Great balls of fire! Wayne’s about to get what Ardmore’s had for years: its own live music hall.
118 North will open on N. Wayne Avenue Feb. 15, adding a touch of Austin/Nashville to our fair town.
To which we say: Rock it to us.
Partners in the venture hail from the Ardmore Music Hall and Wayne Music Festival. With a solid-gold record, here’s hoping they have a hit on their hands.
The group has blown open the old McGillicuddy’s, whose owners are also 118 North partners. They’ve knocked down the center wall, blacked out the ceiling, installed a big rear stage and state-of-the-art sound and lighting.
“It’s a mini version of Ardmore,” 1118 North partner Kenny Kearns tells SAVVY.
Not all that mini, actually. The place looks downright spacious these days and can hold up to 200, we’re told.
Kearns, who lives only a few blocks away, is Mr. Music in these parts. He’s the founder of the Wayne Music Festival, a rollicking street fair that gets bigger and better each June. He’s also a member of Rugby Road, a band from his undergrad days at ’Nova that’s still jammin’ along – recording and playing gigs – 27 years later.
118 North will have a full bar and kitchen. Look for American beers and wines and southwestern fare. Owners have cleaned house, hiring a new chef and a new GM.
Local, regional and national acts are booked into April. In the mix: a range of musical styles including Americana, funk, roots, jam, blues, singer-songwriter.
No cover bands but expect the occasional tribute act.
Tommy Conwell, who last rocked the Ardmore Music Hall in November, will rumble on over in March, Kearns says.
The tentative lineup:
- Tuesdays: “chill” night with solo artists or a vinyl party.
- Wednesdays: musician open mic nights hosted by Hezekiah Jones.
- Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays: bands and bigger-name acts.
- Sundays: theme nights, e.g. bluegrass, blues, etc.
Tickets for most shows will be $5 (cheaper than Ardmore Music Hall) and will be sold via Ticket Fly – the same service Ardmore uses. They’ll open at 3 pm daily (closed Mondays).
“Our goal is for people to eat at local restaurants then head over to 118 North for some great live music,” Kearns says.
Sounds swell, right?
Jailed ex-Conestoga teacher’s aide commits suicide
Arthur Phillips, the Conestoga TV studio aide who pleaded guilty to the repeated sexual assault of a then-15-year-old student, was found unresponsive in his cell at Graterford prison Jan. 28.
“Cause of death: asphyxiation due to hanging. The manner of death was suicide,” said Montco First Deputy Coroner Alexander Balacki, reading the autopsy report.
Phillips, 67, was serving a 10- to 20- year sentence for indecent sexual assault, corruption of minors and related charges. A longtime resident of Potter Lane in Wayne, he was arrested last April and was sentenced two days before Thanksgiving.
A tragedy all around, Phillips’ death doesn’t end this sorry chapter for the Conestoga community. The victim’s parents have sued the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District and Conestoga Principal Amy Meisinger in federal court.
Apparent murder-suicide in Wayne
Radnor police are investigating the shooting deaths of a middle-aged mother and her son.
According to the Delco Medical Examiner’s office, the bodies of Alita Byrd, 50, and her son, Devon Byrd, 23, were found on the floor of 262 Highland Ave., the mother’s twin home in West Wayne, near the Radnor Trail and Odorisio Park.
Police said there were multiple firearms in the house. Officers entered the house Jan.31 after a neighbor reported seeing mail piling up and cars staying parked out front.
Police say the two may have been dead for a week.
A new ANEU in Rosemont
ANEU has sprouted anew.
The Paoli-based caterer and “Kitchen & Juicery” just opened a second outpost near the Rosemont train station.
And boy, is it a keeper.
We breezed in on opening day for a quick look-see. Darn if we didn’t stay a while, sipping ANEU’s new elixir, sampling tasty salads and sweets, and admiring the café’s bright-and-fresh vibe.
The new ANEU replaces the Gryphon Café at what was, until very recently, the headquarters of the New Leaf Club. (For more on that switcheroo, see below.)
With just 28 seats, the place is small, but its grab-and-go selection is mighty.
“Most of my catering clients are on this side,” says owner Meridith Coyle, referring to the Main Line’s Great (unofficial) Divide, the Blue Route. “Lots of customers from our days at Strafford Farmer’s Market are coming in. We’ve been packed.”
Indeed, it was ANEU Catering client Mary Nixon, the building’s owner and founder of the New Leaf Club once housed there, who urged Coyle to lease the café space.
ANEU’s chefs prepare everything fresh daily in Paoli, then transport it to Rosemont.
On the menu: Fresh-pressed organic juices, healthy breakfast bowls and sandwiches, smoothies, salads, soups, wraps and house-baked goodies. OK, not everything is absolutely virtuous – but meats and poultry are hormone/antibiotic free and there’s plenty here for vegans and gluten-free folks.
And ANEU leans organic, subscribing to the “Clean 15/Dirty Dozen” guidelines espoused by nutrition guru Andrew Weil.
All the salads we tried were fab, but our personal faves were the mango chicken and the broccoli/pistachio.
And did we mention the coffee is La Colombe (!?!) There’s lots of parking, so if you’re shut out of Bryn Mawr Village, get your La Colombe latte here.
As for that wondrous “elixir” mentioned above: It’s an inflammation-busting blend of fresh ginger, lemon, honey and filtered water. A souvenir from Coyle’s recent trip to the famed Miraval spa. Take it to your fluish friend or sip it yourself to keep the bugs at bay.
BTW, get a gander at the redone rear section of ANEU in Paoli, which still awaits a few finishing touches. There’s a new coffee bar up front and free WiFi throughout.
Perfect place to meet pals for coffee and you won’t struggle to find a seat a la Starbucks. (Plus, it’s locally owned.)
*** And for all you SAVVY SUBSCRIBERS out there, we’ve got a tasty FREEBIE for you at ANEU in PAOLI AND ROSEMONT!***
That’s right. Stop by either ANEU for a complimentary SAVVY Scone! Just show them one of our emails on your phone to prove you’re a subscriber and a fresh-baked cinnamon-chip mini scone is yours. (Sorry, “liking” us on Facebook doesn’t count.) We’d like to think SAVVY Scones are a bit like SAVVY: they go down easy – a tad spicy, a tad sweet, and not half bad for you. (Cinnamon’s a super-spice, btw. It fights heart disease and inflammation and keeps our brain cells firing.)
Not a SAVVY email subscriber yet? Scroll up to the sign-up form on top right. (On mobile, scroll all the way down.) Score your free scone through Feb. 28.
ANEU Kitchen and Juicery, 1225 Montrose Ave. (behind Rosemont Square), is open Mon. and Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tues. and Thurs. 6:30 a.m. to 8, and Sat. and Sun. 6:30 to 3:30. Private parties up to 30. ANEU Paoli, 1556 Lancaster Ave., is open daily for coffee, breakfast and lunch. Private parties up to 125. Free Wifi in both locations.
Center for Families takes over New Leaf Club HQ, plans new community center
ANEU’s not the only western biz heading east. Only a year old, the non-profit Center for Families (CFF) in Malvern is expanding to a second location in Rosemont, taking over the New Leaf Club next to the new ANEU.
After five years, New Leaf is turning over a new leaf. It will operate out of offices in Bala Cynwyd.
“We’re getting out of the building and personnel business but our mission is the same,” says New Leaf Club founder Mary Nixon, who owns the building and leases to ANEU and to CFF.
Since its founding, scores of youth and families struggling with addiction, mental health issues have found kinship, information and support at New Leaf.
Nixon says the shift away from bricks and mortar will likely mean a more intense focus on New Leaf’s uplifting arts and entertainment programs.
Support groups that began under the auspices of New Leaf are still meeting upstairs at the Rosemont facility. The first floor remains closed for renovations. CFF hopes to reopen the space for large-group events in mid-March.
Expansion to Rosemont brings the Center closer to clients in Montco and Philly, according to CFF Program Director Erin Ziegelmeyer. And the refurbished large-group space will allow CFF to hold community events that address mental health, addiction and learning issues. “We really want to partner with local businesses and groups who might want to rent the space and collaborate with us,” says Ziegelmeyer. “The Main Line wants a community center, a place where kids can go. We want to be that resource.”
A fascinating footnote: CFF runs a rather unique high school out of its Malvern location for kids struggling with addiction, bullying, eating disorders and other mental health issues. Currently 13 teens who “slipped under the radar” at schools like Conestoga and private schools attend the school which debuted last fall, Ziegelmeyer tells us. The program includes four hours of teacher-led academics followed by a range of therapeutic activities and outings.
Local rockers kill it on CONAN
If you thought the Eagles’ quick climb up the mountaintop was a shocker, how about the rapid-fire rise of the Stoga-bred band, Mt. Joy?
Exactly one year to the day the indie-folk rockers played their very first gig at a small club in LA, they played Conan.
Yup, a national TV audience saw Matt Quinn (Conestoga ’09), Sam Cooper (Conestoga ’07) et. al. perform their new single, “Silver Lining,” on Conan O’Brien’s late night show last week.
And may we say, they crushed it.
Named for a well-trod hiking spot in Valley Forge Park one hill away from the Coopers’ home on Mt. Misery, Mt. Joy is on fire. “It’s been incredible,” Sam tells SAVVY, especially since he says the band started “as a bit of a lark.”
Quinn had just started law school and Cooper was already an attorney when, just for kicks, they put their first song, “Astrovan,” on Spotify. “Astrovan” went viral, getting a million plays in a month. The two bagged their law careers, wrote and released new songs, and started touring across the country as Mt. Joy. “We’ll enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts,” Cooper tells SAVVY.
From where we’re sitting, they should be riding a good long time.
WXPN named Mt. Joy its pick for one of eight national “artists to watch in 2018” in NPR’s national “slingshot” program. The band’s music is in heavy play on WXPN and Alt Nation (Sirius Channel 36). Their debut album, “Mt. Joy,” (Dualtone Records) drops March 2 and will be sold online and at Urban Outfitters.
The band’s already performed at Made In America, will be showcased all week long at South by Southwest (again), and – calendar alert – swings back to Philly to play the Foundry at the Fillmore May 19, part of an album tour of the U.S. and Canada.
“I’ve always been a little in awe of Matt’s songwriting and vocal talent,” says Matt’s mom, Dore Carl Quinn. Matt is the lead vocalist and songwriter, although Sam and the gang make major contributions. “Matt’s clearly following his passion. Matt and Sam are living their dream!”
Merion Cricket expansion is a go
Looks like that most genteel of gems, Merion Cricket Club, is about to get a major overhaul in Haverford.
Lower Merion township last week OKed a plan that expands the historic club’s holdings from 13 to 18 acres. Seven neighboring homes – on some of the town’s toniest streets (Grays, Cheswold and Elbow Lanes) – will be bulldozed; four others (all on Elbow) get repurposed.
On the Club’s just-approved drawing board: a new pool complex with on-site dining and bar, a mini-spa, overnight lodging (a la Union League), a greenhouse, new and reconfigured paddle courts, relocated tennis courts and extra parking.
It’s all part of Merion Cricket’s multi-year master plan: bolster sagging membership by buying up and expanding into contiguous properties and upgrading amenities.
The club may be overdue for a freshening up. It’s been based in its iconic Frank Furness clubhouse in Haverford for 126 of its 153 years.
Wrapping herself in the flag and having a Ball
Loved the green gowns and bow ties, but Bryn Mawr’s Anne Hamilton gets our vote for Best (and Most Affordably) Dressed at this year’s Academy Ball. A positively prescient fashion choice eight days before the Super Bowl, right?
The Main Line’s unofficial Queen of Philanthropy/Champion of Culture, Anne’s added a green-and-silver lining to her playbook: Eagles Cheerleader-in-Chief. Not only did she and Matt bring their entire brood to the big game, but she posted a live Facebook video from the parade, where she appears to have had a police escort. Nice.
Btw, this year’s Ball was a barnburner, selling out for the first time in a decade and grossing a record $2 million. Proceeds help keep one of Philly’s finest, our treasured Academy of Music, looking fly.
Why such boffo box office for the Academy Ball’s 61st go-round? Some say guest banjoist Steve Martin was the game changer. Others allude to the Fry Effect. Seems Drexel President John Fry, a Ball co-chair, brought in a bunch of fresh faces.
But as in football, the fundraising war is won in the trenches. So kudos to those who served on the front lines in a volunteer committee. Job well done.
After 22 years leading the rescue, renovation and expansion of the historic Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Mary Foote is stepping down as executive director.
And what a footprint she’ll leave behind.
Thanks to the ongoing success of the Bank on The Arts campaign championed by Foote, the Colonial now shows first-run, indie and classic films on screens in three theaters. It also sells beer and wine (!) in its smashing new lobby.
Besides movies, the theater hosts concerts, comedy shows and community events.
If you haven’t yet seen the Colonial’s marvelous makeover of the adjacent Bank of Phoenixville, hoof it on over to see Foote’s legacy one day soon.
Devon resident gets top philanthropy nod
A SAVVY shoutout to Haverford School ’88 alum Bill Golderer, who just took on a massive job: President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Phila. and South Jersey.
Count on Golderer to make his mark.
Just 48, he’s a proven social-impact innovator and collaborator. He founded Broad Street Ministry to serve the homeless and co-founded Rooster Soup Company, a crowd-funded non-profit luncheonette where all revenues feed the needy.
As senior pastor at Arch Street Presbyterian Church, Golderer ministers to a diverse congregation and helped found Arch Street Preschool, which serves kids of all income levels.
An alum of SMU and Yale Divinity School, he’s taught and lectured at top-flight institutions, and served on numerous boards.
Two years ago, he was so fed up with our polarized politics that he ran for Patrick Meehan’s seat in Congress. He lost the Dems nomination and is putting politics aside to advance United Way’s mission: to end intergenerational poverty.
“I took on this role because poverty looms as one of our greatest challenges – it traps our families and limits our entire region’s potential,” said Golderer, in a statement. “It’s time to stop families from passing on poverty through generations and provide opportunities for our youth and families to thrive. Together, in partnership with the business community, the nonprofit sector, and our public officials, we can achieve this.”
If there’s a united way out of poverty, Golderer sure seems like the guy to find it.
This and That
Reach around and pat yourself on the back if you have the good sense to live in Lower Merion. Money Magazine just named LM the “best place to live in PA.” Among its virtues cited: low crime, high median household incomes ($117K/yr.), top schools (97% graduation rate), and plentiful parks and colleges.
Kudos to Conestoga, again ranked the #1 public high school in PA by Niche Media. Germantown Friends was tops among private schools, followed by Haverford School (#2), Baldwin (#3), Episcopal (#4), Agnes Irwin (#7) and Friends Central (#8). And Main Line schools took the top five spots in Niche’s 2018 elementary school rankings: Ithan (#1), Penn Wynne (#2), Merion (#3), Cynwyd (#4) and Radnor (#5).
Eat the rainbow, nutritionists tell us. Easier said than done, right? Bryn Mawr’s BodyX is bringing in guest chef Amandah Povlitis to explain how it’s done at an “eat and learn” dinner on Feb. 15. Povlitis will talk about nature’s “convenient color coordination” and prepare a colorful plant-based dinner.
Or indulge in a Big Fat Greek cooking lesson – Macedonia meets Mykonos! – with Chef Frances Vavloukis on Feb. 22. Details/tickets here.
♬ Let them call her sweetheart ♬
For Your Sweetie Who (Already) Has Everything: May we suggest a singing Valentine – either in person or via web video. For just $50 – $85, a barbershop quartet from the Bryn Mawr Mainliners will serenade her with sweet nothings. Red rose, box of chocolates and romantic card included. Proceeds help keep the nonprofit chorus singing their hearts out. Order online or call President Jeff Porter at 610.202.7676
Foodie alert: You can now reserve a Chef’s Table at the tiny Wayne BYOB, At the Table, giving you a front-row seat to Chef Alex Hardy’s culinary creativity. Order the five-course tasting ($65) or go a la carte. (Their four-course Sunday supper is $45.) At the Table’s been slinging New American/French fare for a full year now at 11 Louella Court.
Those hares at the Haas estate in Villanova are as hopped up as we are.
Natural Lands Trust, the nonprofit that will open the former Haas property, Stoneleigh, as a public garden in mid-May, bedecked its beloved wooden bunnies for the playoffs. And after Sunday night, added the finishing touch: a Lombardi trophy. Score.
And finally, a personal P.S.
It’s just a team and it’s just a game, but, oh, how our Eagles have lifted us. Long after that Hail Mary fell to earth, we Philly folk are still aloft, still soaring. It’s as if we’ve grabbed a wing and can’t let go – the view from the Birds’ eye too breathtaking, the ride too bracing.
And as we fly, we find ourselves … ravenous. We lap up each nugget of news about the team that’s united us – rich or struggling, city tough or suburban soft – as no politician ever could. For a mere glimpse at our conquering heroes, we push through crowds, shake off cold and ignore our bladders.
Clips, posts and stories circulate. We hope our kids are listening. For the lessons, however trite, are many: hard work pays off, faith is rewarded, pull together as one, appreciate those who champion you, believe in yourself when no one else does.
Our Eagles are far from perfect – who is? – but, of course, they’re perfect for us.
Ah, but we digress. We set out in this postscript to share a nice little, soul-stirring Eagles story, one that hits home here on the Main Line.
So, here goes:
Cindy and Gavin Kerr have many blessings in this world: two loving daughters, an adored grandchild and a second on the way, wonderful friends, a firm faith, personal talents and gifts galore, a treasured home in Wayne.
God has been good. Except when He/She hasn’t.
Ten years ago this week, they lost their only son, their beautiful boy, to bone cancer – although at 17, the tall Conestoga senior was hardly a boy. Like our beloved Birds, Ryan Kerr fought until the clock read 00:00 – through 15 surgeries, 30 months of chemo, an amputation. But remarkably, for five long years, he smiled. And because of that singular, radiant smile, his family, his friends, and now children around the world, are smiling with him.
For it was her son’s smile that gave his mother purpose, a reason beyond her husband and daughters to get up each morning. She created the nonprofit, ConKerr Cancer, now known as Ryan’s Case for Smiles, over time enlisting an army of volunteers across the country to make playful pillowcases for young, gravely ill patients.
To date, 1.7 million pillowcases have been sewed. 1.7 million sick kids have been comforted. And there are Ryan’s Case chapters in 120 cities and towns nationwide. Expanding its mission, volunteers now assemble “coping boxes” for the often-forgotten siblings of kids with chronic illnesses.
But the Kerrs’ story – as compelling as it is – doesn’t end there. Late last summer, it took a heart-wrenching, how-could-this-happen turn. Cindy, 60, who lost her boy to cancer, had it herself.
Diagnosed in August, surgeons have removed an abdominal tumor as big as “a casserole dish,” she told a reporter. She’s still in treatment, and, thankfully, her prognosis is good. Like our Eagles, she digs in every day and fights – not for herself, but for her team: sick kids, their siblings and her steadfast volunteers.
As the founder of Ryan’s Case for Smiles, Cindy has won awards, appeared on Martha Stewart, and – circling back to our purpose here – forged deep bonds in the Philadelphia community and with its football team. In 2017, her nonprofit was named an Eagles Care Partner. In December, two Eagles even paid a surprise visit to, where else, New Eagle Elementary School in Wayne, to make coping boxes.
Through it all, Cindy, like Ryan, has kept on smiling. Heaven took note, as Heaven does, and smiled back: The Eagles surprised Cindy and Gavin with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Super Bowl. But the team gave the tickets on one condition: the Kerrs had to go themselves. The Eagles knew Cindy’s first instinct would be to give the tickets away to someone who needed a lift more than she did.
And Sunday night in Minneapolis, as time expired and Tom Brady’s final heave bounced off the turf, Heaven – or was it Ryan – had smiled one more time: on the Birds, on the Kerrs, on our city, and on scrappy underdogs everywhere.