Scarduzio bows out of 12th and Morris project

Chris Scarduzio, the chef behind the nearly two-years-in-the-making bistro at 12th, Morris and Passyunk, has decided to bow out of that project and all of his other restaurants, reports the Insider.

That’s just in time for the former Artisan Boulanger building to be turned into a hole in the ground.

The big ol' hole yesterday afternoon.
The big ol’ hole yesterday afternoon.

The good news is that his partners in the 12th Street project, real estate developers Steve and Tamar Olitsky,  told the blog they are committed to completing it and have been quietly shopping around for another operator:

They have been discreetly gauging interest among the restaurant community for the space, which is 3,500 square feet on two floors, including the basement. The building, with four apartments above, is expected to be ready for occupancy next spring or summer.

About a year ago
About a year ago
At one point, this was the proposed design for the replacement, but we hear it's gotten shorter and less contemporary.
At one point, this was the proposed design for the replacement, but we hear it’s gotten shorter and less contemporary.

Scarduzio was a partner in Avance, the replacement for Le Bec Fin that opened to mixed reviews, and the shuttered Table 31 in the Comcast Center. He also has Mia’s in Caesar’s in Atlantic City. The Insider says he’ll let go of that one, too, and instead focus on a new project in Newtown Square.

To be blindly optimistic, maybe this is a good thing. There’s certainly no shortage of demand for the area, which is evident in the Bing Bing construction happening just across the street. And if Scarduzio was pulled in too many directions, it probably would have showed. Sure, he was a heavy hitter, but the strength of the neighborhood has always been in its small operators who built a reputation.


26 thoughts on “Scarduzio bows out of 12th and Morris project

  • August 27, 2014 at 9:01 am

    good riddance! this is great news.

  • August 27, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I’m just glad they finally took that building down. Now if only the Bing Bing people would do something about the way they left Zarape, we’d be going somewhere.

    • August 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      Bing Bing is being remodeled, they started with the inside first, which is almost complete.

  • August 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

    No activity there this morning now that there’s just a hole in the ground. I wonder if there’s any chance they could very quickly get the sidewalks open while they prepare for the next phase? If building is going to start today or tomorrow, that’s fine. But if they’re waiting, for whatever reason, it would be nice to have the sidewalk back in the meantime.

    • August 27, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Morris is back open already. The continued presence of the digger on the 12th Street makes me think they’ll be digging for the new foundation soon.

      • September 4, 2014 at 9:13 am

        12th still closed as of this morning but at least the dumpster is gone which makes walking out into the street to get around it marginally safer. And as a bonus, the giant hole is reminiscent of an active archaeological site.

        • September 8, 2014 at 10:14 pm

          Just want to acknowledge here that the sidewalk on 12th is back as of this afternoon. The fencing was pushed back and the broken up sidewalk was replaced with a cool, retro-looking, (albeit temporary) all-brick sidewalk. Appreciate that the property owner made that effort.

  • August 27, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Scarduzio wasnt that great. Table 31 was terrible and just catered to Comcast corporate accounts.

    Hopefully they can get a new tenant soon.

  • August 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

    With a beautiful new building on one of Philadelphia’s most sought after streets, this place won’t be minus an operator for long. It’s nice to see someone take a step back and realize what’s important, which looks like what Scarduzio is doing.

    I think the most interesting thing about this whole scenario is that it opens up a ton of possibilities for the space food-wise.

  • August 27, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Like a Chili’s, with some parking!

    • August 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Thank god!!! Someone finally agrees!! A Chili’s would brighten up the street and bring innovative cuisine to the avenue

      • August 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

        You used the word inovative to describe Chili’s food.


          • August 31, 2014 at 10:25 am

            That’s only two words…..

  • August 27, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    With a polished new space along the Avenue, it might attract attention from some national restaurateurs with deeper pockets.

    Yes I’m still dreaming about Umami Burger Philly.

  • August 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I am happy to hear that they are toning down the design. The rendering above, while beautifully done, is out of place amongst our brick and mortar. It looks like it would stick out and sterilize the corner a little bit. It looks like a piece of the piazza, which, can stay exactly where it is.

    I am still hoping for Little Baby’s to come down to the avenue. I’m still sad Toms prime meats is not going to be their south philly headquarters. :/

  • August 30, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Well, it did sound exciting but I won’t cry. However I will weigh in with this, I miss the old Iacovanni’s family bar there, aka, Alhambra. The original bar was a true thing of beauty. It was circular with art-deco recessed lighting and a host of other deco appointments. I’m not talking about the 80″s re-incarnation but the original.

  • August 31, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Maybe that’s what can go there…a “loungey” craft-cocktail bar. Nobody is really doing that on the avenue.

  • August 31, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I’m scratching my head. Why did the building need to be razed?

    • August 31, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      It was structurally unsound, from what I heard.

      • September 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm

        Albert, why not try simply checking facts, that’s what writers usually do…would you like the engineering report for your retraction?

      • September 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm

        Construction should start in about 6 weeks, delays because we did go back and re-engineer at quite a cost, as to NOT underpin the adjoining property. Underpinning has been problematic in the past, so we had to go back through ZBA for approval. We also decided to “tone down” the look of the building while we were going back to ZBA. We have switched architectural firms sometime ago, moving away from the underpinning and too modernistic a design for that corner, as we felt that the previous architectural firm was not representing our wishes. I believe the newly designed building will be an asset to the avenue, as property prices have increased since our purchase and our investment in new construction in the neighborhood.

        • September 5, 2014 at 11:37 am

          Any chance we can get the sidewalk on 12th opened back up or create a defined, walled-off path around the fencing that keeps cars from parking right up against where the fence ends and provides a buffer from the traffic? I know there’s always the option to cross at the crosswalk at 12th and Tasker but it would be a lot easier for a pedestrian pushing a stroller and a bike in the morning to not have to make multiple crossings (especially from the northeast corner of 12th and Morris to the southwest corner). Thanks!

          • September 8, 2014 at 10:12 pm

            Sweet! The sidewalk on 12th is back as of this afternoon. Thanks! And love the brick look (even if it is only temporary).

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