Dim the lights and pass the popcorn: The Main Line could be getting its first luxury movie palace.
The owner of the Swedesford Plaza Shopping Center is in serious talks with an upscale theater company to turn the dowdy old Tredyffrin Pathmark into a state-of-the-art cinema experience.On the drawing board: an on-site, chef-driven restaurant, a full bar and patio dining, not to mention the usual digital sound, stadium seating and cushy recliners equipped with server “call buttons.” Tredyffrin’s been screenless for decades. An AMC theater in Gateway (now a Panera) went dark in the early 90s.
Swedesford Plaza’s owner/landlord, ECHO Realty, won’t say which dine-in movie company is eyeing the space, only that it would be similar in concept and size to a Movie Tavern – but won’t be a Movie Tavern.
Just one snag.
The township would have to lift a deed restriction that forbids entertainment at the shopping center, a measure enacted in the 90s to prevent an off-track betting venue near the old Valley Forge Music Fair, according to ECHO attorney George Broseman’s letter to Tredyffrin officials.
ECHO was also considering an offer to put a Tesla “car delivery hub” at the Pathmark site but is now focused on the movie theater, Broseman tells SAVVY.
At a meeting with neighbors, ECHO Senior VP Drew Gorman explained that it had tried – and failed – to reel in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other grocers. (Reportedly out of the country, Gorman did not return our request for details but Sharon Humble, a neighbor who attended the meeting, kindly shared her notes with us.)
Gorman also talked about Swedesford Plaza’s other big vacancy, HHGregg. According to Sharon’s notes, ECHO hopes to sign a retail or office tenant but might temporarily fill the space with an indoor hockey facility.
Sharon says neighbors are mostly on board with the proposed theater – although some worry about traffic patterns, especially drivers unfamiliar with neighborhood roads going the wrong way over the Contention Lane bridge.
ECHO plans one more powwow with neighbors (date and time TBD) before it presents its theater plans to Tredyffrin Supervisors in August or September.
Radnor H.S. ’12 alum to open marijuana dispensary in DevonOK, so we were mildly surprised to hear that one of the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries would open in sleepy old Easttown.
But when we heard who’s running the show – and how young he is – we were, well, sort of floored.
Here’s the scoop: The old Dairy Queen building at 420 W. Lancaster Ave. will become a “Keystone Dispensary” on or before Dec. 29, 2017.
(Coincidentally, the dispensary will be just a short stroll from another sign of the times – the huge addiction treatment center currently under construction at the old Devon Manor.)
Easttown, by the way, has no say in the matter; the old DQ is zoned commercial. Two other Keystone Dispensaries were approved: one in King of Prussia at 120 Hansen Access Rd. and the other in Yeadon borough near Upper Darby.
But here’s the eyebrow-raiser: Keystone’s CEO is 23-year-old Michael Badey, Radnor High School Class of 2012 and Fordham Class of 2016.
Sure, Mike, who still lives in Radnor, is getting a huge assist from other principals/backers including his father, attorney George Badey, his longtime neighbor & physician friend, Dr. Louis van de Beek, and his wife, Diane Exline van de Beek, and cannabis consultant Skip Shuda.
But Mike appears to be driving the bus. He tells SAVVY his primary job since his college graduation has been filling out the state’s 181-page application, an “arduous” ordeal. Clearly, late nights at his computer (and his business degree) paid off. His Chamounix Ventures team beat out more than 250 hopefuls to win one of just 27 highly-coveted dispensary permits issued by the PA Dept. of Health a few weeks ago.
(The Badey name may ring a bell. The longtime chair of Radnor Township’s Democrats, George Badey ran for Congress against Pat Meehan in 2012.)
So how does a young millennial get in the medical marijuana business?
Michael tells us he’s always “had a passion for helping people.” In high school, he sold candy in Radnor’s cafeteria, raising $700 for a charity that helps alleviate water shortages in Africa. In college, he planned to start a nonprofit, SoberSyncUp.org, that would provide free or low-cost sober-only social events to people in recovery. But that project got derailed, he says, when the “opportunity to lead Keystone’s team was presented … For a recent graduate to be offered a position surrounded by the kindest and most intelligent people one could ever hope to meet, how could I say no?”
Before he got involved with Keystone, Mike tells us he’d only known two medicinal cannabis users but has since “met many more.”
He calls medicinal cannabis a safe alternative to opioids. “People should know that in states where medical cannabis is legal, the rate of opiate deaths is 20 to 30 percent lower.”
And how did the Keystone group choose Devon?
It fit the bill. It’s more than 1,000 feet from a school or day care center (as PA requires), has a secure rear delivery area, is near public transit and highways and has plenty of parking, Mike says.
And how does Mike respond to fears that his dispensary, still an all-cash business, might bring crime to the area?
He dismisses such worrries as “entirely unfounded.” Each dispensary will be “more secure than a pharmacy,” he says. “Patients will come in through a secure, video-monitored portal” and will have to show proper documentation from their doctors. Nothing will be consumed on site, he adds.
Two side notes: PA physicians can prescribe cannabis for 17 conditions including autism, PTSD, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, Crohn’s, terminal illness and glaucoma. Also, PA is only allowing the sale of marijuana in liquid or gel forms. No smokables or edibles can be sold.
A few prominent (and yes, much older) locals also received state approval, among them Keith Morgan, Chase Lenfest, and Osagie Imasogie. (Lindy Snider was denied but reportedly will apply again.)
AAMCO heir and Krispy Kreme King Keith Morgan and a partner are opening “Holistic Pharma” cannabis dispensaries in W. Norriton, Bensalem and Philly. They’ll also grow and process at Holistic Farms in western PA.
Lenfest’s group, Prime Wellness, got the green light for a growing operation in Berks County.
And Imasogie’s Ilera Healthcare plans to open a growing facility in south-central PA and a dispensary in Plymouth Meeting.
Waterloo Gardens: Going, going, (almost) gone
Now’s the time to get one last gander at the old Waterloo Gardens.
Or not. (Because, frankly, the place is nothing to look at these days.)
After years of disputes, delays, dashed and downsized plans, Devon Yard is finally happening, folks. Or as developer Eli Kahn tells us: “Urban is full steam ahead.”
Demolition crews are on site; the buildings should come tumbling down any day now.
Kahn says the new Terrain, Anthropologie, Pizzeria Vetri, Bar Amis and event space – aka Devon Yard – should open in late spring of 2018. Finalement.
Shades of PSU Piazza tragedy in former Shipley family’s suit vs. Drexel frats
Once a standout lacrosse player at Shipley School, Ian McGibbon of Narberth, 23, is a shell of himself: he walks with a brace, can’t use his left arm, needs help getting in and out of the shower, has frequent seizures, and forgets things. A court has declared him mentally incapacitated.
At a news conference on Thursday, his parents blamed two Drexel fraternities, three of Ian’s frat brothers, and Cavanaugh’s Riverdeck, among others, for their son’s “catastrophic and permanent disabilities.”
Roddy and Liz McGibbon have filed suit, claiming no one called 911 for 10 hours after Ian was knocked to the ground and hit his head in a Sept. 2015 fight between members of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and Delta Sigma Phi. The students were walking home after an all-you-can-drink night at Cavanaugh’s Riverdeck.
When they hadn’t heard from their son by noon of the next day, the McGibbons said they found their son in his frat house, unconscious, non-responsive and covered in blood and vomit and called 911.
Named in the suit are the two Drexel fraternities, three of Ian’s Pi Kappa Phi brothers, two Delta Sigma Pi members involved in the fight, and Cavanaugh’s. The university is not named.
“How many more college students are going to be left abandoned on a couch while their brain swells and their brothers, fraternity, don’t call 911,” said Robert Mongeluzzi, the McGibbon’s attorney, at the news conference, as reported by Philly.com.
Said Ian’s father, Roddy: “I can’t help but feel if 911 had been called, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now. “
Aging Wayne motel wants a do-over
In business for eons, Valley Forge Motor Court’s days on W. Anthony Wayne Drive may be numbered.
Ramanial Patel has been operating his one-story motel behind Black Powder Tavern since he bought the place in the early 80s. But these days, he’s setting his sights higher – three stories higher.
Patel wants to bulldoze his motel and build a four-story Sleep Inn in its place.
One issue: His blueprints show a 50 ft. building – 8 feet higher than code.
Patel has asked for zoning relief via his attorney Dave Falcone of Saul Ewing, who tells us a decision from Tredyffrin’s zoning board is expected July 28.
True Food Kitchen debuts in KOP
True Food Kitchen just opened in the shadow of Shake Shack at the Mall.
Putting angelic dining just a stone’s throw from devilish indulgence.
Virtue sharing a parking lot with sin.
We exaggerate – but only a little.
Because True Food serves up the whole-iest food around, meaning:
- your grass-fed burger ($16) on a flax-seed bun gets topped with umami mushrooms and arugula instead of melted cheddar;
- your dumplings get stuffed with edamame ($9), not pork;
- the guacamole is flecked with kale ($10);
- and a B.LT. becomes a T.L.T., with smoked tempeh subbing for bacon ($12).
Truly, True Food is where processed food, juicy sirloins, mashed potatoes and gooey nachos go to die.
So we can all live a little skinnier and maybe a lot longer.
The place is huge – 7,000 square feet – with 215 seats at tables, 68 on the covered side patio and 28 at a large central bar.
And yes, they do serve alcohol. Cocktails and mocktails are made with fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, naturally.
The vibe is bright and chipper with eco flourishes like reclaimed wood floors and chairs made from salvaged soda bottles.
The kitchen’s 100-percent open – no secrets, only truth therein.
True Food KOP is the Arizona-based chain’s 20th store and its first in PA.
Co-founded by integrative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, the day-to-night menu is inspired by Weil’s signature anti-inflammatory diet. We’re told the good doctor still tastes and approves all menus.
Among our faves at the media preview: the spicy Shiitake Lettuce Cups ($10), the Farmers Market Crudités – a rainbow of heirloom delights almost too pretty to eat ($13), the Ancient Grains bowl ($14), and the Grass-fed Steak Tacos ($17). Prices top out at $23 for Scottish Steelhead Salmon. Most items are in the teens.
Note to food purists: Only the “dirty dozen” fruits & veggies are guaranteed organic.
True Food Kitchen, 239 Mall Boulevard, King of Prussia, 484-751-1954, is open M – Th 11-10, F & Sa. until 11, Su. ’til 9. Weekend brunch from 10 a.m. Lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items.
Longtime local chef helms La Jolie, Wayne’s newest BYOB
There’s a new bistro in town – a breath of fresh French air for Wayne’s Italian- and pub-heavy dining scene.
If you like A La Maison in Ardmore, expect similar fare at La Jolie.
Owner/chef is Maurice Kim deRamus, founding chef at A La Maison and Paramour at the Wayne Hotel.
It took Maurice a year to turn the former West Avenue Pizza into an intimate 38-seat BYOB. (Talk about hands-on: The CIA-trained chef tells SAVVY he laid the floor and painted the walls himself.)
La Jolie opened quietly last weekend with a limited menu of elegant French dishes, Maurice says classic rabbit, duck and beef bourguignon are coming soon.
Figure on appetizers and salads in the teens; entrées in the high 20s (except for the $38 filet-migon-with-foie-gras Steak Frites).
La Jolie, 18 West Ave., Wayne (behind Great American Pub), is open Tues. – Thurs. 5 to 9; Fri. and Sat. until 10. Closed Sun. and Mon. Reserve on Open Table or call 610-687-1074.
Duck Donuts all year roundNo need to drive to Avalon or the Outer Banks to get your Duck Donuts fix.
The crazy-popular chain is now frying up the fluffy stuff at the new King of Prussia Town Center.
Unlike a certain other DD franchise, these donuts don’t sit out in display cases.
Each is made to order. Just name your preferred coating, drizzle or sprinkle.
The chain has national ambitions – 165 franchises have already been sold in 16 states – but its roots are local. Founder Russ DiGilio is a Rosemont native (Archbishop Carroll Class of ’74, WCU ’78).
An Outer Banks vacationer, Russ thought the area needed a good donut shop. He opened his first stores in Duck and Kitty Hawk in 2007 and began franchising four years ago.
At Russ’ urging – he didn’t have to twist our arms too hard – we tried the maple icing topped with diced bacon. Warm and wonderful.
Duck Donuts, 201 Main Street, King of Prussia (across from City Works) is open from 6 a.m. daily.
And speaking of ducks … where did they go in Haverford?
Main Line moms are mourning the loss of a favorite stroller stop this summer. Seems the Haverford College Duck Pond has been dry and quack-free since June 1.
Some say snapping turtles preying on defenseless ducks forced the College to drain the pond, but Haverford spokesman Chris Mills offers a more ecological explanation: the pond had silted up since its last dredging 25 years ago, stressing the ecosystem. Dredging will be finished by early August, he says, and the pond will begin to refill naturally.
A green light near the Paoli Train Station
Paoli’s long-held dream of a walkable, transit-oriented downtown inched forward this week.
After a two-year tug of war, Tredyffrin Supes greenlit a developer’s preliminary plans to bulldoze these ugly old office buildings on North Valley Road …
… and build one large apartment building – 153 units plus a pool – in their place.
To ease neighbors’ fears of traffic and impaired views, developer Linden Lane Capital Partners radically changed course, consolidating three buildings into one.Linden Lane also threw a big fat bone to the Paoli train station project, pledging to donate an acre to PennDOT, which should allow the new Darby Rd. Bridge to be built sooner rather than later.
A sweet addition to Ardmore: Delice et ChocolatFolks are flipping for Ardmore’s new French bakery café on Station Avenue.
Among its goodies: the best macarons we’ve ever tasted, assorted house-made chocolates and pastries and classic lunch fare like croque monsieur, quiches and salads.
The only nods to the shop’s 75-year history as Centofani tailors: a “Tailor Misu” dessert (adorable, right?) and a salvaged mirror.
Owners are brothers Joseph and Antoine Amrani and Joseph’s wife, Angela Cheng.
You might recognize Joseph from his days running Paramour at the Wayne Hotel. He also opened Le Mas Perrier in Eagle Village (now Autograph Brasserie).
The Amranis have serious French cred. Not only were they born in Grenoble, but they both worked at La Bec Fin, where Antoine was executive pastry chef.
Homemade gelati, sorbets and ice cream are coming soon. Cool.
Delice et Chocolat, 7 Station Ave., Ardmore, 610-649-7001, is open Tues-Fri. 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat. 8 – 6 and Sun. 8 – 2.
Pun’s heads east
Holy Hot Wheels, Batman!
A new Pun’s Toy Shop will open in Ardmore in early September – just months after the 33-year-old store called it quits in Bryn Mawr.
Pun’s manager Paulette Kules is resurrecting Pun’s on Rittenhouse Place in the former Christian Science Reading Room.
“It completely dropped into my lap,” Paulette tells SAVVY. Pun’s owner Joe Berardoni, who sold the building and is retiring, gave her the Pun’s name and his blessing, she says.
Her new place will still be a “go-to gift shop”: heavy on the classic toys and crafts, light on the electronics.
She also plans to beef up her selection of outdoor items and board games for older kids “so they’re not just watching Netflix or firing up their iPads.”
Get it while it’s hot
Ardmore Restaurant Week is here today… and gone after July 31.
Eleven restaurants are offering three courses for $25 – $35; Seven casual spots are offering “Happy Hour” discounts on signature dishes from 5 to 7 p.m.
Heading off to college?
The nonprofit mental-health group, Minding Your Mind, will host “How to be Successful as a College Freshman,” a free community conversation for parents and students on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Temple Beth Hillel in Wynnewood.
Two of MYM’s young adult speakers, Katya and Jon, will talk about one of life’s trickier transitions, tackling such topics as freshmen-year stressors, recognizing signs of mental health and addiction disorders, and how to help a friend in crisis. Register here.