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Jul 11, 2013 09:11 AM

Out of towner challenge!

We're having something of a family reunion in Philly in early August, and are looking for someplace to host a group of 13 for dinner. The problem is that the food preferences are all over the place, ranging from my foodie wife and teens (last place visited and loved was Alla Spina), all the way to the two teenaged cousins who eat basically burgers, peanut butter and pasta. I know we could do some horrid chain like a Ruby Tuesday or O'Charley's or whatever the Philly equivalent and torture my family. But does anyone have any better ideas? Maybe old fashioned Italian? A gourmet burger/gastropub kind of place (we could do cheesesteaks, but I want someplace where folks can sit and talk for a whiile, not just gulp and run)? Staying at the Four Seasons so Center City or Manayunk are easily accessible. Thanks!

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  1. I would suggest perhaps the Dandelion pub, Stephen Starr restaurant, modeled after an English pub. Lots of nooks so that they could accommodate a group your size (reservations definitely required.) They have a very good burger, dynamite fish and chips as well as some more gourmet type of foods.
    Within an easy walk from your hotel.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      Just looked at the menu. Looks like a great idea. Thanks for the input!

      1. re: cwdonald

        Had to give you some feedback. We did eventually go to Dandelion. Great time. We had to split the group up into the six adults and seven teenagers, which was just fine (booking 13 would have been treated as a large group, meaning we would have had to pre-order entrees from a very limited selection--this way we all got to choose from full menu). Most of the group walked from the hotel on a beautiful evening. We were seated on the top floor, at two tables across the aisle from each other, which was great, as we could circulate back and forth and share food.

        Virtually everything we had was great. Outstanding apps included the ricotta and the terrine. Salads were also really good, the Dandelion, heirloom tomato, and butter lettuce all fresh, well-dressed, and tasty. Entrees were an equal hit: several got the well-regarded burger (fabulous, esp the pickles) and loved them, done medium rare as burgers should be. Scallops, steak, mac cheese, and fish and chips were all done right, elevated well above the usual cliche versions. Good workable wine list (had a nice Ribera), a fun beer list. Service was attentive and very friendly. Sound level was very modest, a real pleasure for us as we could hear each other at opposite ends of the long tables.

        So CW, kudos for a winning suggestion. Everyone, from the super-picky eater 16 year old, to my curmudgeonly 93 year old father had a great time. Thanks!!!

        1. re: cliresga

          Was going to agree with the recommendation, too late for the party but at least guessed right.
          Glad you liked it.

          1. re: cliresga

            Good to hear, especially since the opening chef left a month ago.

            1. re: barryg

              Has he? I thought they just announced that he was planning on leaving.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  Good to know they're keeping the quality level the same there, I like the Dandelion...

        2. I'm thinking maybe Percy Street Barbecue. Should appeal to everyone in your group and they have a good liquor selection. Check out their website too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Philly Ray

            Oh man, the website plays Lyle Lovett! That might be enough to sell me on this place. And 134 proof bourbon. What more could you want?

            1. re: cliresga

              I dunno. Percy Street used to be really good. I was a really big fan but I (along with lots of other folks) am not all that fond of their new menu. My advice would be to look at recent reviews elsewhere and you see a bad pattern emerging. It's really sad.

          2. What about the Standard Tap? it's only a few blocks from the Spring Garden Stop on the El. I usually see tables upstairs with reserve signs on them.

            Or further up on the El if you really want a place to sit and chat, you could do Fette Sau/Frankford Hall. The teenagers might enjoy the pingpong, Jenga and foosbal tables at Frankford hall while the adults catch up.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bumble

              I am preferring Fette Sau over Percy St these days.. the atmosphere at Fette Sau is real laid back. And the bourbon selection is outstanding.

              1. re: cwdonald

                I have been going to Blue Belly BBQ myself. The brisket is fabulous and the last time they even had pork shanks.

                No booze though!

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  I seem to always think of Blue Belly on Tuesdays - when they are closed!

            2. What about Jakes in Manayunk or Pod in U of P area?
              In Center City try Tiramisu.

              1. Sabrina's Cafe at Callowhill Could be a nice pick. (BYOB)