Well, it looks like we are assembling a constituency of Chowhounds who want to start exploring new or different or quirky dining locations in and around Philly, as a big bunch of us used to do in the late 80s and early 90s. Great!
Now the work begins....
Here is my list for places to explore: keep in mind we need to find a place that can accomodate a large group at one time (not as easy as you think), preferably on a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, when the restaurants are slower and will appreciate the business. Sunday Brunch is also an option, but harder for many people to attend, believe it or not. We also want to keep the price of dining to about $20-25 per person excluding alcohol. This list includes both new and unusual places, a few high quality chain restaurants (they DO exist!), and some neighborhood favorites that amy or may not WANT to accomodate us.
If you have ANY information, or connections that will help with any of the listed places, or places we havent listed, please chime in!
Maggiano's Little Italy, Center City
McCormick & Schmick's, center City
Vietnam Palace, Chinatown
Sang Kee Duck House, Chinatown
Joe's Peking Duck House, Chinatown
Joe Poon's Asian Fusion, Chinatown
Langostino's, South Phila
Dahlak, West Phila
Ludwig's Garten, Center City
Sahara Grille, Center City
Big George's Stop N' Dine, West Phila
CAfe Cubano, Center City West
The Ugly Moose, Manayunk
Persian Grille, Lafayette Hill, PA
Viggiano's, Conshohocken, PA
Arroyo Grille, Manayunk
Mama Maria, South Phila
Brasil's, Old City
Cafe Spice, Old City
Devon Seafood Grill, Rittenhouse Sq.
Bistro St. Tropez, Center City West
Chickie & Pete's, NE Phila
Vinny Testa's , Wynnewood, PA
Buca de Beppo, Abington/ East Norriton, PA
John Harvard's Brewhouse, Wayne, PA
Independence Terminal Brewpub, Center City
certainly I've left some places off, either because of poor memory or because they may be too small to accomodate us in a large group. But let's not debate the list (it's purely subjective, but I still have a sense from over 3 years of doing this kind of thing, what works and what may not work), let's try to pick our first few month's worth of dining spots, working at least a month in advance--first dinner in August, presumably.
I think a good kickoff restaurant will be one of the above listed family-style Italian places (Maggiano's, Buca de Beppo, Vinny Testa's) or an Asian place (Joe's, Sang Kee, Vietnams, Joe Poon's), because it may involve the most amount of sharing and loose atmosphere and NO PRETENSE! That's just my opinion, but it's a good start.
OK, folks, let's VOTE!