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Archive | East Passyunk Crossing

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

First pics of inside Will BYOB

It’s looking good inside Will BYOB at 1911 EPA, where we were invited inside by the work crew to snap a couple photos to give you all a sneak peek. Christopher Kearse’s first restaurant appears to be right on schedule for its expected Aug. 24 opening.

Actually, it looks like they’re ahead of schedule. The light fixtures are in, the kitchen equipment looks to be installed and the dark wood floors are even finished. Throw a couple pictures on the wall and move a few chairs into the tiny space and they could open this weekend, if they wanted to. Instead, they started taking reservations today.

The place is tiny, so call soon.

Since we last checked in with the progress a few weeks ago, news emerged that Kearse, who made a name for himself at Pumpkin, will be offering a Sunday prix fixe menu – four courses for $40. Not bad for modern, French-inspired cuisine. Dinner will be served Tuesday through Sunday, plus Sunday brunch.

Imagine those windows flung open on Passyunk.
Just finishing touch-ups
Close-up of fixtures
Pretty close
Yeah, that’s nicer than my oven
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Meat market action – at Tom’s and elsewhere?

The bad news for the folks at Tom’s Prime Meats could be good news for the rest of East Passyunk.

Tom’s Prime’s surly run came to an end recently at 1729 E Passyunk Ave., which we told you about two weeks ago. But Sam Sherman, executive director of the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporationsaid he has “a couple of guys fighting over that space right now.” He didn’t say what kind of businesses these people want to open.

Imagine if a real butcher set up shop here
Sherman said one problem is that the family that’s owned the building since 1956 hasn’t decided to sell it, though he’s made some inquiries. “It would be great to put someone in there that actually sold meat, a real butcher,” Sherman said in a recent phone interview. “I went by there one day to get some veal chops and he rather nastily told me to go to Espositos.”
Another shop that actually sells meat may be a possibility soon nearby. “I have four guys chasing the avenue to open a charcuterie and restaurant,” Sherman said.

Demand for the Avenue has never been hotter. The vacancy rate is probably lowest in the city, Sherman said, and PARC has a waiting list for its properties, especially now that video-production firm Pattern And Motion is moving in to the old Sweet Jane spot.


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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Update on St. Jude’s, apartments above

St. Jude’s is staying in the building being renovated at 1805 E. Passyunk Ave., according to a source familiar with the renovations.

Paper foretells nothing at this point, a source said

Two weeks ago, we raised the question about the future of St. Jude’safter paper went up over part of window display. The source, who asked not to be named, said Monday there were no plans to end the lease for the Catholic gear emporium.

We couldn’t help it if our suspicions were raised when St. Jude’s owner, Louis DiCocco, sounded frustrated that we were asking him about the store’s future.

“We’re still there and selling, and that’s all you need to know,” he said from his Havertown store before rushing off the phone.

At any rate, the building’s new owner, Ed Brown, who doesn’t deal with the leasing of his properties, said Monday he bought the building from the DiCocco family. It’s his first building in the neighborhood.

It’s a wonderful area that has a lot of real good solid vibrations,” said Brown, who normally works with Center City real estate. “I think it’s the right place to be.”

He’s renovating the five existing apartments above the store – three one-bedrooms and two two-bedrooms. The apartments were really old-fashioned and cramped, so they’re knocking down walls to open them up, and, of course, replacing kitchens and bathrooms. The building is so old, in fact, workers found newspapers from the 1880s stuffed into the chimneys.

They haven’t settled on a price for the apartments, which they hope to have ready by the end of October.

Brown said there are no plans to expand the residential part of the building on the second and third floors over the storage space on the first floor (which fronts Camac Street). But he does have high hopes for adding one or more roof decks back there. Those would require extra permits, though, so it might be a while.

Imagine if they put the residential entrance back here and added a couple stories to match its neighbor 
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Plenty remodels, opens for breakfast

After the quickest remodeling this side of the Mississippi, Plenty opened for breakfast Monday morning at

Much more seating

The changes aren’t drastic, but there are definite improvements. The counter has been enlarged and turned into a coffee bar, making room for a two-port La Marzocco espresso machine. They’re also brewing regular coffee – all La Colombe – and selling beans to go.

The eight-seat communal table has been ditched in favor of seven tables seating 18 people, plus the four original seats at the window counter (better for people-watching).The former cold case that held cheeses, prepared meals and salads is gone and so is the ice-cream freezer in the back of the room. We believe they’re still going to be selling those items, but we still trying to get in contact today with Anthony Mascieri for more details (he was out when we stopped in). They also plan a juice bar along the back wall.

The new menu – $5.50 to $7 – consists of five breakfast sandwiches, mostly upscale takes on meat, egg and cheese. The fried egg, smoked brisket and cheddar on an artisan roll sounds like a delicious artery clogger, but there’s also a more sensible scrambled eggs, roasted red peppers and pesto on 7-grain toast. Plus there are muffins and other pastries, a greek yogurt parfait and they’ll be doing specials daily.

There’s a sign up saying they have a new website, but it looks like the old one and hasn’t been updated to include the new hours, which start at 7 a.m.

Check back later today for some updates.

Warmer colors than the old, spartan Plenty
The new coffee bar, face with old produce crates
The shiny new equipment
Imagine a juice bar here


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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Fire damages Colombo’s, with pics

Jeez, when we said the other day that the Avenue was on fire, we didn’t mean this. Colombo’s restaurant at 1934 E. Passyunk Ave. was seriously damaged by a blaze that began in the restaurant a little after 11 a.m. Saturday, according to a tenant who lived upstairs.

Though the name of the place may not ring any bells, it’s the first thing drivers see on the left side of the Avenue when they turn right off Broad.

Out of commission. Note the AC dangling from the window.

On Saturday afternoon, a crew of workers was working to seal the restaurant, which had no remaining windows in tact. Caution tape cordoned off the sidewalk and broken glass littered the ground.

A crew was sealing the building Saturday
No injuries were reported

A tenant, Brady, let us upstairs into his apartment to check out the damage. Firefighters had punched ventilation holes through walls and the roof in his bedroom and the air was thick with the acrid smell of smoke. Brady said he’s not sure where he’s going to stay, though the Red Cross has offered help. No word yet on a cause of the fire.

Walking up the stairs from the street to the apartments
That’s the hole in the roof of Brady’s bedroom
Smoke damage in the kitchen
Brady’s destroyed entryway

The building had a crude for-sale or rent sign posted for at least four years, but it came down sometime this year. According to the rumor mill on Philly Speaks, the asking price was considered to be fairly high, but we couldn’t find records of a listing or asking price anywhere. The restaurant secured a liquor license in 2009, possibly to make the sale more attractive because the place seemed to rarely be open, even after getting a litquor license. Frankly, the place, which has so much potential with its built-in outside seating, has been a drag on that end of Passyunk for years.

We couldn’t get a hold of building owner Mario (some city records say Maurice) Pisano to find out what his plans are, but we’re going to keep trying. Check back for updates.

UPDATE: 6 ABC has some video:
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Hollywood-ish comes to the Avenue

Earlier today we told you about the windows being covered at the PARC-owned former Sweet Jane Vintage space at 1820 E. Passyunk Ave. Just got a call back from Sam Sherman, executive director at PARC, and he says it’s being rented by a video-editing production company called Pattern and Motion.

Owned by a husband and wife team who lives in the neighborhood, Eric Botel-Barnard and Diana Barnard, the firm produces documentaries, commercials and other film projects. They’re relocating their office from Walnut Street in Center City in part because they wanted to be able to walk to work, Sherman said.Though an office space is a different kind of tenant than PARC has traditionally courted, Sherman stressed the importance of maintaining a diversity of businesses on the Avenue. That includes a mix of professional offices that can inject some life to the street during business hours. PAM will help to that end, he said, because they often work long hours, with clients coming and going at all times, and because they’ll maintain an open-concept office (no cubicles to block the view from the street). The window display will be dolled up with flat-screen TVs showing their work to light up the street at night.

Imagine some fancy TVs here
“They’re part of the creative class, so it seemed like a good fit,” Sherman said.
About Sweet Jane, Sherman said they ended up doing better business online than in the store, so it didn’t make sense for the owners to maintain a retail presence. That also means the store’s closure wasn’t necessarily a bad sign for retail on the street because PARC’s other retail tenants are thriving.
In fact, Sherman said it’s going to be an interesting Fall. Check back here next week for what’s coming from PARC in the next few months. There’s plenty to tell, we’re just waiting on some details.
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