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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

King of Jeans plans on the agenda CORRECTED

The East Passyunk Crossing zoning committee is meeting next Wednesday night and front and center will be a presentation on the future of the King of Jeans building.

Imagine balconies maybe instead of a huge, blue-jeaned ass

A developer wants to convert the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors into 12 apartments with retail on the first floor. He’s asking for a variance because zoning only allows six apartments, so he’ll probably try to wow near neighbors into supporting him. The sale of the 10,000 square foot building, which was most recently listed for $819,900, hasn’t been finalized as far as we could tell, so neighborhood support will be crucial to moving this project forward.

Even without seeing the plans, we wish the developer good luck. That building is crying out for sprucing up.

Not sure if they’ll speak up about the brewing debate over what to do with the Duran Duran-style KOJ sign.

CORRECTION:
Sorry for the confusion folks. We’re still getting used to the idea of scheduling posts in advance, and this was supposed to go live next Wednesday. We’ll chalk it up to growing pains. Feel free to call us stupid in the comments as we rightfully hang our head in shame.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

UPDATED: Philly-born Chicago chef eyeing the Avenue

POST HAS BEEN UPDATED. SEE BELOW

We chatted with Sam Sherman at PARC yesterday and he told us that he gave a tour of the Avenue with a chef from Chicago, but he wouldn’t cough up the details.

Lachman, via Eater Philly

Eater Philly, though, must have heard something similar because they went straight to the horse’s – er, chef’s — mouth. They said Chef Joncarl Lachman, owner of Home Bistro in Chicago, was here looking to open a Dutch restaurant, and he’s narrowed down the search to three properties.

“I’m down to Mémé, Fond, and I was looking at Zen-Nor, too,” Lachman told Eater Philly. “But, I have my heart set on the space on East Passyunk, but we will see how it works out.”

Tentatively called Winkel, the place would serve Northern European cooking, including bitterballen (fried meatballs), konijn in het zuur (rabbit and bacon dish in vinegar sauce), and snert (pea soup). Lachman told Eater that he plans to have lots of smoked fish and smørrebrød (a selection of toasted breads with spreads and proteins). Intriguing.

We’re waiting on Sherman to get back to us to confirm that it was the same person, but really, how many Philly-born Chicago chefs could there be looking to open a restaurant in the neighborhood?

Fond is leaving its tiny space at 1617 East Passyunk Avenue for a larger space with bar and liquor license across form the fountain at 11th and Tasker, which is owned by PARC. One slight con of Lachman’s proposal is that we were hoping the Fond folks would open a second restaurant in their old space, maybe something more casual. Lachman could set up shop somewhere else, right?

UPDATE:

Just got an email back from Sherman, who told us that Lee Styer, owner of Fond, said they planned to continue leasing their current space and launch a new concept there once they move to the new corner location.

Turns out Lachman didn’t know Fond wasn’t available. Eater says Lachman “name-dropped” Fond’s space as a potential site before he got here, not knowing it wasn’t even available. He remains dedicated to finding a different spot in East Passyunk, though, and Styer confirmed that they’re keeping their old space when they move.

So that’s that.

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Concert/membership drive for South Philly Co-op

Have some free time tomorrow night? The South Philly Co-op and Gold Star Park is hosting a concert/pot-luck dinner at 7 p.m.

On August 15, come out and enjoy the last days of summer with the music of East Coastamite, a good-time, get-down, instrumental four-piece preaching the word of 60s-inspired, soul, surf, and organ jazz. Course there will be food too–the Co-op is celebrating with a a potluck. Bring your favorite dish made with at least one local ingredient to share and don’t forget to BYOB(lanket). Event begins at 7pm at Gold Star Park on Wharton between 6th and 7th.

Sign up to become a member-owner that night and you’ll receive $15 in gift cards for the Farm to City farmers markets. And if that’s not enough of an incentive, the first 40 people who stop by our table will get a free Little Baby’s ice cream sandwich.

Here’s the Facebook invite.

Events like this make the Co-op that much closer to reality. When we checked in with them a couple weeks back, 280 people had become member-owners and a newly formed real-estate committee was beginning to meet to explore location options. That’s a lot of progress on something that will be huge for the neighborhood.
Also, make sure to plan for the Co-op’s fall garden tour fundraiser. For $20 in advance or $25 on the day of, you can get into 20 hidden South Philly gems. That goes down on a Saturday (Sept. 8). Plus there’s an after-party at the Cantina with 20 percent off drinks.
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Thanks, pigs. We can’t have anything nice

UPDATE: Some of the trash cans have been returned, thankfully.

We all know that one of the things holding back the neighborhood from being one of the city’s best is the litter. And if you don’t agree, you’re in denial. So, that’s why this story from the Daily Newsis particularly irritating.

By the fountain. Jerks.

The Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation dramatically helped the cleanliness of the neighborhood when it started street cleaning and it recently put out extra wire cans as the next step. But now, one-by-one, the cans are being removed because they’re overflowing with household trash and causing as much litter as they’re taking in.

After the city did away with wire trash bins and replaced them with Big Belly compactors on Passyunk Avenue, Samuel Sherman, PARC’s executive director, bought 30 of the banished baskets to install in the area. “There was a certain faction of the neighborhood that said, ‘You’re gonna live to regret this,’ ” Sherman said.

Aside from being costly to maintain, and despite overwhelming demand from neighbors all over Philadelphia, Streets Department officials have said wastebaskets in residential areas seem to create litter problems and exacerbate existing issues.

Sure enough, East Passyunk neighbors gradually began dumping bags of household garbage into and next to the bins, and eventually two members of Sherman’s five-person cleaning crew spent most of their workweek hauling trash and replacing the can liners.

“It got so ridiculous that someone balanced a sofa on one of the cans,” Sherman said. He estimated the cost of labor, maintaining the trash bins and replacing the liners to be $30,000 per year.

The Streets Department is supposedly going to monitor the remaining cans and issue tickets if they can determine who is dumping the trash, but we don’t have a lot of faith in that effort. Someone, please tell us, why are people so disgusting? What can we do about this?

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Why Colombo’s fire started – plus pics of ruined restaurant

A source who was poking around Colombo’s Friday said that after a preliminary check, investigators believe that the fire that torched the restaurant last week was started because of a hard-wired electrical problem.

Looks more ominous than it is

There were no signs of a grease fire, said the source, who is familiar with the investigation but didn’t want his name used. The fire department confirmed they suspect that an electrical issue in the restaurant caused the fire, though a final determination hasn’t been made. There were no signs of an accelerant or anything else suspicious (despite the ethnically insensitive comments on our last post).

Note the smoke damage

Inside on Friday, the smell of smoke lingered and an eerie light filtered through the open door when the investigators let us creep inside to take pictures. Piles of broken glass and destroyed furniture littered the floor. An investigator in the kitchen was training his flashlight on an electrical panel, but we weren’t allowed in to poke around.

One striking thing was how big the place is – enough space for at least 80 seats. Good news is that the damage doesn’t appear structural, so the building wouldn’t need to be torn down. That means it will possibly clear the way for someone else to swoop in and take advantage of all that potential.

So, what do you think should go in there, folks? What don’t we have that we need? And who should be the one to do it?

One half the dining room, kitchen’s through the door with the diamond window
The other half of the dining room
Another view
Holes firefighters busted through the walls for ventilaion
From the back of the second half
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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

SoPhilly spotlight: Wouldn’t that be nice edition

For this week’s SoPhilly Spotlight, we steer clear of ugly (which delighted/revolted people on Facebook last week) and turn back to what makes us jealous.

For sale $419,900, this totally renovated home at 1314 S. 10th St. has incredible hardwood floors with a dark-wood inlay, 3 huge bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and more than 1,700 square feet. It has also has a finished basement, wine cellar, new everything, a roof deck with Center City views – and a questionable ceiling fan that is easily overlooked.

Take a look and let us know what you think.

Living room. That’s the questionable ceiling fan, and what’s the fascination with mirrors? 

Turned staircase shows how big this is for a SoPhilly row (that’s a door to the side yard) 
Dining room, steps down to living room
Curtains gotta go, obviously
One of the massive bedrooms
Nothing special, but it’ll do. There was no pic that was obviously the master bath
Finished basement
I could see my house from here
As always, nondescript outside
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