Northeast Times

More new restaurants head for Fishtown

With a gour­met pizzer­ia, small mu­sic ven­ue and res­taur­ant on the menu, a re­cent zon­ing meet­ing show­cased Fishtown’s rising repu­ta­tion as a din­ing and night­life hot spot.

With Steph­en Starr’s new Frank­ford Hall, the re­cently opened Fathom res­taur­ant, and the now-hir­ing bar­be­cue joint at Gir­ard Av­en­ue and Leo­pard Street, Fishtown is rap­idly grow­ing as a place for night­life and fine din­ing.

And, if a Ju­ly 12 meet­ing of the Fishtown Zon­ing Com­mit­tee is any in­dic­a­tion — it usu­ally is — this trend shows no sign of slow­ing.

That even­ing, de­tails were presen­ted for a new res­taur­ant with live mu­sic at 1310–1312 Frank­ford Ave. and res­id­ents over­whelm­ingly sup­port­ing the much-buzzed about Pizza Brain, an eat­ery/mu­seum/po­ten­tial world re­cord hold­er open­ing fur­ther up the road.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, or­gan­izers for Pizza Brain, a pizzer­ia that plans to host a mu­seum of pizza-themed mem­or­ab­il­ia, un­veiled designs for the pro­ject show­ing out­door seat­ing in a small court­yard be­hind the res­taur­ant and liv­ing space that the own­ers plan to in­hab­it.

As presen­ted last week, the plan — which was ap­proved at the meet­ing by a vote of 53-3 — would in­clude a 355-square-foot din­ing room, an open-air pizza prep area with a sur­round­ing coun­ter­top for ad­di­tion­al seat­ing, and the afore­men­tioned 459-square-foot court­yard.

Loc­ated at 2313 Frank­ford Ave., the space was formerly home to the Little Flower Shoppe.

The pro­pos­al also in­cludes liv­ing space above the res­taur­ant and in a de­tached rear gar­age where the own­ers plan to live.

Yet, even with such an over­whelm­ing vote of sup­port, res­id­ents shared con­cerns with the own­ers like ex­tra trash that could come to the com­munity when the busi­ness opens and of­fers take out food.

Open­ing the pizzer­ia are Fishtown res­id­ents Bri­an Dwyer and Mi­chael Carter along with South Car­o­lina pizza chef Joe Hunter and Ry­an An­der­son, a loc­al de­sign­er and sculptor.

“We care about the com­munity,” as­sured Carter. “I hate trash, but Frank­ford Av­en­ue is a busi­ness dis­trict … That said, I can’t wait to un­til we par­ti­cip­ate in the first cleanup day (after we open).”

The own­ers said that, as loc­al res­id­ents — they will be liv­ing above the busi­ness — they in­tend to be good neigh­bors, and Dwyer said he’s been meet­ing stead­ily with neigh­bors on the block to en­sure a pos­it­ive loc­al re­la­tion­ship as the busi­ness moves for­ward.

The own­ers hope to open Pizza Brain some­time in the first quarter of 2012.

Just down the street from Pizza Brain, a new live mu­sic ven­ue and res­taur­ant could be com­ing to the neigh­bor­hood. 

Alex Gen­eral­is, of Miles and Gen­eral­is De­vel­op­ment, presen­ted the out­line of a pro­ject that could bring a 60-seat live mu­sic ven­ue and res­taur­ant to 1306-1312 Frank­ford Ave.

Over­all, the space is about 6,400 square feet on the ground floor with 2600 square feet avail­able on a mezzan­ine level.

Gen­eral­is said the pro­ject — which does not need a vari­ance from the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment to build — was in­ten­ded to be a small “pi­ano bar or spot for a folk sing­er.”

Gen­eral­is ex­pects the eat­ery and live mu­sic por­tion to be about 4,000 square feet.

The ad­di­tion­al space, he sug­ges­ted, might be used to cre­ate a 2,000 square foot “neigh­bor­hood com­mer­cial space”.

Gen­eral­is sug­ges­ted a deli or sim­il­ar busi­ness could use that space.

Also, there is space avail­able for out­door seat­ing for an ad­di­tion­al 40 pat­rons.

Mak­ing his in­ten­tions clear, Gen­eral­is as­sured the crowd that the busi­ness would not be a night club. In fact, the li­quor li­cense he ob­tained ex­pli­citly pro­hib­its host­ing a nightclub or cab­aret.

However, he does plan on selling to-go beer.

“Per­haps, growl­ers may come out of there,” he said, pro­pos­ing the 64-ounce jugs of draught beer would be more likely than six-packs.

The prop­erty would in­clude about 14 park­ing spots in the rear and, if needed, Gen­eral­is said, there is a mu­ni­cip­al lot loc­ated at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Thompson Street for ad­ded park­ing.

“We see this as a key corner for Frank­ford Av­en­ue,” said the de­veloper.

Cur­rently, Gen­eral­is is work­ing with at least three sep­ar­ate res­taur­at­eurs that could fill that space. He didn’t want to spec­u­late on what type of res­taur­ant might oc­cupy the build­ing.

The build­ing is now be­ing ren­ov­ated and he hopes to have it oc­cu­pied by the end of the year.

Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be reached at 215-354-3124 or hmit­man@bsmphil­lya.com

You can reach at hmitman@bsmphilly.com.

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