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Preview: Inquirer Columnist - Craig LaBan

Dining Critic Craig LaBan

The Inquirer's Dining Critic

Published: Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:38:00 GMT2017-10-19T13:38:00Z

Copyright: Philadelphia Media Network

From 'deli guy' to business guru, Ari Weinzweig spreads the 'lapsed anarchist' gospel of Zingerman's success

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:38:00 GMT2017-10-19T13:38:00Z

"If you create a positive place that's serving delicious food where people are surrounded by positive people with good energy, they want to go back."

A BYOB Jersey gem hiding just minutes beyond the Ben Franklin Bridge

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:32:40 GMT2017-10-19T13:32:40Z

This bright Merchantville bistro features inspired cooking from a solo chef with roots in the Starr kitchens, and is the latest example of the lure of BYOBs.

Watch Craig LaBan sing an ode to cheeseburgers

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 18:27:27 GMT2017-10-18T18:27:27Z

LaBan wrote the song and plays guitar and sings in the video

Best burgers in the Philly suburbs: A fistful of hot buns from Craig LaBan's new Ultimate Dining Guide

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:53:28 GMT2017-10-18T17:53:28Z

Great burgers come in all styles and sizes in Pa. and N.J. but still bring the sizzle.

Best pizza in the Philly suburbs: A piping-hot slice of Craig LaBan's new Ultimate Dining Guide

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:49:48 GMT2017-10-17T16:49:48Z

Craig LaBan names three of the best spots for pizza in the suburbs.

Best places to drink in the suburbs: A sneak peek at Craig LaBan's new Ultimate Dining Guide

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:37:41 GMT2017-10-17T15:37:41Z

Here are three of most notable destinations beyond Philly city limits for a stellar sip (or three), not to mention a great meal, excerpted from this year's suburban edition of the Ultimate Dining guide.

Why Pa.'s new Bloody Butcher bourbon is so bloody good

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:34:15 GMT2017-10-13T17:34:15Z

This smooth young Philly bourbon captures the spirit of Pennsylvania with locally malted grain and heirloom magenta corn.


Fri, 13 Oct 2017 15:37:03 GMT2017-10-13T15:37:03Z

PARK PLACE CAFE & RESTAURANT 7 E. Park Ave., Merchantville, 856-662-2200; Phil Manganaro's owner-chef debut at a charming BYOB in downtown Merchantville has somehow existed under the radar for much of the year. But it's an inspired solo performance of in-the-moment gastronomy from a longtime Starr veteran (Il Pittore, Parc, Dan

High spirits

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 17:30:49 GMT2017-10-12T17:30:49Z

When Robert Cassell first popped onto the spirit scene in 2006 as the master behind Bluecoat gin and Philadelphia Distilling, his company was a pioneer in a Pennsylvania craft distilling movement, that, at the time, numbered just one.

Game-changing all-day goodness at polished new Walnut Street Cafe

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:22:40 GMT2017-10-12T14:22:40Z

The city's latest all-day cafe in the new Cira Centre South is a knockout with the ability to connect the east and west banks of the Schuylkill like no other West Philly restaurant before it.

Straight outta Shenyang, street food on a skewer

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 17:37:45 GMT2017-10-10T17:37:45Z

If you happen by this Chinatown spot in the evening when the grill is hot, the aromas will likely draw you in.


Fri, 06 Oct 2017 03:23:07 GMT2017-10-06T03:23:07Z

WALNUT STREET CAFE Cira Centre South, 2929 Walnut St., 215-867-8067; This airy all-day cafe, restaurant, and bar may be hidden behind the sloping glass walls of the latest Cira Centre skyscraper, but it's one of Philly's most sophisticated newcomers, courtesy of the crew behind New York's Michelin-starred Rebelle. The mode

That "Forty Ounce" bottle is Muscadet, not malt liquor

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 20:12:56 GMT2017-10-05T20:12:56Z

A 40 oz. wink to malt liquor makes a bid to reach millennials with Muscadet.

Giving the original cheddars from England their chance

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 19:26:15 GMT2017-09-26T19:26:15Z

For September's Cheese of the Month, we praise the tradition of earthy clothbound cheddars from England that have little in common with their sharp American counterparts.

Beyond Pat's and Geno's: Straight-up advice on where to eat in Philly

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:28:05 GMT2017-09-06T17:28:05Z

You just ate a faux-colonial pot pie at City Tavern. You're trying to decide between Pat's and Geno's for your first cheesesteak. And where is that Bookbinder's place?

A $30 build-your-own cocktail that requires a trip to the craft store

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 19:58:44 GMT2017-09-04T19:58:44Z

Dive into a bowl of gin and terrarium at Maison 208.

Chef Sylva Senat finally finds a home at Maison 208

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 17:02:51 GMT2017-09-01T17:02:51Z

This stylish bi-level 13th Street project is part roof-deck lounge, part restaurant. But it's at its most compelling as a showcase for Sylva Senat's Caribbean-accented modern cuisine.


Fri, 01 Sep 2017 02:15:04 GMT2017-09-01T02:15:04Z

MAISON 208 208 S. 13th St.; 215-999-1020; Is it a glamour lounge for the retractable roof-deck set, an accessible showplace for one of the city's most talented chefs, a destination for mural lovers, or a mishap magnet of epic proportions? Maison 208 has been all of the above, a 'tweener project t

With improvement, CO-OP could have a corner on future of University City dining

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:27:05 GMT2017-08-18T18:27:05Z

This ambitious restaurant-bar in the new Study hotel gives University City a handsome all-purpose destination for a stylish New American meal. But it will need to continue its recent progress, and improve on its rough start to realize that potential.


Fri, 18 Aug 2017 02:38:12 GMT2017-08-18T02:38:12Z

CO-OP At the Study hotel, 20 S. 33rd St.; 215-398-1874; With sleek glass walls folded up for al fresco dining and an airy dining room outfitted in woody Nordic chic, this ambitious corner restaurant-bar in West Philly's new Study boutique hotel gives University City a handsome all-purpose destination for a sty