Operated by brothers Rick and Jeff Spano, this family business boasts a list of handheld noshables and traditional bar fare. Amuse appetites with starters such as the wings cloaked in a choice of sauce and accompanied by blue-cheese dressing ($0.30 each). The basket of sweet-potato fries delights dippers ($5.50), and the fried white cheddar and broccoli bites come prepped and ready for a ceremonial ranch dressing rite of passage ($7). Meat mavens can affix their maxilla around the 8-ounce Angus beef burger ($7.75) or chicken sandwich ($7.50), and fish favorers can opt for the lager-battered haddock or the grilled swordfish entree, served with pineapple salsa, sautéed spinach, and shoestring potatoes for those who have graduated beyond Velcro slip-ons ($12).
The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
Founded in 1994 as a recording studio, the MilkBoy brand has since burgeoned into two bustling cafes and an all-ages venue for live music and artistic events. MilkBoy Coffee's multifarious menu brims with snacks and drinks for vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. Morning munchers kick-start the day with a big breakfast burrito, packed with scrambled eggs, black beans, sausage, sour cream, cheddar, and yawn-eradicating salsa ($5.95). For lunch, hands can happily encircle the bruschetta-chicken wrap, with a savory sleeping bag of shredded chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta ($6.25), and teeth can burrow into the herbivorous depths of the veggie burger, served with a vegan thousand-island dressing, named for the number of islands ruled by Oprah ($5.25). MilkBoy’s PB&J sandwich whisks customers back to a simpler time when blanket capes were de rigeur ($3.95). To drink, sip on a steamy café au lait ($2 for a small) or a frosty mint-chocolate-chip milkshake ($4.95).
If there is a major dance competition out there, Scott Lazarov has probably placed in it. Along with gracing the cover of Philadelphia Magazine and performing at the Academy of Music, the founder of DanceSport Academy has won four US and World Pro-Am championships and was named champion of US Salsa, Rising Star, and Grand National championships. At DanceSport, Scott and his fellow instructors teach dance as both a social outlet and a competitive art form, and break down complicated styles into simple steps. Private and group classes teach a foundation of balance, posture, and timing that can then be mapped onto styles as varied as mambo, swing, merengue, or the Viennese waltz. Serious students can also gear up for competitions through a comprehensive training approach that addresses choreography, costuming, and production of the oversized foam fingers given out to the judges.
Seven days a week, First Position Dance Arts offers a swan lake's worth of dance classes for both adults and children. Under the tutelage of the studio's graceful guides, students will take on the fearsome foes of rhythm, balance, and poise through a well-coordinated attack of box steps, chasses, and pops/locks. Adult class options include ballet, modern/jazz, hip-hop, choreography, and even a dance history and culture class (click here to read descriptions). This year, First Position Dance Arts is also offering Zumba aerobics courses, which forge fitness through music based on salsa, merengue, calypso, and other styles.