware and vintage silverware. 129 W. Market St., West Chester; (610) 431-2829, chezgeorgette.com.
Hometown Jewelry Designer: Marlyn Schiff
You may have seen Marlyn Schiff’s jewelry on the pages of InStyle, Marie Claire and Bazaar, or perhaps in recent photos of Bethenny Frankel and Rachael Ray. The Bryn Mawr resident’s trendy bangles, rings, necklaces and earrings—adorned with pearls, semiprecious stones, crystals and glass beads—are top-sellers at boutiques around the country. Locally, you’ll find them at Skirt, Patricia Adams and the Finer Things in Life, plus online at Neiman Marcus. Marlynschiffdesigns.com.
*Hostess Gifts (Readers’ Pick): Patricia Adams
379 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford; (610) 642-0585, haverfordsquare.com.
House Cleaners: Busy Bee Cleaning Co.
The pros at Busy Bee Cleaning Co. treat your home like it was their own, covering everything from the blades of your ceiling fans down to the baseboards. They do it right the first time, so there’s never any do-overs. And, yes, they do windows. West Chester, (610) 430-6888, busybeecleaningcompany.com.
Wellington Square Bookshop
You’ll need time to absorb the ever-changing inventory at this friendly shop. Serious bibliophiles can peruse the collection of first and signed editions, while bargain-hunters will love the selection of used literary fiction, nonfiction and children’s classics. The selection of new books is small, but sure to surprise. There’s also a cozy kids’ reading area and a café. Eagleview Town Centre, 549 Wellington Square, Exton; (610) 458-1144, wellingtonsquarebooks.com.
Jeans Selection: Denim Habit
Not all premium denim is created equal—and for that, and many other reasons, we’re thankful for Denim Habit. The shop boasts an immense selection of high-end brands, including Citizens of Humanity, Joe’s, Paige Premium Denim and Dylan & George. The accommodating staff will tell you honestly (and nicely, of course) how those True Religion legging jeans really fit—or whether those Hudson Bermuda shorts that looked so cute on the hanger translate to your body. Suburban Square, Ardmore; (610) 645-0920, shopdenimhabit.com.
Kids’ Birthday Entertainer: The Great Holtzie
Adam Holtz—a.k.a. the Great Holtzie—isn’t your typical kids’ entertainer. And that’s what we love about him. He’s not a clown; he’s not a magician. He’s simply a laugh-out-loud-funny comedian with a gift of understanding a child’s sense of humor (we’re talking silly, slapstick stuff). And parents should stick around for this guy, as they’ll inevitably find themselves laughing, too. (267) 879-0090, thegreatholtzie.com.
Kids’ Clothing: Children’s Clothing Patch
You’ll know how much fun it is to dress your little ones every time you walk into this oh-so-cute boutique. Play clothes share space with special-occasion frocks for toddlers and the big kid set—with sizes up to 10 for girls, up to 7 for boys. You’ll also find a wide variety of pink and blue gifts to welcome that new bundle of joy. 163 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 971-5102, childrensclothingpatch.com.
Makeup Emporium: Bluemercury
This bountiful beauty boutique carries all of the top names, including Trish McEvoy, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier and Nars. Bluemercury’s associates are well-versed in every line, and it regularly hosts workshops and master classes featuring representatives from the companies themselves—who just might just divulge a few tricks of the trade to help you in your quest to look flawless. Suburban Square, 42 St. James Place, Ardmore; (610) 642-5400, bluemercury.com.
Mother’s Little Helper: SignUpForCamp.com
Golf camp or tennis? Theater or ballet? One week or one month? These questions and more are the bane of parents come spring and summertime. For the stressed-out and info-deprived, there’s Signupforcamp.com, which supplies all the registration forms and resources for camps from here to California. Guests can search by city, activity and duration, or simply give their kids the mouse and let them create their own summer fun. SignUpForCamp.com.
Never-Say-Die Indie Institution: TLA Video
At a time when the big box stores are closing in bunches, TLA Video in Bryn Mawr continues to thrive. The area’s largest independent video store chain for more than 25 years, it remains a haven for picky movie-seekers, those searching out off-beat flicks and anyone who’d rather peruse the new releases in-person than wait for a red envelope to arrive in the mail. Its friendly staffers are all serious movie lovers who aren’t afraid to make their opinions known. And that’s good news for the hopelessly indecisive. 761 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 520-1222, tlavideo.com.
Outdoor Shopping: Mecca Clover Market
Interior designer Janet Gardner Long thought the Main Line was in need of an upscale, vintage outdoor market similar to the famed Brooklyn Flea Market and those in London. Her instincts proved to be dead-on. Clover Market is attracting customers from throughout the Tri-State area and beyond—all in search of “finds for the home” like antique furniture and lighting, original art, home accessories and collectibles, architectural salvage, and more. Schauffele Plaza, Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, clovermarket.blogspot.com.
*Party Band (Readers’ Pick): Jelly Roll
*Party DJ (Readers’ Pick): Schaffer Sound Productions
Personal Assistant: Bizzy Concierge
Behind every busy exec is a sharp assistant making it all possible. Enter D.C. transplant Elizabeth “Bizzy” Chance and her team of can-doers, who are willing and eager to accommodate just about any (legal) request. Want a medium-well steak for a takeout dinner? Done. Need to mail a package but can’t wait in line? Taken care of. Any practical aspect of running a business and maintaining a social calendar—from personal gift shopping to bill paying to home management—is handled with professionalism and efficiency by Bizzy. (610) 551-9630, bizzyconcierge.com.
Personal Organizer: Darla DeMorrow at HeartWork Organizing
To some extent, we all need a Darla DeMorrow in our lives. The professional organizer and owner of Wayne’s HeartWork Organizing will come right to your home or business. Through consulting or actual hands-on organizing, her goal is to help you regain control of your space, whether it involves organizing a closet, establishing a filing system or something, well, a little more complex. (856) 905-3202, heartworkorg.com.
Place for Building a Backyard Retreat: Ultimate Patios
These days, stylish furniture and comfy “deep seating” extends to outside spaces. This family-run business goes one step further by offering customized patio sets—your choice of cushion fabric, chair style, color or finish. And they carry everything you need to go with it. Hal Marinaro has 20 years of experience as a grill expert, while his wife, Gail, and daughter Michelle oversee three large display areas. 1151 McDermott Drive, West Chester; (610) 430-2171, ultimatepatios.com.
*Place for Private Parties and Receptions (Readers’ Pick): Appleford Estate
770 Mt. Moro Road, Villanova; (610) 527-4280, applefordestate.com.
Place for Special Events: Drexelbrook Catering & Corporate Events Center
For mitzvahs, proms, weddings and any other special event that needs a host site for the evening, Drexelbrook is the perfect mix of modern style and traditional charm. The luxe Grand Ballroom easily accommodates 300-plus guests for hours of dancing, cocktails and outdoor strolls among the fountains and gardens, while the scenic gazebo is perfect for “I do.” 4700 Drexelbrook Drive, Drexel Hill; (610) 259-7000, drexelbrookcatering.com.
Place to Find Cool Stuff for the Home: Hipster Home
The coolest of the cool turn to Hipster Home for décor options ranging from wine accessories to sectional sofas. Clean, modern furniture, quirky accessories, sleek lighting fixtures and artsy welcome mats combine for a retail atmosphere that’s simply right-on. 237 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (610) 917-0121, hipsterhome.com.
Place to Pamper Your Pet: Buzzy’s Bow Wow Meow
There’s something on every pet’s wish list at Buzzy’s—whether it’s gourmet dog treats or a crystal-studded collar. More than 20 varieties of pet food line the shelves, including premium brands for birds, hamsters and gerbils. Be sure to stop by on weekends for Dog Adoption Days. 701 Montgomery Ave., Narberth; (610) 617-3300, buzzysbowwowmeow.com.
Place to Rediscover the Classics: Showcase Comics
You’ll find little, if any, “BAM! BOOM! POW!” in this shop. The experts at Showcase know the difference between cartoon stereotypes and the real deal they specialize in. Their selection of new comics includes independent titles and rare issues you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else nearby. Collectors pore over the impressive inventory of back issues and graphic novels. 874 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-6236.
Pottery: Our American Heritage
Hosts in search of the perfect vessel will relish the one-of-a-kind—and often signed—artisan pottery at Our American Heritage. Its vast inventory includes precious Russian porcelain, stoneware from France, Ireland, Spain and Italy, an exquisite Polish collection, salt-glazed Rowe works, Chesapeake Bay dishes, Bennington pottery from Vermont, and Lancaster County redware. Paoli Shopping Center, 23 Leopard Road, Paoli; (610) 695-8151, amerheritage.com.
Printer: Professional Duplicating
Business cards to labels, newsletters to DVD reproduction—there’s not much Professional Duplicating can’t do. While it may seem like they’re all business at ProDupe, the staff can also assist with stationery and invitations for special events. And if travel plans arise, they do postcards and posters. 33 E. State St., Media; (610) 891-7979, produpe.com.
Retail Re-Branding Effort: Eagle Village Shops
While other retailers were lamenting the slow economy of the past two years, the execs behind Spread Eagle Village were reinstating it as the retail jewel of the Main Line. They took a risk and relaunched the “lifestyle center” with the new name, Eagle Village Shops (doesn’t that sound so much better?), recruiting new retailers like Skirtin’ Around and restaurants like the Silverspoon. 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Strafford, theshopsofsev.com.
Shoes (Splurge): ViVi G. Shoes
It’s close to impossible not to spend at ViVi G. once you see the impressive selection of designer labels that owners Sherri and Jennifer Guggenheim have assembled at their “shoe-tique.” Who can say no to Kate Spade, Loeffler Randall and Badgley Mischka? Even the flip-flops are high-end—Emilio Pucci, Diane Von Furstenberg and Juicy Couture, among others. 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 688-6732; 587 Wilmington-West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 459-5848; vivigshoes.com.
Shoes (Budget): DSW Shoes
Just like you can’t eat just one potato chip, it’s nearly impossible to limit yourself to buying just one pair of shoes. The discount prices at DSW on names like Prada, Via Spiga and Stuart Weitzman make these binges much easier on the wallet. Various locations, dsw.com.
Shop for the Well-Dressed Man: The Tiger Shop
The Tiger Shop has always had a glowing reputation for its exemplary customer service. In addition to its impressive inventory of high-quality labels, the shop has expanded into custom clothing. Bob Hutchinson is a godsend for men in search of a better-fitting wardrobe. He takes in-shop appointments and will also come to your home or office. 122 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne; (610) 688-8916.
Sidewalk Sales: Anthropologie
Anthropologie has a well-deserved rep as a hipster’s haven—but that can come at a price. Whether it’s drawer pulls, summer skirts, jewelry, candles or scarves, all are offered at a discount whenever one of the store’s much-anticipated sidewalk sales rolls around. Pounding the pavement has never been so stylish. 201 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 687-4141, anthropologie.com.
Tree Scientists: Bartlett Tree Experts
Founded in the New York area by Francis A. Bartlett in 1907, Bartlett Trees Experts has never strayed from its systematic, scientifically based diagnosis of plant problems. These days, that includes a patented root-care program designed to break up compacted soil—and for densely overgrown landscapes, global positioning systems accurately identify and map plant locations. (610) 594-4740, bartlett.com.
Two-Wheeled Experts: Bike Line
We’re sold on Bike Line’s sound advice for cyclists of every stripe. How do you shift properly or climb faster? What clothing works best in the rain? How can you prevent numb wrists? Do bells make sense? You ask it, they answer—in-store or online. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention their skilled repair team, too. Various locations, bikeline.com.
Unique Arts and Crafts: The 5 Senses
The 5 Senses’ distinct inventory is always a pleasure to see, smell, touch, taste and hear. Nearly all of its handmade feel-good art and crafts hail from North America—exceptions include China’s seagrass and bamboo baskets. Behold Maine wind chimes, scented Indiana candles, Texas salsa, New York’s multicolored SoapRocks, Vermont’s recycled glass suncatchers, Oregon’s natural agate ikebana vases, painted silk ties from California, turquoise-inlaid cheese-and-breadboards from Arizona, plus metal puzzles, glass jewelry and more. 133 W. Market St., West Chester; (610) 719-0170, the5senses.com.
Valet Parking: MedPark
While convenient, valet parking always seems to come with a few risks, no matter what the restaurant or special event may be. Fortunately for Main Liners and their businesses, MedPark offers more than the requisite security and safety for patrons and business owners. Attention to details—like the appearance of parking cones and its attendant booths—sets this company apart from the four-whepack. 1380 Bartlett Road, Wayne; (610) 647-3130, medparkcorp.com.
Vintage Bridal Jewelry: Sabrina Ann Once Worn & Never Worn Bridal
Whether it’s mothers, grandmothers or brides-to-be looking for the perfect accent to their wedding attire, Sabrina Ann Once Worn & Never Worn Bridal is their one-stop shop. The fine collection has more than just variety going for it: the pieces are pristine, though they date back to the 1940s. 24 Ardmore Ave., Ardmore; (610) 642-6228, sabrinaann.com.
Vintage Jewelry: The Bee’s Nest
This isn’t your grandmother’s jewelry—and it isn’t your trendy little sister’s, either. The Bee’s Nest’s honest-to-goodness style and sophistication never gets old. Think Old Hollywood glamour meets bohemian chic, from vibrant Bakelite to glittery Swarovski to ultra-classy Kenneth Jay Lane baubles. 16 E. Eagle Road, Havertown; (610) 789-2720, thebeesnestpa.com.
Among the gowns, designer jeans and everything in between, this Newtown Square fashion mecca is stocked with high-end accompaniments like Love Quotes scarves and Ray-Ban sunglasses. The shoe selection encompasses everything from luxurious Stuart Weitzman stilettos to practical yet stylish Hunter rain boots. Bags from Carlos Falchi and Kooba, a full-collection of Spanx undergarments and a fabulous selection of costume jewelry make this a true haven for no-fuss shopping. The Shops at Springton Pointe, 218 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square; (610) 359-1707, bedazzledboutique.com.
Women’s Activewear: Lululemon Athletica
If you’re not a fitness enthusiast when you first arrive at Lululemon Athletica, you’ll leave the store as one. The company’s newest outpost in Wayne is filled with the brand’s coveted clothing lines for yoga, dancing, running, Pilates and the like. Women love the brightly colored tanks and sports bras, plus the wall of pants in various styles and lengths—because not all pants are created equal. 220 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 964-7964, lululemon.com.
*Women’s Evening Attire (Readers’ Pick): Latrice
1024 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-1109.
Classes for Triathletes: Todd Parker Training Programs at Main Line Cycles
For anyone who thinks bicycling should be relegated to Sunday afternoon pedals around the park, Todd Parker proves just how intense it can be. His hourlong fitness class aims to improve participants’ leg speed and strength, with the primary goal of elevating the lactate threshold, allowing the cyclist to exert more intense activity for a longer period of time. 717 Montgomery Ave., Narberth; (610) 664-1970, mainlinecycles.com.
Colorist: Betty Sy at Noel Sy Art in Beauty
If you’re about to make a major decision like going from brunette to blonde, or adding highlights to virgin hair, you want to be sure you put your mane in the most talented hands you can find. Betty Sy, co-owner of Noel Sy Art in Beauty, is your lady. Sy’s coloring skills are worshipped by a legion of local fans who rave about her ability to discern exactly which hue will most complement skin tone as she devises just the right color combination. 32 Montgomery Ave., Bala Cynwyd; (610) 667-8777, noelsy.com.
DIY Gardening Workshops:
Terrain at Styer’s
At Terrain, workshops are hardly one-sided affairs, where you sit back and watch the experts do it all. Participants are required to get their green thumbs dirty as they work alongside the instructors, who answer any and all questions. The varied schedule includes everything from a beginner’s gardening series to window-box workshops. 914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills; (610) 459-2400, shopterrain.com.
European Spa Treatments: La Difference Salon & Day Spa
Airbrushing may well be the ultimate Hollywood illusion, but that doesn’t mean regular girls can’t lust after it all the same. The next best thing photographic tinkering may well be the Ionthermie body treatment at La Difference. Among the benefits: the reduced appearance of cellulite, improved skin texture and the loss of at least one inch around the waist—all after the first treatment. 830 Paoli Pike, West Chester; (610) 429-1808, ladifferencesalon.com.
Facials: Harmonia Healing Arts Spa
Whether your goal is to feel renewed, fight aging or simply to look fabulous, there’s a facial to fit your needs at Harmonia Healing Arts Spa. Not sure what to choose from among the more than 20 signature treatments? Owner and skin-care guru Ilona Csaky and her team will assess your situation, listen to your concerns and always choose what’s best for you. 413 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 688-1007, harmoniaspa.com.
Family-Friendly Workout: Hooping
What was once a ’50s-era recreational icon is back in action as a family-friendly way to break a sweat and have some fun in the process. Loopdihoops fosters an environment where physical activity is enjoyable and accessible to all ages. Classes are available, as are workshops and parties for youngsters who love to get their hoop on. Loopdihoops.com.
*Fitness Program for Kids (Readers’ Pick): Verge Yoga
250 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 971-0518, vergepoweryoga.com.
Free Fun with the Kids: Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens
An outing at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens brings family fun back to the basics with a good-old trek through nature’s finery. Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa can easily lead the gang through a 1.2-mile, self-guided walking tour—and turn it into a real adventure as the little ones explore native flora, fauna, insects and a pond. Even better, admission is free. 631 Berwyn Baptist Road, Devon; (610) 647-8870, jenkinsarboretum.org.
Hair Coloring in a Pinch: Swarthmore Hair Studio
Swarthmore Hair Studio’s Pat Ukropec swears by the Infrared Rollerball Color Processor, which orbits around the head for a mere 10 minutes as your color is processed. The machine can be digitally adjusted for time and heat based on the condition of your hair to avoid over- or under-processing. And there’s another bonus: as the color sets, the hair is deep-conditioned, resulting in silky, glossy strands. What more could you ask for? 4 Park Ave., Swarthmore; (610) 544-6620, swarthmorehairstudio.com.
Hairstylist: Joseph Ferrer at Jay Michael Salon and Spa
If he’s not creating fabulous hair for the season finale of Project Runway, or at Bryant Park styling the coifs of models for big-time fashion designers like Zac Posen and J. Mendel, you can find master hairstylist Joseph Ferrer behind a chair at Jay Michael in St. Davids. Ferrer’s loyal clients rave about his charming manner and unmatched ability to get their cut and style just right—every time. 595 E. Lancaster Ave., St. Davids; (610) 964-0800, jaymichael.com.
*Health Club (Readers’ Pick): Main Line Health & Fitness
931 E. Haverford Road, Bryn Mawr; (610) 527-2200, mlhf.com.
Hidden Hike: Sweetwater Farm
Veiled in the Brandywine Valley countryside, Sweetwater Farm bed and breakfast offers 50 acres of pure peace and quiet. Its short-but-sweet hiking trail is an unexpected adventure for B&B visitors. Wind through trees and along the stream, or grab hold of the rope hanging from a tree and start your exploration up the steep incline. Sweetwater appeals to nature lovers of all types—including pets. 50 Sweetwater Road, Glen Mills; (610) 459-4711, sweetwaterfarmbb.com.
Hope for the Future of Lacrosse: Lacrosse Evolution
Though “soccer mom” may be the norm among parents with active kids, this Downingtown sports sanctuary could very well succeed in adding “lacrosse mom” to the list. Lacrosse Evolution is doing its part to help the sport find the mainstream, promoting camps, tournaments and clinics for all skill levels. 417 Boot Road, Downingtown; (610) 873-9910, lacrosseevolution.com.
Kid-Friendly Fitness Center: ACAC Fitness & Wellness Center
Adventure Central, ACAC’s latest addition, has increased the facility’s size to more than 130,000 square feet. This new children’s wing—an astounding 40,000 square feet—includes an indoor “jump” zone, a game room, and an exercise and two-story climbing area known as Spider Mountain. All of which makes for a nice air-conditioned break from the facility’s ever-popular water park. 1130 McDermott Drive, West Chester; (610) 431-7000, acac.com.
Makeup Artist for Brides: Béke Beau
Behind every flawless, blushing bride you’ll find a wiz like Béke Beau. After an apprenticeship with celebrity makeup artist Laura Geller in New York City, Beau brought her talents to the Main Line. She has a knack of making up a woman without making her look “made up.” Along with brides and bridesmaids, Beau will even (if asked) put the finishing touches on grooms and groomsmen, ridding them of dark circles under the eyes and unsightly blemishes. (610) 220-0042, bekebeau.com.
Manicures and Pedicures: Main Line Nails
Open seven days a week, Main Line Nails prides itself on always having enough friendly, experienced technicians to service clients—especially after work and on weekends. And with its reasonable prices, it’s no surprise that MLN continues to grow its empire, with 10 salons throughout the area and counting. Various locations, mainlinenails.com.
Massage: Day Spa by Zsuzsanna
Zsuzsanna offers a full array of massages, from stone therapy to aromatherapy. You can’t go wrong opting for the classic Swedish massage, designed to promote relaxation by stimulating the superficial soft tissue of the skin and muscles, while boosting the body’s natural ability to heal itself. 241 Conestoga Road, Wayne; (610) 688-3969, zsuzsannasalon.com.
New Fitness Franchise: RowZone
This new addition to the Main Line fitness scene offers the fat-burning, muscle-building workout of a day out on the Schuylkill minus the hassle of a real boat and oars. The intense energy generated during its 45-minute sessions is known as the Crew Effect. Rowers can burn anywhere from 450 to 600 calories per session, but the entire workout is low-impact. Various locations, rowzone.com.
New Spa: Cole Wellness Spa
Cole Wellness owner Kristy Cole goes back to the basics, with just two treatment rooms (so there’s never a crowd) and natural, good-for-you organic products. The menu includes an array of options for the face, body and hair, including organic microdermabrasion and a decadent caviar facial. 101 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne; (610) 688-7546, colewellnessspa.com.
Next Best Thing to Basic Training: Willie Owens’ C.L.I.M.B. Class at Ellis Athletic Center
Willie Owens brings his athletic credentials as an All-American hurdler and pro football linebacker to this rigorous hourlong lunchtime sweat session. The brainchild of FACTS Fitness president Tom Fenstermacher, C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creative Ladder Intervals and Mega Bootcamp.” Owens’ Wednesday class is the one that started it all at Ellis Athletic Center, and it attracts a diverse bunch—from stay-at-home moms to FBI agents to local rock musicians. Not everyone lasts. But those who do, reap the benefits of an intense workout that combines running, free weights, obstacle-course-style maneuvers, calisthenics and more. 3819 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; (610) 355-7360, ellisathleticcenter.com.
Personal Trainers: Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio
Whether it’s the kids’ schedules, a hectic work routine or an overall lack of motivation, any reason for not making time to workout can be easily erased with the help of Vertex’s award-winning staff of personal trainers. Whether clients have two hours a day or a few lunch breaks per week, Vertex will customize a plan to meet any time constraint, energy level or personal goal. 24 N. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 525-6604, vertexfit.com.
Pre-Wedding Day Pampering: Polished Spa & Boutique
Polished Spa & Boutique owner Marina Selverian and her team treat guests like royalty. Choose from among various services to treat the whole group. Or, for the bride who’s craving some alone time, the solo package includes a Swedish massage, facial, hot-oil manicure, signature spa pedicure and makeup application. 221 Conestoga Road, Wayne; (610) 688-4181, thepolishedspa.com.
Pilates Studio: Pilates & More
Since November 2002, Carol Beringer has preached the many benefits of Pilates—and her spacious new location in Wayne is unlike any other in the area, designed and outfitted so she can further personalize her approach and focus on different types of Pilates equipment daily. Bottom line: Clients get a more well-rounded program in classes limited to just five people. 110 Gallagher Road, Wayne; (610) 687-6855, pilatesandmore.com.
*Salon (Readers’ Pick): Currie Hair Skin Nails
Various locations, curriedayspa.com.
Salon for Blowouts: Salon 31
Clients are religious about their standing weekly appointments with Salon 31’s Melissa Laliberte, thanks to her blow-drying prowess. Laliberte always takes her sweet time, meticulously attending to every section of the head (especially the back). Her thorough, exacting work normally lasts an entire week—or until that next standing appointment. 31 Rittenhouse Place, Ardmore; (610) 642-8600, salon-31.com.
Skateboarding Ambassadors: The Staff at Fairman’s Skate, Snow & Surf
Who says skateboarders are nothing but trouble? Dave Fairman and his friendly staff are out to debunk that notion with an impressive lineup of community-oriented classes and events. June-August, summer day camps for ages 6-12 breed shredders for the Fairman’s team while encouraging kids to stay active. And every second Tuesday of the month through October, the shop hosts its skate jam and free team-rider clinics at West Goshen Township Skatepark, furthering the good vibes. Just be sure to bring a helmet, pads and an open mind. 43 W. Gay St., West Chester; (610) 344-9959, fairmans.com.
*Spa (Readers’ Pick): Ame Salon and Spa
111 Waynewood Ave., Wayne; (610) 995-2631, amesalonandspa.com.
Specialty Body Treatments: 3000 BC Wellness Spa
The experts at 3000 BC are forever in search of the best treatments, recently adding a Thai herbal massage to the mix. For that, a selection of therapeutic herbs are wrapped in a muslin compress, steamed and then used to massage the body. The deep-penetrating circular and rolling movements help the herbs work their magic, making you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. The treatment can also help with digestive issues, joint and soft-tissue injury, headaches, insomnia, and anxiety. 605 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (484) 367-1000, 3000bc.com.
Spinning: Focus Fitness of the Main Line
Stationary bikes plus high-powered aerobics equals some serious spinning at Focus Fitness, as instructors push riders toward the finish line to a pumping musical soundtrack enhanced by black lights. It’s intimate; it’s intense; it’s super-fun. Sessions end with yoga, lots of water, and a pronounced feeling of accomplishment for newbies and experts alike. 1111 E. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 525-5515, focusfitnessml.com.
Sporty Date Night: Grand Slam USA
For couples looking for a fresh spin on date night, Grand Slam USA hits the mark. Batting cages give guys and gals a chance to cheer each other on, and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf is just plain fun. Competitive types will surely feel a spark during laser tag—and who doesn’t love Skee-Ball? 11 E. Lancaster Ave., Malvern; (610) 647-6622, grandslammalvern.com.
Tanning Salon: 360° Tans
360° Tans takes spray tans a step further with its “responsible bronzing” method. Only natural ingredients—including grapefruit extract, green tea, aloe and DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid)—are used to give you that light, medium or dark glow. As if that’s not enough to make you say “yes” to organic, you’ll actually breathe easier knowing that it’s free of fumes. We’re sold. 377 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 293-1987; 515 E. Baltimore Pike, Media, (610) 565-2222; 360degreetans.com.
Tanning Treatments: Joseph Anthony Retreat Spa and Salon
Perhaps the most annoying part of getting a self-tanning treatment is the exfoliation work beforehand. Joseph Anthony goes above and beyond for its clients with its Sunless Tanning Treatment, which begins with a foot bath and continues on a heated table with a thorough body scrub. The end result is a flawless spray tan that lasts up to a week. 243 W. Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills; (610) 459-4663, josephanthony.com.
Vacation Specialists: Main Line Vacations
There’s no denying that the Internet comes in handy when planning a getaway. But no website can compete with a group of knowledgeable travel agents—the sort who can lay out all your options and provide friendly advice on everything from the perfect accommodations to must-see attractions. All you have to do is pack your bags—and foot the bill. 211 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 341-1979, mainlinevacations.com.
Workout Classes: Upper Main Line YMCA
If you’re working out at Upper Main Line YMCA these days, you can’t use boredom as an excuse for not getting your body into tip-top shape. The Y takes the chore out of going to the gym with spirited classes like “Zumba,” “Cardio Jam” and “Body Pump”—all available throughout the day to accommodate both early birds and the after-work crowd. 1416 Berwyn-Paoli Road, Berwyn; (610) 249-9622, umly.org.
Yoga for Beginners: Stillpoint Yoga Studio
Stillpoint Yoga Studio embraces novice yogis with patience and encouragement. In an inviting space that inspires nothing less than outer and inner peace, the beginners’ sessions move at a comfortable pace, and emphasize safety and proper form over all else. Instructors truly care about why students have decided to bring yoga into their lives, and they go out of their way to help you meet your goals and establish a lasting relationship with the practice. 580 Shoemaker Road, King of Prussia; (610) 585-0284, stillpointyogastudios.com.
Yoga Instructor for Kids: Christopher Theodore
Christopher Theodore is proving that sun salutations aren’t just for adults anymore. His THEOGA yoga programs are tailored to growing bodies and developing personalities. Whether in day-care classes or one-on-one sessions, Theodore makes sure his combination of breathing techniques, stretching and personal introspection resonates with each child. Myspace.com/theoga1.
Artists’ Alcove: Burlap and Bean Coffee
Get swept away by arresting vocals, the rhythms of a solo guitarist, or the wholly unique vibe of the Hang drum. The live music lineup at Burlap and Bean features folk, blues-rock, reggae, open-mic nights and more. Mounted photography and other works spotlight an artist of the month, and alcohol-free First Fridays welcome art lovers of every age. The Shops at Springton Pointe, 204 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square; (484) 427-4547, burlapandbean.com.
*College Athlete (Readers’ Pick): Villanova Men’s Basketball’s Scottie Reynolds
*College Coach (Readers’ Pick): Villanova Men’s Basketball’s Jay Wright
*College Sports Team (Readers’ Pick): Villanova Men’s Basketball
Do-Gooder: Father John Deegan
When Villanova resident and Augustinian priest Father John Deegan set out to help the poor and powerless in our society, he did so in a way that is not only efficient but also effective. By bridging already existing resources with those in society who’ve fallen between the cracks, he’s set up an impressive model for systemic societal betterment dubbed Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor. From health and law clinics to after-school tutoring and a companionship program for the elderly—wherever Father Deegan sees a need, he quickly addresses it. Thanks to him, we all benefit. Rightsofthepoor.org.
*High School Athlete (Readers’ Pick): Harriton Senior High School Girls’ Golfer Savannah Williams
*High School Coach (Readers’ Pick): Bishop Shanahan High School Varsity Hockey’s Jim McHugh
*High School Sports Team (Readers’ Pick): Radnor High School Football
Kid-Friendly Online Start-Up: PrintArtKids
A refrigerator door can only hold so many masterpieces until the milk and eggs are no longer accessible. Enter the Media-based PrintArtKids, an innovative solution for budding Picassos and their endless creativity. A quick scan or upload of the admired artwork can be made instantly into greeting cards, gift labels and note pads (to name just a few options). For a small fee, pictures can even be retouched—that is, if smudgy fingerprints weren’t part of your child’s design concept. Printartkids.com.
Local Blog for Active Families: DelawareCountyKids.blogspot.com
Want to know which summer camp to check out? Or where can kids eat free? What about fun activities during a road trip or vacation? Answers to these and other questions can be found at this family-friendly local resource. Complete with a calendar of events and a playground finder, this blog arms parents with plenty of feasible options to cure the inevitable summer blahs. DelawareCountyKids.blogspot.com.
*Local Sports Celebrity (Readers’ Pick): The Phillies’ Raul Ibanez
Local Video Destined to Go Viral: Soup Boots
Like the fictional product it promotes, Soup Boots is an acquired taste. This TV commercial parody brought to you by Narberth’s David Metter and Matthew Isenberg is goofy, clever, sophomoric, mildly nauseating and largely hilarious. Good luck getting the jingle out of your head. Youtube.com/watch?v=G7NztgwB1Pg.
Locally Made Green Product: Last Call Bags
Estimates put the number of plastic bags consumed worldwide each year at somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion. With such staggering numbers, all the more reason to bypass the plastic and paper and go with a reusable tote. Last Call Bags let you do that in style. These recycled, locally made gems are made from the beer grain sacks that deliver wheat and barley malts to local brewpubs. Lastcallbags.com.
New Addition to Chester’s Waterfront: PPL Park
Pro soccer’s Philadelphia Union finally has a place to call home—and what a home it is. The 18,500-seat PPL Park welcomed Major League Soccer fans for the first time this summer. And the state-of-the-art, open-air stadium should also be a hot ticket for concert-goers, with a 26,000-person capacity and spacious surroundings for tailgating and other event-related outdoor fun. For a stunning bird’s-eye view of this diamond in the rough, drive east in the far right lane of the Commodore Barry Bridge. Philadelphiaunion.com.
New Addition to Newtown Square: The Phillies’ Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay and his wife, Brandy, purchased a home on 1.66 acres in Newtown Square earlier this year—and we sure hope the neighbors made them feel welcome. And why wouldn’t they? Traded from the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cy Young Award winner and six-time all-star is now the Philadelphia Phillies’ certified ace. Phillies.com.
Out-There Fundraiser: Brandywine Polar Plunge
No black ties here. The Brandywine Valley Association forgoes the conventional for something that is anything but—a mid-February dip in the Brandywine River. For the past three years, hundreds of intrepid souls have braved the bitter Brandywine not only for bragging rights, but for the chance to support the BVA’s efforts to protect and conserve the natural resources of the Brandywine Valley. Not for the faint of heart (the fact that your John Hancock is required on a waiver of liability form should tell you as much), this fundraiser guarantees to be a hair-raiser, too. Brandywinewatershed.org.
Painter (for Faces): Peanutbutter
Gone are the days of soccer balls and unicorns adorning the cheeks of party-going tykes around these parts. Peanutbutter, a Philadelphia-based artist specializing in face painting, is putting the amateurs to shame with his vibrant color palette and incredible knack for blending each brush stroke for a truly magnificent final result. He is available for parties and special events—just make sure the kids bring more of a challenge for the artist than their sports equipment. (215) 235-5030, peanutbutterpeanutbutter.com.
Place to Catch a Foreign Flick: Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Bryn Mawr Film Institute offers its moviegoers a full itinerary of trips around the world from the comfort of their seats. The theater aims to show the best in international, independent and art-house cinema as main attractions and through special screenings. BMFI believes cinematic excellence knows no borders—and that great films transcend differences in language and culture to speak to viewers. 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 527-9898, brynmawrfilm.org.
Place to Hang with the Eagles: Great Valley Nature Center
No, we’re not talking Lincoln Financial Field here—rather, the more subdued Great Valley Nature Center in Devault. Tucked away on 10.5 acres, this sanctuary is home to a pond, a stream and a variety of habitats, not to mention the Birds of Prey Center and a replica of a Native American Lenape village. More than 35,000 people visit or participate in GVNC’s programming each year, bringing them face-to-face with bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons and other raptors. Route 29 and Hollow Road, Devault; (610) 935-9777, gvnc.org.
Place to Relive the Sounds of Yesteryear: Gold Million Records
For music purists looking beyond their iTunes libraries and CD collections, there’s Gold Million Records, which continues to preserve the sounds of years gone by. It’s a vinyl lover’s paradise, a treasure trove for rock memorabilia fanatics and a pretty cool place to check out for anyone in between. 851 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-4500.
Program for Underserved Youth: City-Prep
This Wayne foundation provides a much-needed service to those lacking a critical trait—confidence. Taking city students under its wing, City-Prep utilizes a “team” approach to enhance a sense of belonging, worthiness and competency among young children, hopefully ensuring a lifetime of success and self-fulfillment. City-Prep has also partnered with LEAPS, a comprehensive program that combines academics and lacrosse. 37 West Ave., Suite 302, Wayne; (610) 225-3200, city-prep.org.
*Pro Coach (Readers’ Pick): The Phillies’ Charlie Manuel
*Pro Sports Team (Readers’ Pick): The Phillies
*Radio Music DJ (Readers’ Pick): John DeBella, 102.9 WMGK-FM
*Radio Morning Show (Readers’ Pick): Preston & Steve Show, 93.3 WMMR-FM
*Radio Station for Music (Readers’ Pick): WMGK-FM
*Radio Station for News Talk (Readers’ Pick): WPHT 1210-AM
*Radio Talk Show Host (Readers’ Pick): Michael Smerconish, WPHT 1210-AM
Rock Icon with Main Line Roots: Joan Jett
Long before Katy Perry extolled the virtues of kissing a girl, Joan Jett—born Joan Marie Larkin in Wynnewood in 1958—made it OK for women to get raunchy on the radio with her cover of Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me.” And Jett proved that bad girls could make big noise with her influential ’70s band the Runaways. Next up for Jett: steady touring behind a recently released greatest hits package, and if there’s any justice, maybe a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joanjett.com.
*Sports Radio Personality (Readers’ Pick): Angelo Cataldi, WIP 610-AM
Tree: The Giant Sequoia at Tyler Arboretum
To get a sense of the awe-inspiring heights of the giant sequoias found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, one need travel no further than Tyler Arboretum, home to a State Champion Giant Sequoia planted in 1856. Legend has it, the top was lopped off in 1895 by a Christmas tree thief, resulting in its unique double trunk. Approaching 100 feet in height, this towering specimen still has a long way to go—giant sequoias can stretch upward of 300 feet. Still, tree huggers may have a hard time wrapping their arms around this one’s 4-foot diameter. 515 Painter Road, Media; (610) 566-9134, tylerarboretum.org.
TV News Anchor (Readers’ Pick):
Aditi Roy, NBC 10
*TV Sportscaster (Readers’ Pick):
Vai Sikahema, NBC 10
*TV Weatherperson (Readers’ Pick):
Cecily Tynan, 6 ABC