Whether or not you follow the NCAA tournament, March is definitely a month full of “madness.” Cold and snow persist, Daylight Savings turns mornings dark again, and even when the calendar finally says spring, it’s no guarantee of good weather. But together, we can get through it, assisted by these special deals running at seven restaurants around Philly.
From now through April 6, when an NCAA champion is crowned, both the Wash West and Downingtown locations of Dave Magrogan’s family-friendly Italian are offering their own “Big 5” — five special meatball dishes, that is. Look for entrees like a gigantic turkey meatball in puttanesca sauce ($10) and veggie meatballs over pesto squash spaghetti ($16), and also a $5 meatball special at the bar.
“Pi Day” (aka March 14), will be extra epic this year, point out the folks at this Bella Vista tavern, because the adding the year onto the date extends the numeral string of pi (3.1415). A rotating selection of both sweet and savory pies will be available whole or by the slice ($4), starting with coconut cream. If you pick up a six-pack to go, you can snag a whole pie for just $3.14. If you’re really a pie diehard, make plans to compete in the pie-eating contest at 6 PM on March 14 (it’ll be about speed, not quantity, so there’s plenty of room for beer).
736 S. 8th St.; 267-519-3242
To celebrate 24 successful years in business at the Fairmount spot he owns with Terry Berch McNally, chef Michael McNally is bringing back popular dishes from the past. (If you’re one of the many regulars the bar has cultivated over the past two and a half decades, you’ll recognize these plates.) For the week of March 4, he’ll put out skillets of chili Elizabeth Taylor, which the late actress apparently couldn’t do without. Next up is spinach-ricotta gnudi in guanciale brown butter, followed by “HRC” horseradish salmon and then finally Sichuan duck spring rolls.
2301 Fairmount Ave.; 215-978-4545
If you think of this roast meat specialist as just a place for a hearty lunch, Sunday evenings in March are the time to change your outlook. Each week from 6-8 PM, the new University City outpost of Jake’s will host live music and offer $5 off your meal of a sandwich, fries and a soda. Who says sandwiches aren’t sexy?
125 S. 40th St.; 215-921-9580
Although mussels are hard to get right now because this winter’s unprecedented East Coast freeze, all locations of this seafood house are running deals on them, good through April 6. Sidle up to the bar to catch a basketball game and try cider mussels with apples and blue cheese ($12), beer mussels with leeks and bacon ($12) or a mussel trio steamed in three different sauces ($14).
Basketball craziness doesn’t kick off until mid-month at this local brewpub mini-chain, but it’s worth marking down, because it involves bacon. From March 19-22, all 11 outposts are offering bacon-laden specials, including dishes like bacon poutine (what!), bacon fondue, scrapple waffles with maple-bacon mayo and chocolate-bacon layer cake. Count us in.
If you really can’t take it and need an escape, make your vacation sweeter with this deal at Spike Mendelsohn’s Rittenhouse burger joint. Through March 31, there’s a special “Ship Shake” funfetti shake on the menu, available for $5. If you slurp one up and also book a Celebrity Cruise, you’ll get a complimentary $100 to spend on board. Extra bonus: 14% of each Ship Shake will be donated to childhood cancer nonprofit Adopt a Pig.
108 S 18th St.; 267-928-2848