Growing up, Marcie Spampinato watched her father, Mike, masterfully manage a local country club. By seventh grade, she was working alongside him, and today—with a restaurant management degree from Penn State under her belt—she joins with Mike to co-manage their steak-and-sushi joint, Spamps.
Chefs trained in Japan artfully stuff the eatery's sushi rolls with fresh ingredients such as black-pepper-crusted tuna and flying fish roe. Fusion flourishes such as kimchi tartar sauce, miso beurre blanc, and sake reductions give entrees such as rib-eye steak an Asian flair.
And much like a chocoholic's dream journal, the eatery's new cocktails revolve around sweet flavors, especially Marcie's favorite, the pumpkin-pie martini. Libations, which also include wine and beer, flow freely behind a copper bar with TVs or fill glasses in a dining room with exposed brick walls and private booths. At an outdoor patio dubbed The Grotto, lofted TVs illuminate trellises and tabletops as well as bar-goers shimmying to a live DJ's beats on Friday and Saturday nights.
Specialty gourmet pizzas are broken down into three basic categories on Peace a Pizza's menu?chicken, meat, and vegetarian. But a closer look reveals that each gourmet pie is anything but basic. For instance, the spicy chicken pizza is piled with spicy chicken, pico de gallo, red sauce, and mozzarella. Vegetarians aren't reduced to mere cheese slices, either: vegetarian offerings include a bruschetta pie, a Mediterranean-style pizza piled with veggies and cheese (including kalamata olives, feta, and artichokes), plus mac-and-cheese and baked ziti pizzas to boot.
Although pizza reigns supreme at Peace a Pizza's eight different locations, the menu also includes garlic breadsticks and wheat sticks to kick off meals, along with eight specialty salads, including a pear and gorgonzola, santa fe chicken, and classic caesar salad. If both pizza and salad are calling your name, or just humming softly to your stomach, no problem?the Groovy 2 Combo includes any slice and a small salad.
At PBandU, founder Mercury Amodio reboots the classic school-lunch combination of creamy peanut butter on Wonder bread. Chefs smash and jar honey-roasted peanuts, and pair them with 20 toppings such as honey, bacon, and cheddar cheese for a menu lauded by Haute Living for its “simple, youthful appeal.” Alternatively, dining companions can forsake bread altogether with inventive dishes such as peanut-butter fondue and peanut-butter smoothies, all served by a horrified Mr. Peanut.:m]]
Warm aromas spill from Great Harvest Bread Co.’s bakery, as artisanal bakers craft whole-grain bread from Montana's hard red spring wheat that is stone ground each morning. They pack each loaf with hearty protein and nutrients, keeping the recipes as simple as possible to maintain the rich wheat flavor. In addition to their standard honey-whole-wheat loaves, the bakers create a variety of treats, including rosemary-garlic loaves, cinnamon pull-aparts, and asiago-pesto loaves. They also transform the bread into sandwiches, pairing the whole wheat with freshly sliced meats, cheeses, and ticklish pieces of lettuce.
No matter what the time of day, the dining room at Fayette Street Grille glows. During lunch hours, sun streams in through the brick corner building's big windows; at dinner, candlelight flickers off adobe-orange walls. For the past decade and a half, guests have been toting their own bottles of wine to accompany fresh New American cuisine such as apple-braised pork belly, lemon-and-rosemary chicken, and lots and lots of seafood. Lunch is, for the most part, lighter, although there's also an elevated burger made from dry-aged Angus chuck and short rib, served on a kaiser roll from Conshohocken Bakery.