Today, Foobooz wonders whether Center City is “over”, at least when it comes to the restaurant scene. They take a look at the numbers, which reveal that Center is City is on pace to see the fewest restaurant openings in at least five years- kind of a surprise as we seem to be emerging from the economic doldrums. This comes as a bit of a shock to the system; it was Center City, after all, that put Philadelphia on the foodie map back in the 1990s, with Stephen Starr, Neil Stein, and a collection of BYOBs leading the way.
Rouge in Rittenhouse
But just because restaurants aren’t opening at the expected rate in Center City doesn’t mean that there’s not a significant number of new places opening in other parts of town. In fact, developments that…
After nearly ten years of offering high-end Laotian and Thai cuisine for reasonable prices, neighborhood restaurant Vientiane Cafe is eyeing an expansion.
From a distance
But manager Sunny Phanthavong says she is not sure when. The timing keeps changing. That’s because Vientiane, located on the 4700 block of Baltimore Avenue, cannot expand next door to 4726 Baltimore Ave. until current tenant Mariposa Food Co-op relocates to its new location up the block. That date has been pushed back a number of times, with the most recently predicted mid-February opening date coming and going without the move taking place.
Nevertheless, as part of the (eventual) expansion, Vientiane will add thirty new seats, making for a total of fifty in the establishment. They will also add two outdoor tables, complete minor interior renovations and change the menu up a little.…
La Va Cafe, at 2100 South St., opened almost six years ago in a space that previously held nuisance bar South Street Blues. Over the years, it’s become a go-to place in the neighborhood for the stay-at-home lunch crowd, the grad-school studying set, and transplanted Israelis looking for tasty shakshuka or burekas. Along with Ten Stone across the street, it’s helped transform a not-so-desirable intersection into a gateway to the neighborhood. Oh, and Honey’s is (still) on the way on the northwest corner of this intersection, come springtime (so we continue to be told).
View of the cafe
Earlier this month, La Va began an experiment. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 5pm, the cafe turns into a sit-down BYOB. While coffees and teas are still for sale for take-out, tapping away at a laptop is not allowed; sit…
As has been reported by everyone in town to this point, Bindi, the not-even-four-year-old BYOB whose Indian fare had been a favorite of ours, closed a couple of months back. The space, still controlled by Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, co-emperors of 13th St., is currently being transformed into Jamonera, a Spanish wine bar.
If you didn’t already know, Safran and Turney have taken over the formerly seedy block of 13th St. between Sansom and Chestnut Sts. and created a mini-empire in less than ten years. Open House, the couple’s first establishment on the block, opened in 2002 at a time when we convinced that Tony Goldman was insane and that Trust was doomed to fail (in our defense, El Vez took over that space in short order). At Grocery, they…
The future BYOB
Isabel BYOB will be coming very soon to one of the commercial spaces at the base of 2601 Pennsylvania Ave. The building, which is also home to a few other businesses and includes luxury condominiums, will be getting the new BYOB spot in place of a coffee shop that once called this space home.
Owner Michael Poole inside the space. Image from the Northeast Times
Van Chau and Michael Poole, the owners of Thai restaurant, Trio, which is also located in the Fairmount area, are responsible for the new restaurant which will serve up food with a Mexican-California twist. According to Poole in a recent interview with Northeast Times, what really solidified that this would be the perfect location for Isabel was the outdoor seating, which has excellent views of the Art Museum and…