Scarduzio team gets receptive audience at EPX zoning meeting

The East Passyunk Civic Association’s monthly Zoning Committee meeting was ablaze with questions last night for Steve Olitsky, part-owner of the someday-to-be restaurant that will replace Artisan Boulanger at 12th and Morris.

This becoming pink facade will be coming down soon.
This becoming pink facade will be coming down soon.

Olitsky, who will co-own the joint with wife Tamar and chef Chris Scarduzio, was at the meeting seeking neighborhood support for his plans to demolish the existing, structurally-compromised building and replace it with a new three-story building. The building will feature a green roof and garden on top, a “green wall” at the rear, and outdoor seating for patrons along Morris Street.

The plans are for apartments above the restaurant, which is tentatively named East Passyunk Bistro. The new building will have the same nonconforming footprint as the existing building, which is bigger than the new zoning code allows because of the minuscule back yard on the Morris side. But as a compromise it will fall short of the five stories permitted by the current Zoning code. When the project moves forward, it will be under the watchful eye of local contractor Gary Tavella of Fresh Start Builders.

Olitsky stated that he wants the restaurant to fit in with the neighborhood, though that doesn’t mean it will be Italian food. Chef Chris Scarduzio, who discussed the food and service plans, said the 49-seat restaurant will serve “bistro-style” food at an accessible price. The place will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Sunday, with brunch on weekends. Though they will have a liquor license, the team doesn’t foresee hosting a late-night bar scene. They will be closing up by midnight on weekends, and 10 p.m. on weekdays.

All this is preliminary, of course, and will depend on whether they can secure the required permits. A straw poll of the neighbors showed near-unanimous support.

Good thing, too, because we’re ready for this sucker to open already.

– Ian Toner@Tonerarch,