Posted by Jason Sheehan on May 4th, 2011
Okay, so we’ve had a run of bad news lately, what with Harry G. Och’s pulling out of Reading Terminal Market after more than a hundred years, the Italian Bistro on Broad Street going down on Sunday, Tuscany Cafe closing on Monday, and Naked Chocolate Cafe shutting the doors as well (in a total defeat for marketing gurus who would claim that simply using the words “naked” and “chocolate” on the same sign should automatically make someone a gajillionaire). But hey, it’s spring right? And spring means rebirth, so the news isn’t all bad.
As already reported, Och’s has a new space in the Main Street Market in Manayunk. And new openings are still coming up fast in anticipation of the summer season. Matter of fact, I’ve got three for you right now.
First, longtime hotel chef Neal Drinkwine is now doing a comfort food two-a-day at the Doubletree at Broad and Locust with the opening of Balcony–the new mezzanine-level restaurant that will be serving breakfast and dinner in a big 180-seat space. The menu is solidly dreaming-of-mommy suburban, with crumb-topped mac-and-cheese, grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches with tomato soup, homemade meatloaf, day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches, lasagna and (for those whose suburban mommies were way cooler than mine) fried chicken and waffles.
I could actually kinda go for a plate of chicken and waffles right now…
There’s been lots of hype surrounding the impending Sunday, May 15 opening of Arrow Swim Club in Northern Liberties. Yeah, it’s a private club. Yeah, it’s $1000 per season. Yeah, it exists inside a walled compound on Germantown Avenue and will feature DJ nights and a poolside menu and private cabanas for the kinds of things that people dropping a grand for a pool pass do in private cabanas.
But on the day after Arrow debuts, owners Bart Blatstein and Nicole Cashman will be debuting Chenango–the public face of their private enterprise next door. Chenango will be a sit-down restaurant, serving 7 days a week (plus weekend brunches), and encompasses “The Backyard at Chenango”–a swath of green with picnic table seating and a gigantic backyard BBQ. Chef Tim McGinty (most recently ex of the Anchor & Hope Inn in London and The Old Mill in Dublin) has been brought across the ocean to run the kitchen (and BBQ) at Chenango–which will also supply Arrow with all the flatbreads and green salads its members require.
I’m just wondering how long it will take (and how hot and drunk the Chenango crowds will have to get) before the riff-raff start scaling the walls and invading the private, members-only enclave next door to swim in the pool, jam up the outdoor bar and eat all the ahi tuna burgers and goat cheese flatbreads in the place. 15 minutes is what I’m hoping for.
I’ll bring my ladder.