Top Chef to bring ‘good stuff’ to Philadelphia

Former Top Chef competitor Spike Mendelsohn is opening a burger restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, in Philadelphia.

Though a 4-foot cowbell may seem a bit strange in the place you’re enjoying a burger, former Top Chef competitor Spike Mendelsohn is bringing a “farm fresh” appeal to this concrete jungle.

Joining Washington, D.C., and Crystal City, Va., Philadelphia is one of the next big cities to get a Good Stuff Eatery. There is no set time frame for the project.

The first Good Stuff Eatery was opened in 2008 in Washington, D.C., which continues to be its home base. The chain hopes the expansion on the East Coast will lead to a nation-wide expansion.

The city’s location is set to open near 18th and Chestnut streets.

“Philadelphia is a great city and has a very strong food scene,” Jordyn Lazar, marketing manager of Good Stuff Eatery, said. “There’s a love for all cuisines, and there’s not only fine dining but also relaxing, natural places where we will fit into.”

Reasonably priced, Good Stuff Eatery is perfect for those on a low budget but also great for anyone who loves unique food, Lazar said.

“There’s just no way to compare Good Stuff Eatery to any other restaurant,” Lazar said. “It draws in such a [diverse group] of people.”

“Combining a farmhouse fresh, urban, hip appearance, the restaurants have a signature 4-foot cowbell along with cheeky graphics along the walls, creating a fresh appeal,” Lazar added.

Placed in a high-traffic area, Good Stuff Eatery will not go unnoticed. Though it is surrounded by other sit-down establishments including and Serafina, the restaurant is also near quick, laid-back places such as the Wrap Shack and Manhattan Bagel.

Now that Good Stuff Eatery is expanding, each restaurant will cater toward the city and neighborhood in which it’s located, paying a sort of tribute to the area. Although each space will be different, the menu will remain the same, Lazar said.

“This will be a good place for students. In this area we have a mix of the same crowd and a new crowd that comes in and out every day,” said Linda Ruan, an employee of frozen yogurt chain Sweet Endings.

“This area tends to have a similar crowd, so this place is definitely going to draw attention to the crowd we already have,” said Beth Rosenberg, an employee at Crumbs Bake Shop.

Mendelsohn, who appeared on the fourth season of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” is responsible for this vision becoming a reality. A family-run restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery is opening a chain of restaurants that have its own twist on the classic burger and milkshake.

Along with the standard “farmhouse burger” and “farmhouse cheese,” Good Stuff Eatery has an array of signature burgers. Each with its own unique appeal. Names vary from “Spike’s Sunnyside,” which features a burger with cheese, bacon, an egg and the “Good Stuff” sauce, to the “Prez Obama Burger,” which consists of bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo sauce.

“The favorite of all the burgers tends to be the ‘Colletti’s Smokehouse,’ which has sharp Vermont cheese, onion rings, chipotle barbeque sauce and the most important thing: bacon,” Lazar said.

Some residents, however, think there are enough burger places in Philadelphia.

“There’s already two well-known burger places in the city – Shake Shack and Five Guys,” Ruan said.

But others argue that the city could use more burger joints: “I don’t think we have that many [burger places], we have a lot more pizza and sandwich places so it will be nice to change it up a bit,” Rosenberg said.

Though Good Stuff Eatery focuses on burgers, it also has other options including wedge salads and “Uncle D’s Famous Chili,” both served with cornbread. And just because the restaurant focuses on nostalgia and comfort food, doesn’t mean there is a shortage of sweets. Featuring hand-spun shakes and floats, the dessert menu also offers many options.

“The favorite tends to be the toasted marshmallow shake,” Lazar said. Other milkshake flavors include salty caramel kiss, Vietnamese coffee and Milky Way malt. The custard is homemade at Good Stuff Eatery, ensuring the freshest shakes.

According to the Good Stuff Eatery website, there are plenty of fresh and homemade options, meaning competition for local businesses.

Good Stuff Eatery also boasts its stance on being environmentally friendly. The restaurant takes important approaches to the issue, even recycling the oil from the frying pans. All cleaning supplies and products are environmentally friendly, and 1 percent of each bill is donated to the organization “Plant a Tree a Day.”

Good Stuff Eatery is still early in the process of opening its Philadelphia restaurant, but the establishment is expected to open this fall.

Chelsea Finn can be reached at 

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