Philadelphia’s current invasion of the New York food, wine and street culture scene started in March 2006, when restaurateur and “dinner as theater” mogul Stephen Starr opened not one but two trendy spots – Buddakan NYC and Morimoto NYC – in Chelsea. One of the Philadelphia area’s few independent fine wine shops followed suit shortly thereafter, dropping anchor near Union Square in June 2006. The most recent wave – call it Manayunk Attacks – occurred this month, as La Colombe Torrefaction and Cadence Performance Cycling Center, both of which lend substance to Manayunk’s Main Street scene in Philly, opened shops in TriBeCa.
I’m happy to report that this does not appear to be simply an effort by a few of Philly’s most successful stars (no pun intended) to justify their reps by moving up to the big city. Rather, I think it represents a national awakening to Philly’s coming of age as a breeding ground for great food and cultural direction. It’s not that these businesses reached puberty in the city of brotherly love and had to move to the big apple to grow up; rather, they’ve matured in Philly and are answering a hunger for their goods and skills in New York. Sure, there’s plenty of ego and ambition involved. But, whatever your thoughts about the concerned parties, there’s also some indisputable talent, success and quality product.
What will the third wave bring? Vetri and Capogiro get my votes. Any other predictions or requests out there?