A Chinese-Mongolian hot pot restaurant in Chinatown, where the soup ingredients are delivered to the table via a refrigerated conveyor belt (or, a for hot foods, by way of a small mag-lev train). A plush seafood-steak house chain in King of Prussia. An all-day cafe in Center City owned by one of the region’s largest bakeries. And a mammoth South Philadelphia-style Italian restaurant in Rittenhouse co-owned (coincidentally) by one of the region’s best-known bakery families.

By my count, the region’s restaurant scene will tack on at least 15 significant newcomers in the next 90 or so days, continuing a surge that has helped define the roaring economy. Recent closings have been few, as only the most dire circumstances create a failure in the traditionally busy fourth quarter.

More than a year in the works, this locally created, nationally syndicated Chinese-Mongolian hot pot specialist, owned by friends all under age 25, is coming to 146 N. 10th St. in Chinatown. It could open to the public as soon as Nov. 3, said one of the partners, David Zhao.

The restaurant is high-tech all the way. Ordering is done at the table via iPad. A refrigerated conveyor belt runs down the middle. Customers can pluck chilled ingredients for their soups, which they make on the tabletop. The conveyor belt is also topped by a rail upon which a mag-lev train runs to shuttle hot food from the kitchen to the table. There will be waiters.

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Categories : In the Press

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