A Georgian Calzone from Uncle’s Backyard

Did you know you can find Georgian food in Philly? And not Georgia as in: peaches, biscuits, pecans, Bubba Sparxxx, where my beautiful younger sister goes to grad school – Georgia as in: borders Russia, a much longer plane ride. Dyadin Dvor, aka “Uncle’s Backyard,” in Northeast Philly fits in multiple categories of reasons I’d check out a restaurant based on appearance alone: an unpronounceable name, another name that makes you slightly uncomfortable, and a bizarre exterior that makes no sense in context (context being a strip mall that includes a furrier).
This confused, magical feeling that we were entering a special place endured as we took in the interior, complete with faux windows, plastic vines, and Lincoln log like tables and chairs.  My mouth’s anticipation continued to climb when I saw khachapuri on the first page of the menu, realizing I had stumbled in to a Georgian restaurant.

I’d seen the elusive khachapuri on social media accounts of similarly minded food adventurers in Queens. I assumed there was no chance in hell I’d be able to sample this carb treat here in Philly.  We ordered the cheese khachapuri with 2 eggs, cooked to a runny medium as recommended by our waitress. She also told us to mix up the egg and cheese combo before ripping and dipping the sides of the bread in. At a basic level it is a calzone with eggs and a hole.  The cheese appeared to be ricotta and mozzarella mix, but my research indicates its likely Sulguni- a Georgian cheese. This glorious bread bowl is a crowd pleaser and also an appetite ruiner, so try really hard not to stuff yourself.

When in NorthEast Philly in the winter, you must slurp soup. We tried the borsht and kharcho- both came with tender beef chunks. The kharcho was a bit more layered in flavor than its beet based friend, but both will warm you up for under $6.

I should also mention the thick, white bread that came with our soup was phenomenal- I even pulled a move my grandpa would have been proud of;  pocketing slices to take home.

Essentially a flattened croquette, the chicken cutlet/meatloaf entree was a reminder that ground chicken does not have to be boring. The overly processed mashed potatoes are there if by some reason you are still hungry at the end of the meal.

The fried dough wrapper on the Georgian dumplings, “khinkali” ($7.50), was more interesting than the chopped meat filling inside.

Our lamb kebab came out on a sizzling platter. In between all the ground meat, it was nice to have a simple, grilled skewer to sink my teeth in to.

Some other notes about the meal: Uncle was out of the durum, ground meat wrapped in lavash; we would have loved to check it out. Our waitress convinced us to order dessert, but the non-Georgian eclair and cake won’t add to your authentic meal experience. If you don’t have a group to share with, consider the lunch special: a main course, salad or soup, plus a side for $9.99. The food came out at a rather leisurely pace; you’ll need a long lunch break to make this happen, but it is very much worth it.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I want to try Georgian food
  • A calzone with an egg on it is something I need in my life

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I don’t have time for a long lunch in Northeast Philly

Dyadin Dvor or Uncle’s Backyard,  11903 Bustleton Ave, 215 698 5555



  • Hmm… interesting. I wonder if it’s a Georgian restaurant… or a Georgian restaurant aimed at Russians? The Lincoln log interior doesn’t really give much indication either way. Did they have an option for khinkali unfried? Fried is not very traditional. Made correctly they should be like a delicious Georgian soup dumpling – you grab the “top knot”(you’re not supposed to eat it!), turn over, sprinkle with black pepper, take a bite and suck out broth.

    Also, next time check out lobio, which is a kind of refried kidney beans served with corn bread. Our guide in Georgia said Mexican food reminded him of Georgian food, and this dish shows that more than most. For something more unique, see if they have Chakapuli (tarragon, sour plum and lamb stew). Wash down with some dry Saperavi and cha cha.

    A bunch of Georgian restaurants have been opening up in NYC recently, most not very good. The only one that impressed me with the food is this one, which is kind of like a brothel-meets-museum-meets tax shelter: http://www.yelp.com/biz/pepela-new-york-new-york But play your cards right and you could hang out with Sakasvilli when he is not being depressing around Williamsburg: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/20/world/europe/mikheil-saakashvili-georgias-ex-president-plots-return-from-williamsburg-brooklyn.html

  • porkchop- they did have unfried khinkali, but we went the fried route- mistake? also, we did notice the liquid, and questioned whether we should slurp it xio long bao style, but it seemed extremely greasy, so we just drained them. another mistake?

    • Yeah, I would definitely start unfried. In Georgia they have khinkali places where you can get all sorts of stuff in them – cheese, mushroom, crayfish, fruit. Maybe fried is an option? But I never it saw it while there. One time we were lucky enough to try them homemade in the mountains, which I guess are supposed to have the best. Yes, slurp, XLB style, though again, it’s traditional to flip over, with the knot on the bottom, nibble a hole (that’s for Wayne), and suck the juices out.

      My worry though is that the place you went to just might not be that good. Georgian is something like the Mexican food of the FSU, so to follow through the analogy the Russian version may be something like going for authentic Mexican and getting crispy shell tacos. I’ll point out something non-conclusive, but suspicious – Georgians don’t use Cyrillic anymore. They have their own alphabet (or are just as likely to use Latin script as they’ve oriented themselves to the West). Weighing the other way, the cartoon kebab guy does look like Stalin with that mustache, who of course, you guessed it, was Georgian!

  • Did you say “younger sister”?

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