What a Restaurant Rally! AMBUCS and LOVE Conshy hosted a Wonderful Event!
What a Restaurant Rally! AMBUCS and LOVE Conshy hosted a Wonderful vent!
by Brian Coll
The Conshohocken AMBUCS created this event and for 12 years now it has been one of if not THE best event of the year. If this is the first time you are hearing about this event, pay attention and get your friends together for next year. If you don’t have any friends, this is a great event to make a few along the way. So, the day starts at the Great American Pub, check in, show your tickets and pick up your info packet and pass for the day. You’ll be surrounded by some great people who are all here supporting the same great cause, the AMBUCS and the Special Olympic programs. At noon, get ready to fill your belly.
You get split up into groups of 15-25 people and walk around or catch one of the two buses cruising Conshy. This past year there were 23 -24 restaurants participating in the event. In theory if you spend 10-15 minutes at each place, add in some walking or bus time and you can hit all of the places participating in the event. I personally walk and there is no way I will get to all the places. Besides me walking and taking a little extra time, I have to tell you I went back for seconds at a few places like the pork sliders at the Boathouse, wow were they good.
I haven’t done the event all 12 years, but I can tell you this….. the first few times I went, I was either single guy, or in a relationship, but without children. I really enjoyed the aspect of going with a bunch of people, buying drinks along the way at each stop, someone would step up and buy a round or two. I am so glad there was a bus! Now, I have 2 young children and enjoy taking my time through the event, I throw the kids in a little red wagon and we call it a “snack and stroll” that is currently under review for copyright…. just in case anyone wanted to steal it! Just teasing. So, now that we are Snack and Strolling, I find myself enjoying the food a little more. Our first stop yesterday was the Deli on 4th, with a new owner and attitude, Steph and her team had an assorted tray of hoagies and I was pleasantly surprised to find fried pickles that were AWESOME! At the other end of the block we went into the Fayette Street Grille, wow. They were serving a Rocky Mountain Lamb Stew and a complimentary Colorado Cooler. Now, it was a perfect day outside, and normally I am not in the mood or mindset for stew or soup, BUT…. I am so glad I tried it. I don’t know if there is a word that can describe how good it was. It was already liquid so it is hard to say it melted in your mouth, but that may be the closest I will come to describing it. The new (newish) owners are amazing people and we wish them the best going forward. Our small group, consisting of myself, my new wife Anna, our two children and a couple of our best friends Kim and Dorian walked down Fayette to Tierra Caliente and sampled some chips, and perfect quesadillas. Our next stop was Chiang Mai and damn was it great. They ad a little buffet set up and really put their best foot forward, it is no wonder why they won the 2017 Restaurant Rally Cup.
We crossed Fayette and went to Viggiano’s, they had the perfect outdoor spot set up. We were so lucky to be under a little cover when it rained for all of 5 minutes. It allowed us to have a couple extra meatballs and a fruity white sangria to go along with the bruschetta. Right next door was Southern Cross and their famous Mac and Cheese. (pro tip, go to Gypsy in West Conshohocken and try their Lobster Mac and Cheese) From there we rounded the corner to the Lucky Dog, we had what seemed to be perfect little dumplings. My kids loved the piano player and sir, if you somehow see this, I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for playing a couple kids songs for them. Steve and Barrie from the Lucky Dog, if you see this, thank you, the Sunday Brunch that was taking place looked fantastic and the piano player is a very nice touch. We walked back out into the perfect spring day (for once) and walked around the corner back up Fayette Street and stopped into Flanigan’s Boathouse. Okay, I’m being honest here, I am not a fan of wings, I know, I know…. having said that. I tried a wing at the Boathouse, I mean they are famous for their wings, and there is a reason. It was great! I am a big fan of pork sandwiches and they had little pork sliders. Wow, that could have been my favorite, I could probably say that about everything along the route. The staff at the Boathouse was great and couldn’t be more friendlier. Our group got back on the road if you will and had to pass up a couple of places with my kids starting to fade. We did make one final stop at Izenberg’s and were very impressed with the sandwiches they offered up. I normally get the turkey special when I eat lunch there and I tried a different Rueben that was really good.
We missed a few places on our route including Tony and Joe’s and Tradestone café, we didn’t get to snack and register on time at the Great American Pub, but they always do a great job starting the event there. Other places that took part in the AMBUCS and Love Conshy Restaurant Rally include Jaspers, Brunch, ‘feine, StoneRose, Lenny’s, Edwards Freeman Nut Company, Bar Lucca, Coyote Crossing, Conshohocken Brewing Company, Guppy’s Good Times and this year’s winner of the Restaurant Rally Cup…… TRATTORIA TOTARO!
Voting takes place through the event and this year the spread put out by Trattoria Totaro took the cup home again. It seems they are in the running every year.
I know Vince and his wife Debbie Flocco work year round on this event and also helping out from day one all those years ago was Tom Wcislo, Tom is still helping and for the past few years Kristen Heal has been making sure it all works out well.
Listen, I will tell you this, if you are one of the restaurant owners you may not realize this, but this event does showcase your food, menu’s, drinks, staff and so on. It was because of the Restaurant Rally that my now wife wanted to go to Trattoria Totaro’s one night for dinner years ago. We went on the rally and she loved the food, pasta and menu at the Trattoria. We have had a few good meals there over the years and when it came time to have a very small, private surprise wedding I knew where she would want to have it. So, we got married there recently. Just today we went to lunch which is rare for us with both of us working full time jobs and taking care of our children, but after stopping at the Fayette Street Grille during the rally, she told me we had to go together one day for an actual meal, so, today we had 2 amazing burgers at the Fayette Street Grille, thank you Jim for the amazing lunch.
I will leave you with some photos from the day. Enjoy.