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Old School South Philly Bar Offers Decidedly New School ‘Bone Luge’ Special

(Credit: Jim Piano)

(Credit: Jim Piano)

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By Stasia DeMarco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You don’t often get the chance to follow your inner Anthony Bourdain when covering cocktails, but when you hear the words “bone luge,” you go with it — marrow and all.

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Chick’s Social Club in South Philadelphia has been around since the latter end of the 19th century, but it’s started serving up a savory food/cocktail that is about as 21st century as you can get. And while the thought of a bone with marrow served hot with a shot of sherry to suck out of it (along with a side salad) may sound downright bizarre, owner Jim Piano says it’s absolutely not.

“It’s America: bones, booze, blood. You can’t beat it,” he says.

While Chick’s is an old-school neighborhood bar dating back to 1893 that serves mostly locals, Piano says the “bone luge” is, by far, one of the most popular items on the menu. The experience is, of course, a must for the cocktail enthusiast, but also for a carnivorous drinker.

The luge is a shot, but it’s also like an appetizer or a game. You need to eat your way through the bone first to make a luge for your liquor of choice.

“It’s nine inch bone marrow cut from beef that’s cut length-wise, and we roast that in the oven, top it with some fresh bread crumbs, herbs, a little lemon zest…a little side salad…and basically after you eat the marrow, you do the luge. The luge can be done with most of your favorite spirits, but you don’t want to use something that is too high proof; you want to do something that is more like a fortified wine,” Piano explains.

This small Italian eatery is a warm, inviting spot with tile floors, a bar with a few chairs and a couple of bottles on the shelves. The wooden tables and pictures on the walls almost remind you of the set of an old mob movie. But the atmosphere is anything but.

When asked where the concept for the bone luge came from, Piano readily admits to finding it on the Internet, and he thinks it was a bartender in Portland, Oregon that created it about two years ago.

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