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The Sights & Sounds of Philadelphia

Issue VI

Where the Magic Happens; Behind the Scenes at Marsten The CenterHouse Recording Photo Courtesy of Mike Dillon

Courtesy of Marsten House

Editor’s Declaration Ah, summer summer time. Is your Will Smith queued up and your Lorenzos shined for a cruise at the plateau? This is Philadelphia of course, lest we forget, there are still a large number of us that do not frequently indulge in the Jersey shore from weekend to weekend. Not that I’m knocking the trek down the Garden State Parkway, I did it enough in my early 20s for everyone. However, this past Memorial Day weekend, I took in the quiet sights and sounds of Northern Liberties, partied at the Dolphin Tavern, and enjoyed a barbeque with my best friends in South Philly. Wildwood be damned, I was still having fun in the city. Regardless of where you happen to be this summer, appreciate your surroundings and the peace and quiet that Philadelphia brings. Listen to some of the artists mentioned in the Marsten House story (found on page 20) and cruise down Broad Street while the weekenders are fighting traffic on the Ben Franklin. Many messages will be thrown your way over the next six months, it is best to have a clear head while hearing them. Last year, we did not publish a summer issue because it was my fear no one would be reading this. What a naïve young editor I was. This year, I felt it necessary to publish not only this issue, but also gear up for a mid-summer edition as well. Why? Because being afraid to speak up is, in my opinion, part of the problem that our generation is just learning to solve. This magazine is about people’s pursuits. We all have them, or at least we should have them. This issue in particular is not very controversial with the exception of this piece. But, the people we have written about have been fearless enough to follow their pursuits and be successful in art, in music, and in the grand scheme of things. I wish this success for all of my readers, that they can be inspired to follow whatever is they may want to do. If you need a break and the shore is your answer, take that break. Maybe you’ll see me lying on the beach in Wildwood or observing the newly constructed Revel in Atlantic City. Still, let’s not forget that we have a whole city at our fingertips where we can dine al fresco, stroll through an art gallery, and discover a new musical talent strumming his guitar on South Street. If you can read between the lines, you understand what I am saying and why this year is an important one. We need to show the world that ours is not the generation of chugging Miller-Lites under neon signs. Rather, we are a generation determined to make a difference through our pursuits.

Steve Ziegler is a native of South Philadelphia and has a tremendous love of film, especially anything directed by Martin Scorsese. When he is not juggling the duties of Pursuit, his home, and his 9 to 5 job, he is usually writing or headed to the movies. Steve holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Professional Communication from La Salle University. By the way, you can call him Zig. He prefers it.

Have fun this summer. Stay cool – if you follow my advice, you will. Sincerely,

Steven M. Ziegler Founder, Editor-in-Chief Pursuit Magazine

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

CONTENTS Finding the Perfect Sound Monster Tracks


What’s H“app”ening?


For Art’s Sake, For Our Sake James Oliver Gallery


The House that’s Building Hip Hop: Marsten House


Spirit of ’76 What We’re Drinking Beer

By: Steven Ziegler

By: Steven Ziegler

By: Steven Ziegler

Where’s the Beef?

By: Mike Dillon


Cover Photo

By: Mike Dillon

REVOLUTIONARIES Alexandra Stokes Mike Dillon Katera Pellegrino Kevin Budianto Kori Moore

Whether you’re drinking a microbrew or one of the “big names,” beer is the universal summer beverage right next to lemonade. Speaking of which, we suggest you try Leinenkugel’s “Summer Shandy”. This beer from the Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin company is brewed with honey and lemon and is reminiscent of the collegiate party favorite, Skippy’s, sans the cheap Vodka. For a cheaper version, Shock Top offers “Lemon Shandy,” but for a more robust taste, stick with the Leinenkugels. For local selections, Victory Brewing Company offers their “Summer Love Ale”, a hoppy beer that goes down smooth and for sports fans, is conveniently available at Citizens Bank Park to make this Phillies’ season slightly more bearable. Of course, Philadelphia Brewing Company and Yards are also pumping out tasty options as well, giving you the opportunity to buy local. For a great place to mix a six pack and choose from refrigerators full of seasonal beers, imports, and local brews, check out The Bottle Shop at 1837 E. Passyunk Ave., Phila, PA 19148. Visit

Philly AIDS Thrift

710 S. 5th Street Philadelphia, PA 19147 215.922.3186

Store Hours: Monday - Thursday: 11am-8pm Friday & Saturday: 11am-9pm Sunday: 11am-7pm

Michael Jack Schmidt

Swing and a Long Drive... Photo Courtesy of Mike Dillon

Nights on Market Street Photo Courtesy of Mike Dillon

Finding The Perfect Sound Monster Tracks

Who would have believed that the musician who has cemented the lyrics “Robbins Rocks, Robbins Rocks!� for countless holiday seasons is the same person who has composed music for President George W. Bush, Mayor Michael Nutter, Jefferson Hospital, The National Constitution Center, Mattel, Hyundai, and others? Believe it or not, this is the diversity of composer Chuck Butler.

By: Steve Ziegler Photos Courtesy of Kirk Butler

By: Steven Ziegler

Photos Courtesy of Jimmy Giambrone

Above Photo by Snapkracker


hen I was ten years old, I made it my career goal to become a musician,” says Butler, the cofounder, Music Director, and Principal Composer behind Monster Tracks. “I guess I’ve exceeded that goal.” Butler, a 1987 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, has been solidifying his spot in the music world since his mother sat him at the piano at age 5. He played his first professional gig at age 13—a podiatrist’s convention in Atlantic City. Joining his high school band, Butler was ahead of everyone else. A New Jersey native, he was first chair All-State French horn while at Highland High School. Butler is dedicated to playing at the highest level and inspiring others to do the same. He developed and teaches the course “Analysis and Composition of Commercial Music” at the University of the Arts. He also works to promote the creation of new music as Board President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities to local composers. Although Butler is now well established, his father, a lifelong Philadelphia banker, was at first leery of his son’s musical pursuits. He did, however, recognize the success he was having, especially playing the French horn. While the father predicted a career in the Philadelphia Orchestra and as a music teacher, the son saw something different. “Pursuing the French horn and becoming an orchestral player was too limiting for me. For one thing, I like playing the piano a lot more than playing the French horn,” Butler explains. Entering Berklee as an Arranging major, Butler considers himself lucky to have roomed with

“The idea that I could take all the things I had learned as a rock musician…and everything I learned as an orchestral player and put them together into one thing was very fascinating and inspiring to me.” Dave Way, now a successful mix engineer in Los Angeles. “Berklee opened my eyes to a lot of other things that musicians can do…I didn’t really think of myself as a performance major. All I wanted to do was record, all Dave wanted to do was record, and I was the guy who could write music. I spent every day and night writing music just so we could record it,” Butler says. Working first with “Portastudios” and recording to cassettes, Butler and Way eventually staked out one of the 24-track studios at Berklee and essentially took it over. “In the same way The Beatles used the studio as an instrument, that’s what we tried to do,” Butler says. While experimenting with sounds, Butler took a course in jingle writing as an elective and his professor could see that he had a knack for it. “He said ‘You really have a feel

for this advertising thing. Your songwriting is a bit corny right now, so you might want to pursue this.’” After graduation, Way moved back to New York where he began interning at The Hit Factory. Butler had a decision to make. “If I went to New York, that’s where all the big advertising agencies were, but that’s also where all the competition was,” Butler says. “And I didn’t know a single person in L.A.” So, he returned to Philadelphia, where his father had a few advertising contacts, with the hope of getting steady work. “The place where I knew people was here. Even if I didn’t get work from an ad agency, I’d play gigs in Atlantic City,” he says. One of the phone numbers Butler obtained from his father May 2012 I Pursuit I 9

was that of Gene Shay, the folk radio personality who calls WXPN his home. The two arranged to meet at Baker Sound where Gene was doing production work. Shay wasn’t the only person who heard Butler’s work that day. Gary Moskowitz, the then-owner of Baker Sound, liked what he heard in Butler’s repertoire. “He asked me how I did it and I said ‘Well, I have a Mac and a couple keyboards.’” Moskowitz put the Baker mixing boards and tape machines at Butler’s disposal and told him to bring in his equipment. Butler obliged and set up shop in a back room, making music with the door open while clients walked in and out each day. The set up, as Butler puts it, was “perfect.” At the time, Baker was doing voiceover work but not offering a music service to their clients. Moskowitz knew that having them hear Chuck Butler’s music live would leave them wanting more. That’s exactly what happened. Throughout the 1990s, while working at Baker, Butler was also playing many gigs with Aretha Franklin and other showroom acts in Atlantic City. This was the tail end of the era where traveling performers used local talent. He still plays shows as a member of the cover band, Kenny i Orchestras. Butler takes being a musician very seriously, practicing daily, honing his craft, and working to further the success he has already achieved. “I get antsy if I don’t get out there and play,” he explains. While the live shows serve as an outlet, Butler’s work has him playing plenty and also gives him control from end-to-end on the music production. In the early stages of his career, he had the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and earn May 2012 I Pursuit I 10

a substantial upgrade in pay as a producer, but his love for what he does kept him in Philly. His work at Baker Sound Studios on Ranstead Street in Center City allows him to act as composer, producer, and engineer—tasks that he finds just as rewarding as he does challenging. “I don’t think of myself as an artist, I think of myself as a craftsman. I don’t have time to ponder,” Butler says. “It’s a matter of being able to look at an ad and say ‘Well what kind of music is going to work? What does that advertiser or product sound like and feel like?’” Butler understands not only what an ad should feel like, but also how the feelings that the music in those

ads can elicit emotions from an audience. Music of any kind can do this to anyone who finds the soul in it. His own musical influences speak to the diversity that he has come to embrace. Specifically, the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar and the album Destroyer by KISS stick out in Butler’s mind as some of the most influential sounds of his teenage years. “What impressed me about [Superstar] is that on the one hand you’ve got a rock rhythm section, playing just like a rock band would, but then you’ve got a full orchestra…that album made a huge impression

“I don’t think of myself as an artist, I think of myself as a craftsman. I don’t have time to ponder. It’s a matter of being able to look at an ad and say ‘Well what kind of music is going to work? What does that advertiser or product sound like and feel like?’” on me,” he says, “the idea that I could take all the things I had learned as a rock musician…and everything I learned as an orchestral player and put them together into one thing was very fascinating and inspiring to me.” When it comes to Destroyer, Butler again respected how producer Bob Ezrin fleshed out the rock sound with orchestral arranging. However, it was the actual band KISS that had a greater impact than the music itself. “I saw how unapologetic KISS was about approaching music as a commercial enterprise,” he says. “They saw themselves as not just creating music that people would enjoy, but as building and marketing a brand. I think that opened my eyes to the professional part of being a professional musician, and it gave me

a certain confidence to know that I didn’t have to follow in the footsteps of jazz heroes like Chick Corea. I realized that I could chart my own course, that my skills would allow me to create music that would please my clients.” For any ad he creates, Butler likes to hear the background before he goes back into the studio. “I get in here and I say, ‘Let’s the find the right music to support this spot.’ That’s the challenge I would never want to give up,” he explains. “To sit here and create something is like giving birth to a child. You actually create something that no one has heard before, feel proud when it gets a positive reaction, and then watch that ‘child’ goes out into the world and succeed.” The year 2012 marks the 25th Anniversary of Monster Tracks. Visit their website at Congratulations to Monster Tracks on this milestone and best wishes on many more from Pursuit Magazine.

May 2012 I Pursuit I 11

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For Art’s Sake, For Our Sake J





allery By Steve Ziegler

Four stories above the bustling 700 block of Chestnut Street, the art that adorns the walls ofthe James Oliver Gallery is fittingly housed in the same building where Chef Morimoto is creating culinary masterpieces at the ground level. The fourth floor walk up is not a pretentious space. Rather, it is one that focuses on and caters to the artist as James Oliver believes it should. Oliver began his career in the arts as a guitarist in a rock band. As an honorary fifth member of the band Flowerhead, he spent most of the 90s pursuing his musical career. After getting “burnt out” by the music scene, he made his part time painting hobby a full time job in 2004. Oliver moved to Philadelphia after visiting with a friend in order to help him build Slap Studios, a recording studio designed to assist struggling artists. Oliver fell in love with the Philly art scene, a scene he and JOG Executive Director, Uri Neal, describe as one of the most difficult in the country. By 2006, the James Oliver Gallery was open. “I was waiting tables as well as painting and I had a small studio,” Oliver explains. “Things were going good, but I was running out of space.” Oliver happened to mention to one of his regulars in the restaurant that he was running out of space, so the man told him he was leasing a larger space on Chestnut Street, the space that is now occupied by the James Oliver Gallery. “Within a week or two [of getting the space] I decided to open an art gallery,” Oliver laughs. “When I made the decision to open an May 2012 I Pursuit I 14

“I wouldn’t make it so institutional or a staid environment, we made a friendly approachable gallery that the public would enjoy.” - James Oliver, pictured above art gallery, I knew I wanted to make a little bit different. I wouldn’t make it so institutional or a staid environment, we made a friendly approachable gallery that the public would enjoy.” The white walls, floors, and ceiling of the gallery are complimented nicely by Pop Art style furniture, making a vibe that is inviting to both patrons and artists alike.

JOG is like an open window in the stuffy atmosphere often associated with “the art scene.” The Barnes it is not. JOG is like an open window in the stuffy atmosphere often associated with “the art scene.” “The culture of any company is one that sticks to the walls and the culture of JOG is very open and yet very professionalism at the same time,” says Uri Neal. Neal is able to spout off the summer plans for JOG, not in a pretentious way, but in a way that shows his enthusiasm for the gallery and its place in the art world both within Philadelphia and beyond. “We have one of the most booming creative economies of any city,” Neal says. This is true across the board from the visual arts to music to government with Mayor Nutter receiving the 2011 Public Leadership in the Arts Award. For those at JOG, this makes

maintaining a high level of art somewhat easier through local scouting. “It’s great for a gallery like me because we have such a choice of great artists to exhibit,” says Oliver. “I feel that Philadelphia has one of the hardest art scenes in the country because of the great art schools we have here. People are not even bothering to move to L.A. or New York in this economy because they find this is a better atmosphere for them to get more work.” Oliver himself has found success in Philadelphia with several avid collectors of his work and a following that appreciates his latest endeavors. “I work primarily as a minimalist artist, I call it near minimalism,” he says. This means that he is not using “fourteen layers of blue” but rather, is drawing

actual objects in a minimalist format. Recently, he began work on a series of muscle cars. “People are attracted to my work and my use of negative space,” Oliver says. “I was known as an abstract artist and now I’m being recognized for my figurative work.” Oliver draws from his surroundings, his thoughts, daydreams, etc. in order to apply his talent to the canvas. Over a several day process, he visualizes the size and scale of the piece, draws it, devises the color scheme, and then paints. “I reflect on my own tastes and what my pursuits are to create a piece,” he says. Understanding what an artist wants and needs in order to display their vision has contributed to the success of the gallery. “All of the artists enjoy our specific approach. That stigma of gallery lexicon is removed along with the fear of gallery culture.I’ll often hear people say, ‘I don’t get the art,’ but I don’t hear that much here,” says Neal. “Artists are able to network here and that fosters an environment that allows them to move beyond their own work.” The operators of JOG have seen the glow in the faces of the artists whose work has been shown on their walls. Now, the gallery is expanding with life drawing classes, an educational component with a non-profit for public and charter school students, an acoustic music series, and the potential to screen May 2012 I Pursuit I 15

“Art is important to any city. It reinvigorates the people of the community. We want to show the world what great artists we have and make the people here aware of them.”

Above: JOG visitors mingle during a showcase films. The gallery will also be taking part in panel discussions with artists and cultivators from New York, San Francisco, and even London, all of which will be streamed online to audiences across the globe. When it comes to JOG’s place in Philadelphia, Neal points to the fact that art is not just a booming industry now, it is at the core of the city. “Our foundation is deeper than any other city, and any architect will tell you, the deeper the foundation, the higher you can go,” he says. “Art is important to May 2012 I Pursuit I 16

any city,” Oliver says. “It reinvigorates the people of the community. We want to show the world what great artists we have and make the people here aware of them.” Those who visit JOG are often repeat visitors who make the trek to “the heavens,” as Oliver puts it, because they enjoy the culture of the gallery as well as the art. “We are showing people that they don’t have to go to New York to see great art in a gallery setting,” Oliver says. He laughs as he puts out his cigarette,“And they can get it cheaper here too.”

With a chuckle, Oliver goes back to freshening up the white room in preparation for his own show. After that, JOG will present Animal Issue, running from May 26th until June 23rd featuring Lars Kremer, Alexandra Spinney, Emily Bowser and Jessica Nissen. After that, well, they’re busy keeping us cultured.

The James Oliver Gallery is located on the 4th Floor of 732 Chestnut Street. They can be found online at


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houndstoothheroine Blog by Kori Moore Illustration by Jessica Izaguire

The House That’s Building Hip Hop Marsten House

By Steve Ziegler

From left to right: Dom Clardy, Steve Sxaks, Ethan Mintz- The Marsten House Producers House parties are common among teenage crowds; fully fledged concerts in townhome basements, not so much. Moving the party to the backyard where a professional recording studio has been constructed is perhaps the rarest feat, but in Abington, PA, at Marsten House Recording Studios, this is exactly how the gritty sound of underground hip hop in Philadelphia is growing. “Music saved my life,” May 2012 I Pursuit I 20

says Steve Sxaks, 23-year-old founder of Marsten House. Sxaks, an Abington native got kicked out of Abington High in seventh grade and “went on tour.” Becoming quickly involved in punk rock scene, Sxaks was a member of the band Fruit Punch which signed to QCR, a subdivision of Atlantic Records. At 15, he was flying around the country and touring until the time he and co-founder Ethan Mintz

opened Marsten House three years ago. However, the love of music did not stay on the road. Sxaks ran a venue known as “House of Gore” from his basement, less than 20 yards away from where the MH studio now stands, taking its name from the house in Stephen’s Kings Salem’s Lot. “Bands came from Japan, L.A., Texas, Kentucky...and we’d pack the basement with 200 people,” Sxaks explains. Listening to his story, it

“If you want to talk about straps and gats talk about them all you want, but I’m going to let you know if it doesn’t sound good.”

becomes clear that the birth of Marsten House came from years of networking around the world and gaining popularity by playing drums with the likes of The Heels, made up of members from the legendary Philly punk band, The Pagan Babies. “I was 20 at the time, and most of those guys were like 50,” Sxaks laughs. Making the transition from punk rock to producing hip hop was an easy one according to Sxaks and Mintz. “Lyrically, it’s all about the struggle and the DIY aspect,”

Sxaks says. While Marsten House has become extremely popular among the Philly hip hop crowd, they are a studio dedicated to music as a whole and the producers even have their own band, Flashwing, produced by friend and famed Philly punk, Vince Rati. “Right now, people are really connecting in Philly. The network is networking,” says Mintz, the resident Marsten House engineer/ technician, addressing what is going on in the local music scene. “I think the best thing about the Philly scene right now is that bands are actually doing shows.”

Mintz, a graduate of Upper Dublin says he “learned more working [at Marsten House]” than he did while studying digital audio production at community college. He and Sxaks agree that what sets Marsten House apart from other area studios is the customer service. Sxaks, who always has a passion for the culinary arts, will cook for the artists and those hanging out in the studio. Stacks of vintage video games from the 80s and 90s fill a small corner of the cement studio where Sxaks, Mintz, and third member Dom Clardy have become accustomed to doing 24 hour sessions for artists and essentially “cater to the artists how we want to be treated,” Sxaks says. Clardy was Marsten House’s first intern who became a permanent number of the team because of his passion for music and the mission of Marsten. He enthusiastically studied the studio to complete his senior project at Upper Moreland High School. Clardy happened to walk into the studio during his day off for the interview. “There are no days off at Marsten House, that’s the work May 2012 I Pursuit I 21

“There are no days off at Marsten House, that’s the work ethic.”

ethic,” Sxaks laughs. Clardy agrees with Sxaks and explains that he’s been amazed at what he’s seen since becoming a part of the team. “What I’ve seen so far is how fast we’ve been able to build our own name. People joining up with us or mentioning just spreads our name,” he says. “I’m looking forward to working with more artists and meeting new people. We are working with pretty much every underground artist in some way.” The plethora of videos they’ve produced reinforces just how many artists enjoy coming to Marsten. From what they’ve seen at the studio, some names the producers say to watch this summer include Rich Quick, I-Know Brasco, Phlight School, Capili, Dough Stackz and Mike Voss – to name a few. Their love of music also brings the Marsten House producers to shows where their artists are performing, and thus bringing even more talent to their studio. They take pride in what they do and consider themselves to be some of the most opinionated producers in the game. “Everything that comes out of this studio represents us, so we want it done right,” Sxaks explains. “It’s not that we’re going to rewrite lyrics,” says Mintz. “If you want to talk about straps and gats talk about them all you want, but I’m going to let you know if it doesn’t sound good.” While not every studio has the work ethic of the Marsten House producers, there is certainly no shortage of studios in Philadelphia geared toward hip hop artists. “We’ve found that working together is the best way to get on top,” says Mintz. The producers at Marsten House agree that while the Philly scene is very collaborative, the most detrimental aspect for any up and coming artist is unwillingness to work with others. Finding others who have a mutual love for the music more than May 2012 I Pursuit I 22

the music business has ironically helped the success of Marsten House. Sometimes, they’ll do vocals for other studios and send them back to mix. Other times, they may lend a DJ friend old equipment or teach him how to use it when he says he’s going to start his own studio. This sharing is far from counterproductive as the name Marsten House is becoming synonymous with underground hip hop. Their YouTube channel Marstenxhouse has gained over 83,000 views as they post a cypher each month and a freestyle video each day that could feature anyone who may walk in the studio from a rapper with a highly anticipated mixtape. No matter the artist, Marsten House is there to produce quality tracks. Because of this, the future looks bright. There are quiet talks of Marsten House TV and Marsten House radio that Sxaks remains slyly quiet about. They are also looking to open a second location within the city limits because they are booking all of their time slots in Abington. The producers plan to put out vinyl and self-release more records. By the end of 2012 there will be a DVD available featuring all of the freestyles and cyphers. Currenty, S.R., a friend of theirs, is producing a documentary for Temple University explaining the evolution of Marsten House, their impact on the music scene, and their place in the small town north of the city. Steve Sxaks is able to simply sum up his perspective of Marsten House and how they operate. “I’m gonna say this and it’s bold. We have no competition. The people that would be competition, we already work with them. Our lane is our lane and you’re welcome to come jump in it with us.”

Rocky Statue Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Stokes

The Long Ride Home Photo Courtesy of Mike Dillon

Where’s the Beef?

Places to Enjoy Burgers As Chosen By Mike Dillon In my travels I, like everyone else, become hungry. I have a craving for a good burger at least once a week, if not more. So, in order to successfully find the places which make my appetite the happiest, I explore every burger place I can. Whether it is a local burger joint or a chain restaurant, I look for those that have burgers as their specialty. Now, as much as I would like to explore every place in this area that may provide burgers, it would be very time consuming. Cost and potential damage to health are also concerns. I love red meat, but eating it every day might kill me. Nonetheless, summertime is here and if you don’t want to fire up that grill, here are some places to check out. THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. FIVE GUYS-While it’s hard to pick just one place that you would like to go to all the time, I have found Five Guys is winning the race in expansion. They are all over the place now. I remember when I had my first Five Guys burger about 5 years ago. It was amazing. Like the best thing ever. Now it’s like repetition. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you get a good burger. Sometimes it’s just “eh.” But, the service always seems to be prompt and mildly friendly to whatever Five Guys you go to (sans the one in KOP food court). For now, we will say Five Guys isn’t the Best. But, it’s a great back up when you can’t get to any of the cooler or special places I am about to mention. 5/10 P.Y.T (Yes, from the Michael Jackson song) - Located inside the Piazza at Schmindts in Northern Liberties section of the city, P.Y.T has been open for a couple years and has been one of my favorite places to go for their specialty burgers. The most honored and crazy of these choices is The Krispy Kreme Sliders. Originally a full sized burger, the Sliders are Glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts split in half with a small beef patty and Godiva Chocolate covered bacon. Did you read that??? CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!!! It’s amazing. It really is. They also have regular burgers with a Special P.Y.T Sauce on it. It’s like a garlic oniony mayo of some sorts which again, is amazing. Also, like most places at the Piazza, P.Y.T is bar – a very fun and eccentric bar with awesome type drinks including Adult milkshakes with tons of alcohol in ‘em. Many other alcoholic contraptions will keep you coming back if you’re a drinker. I prefer the food. P.Y.T’s products are consistent, but while sometimes the fact that it is a bar can be a drawback. If you’re going out for just a good burger, plan your timing accordingly. P.Y.T is getting more popular by the minute and on some nights, the wait staff will be more interested in keeping cups filled rather than bellies full. In short, unless you’re going to party, don’t go when you know it will be a party night. P.Y.T is moderately priced as meals for two will run you between $40-50 including sodas and apps. Alcoholic beverage will make this slightly higher. Enjoy yourself at P.Y.T., I hope you have a great experience. Go. Hope you have a great experience. 7/10 ELEVATION BURGER - Another young player in the franchise game. Elevation is much like Five Guys. There are not too many frills, just standard burgers and fries. However, you can stack the burgers up to ten patties high and there are other toppings offered with their fries as well, designed to make Elevation a fun dining experience. Their beef is free range beef and their indoor settings are all made from bamboo and the place is dimly lit to conserve energy, in keeping with efforts of Going Green. Personally, I am not a big “clean up this earth” type guy, but it is comforting to know some corporations out there are still caring about our world. They have a several locations in the area. I was not impressed with Willow Grove location. It seemed as though the employees weren’t with the program. But, the Wynnewood, PA location is awesome. I have been there several

times and had great service coupled with great food each time. Remember to get an Elevation punch card when you visit. If it gets punched 7 times you, get an extra patty next time you order. Expansion and employing the correct people could lead to a rivalry with Five Guys. Without a jumpstart in the area, though, hey may fade away. 5/10 NIFTY FIFTY’S - This place has grown locally and has had the same great quality for years. They have burgers like any other place and none of them are too special. They are just made the way you want and come out hot and fresh most of the time. The menu is always growing with local favorites and awesome shakes. I have never had a bad experience at any Nifty’s in the area. I always recommend them. 7/10

Above: Elevation Burger

CHEEBURGER CHEEBURGER - This is a chain just like the previously mentioned places with the exception of P.Y.T. I have only frequented the Oxford Valley Mall location. It is similar to Nifty’s, but without all the noise and games and

tight small madness that come with a busy night. Cheeburger Cheeburger offers standard burgers and fries meals, but the twist in the range in size of a burger you can order, starting at 1/4 pound and all the way up to a full pound. Several years ago, this seemed like a huge challenge and if completed, you got on their Wall of Fame. This place is hit and miss. Spotting an overwhelmed staff on a busy night is easy. Although not one of my favorite places, I say go when boredom strikes or on a weekday and you’ll probably have success. 4/10 CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE (Jimmy Buffet’s Chain) 19 has one cool menu item, Deep Fried Pickles. Other than that, this 7 aren’t s that great. The servers, again, place is boring and the cooks 0 “Eh”. They barely care just enough to get you in and out. I’m not saying don’t go here but I am not going again. It’s as simple as that. 2/10 CHEESECAKE FACTORY - Now its not local and it can get somewhat pricey. If you find yourself here, see the burgers. There are many choices and I have had good experiences here every time. 5/10

Above: The Pickleback Burger from PYT All Photos and Intestinal Fortitude provided by Mike Dillon

See More Delicious Burgers and Other Great Pictures On Instagram @RudeBoyPhotography May 2012 I Pursuit I 27

Skyline from South 15th Street Photo Courtesy of Kevin Budianto


MIKE DILLON 267.971.3215


Pursuit Issue 6  

The Sights and Sounds of Philadelphai

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