Eat Like an Insider: Chris Mann of The Olde Bar

Chris Mann has been with Garces Group for the past nine years and is currently the General Manager at The Olde Bar, which occupies the historic Bookbinder’s building in Old City.

He first started cooking as a child with his mother and grandmother in Long Island, New York and after his parents divorced, he prepared all the family dinners. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1997 and has spent the past 15 years in Philadelphia. When he’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find him spending quality time with his wife and one-year-old son.

Mann tells us where to go for the best deal on Sunday supper, and why you don’t need to spend a ton of money for a great burger.

Best late night meal?
Salt baked squid from Jade Harbor (942 Race St.) Super tender with a little crunch and just the right amount of garlic. Be sure to ask for soy sauce with green chile for dipping. I also love the cowboy ribeye with mushroom and Roquefort at The Olde Bar (125 Walnut St.) And then the hummus at Dizengoff (1625 Sansom St.) — any flavor.

Best meal under $10?

The $5 cheeseburger at Fountain Porter (1601 S 10th St.) Perfectly seasoned and seared every time, it’s served on a potato roll with lettuce, tomato and American cheese. The quintessential, no frills, American backyard BBQ burger.

Best hidden foodie gem?
Kim’s BBQ in Olney (5955 N 5th St.) I’m not sure how “hidden” Kim’s is these days but before Korean food started becoming very popular, it was. They serve traditional Korean style grilled meats (you get to do your own grilling right at the table) and veggies that come with a decent spread of Korean side dishes.

Best place to dine alone?
Village Whiskey (118 S 20th St.) is my go to dine alone spot. It has a great atmosphere and there is always someone to meet. The staff is very friendly and the burgers are some of the best in the city.

Place you always take or recommend for out-of-towners?

The Fat Ham (3131 Walnut St.) for Sunday Supper. You get nine courses of the best southern-inspired food for just $30 a person.

Go-to date spot?

Townsend (1623 E Passyunk Ave.) Impeccably executed French food is perfect for a nice sit down dinner. Or you can go to just have drinks at the bar — the cocktails there are amongst the best in Philly. I love the petite omelette dish there.

Best place to catch up with friends?

Pub and Kitchen (1946 Lombard St.) has been the spot where my friends and I always seem to end up when someone is back in town and there is catching up to do.

Most Instagrammable restaurant?

The Olde Bar – I may be a bit partial here, but you don’t get a prettier bar anywhere else in Philly.