Very recently it was announced that Rival Bros Coffee would be opening in the former Chiarella’s Ristorante location at 11th and Tasker. As it turns out, a coffee shop won’t be the only business taking over this former Italian restaurant’s space.
The portion of the location with an entrance on East Passyunk Avenue, which was originally the kitchen for Chiarella’s, is set to become the home of a different kind of beverage distributor. Pottstown-based small-batch distillery, Manatawny Still Works, has plans to open a tasting room in this storefront at 1603 E. Passyunk Ave.
At an East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association zoning meeting on Wednesday, preliminary plans were presented for the business. It is still very much a work-in-progress, as they’ve yet to sign a lease, but they are working with the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation and are in the process of obtaining a liquor license for this location.
The company started in 2012, with the distillery and tasting room in Pottstown opening in 2014. Manatawny Still Works uses Italian stills to produce spirits including whiskey, rum, gin and vodka. One of the partners in the business, Derek Menaldino, lives in Graduate Hospital and brought the company’s attention to East Passyunk Avenue for a new location for the distillery to sell its products.
So what exactly would a micro-distillery plan to do on the Avenue? This storefront would serve as a tasting room, with some samples and a limited cocktail menu, in addition to serving as a retail location for selling bottles and other branded merchandise. They hope to create an interior setting with hightop tables, a bar and stools that could accommodate for between 15 and 20 individuals. In the future they may also consider adding outdoor seating along East Passyunk Avenue.
If all goes as planned, they hope to open later this summer. Manatawny Still Works would be open to the public on Wednesday through Sunday, from approximately 12 p.m. through 11 p.m. The storefront would be used for corporate tastings on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Head to Manatawny Still Work’s website to learn more about the spirits they create.