The Main Line seems smitten with its new baby, the upscale lifestyle center Devon Yard.
And why not?
She’s six acres of delightful: verdant and lush, our new bundle of joy.
And a surprisingly small bundle she turns out to be.
After that long tug-of-war over township approvals, Devon’s new “town center” consists of two stores, two restaurants and an event space. Period.
Still, the stores are grand. And every detail disarms: the breathtaking courtyard, the vintage flourishes, the unexpected touches of whimsy.
Here’s what you need to know before you go:
Parking should be a snap. There’s a sea of surface spaces on Devon Boulevard between the complex and its next-door-neighbor, the Devon Horse Show, and lots more off Waterloo. (Still TBD: availability of weekend parking during larger events. Maybe that’s why the horse show’s chairman wants to build a parking garage next to the show grounds.)
Make reservations. During our visits, traffic was fairly light at the stores. (Late August is hardly prime planting season.) But both restaurants were hopping, particularly Terrain at lunch. Hoping to beat the lunch rush, we arrived at 1:30 on a recent weekday. Ha. We waited 45 minutes for a table.
The event space, “Terrain Gardens,” is already in full flower. More than 50 weddings are booked for fall 2018 and early 2019.
In case you’re in the market, the room holds 150 for a seated reception with DJ and dance floor. Stand-up events can hold up to 300. Here’s the ceremony space:
If you’ve been to the Glen Mills store, you know what to expect at Terrain: a fabulously merchandised nursery, garden and home décor emporium. With posh prices to match. Lowe’s Garden Center this is not.
Anthropologie is gigantic – double the size of the old Wayne store. With so many stores-within-the-store, it’s really a department store, recast for the 21st-century.
Getting the most buzz: BHLDN Weddings on the mezzanine, the brand’s first Main Line location. A one-stop shop for all things matrimonial, BHLDN sells bridal gowns (many under $1000), shoes and accessories, plus wedding party and special- occasion dresses, gifts and bridal décor items – most in Anthro’s tasteful, rustic-chic-meets-boho style.
Other new wrinkles: a custom furniture showroom and home design center with in-house stylist, an expanded denim store and shoe boutique, and a spacious beauty/wellness shop (below).
Still no word on what URBN will do with the cool Wayne building that housed the world’s first Anthro for 26 years. But we’ll keep asking.
And now, about those two restaurants.
Terrain Garden Café has been a smash since Day One, attracting hordes of health-conscious locavores and ladies who lunch.
And for good reason.
From start to finish – in our case, brioche to gelato – the flavors were inspired, the ambiance delightful, and the plating downright adorable. Plus, unlike its Glen Mills counterpart, we can order a Sauvignon Blanc with our Smoked Salmon Toast. Nice.
Presentation is paramount and goes above and beyond cheese paddles and Mason jars. Brioche blooms in a flowerpot. Shakshuka comes in a cute cast-iron skillet. A dessert medley sits in a glass “terrarium.”
And in a final flourish, the check arrives tucked inside a vintage birding handbook.
Contrived? Maybe. But creative and fun, too.
Besides the killer brioche, our Terrain faves (so far) include: Chicken Skewers with smashed cucumber salad ($11 in the “Snacks” section), the Terrain Burger with balsamic onion jam ($18) and the Harvest Bowl ($20).
The Garden Café’s executive chef is – wait for it – Ryan Bloome, whose past gigs include Teresa’s Bar Next Door and Starr Catering.
Across the courtyard, Amis Trattoria offers elevated Italian fare in industrial-chic sleek surroundings. Sit in the dining room, at the chef’s counter, at a tin-topped table in the bar, or out on the covered patio.
A more ambitious enterprise than Terrain Café, Amis seats 170 and has private dining for 30 (above right). It’s URBN’s third Amis. (Others are in Center City and Westport.) On-site chef is Kristina Wisneski, who helmed Bryn Mawr’s popular Enoteca Tredici and was sous chef at Savona.
Among the dishes earning early raves: Peach and prosciutto “pizzette” ($14); Buccatini with jalapeno and almond pesto ($18) and Seared Scallops with charred corn salad ($28).
Plan on $9 – $18 for antipasti, salads $12 – $14, pastas $18- $19, pizzettes $10 – $14, and mains $24-$34.
Terrain Garden Café opens daily at 9 a.m. (for the La Colombe coffee bar). Brunch is served daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner from 5 p.m. Wed. to Sun. only. Amis Trattoria is open nightly from 4 p.m. Weekday happy hour 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Lunch (Fri. Sat. and Sun. only) begins mid-September.
Suspect arrested in brutal slaying of Main Line model
On the same day an Ardmore model was being laid to rest in Ventnor, authorities captured the man they say killed her.
Federal agents in Pittsburgh arrested Jonathan Wesley Harris, 30, as he stepped off a bus Wednesday, thanks to a tipster who recognized him from surveillance photos circulated by the Montco DA on Monday.
Harris faces first-, second- and third-degree murder, robbery and related charges in the death of Christina Carlin-Kraft, 36, a former “Borgata Babe” who modeled for Playboy, QVC, Victoria’s Secret and Vanity Fair, among others.
On Aug. 22 Lower Merion Police found the model brutally beaten with blackened eyes and a broken nose in the bloodied bedroom of her condo near Suburban Square. Cause of death: strangulation. Motive: No comment yet.
Police were checking on Carlin-Kraft after her longtime boyfriend (and the condo’s owner), Alex Ciccotelli, reported she hadn’t been answering his calls or texts. Ciccotelli told police he couldn’t access the condo because it was dead-bolted from inside.
In the arrest warrant and media statements, here’s what authorities say transpired on Aug. 22: At 1 a.m. on the day of her death, Carlin-Kraft took a Lyft to Broad and Locust in Center City where she met up with Harris. (Police believe she had not known him previously.) Surveillance footage shows them walking for a while, then entering a parked vehicle. Two hours later, the female tipster received this text from Harris: “I just met this sexy-ass white [expletive]. I’m at her crib in Ardmore.” The building’s security system shows someone using the back door to leave the second-floor condo at 5:19 a.m. and no one else entering until police arrived 16 hours later.
Harris was released July 15 from three years in prison on robbery charges and has a long arrest record including assault, drug possession and harassment, according to the Montgomery County DA.
Meanwhile, police are still seeking a second man, Andre Melton, who they say stole designer handbags and jewelry from Carlin-Kraft days before her death.
Police say the crime occurred similarly: The model took a Lyft to the Sofitel in Philly Aug. 17 and returned home a few hours later with Melton. She told police she woke up the next morning in the same clothes and with her belongings missing and hazy memories of the prior night. Anyone with information on suspect Melton is asked to call Lower Merion Police at 610-649-1000 or Montgomery County detectives at 610-278-3368.
LMSD launches novel answer to crowded classrooms
Here’s a new one on us: “partner schooling,” Lower Merion’s latest response to overcrowded elementary schools.
In a nutshell: Redistricting reassigns whole neighborhoods; partner schooling redistricts individual kids. So, a new LMSD family whose “home school” is overpopulated could get assigned (and bussed) to a “partner school.” Looks like the policy can only impact three groups: kids new to the district, current LMSD students whose families moved “intra-district,” and late registrations.
Worth repeating: Lower Merion is the fastest-growing school district in PA. The district expects enrollment to hit 9,000 next year – numbers it hasn’t seen since the ’60s.
Which is why plans to build a new middle school at the historic Clothier estate are full steam ahead. LMSD has hired engineers to evaluate the Villanova property and will review architects’ proposals at a special board meeting Sept. 6.
Still TBD: whether any bidding architects envision keeping elements of the Horace Trumbauer-designed mansion or if they all propose to knock it all down. At the last school board meeting, LM schools supe Robert Copeland called seizing some of nearby Stoneleigh Garden for athletic fields “a last resort” but one officials can’t yet rule out.
Still reeling after a river ran through us
First, the good news. Closed since torrential rains caused knee-deep flooding August 13, Trader Joe’s in Gateway reopens Saturday, Sept. 1. The store should look extra spiffy. TJ’s used the forced closure to complete planned renovations to floors and shelving.
Flood-clobbered but still closed: Cornerstone Bistro and Artisanal Market in Wayne.
Cornerstone owner Christine Kondra tells us six feet of water rushed through her prep kitchen and wine cellar (above) causing $250K in damage and up $500K in losses (including 1200 bottles of wine).
She and husband Nick devised an ingenious plan to help pay for repairs and recoup losses. The couple’s been hosting a Flash Flood Wine Sale at Cornerstone this week (Aug. 28 -30), offering select bottles for 30 to 35 percent off. The Kondras hope to re-open Cornerstone Sept. 7.
7 West Carpet Shop, also on West Ave., had rugs ruined but has re-opened. And just under Cornerstone, Real Pizza is also a washout.
For those who weren’t here for the freak storm: Large swaths of Radnor, Tredyffrin and Upper Merion got a month’s worth of rain – 4 to 7 inches – in less than two hours on Monday, Aug. 13.
Normally dry basements flooded, yards were submerged, debris clogged sewer grates, and cars were engulfed and abandoned. Two horses even ran off from a farm on Richards Rd. (They were quickly reclaimed.) Fence posts, sheds, kiddie play houses, trash bins and tree limbs were all swept away in fast-moving waters. Stores in the KOP Mall, Gateway Shopping Center and surrounding roadways were inundated and closed.
First responders outdid themselves. Berwyn Fire Company received 39 calls and performed 18 water rescues in three hours, zipping from one emergency to another. It was all hands on deck, as emergency crews and cops from neighboring townships rushed in to help. Fire Chief Eamon Brazunas, a Tredyffrin first responder for more than 20 years, puts the storm in league with Sandy, Irene and Floyd, calling it a “perfect storm” – a convergence of torrential rain, already-wet ground, and busy morning roads. Notoriously flood-prone, Trout Creek watershed was simply overrun, he says.
Folks who were stranded, by and large, misjudged the fast-rising waters, “Water is deceptive. Turn around, don’t drown – whether you’re on foot or in a car,” Brazunas says.
“We really got whacked,” adds Tredyffin Police Superintendent Mike Beaty, who asks residents to report flood losses using the Chesco Emergency Management Flood Assessment form. The county is collecting data with the hope that PEMA or FEMA might step in with recovery assistance. He says some 25 homes suffered severe damage to foundation walls. “People were hit hard; we feel for them.”
Tredyffrin will have to dip into the township’s (very) rainy day reserves to repair sewers, road beds, culverts and the like. Manager Bill Martin puts infrastructure damages at roughly $1.8 million.
Radnor commissioners, meanwhile, declared a disaster emergency at a special meeting Aug. 20. Culverts and bridges failed all over the township. Roadways and berms were washed away. Hardest-hit areas include North Wayne Park Field Basin, South Wayne, Ithan Creek, Cowan Field and Fenimore Woods. Radnor Fire Company reported 38 calls, 19 water rescues and ten lives saved.
With damage reports and photos still coming in, Radnor Manager Bob Zienkowski says it’s too soon to put a number on the township’s recovery costs. Although he did mention he’s mighty relieved that commissioners approved some stalled stormwater projects in July.
Quarterbacking Radnor’s response, Emergency Management Director Sgt. George Smith calls “the scale of this event” the largest he’s seen in 27 years. Smith urges patience. Flood recovery, including potential government assistance, “takes time.” Many rescue calls were avoidable, he says. Even when they saw other cars already stranded in them, drivers tried to navigate flooded roads. He reiterates Brazunas’ call: Turn around, don’t drown.
Gateway gearing up
Except for the old Outback Steakhouse, every spot’s been filled at Gateway Shopping Center.
The old Appetite’s Delight will become Hakata Ramen and Sushi in about a month. We peeked inside and the place is getting a top-draw buildout – with brick walls and a cool mural.
A second Main Line outpost of the Texas-based bakery chain, Nothing Bundt Cakes, will open next to Starbucks in a month or so.
We already told you about the August debut of the Asian-centric fashion boutique Alomore near Panera.
And another Tropical Smoothie Café opened in July next to Five Guys.
Dining ‘til you drop in KOP
The King of Prussia restaurant explosion continues, with two more biggies debuting in the coming weeks.
The company that brought us The Capital Grill, Seasons 52, Yard House and Bahama Breeze is poised to open Eddie V’s Prime Seafood near The Container Store. A fine dining concept (with fine-dining prices), Eddie V’s serves seafood flown in daily, hand-carved prime steaks and a side of live jazz in the V lounge. Never mind that you’ll be “living it up” (the chain’s tagline) in a mall parking lot.
Less high-falutin’ but no less ambitious, North Italia opens Oct. 3 under the Savor food court.
We’re told décor will be “modern and airy” with a full bar and indoor and patio seating for more than 300. (A job fair is underway.)
Meet The Saturday Club, a Main Line institution since 1886
You live on the Main Line. So, of course, you know The Saturday Club.
Never heard of it, you say? Consider this your virtual introduction.
It’s long overdue. Because The Saturday Club (TSC) is a local tradition worth knowing about.
First, it’s been around forever. Longer than the Devon Horse Show. Longer than the local Junior League. Founded in 1886, it’s the oldest women’s nonprofit club in the state and one of the oldest in the country.
Second, it’s making a difference. For 132+ years, the club’s band of fun-loving, do-gooders has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to area nonprofits. Among its recent grant beneficiaries: Peter’s Place, Mommy’s Light Lives On, Greener Partners, Women’s Resource Center, Casa Youth Advocates, FLITE and T and E Care. Know a charity that helps families, women or kids in Greater Philly? Tell them to apply for a Saturday Club grant.
But the club doesn’t just raise and distribute money. It’s hands on. Members (sometimes with kids in tow) have helped build a library for West Philly kids, served breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House, made blessing bags for the homeless, and much more.
Third, the club is a supportive sisterhood, welcoming Main Line natives and newcomers alike. Most members are in their 30s and 40s. Some are single, but most are married. Many, but not all, have young kids and jobs outside the home or work from home.
And a handful are second-generation – women like Meredith Joseph Rovine and Gwynne Joseph who’ve followed in their mom Kay’s philanthropic footsteps; Amy and Kari Ann Kent, whose mother-in-law Mary was a member; and digital marketing executive and TSC President-Elect Lindsay Green, whose mother, Lynn Gosnell, joined nearly 30 years ago and remains a social (“Keystone”) member. Gosnell tells SAVVY she joined to meet other young moms and to expose her kids to community service. She remembers Lindsay and her three siblings making brown bag lunches for the poor and riding in the back of her minivan while she drove seniors to the Acme and to doctor’s appointments.
But the secret to The Saturday Club’s enduring success isn’t so much its proud traditions like the “Cotillion” etiquette program and the Holiday Market, but its ability to stay nimble, to change with the times.
“We did a good job getting feedback from members and starting fresh fundraisers that people wanted to attend,” says TSC President Christine Brunelli. Thus, when its signature American Girl Doll luncheons (2003-2010) and Main Line Classics cookbooks (published in 1982, 1996 and 2005) ran their course, they were replaced by events that quickly became signatures: a twice-yearly clothing consignment sale, the Saturday Club Shuffle 5K & Kids Race through Wayne, and a designer handbag bingo.
The club also enhanced its community and digital footprints. “We did a big digital and marketing transformation,” says Meredith Rovine, a PR professional and the club’s VP of Communications. The club’s website, SEO and social media presence were overhauled. Search for “women’s volunteer groups on the Main Line” and The Saturday Club pops up first. Sign-ups have been streamlined. Instead of paper forms, members register online.
The club has also deliberately broadened its philanthropic reach, seeking out new beneficiaries and event sponsors. The higher profile has paid off. The last two years’ new member classes have been among the largest in club history.
Even at its founding, just 20 years after the Civil War and 35 years before women could vote, The Saturday Club was forward-thinking.
It began almost biblically, with 12 searching souls meeting in Wayne each Saturday to discuss – not hearth and home – but arts and culture, current affairs and community needs. “Dare to be Wise” remains the club’s motto to this day.
When Saturday became a school and work holiday, meetings moved to Tuesday nights but The Saturday Club name stuck. Among its notable achievements:
- Having the foresight to build its own clubhouse in 1898, where it still meets today. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Tudor building on West Wayne Ave. is rented out for weddings and private events and remains a significant source of income.
- Founding Wayne’s first kindergarten.
- Starting the local theater group, Footlighters, now based in Berwyn.
- Campaigning for child labor laws and women’s assault protections.
- Turning the clubhouse into a 60-bed hospital during the 1918 flu epidemic and a Red Cross Hospital in WWII.
- Operating a preschool for developmentally delayed and disabled children in the 1960s.
The Saturday Club thrives today because, at its core, it connects women to community, says President Brunelli. “Our members come from different backgrounds; we learn a lot from each other. Our generation is community-oriented; we want to give back and we want to have fun doing it.”
The Saturday Club, 117 West Wayne Ave., Wayne, seeks to improve the lives of women, children and families in the greater Philadelphia area. The club welcomes prospective members and community partners. Call 610-688-9746 to inquire about clubhouse event rentals.
(Arguably) the most virtuous breakfast spot on the Main Line
When the usual bacon and eggs won’t do, try Tiramisu.
The Berwyn restaurant is now open for super-healthy breakfasts on Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to noon. No refined sugars, no meat, no dairy and all organic.
On the menu: whole grain pancakes with real maple syrup, tempeh bacon, carrot cake and blueberry cobbler oatmeal, tempeh bacon, tofu Benedict and Tofu Quiche, juices and smoothies.
Overseeing the enterprise is whole foods cookbook author/teacher/holistic health counselor Sheri DeMaris (“Macro Magic for Kids and Parents”). Her niece, Chef Christina Megargel, is running the kitchen.
This and That
More proof you should hide your purse when you hit the gym. Police are investigating early morning smash-and-grabs from cars parked outside Life Time Athletic in Tredyffrin and Orange Theory fitness centers in Paoli and Devon.
Thieves, many of them from out-of-state, are more likely to prey on Main Line towns near the KOP Mall where they can quickly use stolen credit cards, according to Tredyffrin top cop Mike Beaty. And crime rings target gym lots because so many people leave their handbags and wallets visible in their cars when they work out. Lesson (we hope) learned.
Shades of last winter’s Element Kitchen & Bath fiasco in Easttown. This time, police say, a fly-by-night contractor preyed on a 90-year-old Berwyn man. The alleged victim, who lives alone, was scammed out of $103,000 by Marvin Saul Valenzuela-Lucero, according to Easttown Police Chief David Obzud,.
Seems he demo’d most of the elderly man’s Black Swan Lane home, stole his furniture, then vanished. On Aug. 24, Easttown PD charged Lucero with four fraud-related felonies, Obzud says. Conveniently, the alleged scammer was already in jail on a weapons charge.
Local tech disruptor DuckDuckGo – aka Google without the creepy privacy issues –– is quacking a happy tune.
The Paoli-based search engine startup just got a huge influx of capital – $10 million from a Canadian firm. DuckDuckGo’s claim to fame: being less Big-Brotherish than Google. The ads you see are based strictly on keywords from your current search – not your entire browsing history.
Never searched with DuckDuckGo? Here’s why you might want to give this local startup a whirl.
The Wayne BYOB At The Table is now taking all major credit cards. And congrats to the local couple behind it. Chef Alex Hardy and GM Tara Buzan got hitched on Martha’s Vineyard this summer.
Hair today and not gone tomorrow: Main Line Hair Design, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary in Wayne. Congrats to John Oppeltz, his crew and loyal clients.
Got a seventh grader? The Upper Main Line Y is again offering free yearlong memberships to 7th-grade students. Register your child with school ID, roster or report card.
“Kids at this age are discovering who they are,” says Greater Brandywine YMCA President Denise Day. We want to ensure that they’re set up for future success through that active lifestyle.”
Nearly 4,300 students in Ys across Chester County have participated in the program since the branches merged in 2014.
It’s been two years since Wayne’s Jim “The Legend” Klinges (Malvern Prep ’13) lost his hard-fought battle with leukemia. Family and friends will honor his memory and raise money for pediatric leukemia research at the 2nd annual Jim Klinges Foundation Golf Outing, Sept. 10. Click here to register for golf and/or the cocktail party at Rolling Green Golf Club.