Searching for Food at the World Open
By Andrea Rosen   
June 28, 2010
One of the greatest pleasures in traveling across the country to chess tournaments is getting to explore other city's great eateries.  Going to the World Open in downtown Philadelphia last year was a taste of heaven because it was in walking distance of one of my favorite places to eat in the country---the Reading Terminal Market, which under one roof has almost every ethnic food imaginable, wonderful locally grown produce and cheeses, and incredible baked goods.

No matter what city we're in, I try to follow some general guidelines find good strong coffee (Starbucks is fine);  keep the hotel fridge stocked with fruit, drinks and snacks,  patronize locally-owned businesses as much as possible; find a good Chinese takeout place, absolutely no fast-food burgers, and no mall food.  

These guidelines have made finding food in the tournament's new home, King of Prussia, site of the country's second largest shopping mall, a royal pain.  But I've found a few gems, and I offer them up to the 1,000 or so of you, and your families, who will be arriving later this week.

Keeping the hotel fridge stocked:  Really, this works so much better when your hotel room has a refrigerator.  I'm staying a few miles away from the convention center at the Dolce Hotel, which is the overflow hotel for the Radisson and Scanticon.  I got a great rate on hotwire of $62 a night, but arrived to find they wanted another $25 a night for a refrigerator. (I'm told the Radisson and Scanticon rooms have refrigerators.) I declined, and managed to snag two of the last Styrofoam coolers in town.  A local power outage earlier in the week apparently caused a run on them--Wal-Mart and several other local stores were sold out.  A good place to stock up is the Acme grocery store directly across the street from the Dolce.  Last I checked, the CVS pharmacy on Henderson Road still had a few Styrofoam coolers.

Patronize locally owned businesses: Peace a Pizza:  Pizza, pasta and salads.
This has been a tournament staple---cheap, good and fresh, and they deliver.  More than 20 varieties of pizza are available by the slice (a generous portion for about $3).  They also offer an amazing array of salads from Santa Fe Chicken to Pear and Gorgonzola to The Nutty Goat (goat cheese, candied pecans and cranberries) to a basic Caesar, all in the $7 range and also generously sized. They close at 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.  From the convention center, go south on Gulph Road for 2 miles to 143 S. Gulph Road, on the right.  610-962-9900;
Michael's Jewish Deli:  Breakfast, lunch and dinner
This is walking distance from the Dolce, but they also deliver to the convention center.  They open at 6 a.m. for breakfast (7 on Sundays); and start delivering at about 8:30 a.m.  Trevor had a good breakfast sandwich there yesterday, and Eric and I had sausage links, but they have eggs, bagels, French toast, etc.  For lunch and dinner, they have dozens of sandwiches, both hot and cold, salads, hot entrees and of course chicken soup.  Tucked way in the back of the Valley Forge Shopping Center on Route 202, immediately north of the Dolce hotel, on the west side of the street.; 610-265-3265

Sicilian Delight Pizza and Grill:
  Pizza. Pasta, Burgers, Hoagies, Wraps and more
Also walking distance from the Dolce, and they also deliver. Sandwiches range from $4 to close to $7.  We plan on eating here tomorrow.  182 W. Dekalb Pike, 610-962-0867.  Open until 9:30 p.m. Mon-Thursday, to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and closed Sundays.
Strong Coffee:
The closest Starbucks to the Convention Center is in the mall; and there's another Starbucks a couple of blocks from the Dolce.  But my first morning here, I was too tired to make it that far, and ordered coffee at the hotel, and it was amazing. Worth coming to the Dolce for, even if you're not staying here, and just $1.50 to go.

Good Chinese Take-out:

I struck out here, but I can tell you to stay away from Wild Rice on DeKalb Pike---the worst Asian food I've had in a long time, and pricey to boot.

Mall Food:

You can't totally go without mall food when the mall covers half the town.  We like the Corner Bakery for its breakfast options-nice egg and veggie dishes, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal and croissants, and it's on the perimeter of the mall on the same street (Gulph Road) as the Convention Center.  I'm also told that on the second floor of the mall, near Abercrombie and Fitch, is a spectacular food court.  I tried to find it but got lost, and then almost couldn't find my way out of the mall parking lot, but maybe you'll have better luck.  Just factor in some extra time to navigate in and out of the mall.

To those of you attending the World Open, good luck, and may you eat like a king as you play the royal game in King of Prussia! 

See Andrea Rosen's latest report from the Philadelphia International
and her
recent in-depth profile of Curtis Winter. After eight rounds, IM Bryan Smith is still leading the Philadelphia International by half a point with a round to go. Look for a final recap along with US Chess Scoop videos later in the week.