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Eli Kulp: "People in New York just don't go to Philadelphia"

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http://www.grubstreet.com/2014/01/ser...

Some interesting commentary from Kulp and Serpico in this article and a unique perspective from chefs who are relocating down here from New York. I understand this article is in a NYC-centric blog, but the content still kind of rubbed me the wrong way...I understand there are some truths in what they are saying but it still comes off as elitist and if I was Kulp I would have refrained from saying something like "People in New York just don't go to Philadelphia", regardless of the context.

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  1. I get my Indonesian, Vietnamese and some sandwich fixes in Philly. Not to mention, photographing SEPTA stations is a chilling hoot.

    I'm a New Yorker, but the rest of the world also exists...

    Jonathan
    http://buildingmybento.com
    http://collaterallettuce.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: BuildingMyBento

      I went to John's on Snyder a couple of weeks ago. Oh, that's good stuff, though the plastic factory across the street might make you nauseous.

    2. An amazingly ignorant thing to put ones name to. Hardly even worthy of a reply.

      1. I don't take offense. It sounds like an observation of NYer behavior with no implied judgement on either city.

        Is it correct? I don't know. Might be.

        1. I read the article from beginning to end. I don't take offense of that sentence. The two cities are different. NYorkers are more willing to spend more, and are willing to chase the new hype and buzz compare to Philadelphians.

          As for "People in New York just don't go to Philadelphia" statement, it can mean so many things. Most likely an exaggeration anyway.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I am going to Philadelphia tomorrow! And I am from NY (Brooklyn really)

            1. re: Mangita

              I'm on my way right now (NJ Transit) from NYC (with a stop over at The Borgata in AC) to dine tonight at Serpico. From everything I'm reading, Philadelphia is an exciting dining destination (and very convenient from NYC).

              1. re: ellenost

                Cool. I hope Mangita and you have a wonderful time in Philly. You may not able to find many high end restaurants like NYC, but there are many good quality restaurants at reasonable price range.

                <very convenient from NYC>

                Now, that I don't see. It is like what? 3 hours drive?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  are you serious? it's like 1:45 to nyc.

                  it's almost exactly 100 miles.

                  1. re: alex1018

                    depends on traffic..........

                    And frankly driving to trenton and taking NJT is so much nicer.(Or spring for Amtrak).

                    1. re: alex1018

                      I think it depends how you measure it. If you mean like no traffic and getting from the edge of NY to the edge of PA, then you are absolutely correct. On the other hand, I like to measure from "the time I get out of my house/apartment in NYC" to "the time I park my car in Philadelphia and get out of my car".

                      (I don't live in NYC, but just an example.)

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Via Amtrak it's less than 90 minutes. (Hate driving!)

                      1. re: ellenost

                        66 minutes via the Acela!

                        1. re: ellenost

                          But are you counting the just the Amtrak time or are you counting the time from your house to your final destination.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Regular Amtrak ride from NY Penn Station to Philadelphia 30th Street Station. Not too expensive either. Taxi ride from some of my favorite restaurants in downtown Manhattan to my apartment on the upper east side costs $25.

                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Just 90 minutes by train and I am going to enjoy the food for sure! I love different takes on food and how it is expressed in different cities. We should be able to appreciate it all- it would be boring otherwise!

                      2. re: Mangita

                        And we're going next weekend to relax and yes to eat great food! It takes us between 1.45 and 2.5 hours to drive depending on traffic. Can't wait!
                        JeremyEG
                        HomeCookLocavore.com

                    3. So many of our restaurants are challenging the tops in NY? ?????? Are you serious?

                      At best Vetri .. .everything else is second tier restaurants which are a dime a dozen in NY.

                      The only other category I would give Philadelphia is they have more BYOBs, which is not a good thing... Philadelphia is the king of the less profitable restaurants. That is nothing to write home about.

                      NY has fine dining comparable to any city in the world. You cannot say that about Philadelphia.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: cwdonald

                        I love Philly, but I don't think Philly food scene is quiet the same as many other places, especially New York. I was in Vancouver and Toronto just a year ago, and both Canadian cities have better food scene than Philly in my personal opinion. I was originally from California, and I will also say the Bay Area food scene is better than Philly in my opinion.

                        This may just be the kind of food I enjoy.

                        On the other hand, Philly foods are affordable, and very resistance against hype -- which is a good thing, but a bad thing as well.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Sorry, but we'll have to disagree on Philly BYOBs.

                          The BYOB scene here is something to be very proud of, and it is pretty much unique. You can enjoy fantastic food in many cities around the world, but only in Philly do we have so many excellent places, spanning the spectrum, with free or virtually free BYOB.

                          I travel a fair bit overseas and around the US for business, and I try to organize a wine dinner with my online wine friends whenever I can. It makes a boring business trip a LOT more interesting, and is a great way to make new friends and learn about a new city. Depending on where you are going, it can be done, but the scarcity of good BYOBs in many other cities always makes it a bit of a challenge.

                          You can argue about where Philly ranks among the great cities for it's food scene (and I think it's not as widely appreciated as it should be), but for someone like me for whom the wine is equally as important as the food, Philly jumps 10 spots just because of all our BYOBs.

                          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                            BTW, I also frequent several online wine boards populated by wine geeks like myself.

                            A popular activity on these boards is to organize so-called "Offline" wine dinners where everyone brings a bottle (or 3) to share, often with people they've only met online.

                            [Actually, my friend Ron from Boston, who has been known to post on Chowhound, actually claims to have invented the term "Offline" way back in the era of Prodigy, before AOL, erobertparker.com, wineberserkers and all the rest.]

                            Anyway, watching people in other cities try to organize these dinners is always a little depressing for me...they sometimes have so few places to choose from or have to go to the same place over and over, that I fear I'll never be able to live anywhere else after being so spoiled by Philly BYOBs!

                            1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                              I just joined wine berserkers. are you on it?

                              1. re: george2

                                Yup

                            2. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                              Even more important to me than the corkage is the fact that a chef here can affordably open their own their restaurant without having to deal with lot investors. That means the chef runs the place the way he or she sees fit. That's much harder in NYC

                              And of course people from New York visit philly, Tyler post on here all the time. The rest of the article seems accurate.

                              1. re: barryg

                                They may be able to open it on a shoestring, but the failure rate for BYos is much greater, and why any decent chef ultimately needs to get a liquor license.

                                BYOs are on average at least 50% less profitable than restaurants with liquor licenses. As someone who wants to see a thriving high end dining scene in Philadelphia, I long for the day when the BYO is a dinosaur. And the only way that will happen is when we change our antiquated liquor laws.

                                1. re: cwdonald

                                  I'd be interested in what evidence supports your conclusion of a higher failure rate for BYOs relative to restaurants with liquor licenses, or is that just your gut feeling (it isn't mine, but I'm open to hear about actual data to support that contention). All restaurants have a very high failure rate. Looking at the list of restaurants that closed last year, it doesn't seem to have an disproportionate number of BYOBs on it.

                                  http://www.phillymag.com/foobooz/clos...

                                  No one is questioning that there is more money to be made with a liquor license than without one. But Blackfish wouldn't still be BYOBs unless there was a decent profit to be made without a licence that outweights the risk to their business from loosing their loyal BYOing customer base.

                                  As far as I'm concerned, Philly does have a thriving high-end dining scene, and this is increasingly being recognized outside Philly (we are no longer just a sandwich and beer city). Is there a better up-and-coming food city on the east coast?

                                  I know the most about cities I've lived in for long periods of time (Chicago, Seattle, Boston and Philly). Chicago is obviously not comparable, but as I've said before, although relatively small Boston is much more famous nationally for it's dining scene, I much prefer Philly, and think it is ultimately better (and not just because I prefer to dine at BYOBs).

                                  I bet, if you took a poll of people who frequent fine dining establishments in Philly, and asked them if they would change our liquor laws if it also meant no more BYOBs, the majority wouldn't vote for change. There are few people like myself who truely pine for small mom-and-pop wine shops featuring Sardinian orange wines, or want to import cases of wine direct from Cali vineyards. Most people just want wine/beer to be a little cheaper, and more conveniently available. But Philadelphians do by and large like our BYOB culture. It's what makes us unique.

                                  I want to see the liquor laws change, but I have to admitt that propper change would also involve making it much easier and cheaper to get a liquor license (why should it be so hard for a young chef to open her own business?), and that would be the deathnell of our BYOB culture.

                                  But we BYOBed fairly regularly in Boston, where BYOBing is illegal, so we'd probably survive.

                                  1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                    Weirdly, there seems to be no more restriction of liquor licenses here than in Boston, where there's a cap of 650 licenses for the city.

                                    1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                                      Your right, I remember a story from a couple of years ago for Brookline MA where they were hitting the limit on liquor licenses. Typical political BS: let's make it hard to open business that will actually employee people!

                                      As I understand it, in Philly the issue is not the number of licenses, but the high cost of the licenses, and maybe the lenght of time it can take?

                                      1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                        I believe the issue is the same in both cities: licenses capped for each city (proportionately to population) by the state. http://articles.philly.com/2013-02-22...

                                        1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                          As with nearly all things, the scarcity of licenses is the primary reason they are so expensive. Since we're at the limit, a new restaurant doesn't get a "new license" from the state, it buys one from a pre-existing business.

                                          1. re: caganer

                                            Ah, that explains it.

                                            $1.6M for a liquor license? Those must have been some swanky bubbles.

                                    2. re: cwdonald

                                      Do you think that will happen in the next decade cwdonald? Beer at Wegmans is a start but I want me some three buck chuck.

                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                        Tell your legislators you want liberalized liquor laws. The last go at it, every single Democrat in the state legislator voted against liberalization -- hardly in line with the vast majority of their constituents I would suspect.

                              2. Should have read the link to grub street before my issuing my curt opinion. After reading grubstreet; I still believe that, in context or not, "People in New York just don't go to Philadelphia" is totally ignorant. Of course they do, perhaps not like Philadelphians go to New York, especially for a dining experience but I personally have over 20 personal examples of New Yorkers who visit Philadelphia frequently. I thought the article was well done, enjoyed that perspective. I love Philadelphia, love it for exactly what it is and what it is not. Having lived in San Francisco I agree that the food scene is/was better there than here but not to the point of frustration with Philly which gets better every year. Must also concur that thinking Philadelphia is a significant challenge to New York's food scene is way off base by any standard. World class cities seldom demure in the availability of quality and quantity to smaller metro areas.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Bacchus101

                                  seldom defer? seldom what?

                                  1. re: Dempsey

                                    de·mur intransitive verb \di-ˈmər\
                                    : to disagree politely with another person's statement or suggestion

                                    : to politely refuse to accept a request or suggestion

                                2. Who cares what NYers think? I'd rather eat here any day.

                                  (Whis is not to say we have anything comparable to Per Se, etc. But I just find the Philly food scene a lot more fun, and less pretentious. Lines for Cronuts at 5AM??? Give me a effing break!)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/nyr...

                                  2. NYer's have certainly posted here for guidance in visiting our lowly town

                                    14 Replies
                                    1. re: Bigley9

                                      Philly is what it is.

                                      A place with lots of fine places to eat.

                                      Crazy and pointless to compare it to NYC.

                                      NYC is great eating and so is Philly.

                                      NYC has more great places, Philly has its share.

                                      1. re: sal_acid

                                        I was just in Manhattan walking around and I was impressed that in addition to all the really good places to eat, Manhattan may have more horrible places than Philly as well and perhaps a higher percentage of them. These are going concerns, apparently successful, not in the fringes of the city, feeding lots of people...and they suck. You can tell when you walk in and you are sure when you see the food.

                                        Downtown Philly doesn't have many of these.

                                        1. re: sal_acid

                                          The bad restaurants in Manhattan are mostly the cheap restaurants.... like Ray's Pizza. The expensive crappy ones are usually weeded out within a few months.

                                          1. re: deprofundis

                                            The ones of which I speak were far from pizza joints. Papillion Bistro...Fireside.

                                            Papillion was bad food prepared mostly badly, indifferent service, dirty.

                                            Fireside was nicely decorated but the food was not even good esp for the price.

                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                              OK, that's true, in certain areas like midtown there are tons of crappy, expensive restaurants.

                                              1. re: deprofundis

                                                Little Italy, Times Square, Midtown - crappy expensive restaurants abound

                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                  Nobody serious about dining eats in those neighborhoods. (Except for the few really high-end places in midtown.)

                                                  1. re: deprofundis

                                                    Why does anyone dine there, serious or not?

                                                    Applebees would be a step up.

                                                    1. re: sal_acid

                                                      It's not a coincidence that the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of crappy, overpriced restaurants are also the most touristy.

                                                      1. re: deprofundis

                                                        Philadephians are such wimps about driving to NYC (I'm looking at you DK)!

                                                        It's fairly consistently 1 hour 50 min drive from my place to Midtown, and I have to drive south to Philly first before driving back North.

                                                        All you need is a good GPS with traffic.

                                                        Going up tomorrow. Brunch at The Modern (there is great food in Midtown if you know where to look).

                                                        1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                          I haven't been to The Modern since Kreuther left. Used to be one of my favorites though.

                                                          1. re: deprofundis

                                                            Only been to the Bar Room. Would like to try it for dinner sometime.

                                                          2. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                            Agreed. We often go up for the day. From our house (eastern Montco) to the Lower East Side or Village is about 90 minutes.

                                              2. re: deprofundis

                                                That's unfortunately not true. There are entire neighborhoods here with lots of very expensive crappy restaurants that seem to have a steady clientele. I love eating in Philly!
                                                JeremyEG
                                                HomeCookLocavore.com

                                        2. Take this for what you want, but during Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America contest, DiNic's roast pork beat out a corned beef/pastrami combo from Katz's Deli and then went on to win the entire competition.

                                          To me, that's a smackdown of the highest order.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: Philly Ray

                                            Lots of people in these two cities wouldn't be able to make that sandwich comparison...

                                            1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                              Isn't Adam RIchman from Philly originally?

                                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                No Brooklyn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Ric...

                                                1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                  There is some confusion here...

                                                  ALAN Richman is from Philly and he wrote the recent GQ article on cheesesteaks.

                                                  ADAM Richman is a Travel Channel personality. He is probably most famous for hosting Man vs Food, but he also hosted the Best Sandwich in America show (also for Travel Channel). His bio says he was born and raised in Brooklyn.

                                                  1. re: Philly Ray

                                                    Yes, and Alan RicKman is an English actor.

                                                    (just to clear up more confusions)

                                                    :)

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      And there is also a singer named Adam Richman .. who is not the actor ...

                                                      1. re: cwdonald

                                                        Wow, so many similar names.

                                            2. I grew up in NY but spent 12 years working in Philly before moving back. I always look forward to visiting Philly, now that I'm better informed about all the great restaurants (mostly BYOs) there and I'm always visiting the Philadelphia board to keep up to date. The NY scene just seems so over-hyped to me now.

                                              1. What are cant miss byob in Philly for visiting NYer?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: AubWah

                                                  IMHO:
                                                  Will
                                                  Modo Mio
                                                  Bibou

                                                  1. re: JanR

                                                    Also: Kanella, Noord.

                                                  2. re: AubWah

                                                    Also:
                                                    The Farm & Fisherman
                                                    Vedge ($25 corkage, or $25 markup on wine list)
                                                    Blackfish (Conshohocken, $2 corkage)
                                                    Bibou
                                                    Matyson
                                                    Zeppoli (across the bridge in Collingswood NJ)
                                                    The Pickled Heron
                                                    Russet
                                                    Marigold Kitchen

                                                  3. Here's my 2 cents. I grew up in the Delaware Valley, lived in Philly for 8 years, and I now live in NYC. Everything Kulp and Serpico said is right. Of course there are individual exceptions, but generally speaking people from NYC don't travel down to Philly to eat. Likewise, people from Philly rarely travel to NYC for any reason.

                                                    With regards to comparing the restaurant scenes in Philly and NYC, here's the deal. Philly has a lot of terrific restaurants. I haven't traveled all over the country to eat, but I'm sure Philly is one of the top 10, maybe top 5, cities for dining.

                                                    However, NYC is just so much larger, wealthier, more competitive, and more of a tourist draw, that they are able to sustain a huge number of very fine and expensive restaurants. Two star restaurants in NYC would be 3 and 4 star ("bell") restaurants in Philly. At the highest levels, probably only Vetri could compete in NYC. Vetri - a 30 seat restaurant, by the way - is packed during weekends, but very easy to get a table during the week. If Vetri moved to NYC and doubled the number of seats, you'd never be able to get in even on a random Tuesday night. There are just a lot more rich people, tourists, expense account diners, Wall Street people, etc, to support way more of these places in NYC - and not just on weekends, every single night of the week. Probably the only other city in the US that could compete with NYC is LA - and I still think NYC would come out on top.

                                                    24 Replies
                                                    1. re: deprofundis

                                                      I think you're absolutely wrong to say people from Philly rarely travel to NYC. That certainly hasn't been my experience in the decade I've been here.

                                                      But I think you hit the nail on the head here: "There are just a lot more rich people, tourists, expense account diners, Wall Street people, etc, to support way more of these places in NYC - and not just on weekends, every single night of the week. "
                                                      In addition to that point, or to continue it, those top tier NY places often exist as much as vanity projects for famous chefs as they are profit making ventures and for that NYC provides a stage of unrivalled size and prestige where someone like Thomas Keller can afford to break even or lose money on Per Se just for the notoriety he gains from having one of "the restaurants." Philly could never match that, even if Comcast owned all of the national media.

                                                      1. re: caganer

                                                        I grew up in the Philly area and lived there over 30 years. Nobody I know ever goes to NYC with any regularity. There's not really a need to. Philly's a big city and pretty much has anything you'd want.

                                                        Per Se is an unusual example. NYC isn't Vegas. Virtually all "celebrity chef" places in NYC sink unless the chef is actually there.

                                                        1. re: deprofundis

                                                          <Nobody I know ever goes to NYC with any regularity>

                                                          It depends on the definition of regularity. If it is weekly, then I agree with you that very few people travel from Philly to NYC just to eat. However, if we are talking about every 3 months or every 6 months, then I can see it.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            In my experience, your average Philadelphian can count on one hand the number of times they visit NYC in a decade. Of course CHers may not be average Philadelphians. :D

                                                            1. re: deprofundis

                                                              FWIW, I know a fair number of foodies in the Philly area, and very few of them seem to visit NYC with any great regularity (more than a couple of times a year).

                                                              I've also been amazed since moving here that of my non-foodie acquaintances who live in the Philly 'burbs, virtually none of them ever go into Philly to dine. If they can't get it into Philly, I'm pretty sure they never get into NYC.

                                                              cagarner, I have no idea what you are talking about Per Se being break-even or a loss-leader. No one puts that kind of money into a restaurant without the expectation of making a decent profit.

                                                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                                There's no way Per Se is losing money charging > $300 a head for the food alone, with every seat pretty much always taken.

                                                                1. re: deprofundis

                                                                  their gross revenue was recently quoted to be around $7.5 million a year.

                                                                  Think their overhead is much less than that? Their rent could easily equal their revenue.

                                                                  And remember, the staff aren't working for tips so they're getting a big paycheck - at least $75k/year for sure. They have 5000 sq ft of kitchen space filled with expensive equipment that needs maintaining. They have lots of perishable inventory.

                                                                  Per Se can't be making much money

                                                                  1. re: caganer

                                                                    That's $625,000 a month. Backing out tax and 20% for foh labor, that comes to $485,000. Let's say 25% food costs - approx $125k - that leaves $360,000 to pay fixed costs (rent & stuff) and boh labor, plus profit. Let's say their rent is $100,000 a month - that still leaves over $250,000 to pay boh labor, and incidentals like flowers, napkins, and immersion circulators. BOH labor is cheap. Maybe the chef de cuisine and sous chef make money, though probably no more than like $300k annually between the two of them. Everybody else is slave labor. They're probably profiting between $100k-$200k a month. The biggest variable is their rent.

                                                                    1. re: caganer

                                                                      I've long suspected that Keller was given a good deal rent-wise so he could add luster to the address. Hard to see how else a resto...even that resto...could survive there.

                                                                      1. re: sal_acid

                                                                        There are a lot of restaurants in the TWC...

                                                                        1. re: deprofundis

                                                                          maybe they all get a break

                                                                        2. re: sal_acid

                                                                          He was brought in as one of the "anchors" for the project but even then, with retail rents surpassing $2000/sq ft in Manhattan, paying $100,000/month(as estimated by deprofundis) for 13,000 sq. ft is more than a good deal.

                                                                          1. re: caganer

                                                                            If they were paying $2,000/sf for 13,000sf, that would be $2.167 million per month. They'd be losing over $1.5 million per month on the rent alone.

                                                                            1. re: deprofundis

                                                                              I bet he's paying much less - $2000 is what the market is bearing today for retail spaces. A few years ago it was certainly much less.
                                                                              And it's entirely possible, even likely, that the 5000sq ft kitchen rents for less than the 8,000 sq ft of dining-room and office space.
                                                                              My point is that $100,000/month is probably a low figure. I also think a 25% food cost is a low figure. Forbes quotes the average food cost at fine dining restaurants to be 38% of gross revenue. Average profit margins for fine dining restaurants are 1.8%, 4% for all restaurants.
                                                                              If Per Se profited $100-200k/month their margin would be 16-33%. Does that really seem realistic to you?
                                                                              I remember watching a Ferran Adria interview where he explained that El Bulli never made a dime - and he was booked every night (a year in advance) and grossed about $500/head.

                                                                              1. re: caganer

                                                                                Yep el bulli lost a ton of money.

                                                                                1. re: caganer

                                                                                  We're talking about a place that charges a $40 supplement for foie gras. The $7.5m revenue number seems vastly understated. I believe Per Se has 62 seats, not even counting the salon - and they turn the tables, they are open 7 days a week, and they serve lunch three days a week. From this you can estimate that they're doing *at least* 50,000 covers a year. At $7.5m this implies a $150 average check per cover - laughably low. The real number is probably more than triple that.

                                                                                  1. re: deprofundis

                                                                                    so you think Keller lied to NY Mag about his revenue?
                                                                                    At some point you have to accept that your argument was a stretch. Or not. No big deal. I've demonstrated pretty well from the facts that are available that your assertions are questionable at best

                                                                                    1. re: caganer

                                                                                      And I've demonstrated that there is no way his top line number is only $7.5 million.

                                                                                      1. re: deprofundis

                                                                                        And what exactly does this have to do with Philadelphia?

                                                                                        Give it a rest dude. No one comes to this board to read what you think about the profit margins of a New York restaurant.

                                                                                        1. re: Boognish

                                                                                          I'm responding to somebody else's assertion that Per Se is a "loss leader", when nothing could be further from the truth.

                                                                                          1. re: deprofundis

                                                                                            I think we can all agree that the restaurant business is not the best way to become rich.

                                                                                            Wasn't it Tavern on the Green, the second highest grossing restaurant in the US, that went bankrupt a few years ago?

                                                                                            1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                                                              That's correct, and it's now going to be run by the Beau Monde people.

                                                                          2. re: caganer

                                                                            By the way, the New York Magazine article that quotes the $7.5 million revenue number is 9 years old, back when the tasting menu at Per Se cost $150. The current price is $310.

                                                                      2. re: deprofundis

                                                                        <your average Philadelphian can count on one hand...>

                                                                        This is likely to be true, but this is probably just because of the distance as opposed to something special about NYC vs Philly. Most people who live in one city do not frequently drive to another city (2 hr). This is throwing away 4 hour worth of time for just the traveling duration.

                                                              2. Oh, also my $.02 on the BYO thing. Free BYO is great if you fall into one of the following two camps: 1) You are a wine connoisseur/collector, so before you go you can review the menu and select a couple great bottles to bring with you. 2) You're cheap and don't care so much what you drink, you just don't want to pay the wine markups. I'm not really into wine, so if I brought my own I'd have no idea what to pick. Wine lists at restaurants are (supposed to be) curated, and they have staff on hand to help you select. In any case, I usually order cocktails or beer anyway. To me, BYO is a big negative.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: deprofundis

                                                                  I think there are plenty of people in the middle between Chateau Margaux and 2-buck Chuck that like to BYOB too.

                                                                  1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                                    Of course. What I'm saying is that unless you're a wine connoisseur, the average person has no idea what they're doing when they select a wine. Their motivation is to save money.

                                                                    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                                      And some of our better wine shops (ie: in DE or NJ) are often very well versed in the menus at the BYOBs and able to assist with quality selections.

                                                                      1. re: Bigley9

                                                                        All the more reason why it's better to have those people in the actual restaurant as opposed to having to drive to another friggin state to pick up a bottle of wine.

                                                                        1. re: deprofundis

                                                                          That's a whole other discussion

                                                                          1. re: Bigley9

                                                                            Wine-food pairings isn't rocket science, despite what a lot of somms would have you believe.

                                                                  2. My daughter and her Dad are exceptions to the rule… they have a once a month ‘date’ to NYC for dinner …

                                                                    I can go to Vetri and get a tasting menu and have a better, more fun, just as tasty experience without having to drive two hours just to be in NYC

                                                                    I am not about the hyped up-over priced-hard to get into restaurants, where the servers act like they’re doing YOU a favor by bringing food to your table!
                                                                    (been there, done that, over it. Maybe I’m just an old fart)
                                                                    I LOVE fine dining!
                                                                    I love REALLY good food
                                                                    You can get both here in Philadelphia without having to drive to NYC and without having to drop $$$$$$ for two people to eat and have some nice wine

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: cgarner

                                                                      You can certainly eat well in Philadelphia, and for a reasonable price, but your options are severely limited at the top end.

                                                                    2. I take that whole article with a grain of salt. New Yorkers are notorious for their disbelief that anything worthwhile can happen outside their precious five boroughs. Check out New York magazine's attitude towards outsiders in this insulting cover this week. https://twitter.com/NYMag/status/4276...

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: foobooz

                                                                        << New Yorkers are notorious for their disbelief that anything worthwhile can happen outside their precious five boroughs>>

                                                                        and french people are notorious for their disbelief that any good wine can be produced outside of france

                                                                        and, and, and

                                                                        this whole phenomenon is so common that it's really the norm worldwide.

                                                                      2. I would go to Philly just for the DiNics Roast Pork Sandwich. (And the Reading Terminal Market in general). New York really has pretty lousy sandwiches overall compared to Philadelphia.

                                                                        And I know John's is supposedly better, but you have to take a day off in the middle of the week to get there.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jcmods

                                                                          John's is open on Saturdays now!

                                                                          1. re: Bigley9

                                                                            And actually open an hour later than normal on weekdays til 4pm, (though they open at nine rather than 6:45.. )

                                                                          2. re: jcmods

                                                                            I do like DiNics Roast Pork Sandwich, but I won't just go to Philly for it.

                                                                          3. As a New York native who thought I would never leave and a long time Philly hater before I decided that I actually love it here Philly and NYC are very different places. I love New York, and I also love that Philadelphia is not New York.

                                                                            From the standpoint of a retailer the lower volume, less spendy culture (we don't have Wall St and "bonus season" and IMO this is a good thing) is a drawback - as a consumer I consider it a plus. If I am trying to sell people over priced dinner and drinks I would consider it a negative.

                                                                            NYers actually do visit Philadelphia quite often - and oftentimes stay for good.

                                                                            Lower cost to start up also lets Philly stay a bit strange and off beat and I like that too.

                                                                            1. Yeah I think that the writer creates a divide between Philly and New York that doesn't have to be really. Of course NY has many many more truly high end restaurant than Philly. But is your typical NY foodie eating at these places more than three times a year? The wife and I try and get up to NY from Philly a few times a year and we don't get sticker shock at the places we frequent up there despite not being New Yorkers. Over the past decade we've typically visited places like Balthazar, Pastis, Landmarc, and have found the food and prices as good as Philly.

                                                                              1. It's true, though. I'm an ex-New Yorker living year for 40 years and my New York relatives never came to my Philadelphia major family events (weddings, etc.) It's like they think there's a big hole in the Jersey Turnpike just south of Newark and they're afraid they'll fall in!