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‘Restaurant: Impossible’ Host Robert Irvine on Why He Likes Eating in Philly

The chef brings his Beats ’n Eats fundraiser back to the Fillmore in May

Goya Foods' Grand Tasting Village Featuring Mastercard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations - Day 2
Robert Irvine at a cooking demonstration in Miami Beach last year
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for SOBEWFF

Food Network chef Robert Irvine comes to Philadelphia for the roast chicken and mashed potatoes at Parc.

“I like that I can eat in a different place three times a day and never go back to the same place within six months,” the former Restaurant: Impossible and Dinner: Impossible host says of Philly’s dining scene. “But there are some old favorites.”

Making trips to Philly has been a part of the chef’s routine since he started working in Atlantic City in the 1990s. He’s back again on Monday, May 21, for Beats ’n Eats, a fundraiser for his nonprofit Robert Irvine Foundation, which supports military personnel and first responders. This is the second time Irvine is hosting the food and music event; the first, in 2016, was at the Fillmore Philadelphia (29 E. Allen Street) in Fishtown, and he’s returning to that venue for the second incarnation.

The music part will be provided by rappers Schoolly D and Chill Moody, along with other artists with local ties. As for the food, Irvine tapped a crew of Philly chefs including Marcie Turney of Bud & Marilyn’s, Barbuzzo, Lolita, and others, Brad Spence of Amis, Jason Cichonski of Ela, and Jennifer Carroll, who is in the process of opening Spice Finch in Rittenhouse. Food Network’s Elizabeth Falkner and Beau MacMillan will be joining them.

“All these chefs are creative and innovative,” Irvine says. “We wanted to make sure they resonate — who is hot right now, who is into philanthropy, and who has completely different personalities and foods.”

Chefs Robert Irvine and Buddy Valastro at the first Beats ’n Eats
HughE Dillon

He’s giving the chefs control over what they’ll cook for Beats ’n Eats, with each assigned to a course for the family-style meal. Beyond the food, Irvine says he wants to make sure the event is “jumping.”

“When people go out and spend money, even on charity, they want to have a good time,” he says. “The more we can highlight and utilize the chefs is a winning formula.”

For one highlight, Irvine told a Philly chef to think bigger. And wider. Matt Fein of Federal Donuts is creating a doughnut wall for the event — he’s going with a wall because the stack of 350 doughnuts he brought to Beats ’n Eats in 2016 disappeared in approximately five minutes.

“I managed to get one bite and I had to steal it from someone,” Irvine says with a laugh. “This year, we’re putting a velvet rope around them. I said to [Fein], ‘Whatever you touch turns to gold.’”

Fein and his team are frying up 600 doughnuts for Beats ‘n Eats this year.

Tickets are $150, or $300 for VIP, which gets you in earlier and a meet and greet with Irvine. General admission starts at 7 p.m.

row of doughnuts on cooling rack
Federal Donuts will set up a doughnut wall
Michael Persico/Federal Donuts


110 South 13th Street, , PA 19107 (215) 546-9300 Visit Website

amis trattoria

412 South 13th Street, , PA 19147 (215) 732-2647 Visit Website

Bud & Marilyn's

1234 Locust Street, , PA 19107 (215) 546-2220 Visit Website

Bar Amis

4503 South Broad Street, , PA 19112 (215) 282-3184 Visit Website

Federal Donuts

701 North 7th Street, , PA 19123 (267) 928-3893 Visit Website


106 South 13th Street, , PA 19107 (215) 546-7100 Visit Website


412 South 13th Street, , PA 19147 (215) 732-2647 Visit Website


627 South 3rd Street, , PA 19147 (267) 687-8512 Visit Website

The Fillmore

29 E Allen St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (215) 309-0150 Visit Website

Spice Finch

220 South 17th Street, , PA 19103 (215) 309-2238 Visit Website