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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

‘Better’ than Starr?Restaurateur with 28 locations signs lease for A Man’s Image

A year ago A Man’s Image announced that they’d be looking to sell or lease their current location at 1709 E. Passyunk Ave. so owner Abe Mandel could downsize and pass on the business to one of his employees. Now the massive, 4,400 sq. ft. property has been leased to what seems to be a interesting prospect for this prime corner property.


At first we heard rumors that Stephen Starr would be taking over the space to open a spot here. But according to Mandel, it’ll “better than Starr.”

While Mandel didn’t share what it is, as they’re expected to announce it sometime in the new year, he gave us the hint that they have a total of 28 restaurants. 

“Their food everywhere, Boston, DC, everywhere is just phenomenal. It’s going to be really good for the avenue.”

According to Mandel, Starr had shown interest in the property, but the “price was too high for what he wanted.” As of now, Starr has 20 spots in the city, but his only South Philadelphia restaurant is Serpico on South Street.

As for the future of A Man’s Image, Mandel is expected to relocate to a smaller storefront on East Passyunk Avenue and then pass off the business for three of his salesmen to own and operate. A source tells us that he may be leaving the property within the span of five months.

With A Man’s Image and Interior Concepts both leaving their large storefronts, along with the recently-sold three-building package next door, we could be seeing some huge changes coming to this portion of the avenue.

Anyone have guesses as to who this restauranteur this could be?

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26 Responses to ‘Better’ than Starr?Restaurateur with 28 locations signs lease for A Man’s Image

  1. Anthony December 31, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    While I love the restaurant scene, I am a bit sad that we’re losing another retail spot to another restaurant. One of the things I love about EPA is the diversity of offerings.

    • Maria December 31, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

      Agreed we need more retail

  2. Lou_100x December 31, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    Doesn’t sound good.

  3. Lou_100x December 31, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    The store is MOVING, not closing. Geez, not hard to read is it? Anyway, that building is wasted being a clothing store that’s only open 7 hours a day.

    • David December 31, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

      As a matter of fact, with that “pass on” grammatical error, it is a bit hard to read.

  4. anon December 31, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    Wolfgang Puck has 28 restaurants and outposts in Boston and DC but I don’t think it’s him.

  5. Liz December 31, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    Google searched “owns 28 restaurants” and found a bunch. This one looks possible…

    • anon December 31, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

      Sandoval doesn’t have any restaurants in Boston. He is opening up a restaurant in Philly at the Ritz Carlton.

  6. Carl December 31, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    Really disappointing news that we will basically have a glorified chain operator. Shame on Abe for the sell out especially as a so called independent retailer. “Beter than Starr” simply because they paid to play. After a year of staff turnovers this will be a disgrace on the avenue.

    • sunshine December 31, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

      Wow, optimistic, Sunshine.

    • Susan January 6, 2016 at 7:30 am #

      Be patient , don’t speculate about something you have no idea about!!!

  7. Amy Shelanski January 2, 2016 at 1:29 am #

    Ark restaurant group fit the description

    • ProvWitout January 2, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

      OMG!!! PF Changs nuggga!!! Can’t wait:)

      • Lou_100x January 4, 2016 at 10:06 am #

        They better have parking!

  8. cemego January 4, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    Not a Starr restaurant? Good! That means the restaurant’s food wont taste like bland hospital food.

  9. Andrew January 5, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    Sounding like Barcelona wine bar from CT area. Chris Lee who used to have Sofia on the Avenue, is their culinary director and it’s interesting that he recently started following a whole bunch of Philly food people and restaurants on Twitter. No Spanish on the Ave either. I put my money on that.

    • anon January 5, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      Barcelona Wine Bar only has 12 locations, not 28.

      • Andrew January 5, 2016 at 10:25 am #

        They also have the Bar Taco concept which has several locations and is in major expansion mode.

      • Andrew January 5, 2016 at 10:31 am #

        And it appears that 5 are under construction bringing it to 27. Seems pretty damn close if you ask me.

      • Susan January 6, 2016 at 7:34 am #

        Not enough for you?

      • Susan January 6, 2016 at 7:38 am #

        How would you know?

  10. Anahi Macauley January 5, 2016 at 11:45 am #

    Oh, good. Another high-end eatery on Passyunk where I can grab a bite after shopping for $30 baby onesies and $25 dish towels!

    • Susan January 6, 2016 at 7:35 am #

      No cheap fast food on the Ave if that’s your speed lady!

    • Lou_100x January 6, 2016 at 10:28 am #

      @ Anahi, Broad & Snyder is right down the street. If that’s more your speed, have at it.

  11. Hmm January 5, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    Barcelona Wine Bar gets my bet. Been to the one in D.C., it’s ok. Nothing special. But yah, definitely $$$.

  12. Barb January 7, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    I still remember Mandels on 7th, good for you Abe this time you get to make a profit on the building!!! Have a wonderful retirement and best of luck to the 3 new owners! Doesn’t matter who comes in, I will still be dining at Marras. Happy there is new life on Passyunk, it’s all good!

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