Like the blessed spring that finally came, our fair ‘burbs are bursting with new life.
Philly-esque goodies has been popping up in our own backyards: outdoor comedy clubs and concerts, wine and distillery tastings, assorted flea and farmer’s markets.
Bringing the biggest buzz lately? The new rooftop bar at the Great American Pub and Lola’s Garden of earthly delights in Suburban Square. Both couldn’t be more trendy or timely, although they were both in the works before the pandemic.
First, the rooftop bar.
The Great American Pub is putting the finishing touches on a 3,000 sq. ft. rooftop – Wayne’s first – that will have all the accoutrements of city spots: central bar, couch-strewn lounge and sail-shaded tables for dining among the tree tops. (Take that, Bok Bar, Stratus, Assembly, Attico et. al.)
Pub owners Chuck, Tom and Mark Hemcher – all Radnor natives – tell SAVVY they’ve invested $750,000 and over a year on the project. They had to shore up the roof with steel beams, install an elevator, roof-level restrooms and add front stairs.
“It’s the first rooftop approved by Radnor Township,” says Mark Hemcher. “That’s why it took so long. They did everything by the book.”
(Sadly, their dad, Chuck Hemcher, Sr., – the Hemcher most jazzed about the project – won’t see its completion. He passed from cancer in January, on his 87th birthday.)
The family already had a mega-hit in their 6,000 sq. ft. rooftop at The Great American Pub in Conshy and were anxious to bring one to Wayne. By the time COVID came, they were knee-deep in it.
“We lost so much money in the last year and now we’re building this rooftop,” said a rueful Mark Hemcher as he showed us around last week. “But we know it’ll be great.”
We think so, too.
Now, about that wine/beer/whatever garden.
Measuring 4.200 sq. ft. spread across three distinct indoor-outdoor sections, you simply can’t miss Lola’s Garden in Suburban Square.
Its four-season “Trellis” occupies half the square footage and sits in the Square’s green, facing the fountain. It looks a bit boxy now but just wait ’til those freshly planted trees start blooming.
Wall-to-wall windows grace the rustic greenhouse-styled restaurant in the old Kate Spade/Jack Wills space.
Décor is an eclectic mélange of vintage and reclaimed woods, antique iron grills and fresh green plantings. Vintage tiles and bird mosaics enliven a row of COVID-friendly, one-person bathrooms.
Sitting prettily between the restaurant and the Trellis are heated outdoor café tables à la Parc on Rittenhouse Square.
A long row of taps at the alfresco bar dispenses all-PA wines, local Mainstay Brewing beers and assorted batch cocktails, which will be available to-go.
Matching the indoor-outdoor vibe, the menu offers a seasonal array of small bites, salads, sandwiches, entrées and desserts, many sourced locally. Executive Chef is Andrew Wood (below left) who closed his acclaimed Center City BYOB, Russet, in 2019. “Big flavors, few ingredients” is Wood’s cooking credo.
Named for the Kinks’ iconic song, Lola’s Garden took root three years ago when Suburban Square owner Kimco Realty shared its vision for the lifestyle center with FCM Hospitality, owned by Lower Merion native Avram Hornik (above right).
Might the man behind such Philly flights of fancy as Morgan’s Pier, Harper’s Garden and Parks on Tap bring his magic to the ‘burbs? Indeed he might. At first, Hornik wanted to put his giant garden on the roof of Suburban Square but the out-of-sight price sent his vision back to earth.
Coincidence or karma, Hornik’s garden would grow in the exact spot where he’d hoped to open a coffee kiosk – but was rebuffed – 25 years ago.
“I’m not in the restaurant business; I’m in the public space business,” Hornik tells SAVVY. “The idea is to imagine how people want to gather together. A lot of people who used to live in the city have moved out to the Main Line but that doesn’t mean they want to stay in their houses.”
Lola’s is “not a traditional restaurant,” Hornik says. “You don’t have to sit down for an appetizer, entrée and dessert and leave. You can stop in for a drink, have a cup of coffee, hang out and read a book, or just people watch.”
He’s convinced COVID has made us even hungrier to be around others. “A good public space is about people watching people watching people,” he says. “To be here and see other people and have other people see you – that’s what we want.”
And that, Avram Hornik, is exactly what you’ve got.
The rooftop at The Great American Pub in Wayne will open on or around May 15. Lola’s Garden, 484-412-8011, is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Sunday, April 25. Lunch, dinner and late night begins April 28 noon to midnight. Weekend brunch starts May 2 at 10 a.m. Reserve via Lola’s website and on Resy.
Downtown Wayne is back in a big way
Wayne has emerged, bright-eyed and raring to go, from its COVID cocoon this spring. There are so many new spots open or en route, we’re sharing them in list form. (Wouldn’t want your eyes to glaze over):
- The Wayne Picnic Grove – a lifeline for local merchants – is back! Visit this giant tent on North Wayne Ave. day or night to enjoy takeout from local restaurants, live music courtesy of 118 North (across the street), morning coffee with friends, people watching, etc. The Wayne Biz Association pitched the tent with the blessing and support of Radnor township, local businesses (including SAVVY) but could use some help. The rental fees, sanitizing staff, police and public works costs add up fast. A GofundMe has raised just $9,500 toward its $50,000 goal.
- Sweetgreen will be following in the healthy footsteps of Le Pain Quotidien next to Louella Boutique. Sweetgreen has popular outposts at the KOP mall and Suburban Square.
- Matador has thrown in its cape. Coming soon: The Blue Elephant, an upscale Asian fusion bar/restaurant from the folks who brought us Azie on Main in Villanova, Mikado Thai Pepper in Ardmore, and Teikoko in Newtown Square. Stay tuned to SAVVY for the delicious details.
- Philadelphia Print Shop has signed for the lower level of the former bellaDONNA gifts at 106 E. Lancaster. The esteemed purveyor of maps and antique prints, now owned by Wayne’s David Mackey (below right, with landlord Cas Holloway), is moving from temporary quarters and plans a grand re-opening May 15. The home décor store, Nest, is moving into the old Philadelphia Print Shop space at 209 W. Lancaster Ave. and tells us they’ll open Sept. 1. Nest’s original location is in Oaks.
- Meanwhile, BellaDONNA is back. The long-running gift/monogramming shop (formerly Beethoven’s Wraps) has taken the Kitchen Kapers space, that lasted about a minute in downtown Wayne after it left its Strafford home to make room for diBruno Bros. (Got all that?) BellaDONNA’s Donna Martelli tells us she’ll also keep her stall at the Wayne farmer’s market.
- The old CocoBlu space has a new tenant: the second outpost of Lunachick, a trendy teen and young adult clothier. Head to Grand opening weekend, April 24-25 and get a gift with purchase while supplies last. A College Pop Up Shop on May 8 will benefit Women’s Way in Philly. (More about this Wayne newcomer in the next SAVVY.)
- Two successful vendors at the Main Line Co-op have hung out their own shingle in the former Aubusson Home space at 120 E. Lancaster Ave.: 12 West Boutiques/Chilcote & Richards. “12 West’s clothes and my accessories play off each other well,” says Chilcote & Richards’ owner Robin Kratz. The two share rent and staffing, an increasingly common solution to the oft-shaky shoals of bricks-and-mortar retail.
- The French Lemon lives! ML Willcox, former proprietor of The French Lemon in Wayne and longtime Devon Horse Show vendor, just opened the sprightly MLWShowroom, a new gift/custom silk flower shop in central Wayne near the Picnic Grove tent.
- La Vie, purveyor of “curious and well-curated items” debuted in early February near Velvet Shoestring, at 183 Lancaster Ave. A free-spirited venture from interior designer Stephanie Sandstead, La Vie may or may not stay put. Look for consigned goodies, cool hats and art from such locals as Perry Milou, Monique Sarkessian, Saska Stahisic, Peter Strid and Andee Axe.
- Upstart real estate company Compass is signing a lease in Wayne on offices “large enough for more team members and agents to join us,” says broker Meghan Chorin, whose team is operating out of temporary space in Devon. Specific Wayne location TBA.
- IM|Health, formerly Radnor Family Practice, is working out of that stunning new brick building on Lancaster Ave. Details on this cool new spin on primary care in the next SAVVY.
Devon Horse Show cancelled again … but this time, there’s pushback
With so many accusations and dark theories floating around, Devon Horse Show and Country Fair felt the need to issue not one, but two statements explaining its decision to cancel the show for the second straight year.
And some folks still aren’t buying it.
The public, while disappointed, generally seems resigned – Safety first! Devon’s hands were tied! – although a few have wrongly blamed the decision on Devon neighbors opposing rezoning and redevelopment near the show grounds.
Others suspect the show, twice cancelled, might never return. Hadn’t it outgrown its tight quarters? Legacy shows are a dying breed and the demise of Devon was inevitable, wasn’t it? Might the board vote to keep the country fair in Devon, move the horse show elsewhere and sell the horse grounds to developers and should we proactively seek an easement to prevent development of the land? Isn’t there a USEF rule that nixes horse shows that are cancelled two years in a row? COVID was an act of God, but still…
And still others blamed politics. With so many vaccinated, how could liberals like Governor Wolf still insist on capacity limits outdoors?
The most vocal doubters have come from inside the horse world – everyone from local horse farm owners to Devon’s most winning rider, McClain Ward.
Some have even put their money where their mouths were.
McClain Ward told The Horse of the Delaware Valley that “people interested in seeing the show go forward raised over $800,000” in four days – “enough money to cover any losses from the show or the fair.”
If only it were that simple.
Confused by the chatter, we went right to the horse’s mouth, Devon’s CEO Wayne Grafton, who also presides over the DHSCF Corporate Board and the DHSCF Foundation Board.
Grafton calls the last month to “an emotional roller coaster.” He’s also said that using raised funds to stage the show may be verboten and DHSCF isn’t take any chances.
Here’s what else we divined, according to our one-on-one with Grafton and DHSCF’s two cancellation statements.
- Devon tried – and failed – to push USEF (equestrian sports’ governing body) to go along with PA’s 50-percent capacity rule for outdoor gatherings.
- Devon also begged USEF to speed up its planned May 15 announcement of revised spectator rules. USEF did move up its decision but it was too little, too late. Four days after Devon’s April 10 cancellation announcement, USEF announced it would allow 40 percent capacity at ticketed horse shows.
- As we reported last month, Devon 2021 was full speed ahead in hopes USEF would allow enough spectators to make the show workable. It hired 100 judges, called for entries, sent out contracts, signed vendors. But according to Grafton it would have been a very different Devon: no Midway attractions, minimal to no sponsor parties, boxholders restricted and juggled, no trophy room, no exhibiter’s lounge and insufficient foot traffic to keep vendors happy. It would have been a money-losing proposition and “a lot of people would have been unhappy. We knew that, we accepted that.” But still, the show would have gone on, Grafton says, “to provide a venue for the competitors” and “demonstrate to the community that we’re trying to get back on our feet after missing the 2020 show due to COVID.” But time was a wastin’. USEF was still at zero spectators when Devon pulled the plug, which, Grafton says, gave judges, riders and vendors time to find other gigs.
- Devon was simply not happening with a capacity under 50 percent. Unlike other shows, it’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and relies on boxholder income to fund its prize money. It wasn’t holding a spectator-less horse show – no way, no how – as many shows have done during COVID. The DHSCF Board “realizes it can’t sacrifice less recognizable parts of its event to run something that will be largely unrecognizable and that only a few can participate in … There is not enough time to resume preparations based on the adjusted timeline of USEF,” reads the revised DHSCF statement. Unlike other shows with ample grounds for sponsor branding, Devon’s confined space forces it to depend, quite literally, on its box office to make its nut.
- Devon’s intimacy is also an asset and that alone should reassure doubters that the show is staying put. “It’s as close to a European show that competitors can get because of the proximity of the crowd to the ring,” Grafton tells us. “American competitors need that experience before they go to Europe. That’s another draw of Devon that most aren’t aware of.”
While you won’t ride the ferris wheel or taste the fudge, you can still get your Devon fix in the coming months:
- A virtual “Art Gallery at Devon” show and sale is on tap for May 26 to June 6.
- Brandywine Horse Shows will still gallop into the show grounds June 30 and trot out July 11.
- The Devon Fall Classic and Dressage at Devon are still on for late summer and early fall.
- An inaugural Devon “Legends” event has been tentatively rescheduled for Villanova’s Ardrossan estate in October.
- Postponed twice due to COVID, Devon’s 125th Anniversary Gala looks like a sure thing for late April 2022.
Vax Facts (Main Line edition): From famine to feast
Our Hunger Games Winter seems like a bad dream. Spring is gushing forth new doses, ripe for the taking by anyone 16 and up. Seemingly overnight, vax providers have gone from not-enough to too-many. Witness:
- The Paoli Acme is so eager to jab arms, it’s offering 10 percent off groceries.
- As of mid-week Radnor High School still had oodles of openings for the Pfizer vaccine clinic it’s hosting this weekend. Penn Med at Radnor also had lots of spots for next week’s clinic on May 15 and 16.
- Lower Merion School District is looking for medical professionals to volunteer at its spring vaccine clinics for students, set for April 30 and May 21. Email [email protected] to raise your hand.
- Same-day appointments were available at Chesterbrook Rite Aid and lots of other spots last week.
- At Main Line Health, you no longer need to be a patient to register to get the vax at their clinics at Lankenau and Radnor.
- Area health departments are now making house calls for folks who can’t get out to their sites.
- As of Tuesday, Philly’s two FEMA vax sites were inviting residents to walk in for shots. And if you registered with the city, you’re probably being bombarded by phone calls and texts. And still some open vials have been going to waste.
New ammo for doubters: Just tell ’em it works. Latest studies show a 99.9 efficacy rate in PA with only .0127 of those fully vaccinated getting “breakthrough” cases. Wolf calls it “100 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and death.” Your chance of getting blood clots from the J&J vaccine? Less than one in a million, literally. The documented risks of COVID & “long-haul” issues – at any age, even if you’re 100 % healthy and your case is asymptomatic – far outweigh the risk of some undocumented, unknown side effect down the line, experts say.
Criminal concerns: Radnor police are warning about vaccine survey scams that promise participation prizes but steal your personal data instead. Police have also issued warnings about counterfeit CDC vaccination cards for “vaccine passports.”
Don’t fall for rumors that the feds will soon require proof of vaccination to let you board a plane, enter an arena or go to school. (Although it’s true that schools have long required such proof.) Vaccine passports are now part of the GOP culture wars with PA legislators introducing bills to outlaw such passports. Both Biden and Gov. Wolf oppose governments requiring them. Of course, private businesses and universities are free to set their own rules for entry. Rutgers, Duke, Brown, Cornell, Emory, Notre Dame, NYU, Georgetown and Northeastern are on the fast-growing list of schools that will allow only vaccinated students on campus next fall. Meanwhile, Lower Merion Schools cannot require students to get the vaccine, according to Superintendent’s statement at this week’s school board meeting.
More than half of eligible folks in our suburban counties have received at least one dose of the vaccine. (As of this week, just 19 percent of Montco residents are fully vaccinated, which is below the national average and due to the J&J pause.) But before your fully vaccinated self is tempted to gleefully throw your mask in the bonfire, consider this: we have a long way to go before we reach the 80 percent most experts say is needed for herd immunity. And studies show 20 percent or more Pennsylvanians are still unwilling to roll up their sleeves.
Some in Radnor Nation fighting to reinstate the Raider
A group of fired-up alums, parents and students want the Raider reinstated in Radnor. They’re mobilizing to reverse the school district’s Sept. 2, 2020 decision to retire the Raider from Radnor High School.
They’ve circulated a petition that has 2,400 signatures and counting.
They’ve started a letter-writing campaign to the school board.
They’re calling out the decision on social media.
And they released a video – already taken down – “Change the Mascot, Keep the RAIDER in Radnor.” The Native American imagery has been rightly erased but why destroy the name that has symbolized Radnor pride for generations? the video asked. The film reportedly used some images without permission and was removed.
On a survey seeking alternative nicknames, 932 of 1315 respondents chose the Raider, but we’re hearing that bring-back-the-Raider folks may have encouraged multiple votes.
Radnor schools have scheduled “virtual community focus group” meetings on this hot-potato. We’ll keep you posted.
Bryn Mawr reels in a tasty fish: Otto by Polpo BYOB
You’ve been devouring their dishes in Strathmere, Avalon and Sea isle. Now you can enjoy the same seaworthy dining with stunning views of … the Bryn Mawr train tracks.
The extended family behind popular shore spots Fontana Del Mar, La Vecchia Fontana, Polpo, La Fontana Coast & Fratelli’s just opened a Main Line outpost. Otto by Polpo (otto = eight and polpo = octopus) serves up modern and traditional Italian fare with panache.
So what if the Dakus are Albanian and their food is Italian? This close-knit clan knows its way around a kitchen.
Signatures include Veal Fontana ($28), three homemade gnocchi dishes ($25-$26) and two baby octopus appetizers ($18, $20).
Running the show – in this family that means helming the kitchen – are Bekim Daku and his cousin Hazi.
The new space, a former Wells Fargo branch, is sunny, the decor artful yet spare. Striking paintings from a few local artists enliven the walls.
Bekim tells us they’d planned to open in May 2020 but were delayed by You Know What.
Glad they stuck it out.
Otto by Polpo, 52 N. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, 610-880-0001, is open for lunch and dinner daily. BYOB. Covered, heated outdoor dining for 40+. Spaced indoor seating for 75. Takeout and delivery.
Devon’s Beth Kephart unveils daring new memoir and it’s winning raves
There’s a woman in Devon you might not know.
But you should.
And now you can.
Meet Beth Kephart, the Main Line’s finest writer – we’d say “arguably the finest” but we’d be lying – through the pages of her new memoir: Wife| Daughter| Self.
It’s intimate, unconventional and altogether fascinating.
You’ll learn about her marriage to a Salvadoran artist and why she never learned his native tongue; how ice skating, of all things, informs her writing; about her personal struggles with perfection and insomnia and so much more.
(Keep an eye on @savvymainline on Instagram/Facebook for a chance to win a signed copy of her memoir and one of her artfully crafted small stitched books.)
SAVVY caught up with Kephart last week:
Place is often a character in your books, e.g. the Schuylkill River, the city of Philadelphia. Does the Main Line – your hometown – show up, even obliquely, in this one?
So much of Wife | Daughter | Self takes places in the tiny Tudor house that has sheltered us for decades here in Devon. Dreams are nurtured here. Memories restored. Conversations lead to possibilities and then take the form of (daring) optimism. I write my books in this house, my husband makes his art in this house, I now teach through the Zoom that ignites my desktop. And so, yes, Devon and the streets that radiate from Devon form a focus for this book. But of course there are pages set elsewhere—San Patricio, New Mexico; San Miguel, Mexico; Sitka, Alaska; Alberta, Canada; the University of Pennsylvania campus, where I teach.
What are your favorite local haunts?
Main Point Books, Chanticleer Garden, Radnor Memorial Library, the streets of Wayne, which I could walk endlessly.
How do you feel, more than a month after sharing your life – and struggles – so intimately? Any notable anecdotes about running into locals after they’ve read it? Are you ever recognized?
What an interesting question, on many levels. I’ve been so moved, frankly, by the response to this book. By those who have written or texted or called to speak to me about the shape of their own partnerships, their quest to understand themselves, their love for and worries about their parents, their struggles with ideas of beauty. Readers talk to me about the joy in their own lives, and the inevitable curve of their personal hurt or sadness. This is what memoir does, or should do—open a space for the reader. As for being recognized—yes, I have been, but I don’t think too much about that, and it certainly hasn’t been a common phenomenon lately, in this the age of the mask.
Has the pandemic affected your memoir in any way (besides Zoom book talks)? Did it inform the writing or had it already been fully written?
So many ways. So many. But most importantly, my father, whom I hadn’t been able to see once the pandemic began, passed away in August, a heartbreak. Since the middle pages of this book are about and for him—about the tilt of our caregiving, about fighting to love and learning to love, about wanting more for each other than we ultimately could give—I felt deeply sad that he did not live to hold the final pages in his hands.
How has the challenge of writing this book and offering it to the world changed you? Made you grow? Or even shrink?
Wife | Daughter | Self is my thirty-sixth book but to me it is one of my most important. After publishing five memoirs plus a memoir of the Schuylkill River years ago, I found myself teaching memoir, writing about memoir, participating in a national conversation about the shape of memoir. This book, then, returns me to the form that I have studied and taught and read for decades, and I am glad to have it in the world. The feeling I have right now is peace. Not growing, not shrinking, but knowing that I wrote my heart and that those words now exist for those who choose to find them.
You’re only, guessing here, about 60. Why did you choose to write your memoir at a fairly young age?
I have always thought about memoir (which is quite different from autobiography) as that species of book in which we seek answers to universal questions, chase themes, and go deep into our selves so that we might reach back out with greater understanding and compassion toward others … No one is too young or old to think about the big questions in life, or to work to bring them to life.
Booklist-starred, Wife|Daughter|Self is available at Main Point Books, Narberth Bookshop and Amazon. Visit bethkephartbooks.com. Beth Kephart will discuss her book and the art of the memoir in a one-night Main Line School Night workshop on May 5. SAVVY Main Line will give away a signed copy of Kephart’s memoir and one of her handmade books on @savvymainline on Instagram and Facebook.
Berwyn’s new House of Wonders by Lost Orchid will launch with ‘Derby Days’ shindig
By Rebecca Adler
Need a reason to get dressed up (and not just from the waist up) this spring? Berwyn’s charming new event space, The House of Wonders Hosted by Lost Orchid, promises plenty of opportunities to fill your dance card.
Imagined by partners Andrea Cummins-Disbro and Jennifer Schofield as an intimate, immersive oasis, The House of Wonders will curate its own themed events for the community. Think of it as a post-pandemic antidote to a year of isolation: a space for people to gather, connect, build relationships and make memories.
Like so many modern meet-cutes, Cummins-Disbro and Schofield connected on Facebook Marketplace where Schofield, a stay-at-home mom, was attempting to unload a painting during a pandemic-fueled purge to make room for her daughter’s virtual classes. Cummins-Disbro, with her keen eye for vintage treasures, snapped it up. A friendship and later business collaboration born out of COVID came naturally.
First up for their House of Wonders: Derby Days, a horsey affair with BYOB mocktail mint julips, catered food, a band and a plethora of items curated by Cummins-Disbro, owner of Lost Orchid Interiors, to purchase and take home. Wear your best derby attire, enter the hat contest and browse hand-selected art, housewares, flowers and more.
“Offering a location where women can get dressed up and get fancy is reason [enough] to do this right now!” says Cummins-Disbro, who brings a joyous, colorful aesthetic to Schofield’s event planning chops.
The House of Wonders sits on 1.5 acres off Lancaster Avenue in a building that’s been in Schofield’s family for decades. It was built by her parents, Jane and Bruce Schofield, as a warehouse for James J. Brooke Estate Plumbing and Heating.
A 2018 renovation added an industrial kitchen, ambient chandelier lighting and arched windows. Inspired by the stylish Chelsea and Mayfair sections of London, the property includes a courtyard and promenade to round out ample outdoor space.
“People are hungry for connection,” says Cummins-Disbro. “We’re spending a lot of time in very small groups. We used to go to big stadiums, now we’re looking for new locations and more intimate spaces.”
***About House of Wonders’ Derby Days, May 22 and May 23: Hat Contest, Silent Auction and Bluegrass music. Pair handcrafted mocktails with your BYOB adult beverage of choice. Valet available. $75 tickets include entertainment, food, beverage and gift bags. Linger on the lawn or peruse curated pieces from Lost Orchid Interiors and local artists. COVID protocols will be in place.***
All hail The Queens’ Table in Paoli
Sweets meets Girl Power at Paoli’s new ice cream parlor, The Queens’ Table.
It’s the latest pandemic pivot from longtime caterer/whole-foods chef Meridith Coyle, who’s never been short on bright ideas.
The Queens’ Table celebrates the sweet life – the kind you lick with your tongue and the kind you lap up with your eyes. Half creamerie/confectioner, half showcase for women entrepreneurs and artists, it’s a 100-percent fanciful and fun.
On the confectionary front, Queens’ aims to do for ice cream what Aneu does for comfort food: make it healthier.
Artisanal ice creams come from small-batch local vendors and are made from organic whole foods. No preservatives. No fake sugars like corn syrup. No icky inflammatories like carageenan.
Whipped cream is homemade and the real thing.
Cookies and brownies for “Smokin’ Hot Sundaes” and “Sweet Sliders” are all fresh baked a few doors down by Aneu’s longtime baker, Nathan Hurst.
Not screaming for ice cream? Try an acai bowl.
Off dairy or vegan? Choose tofu-based cookies, vegan chocolate chips and non-dairy frozen confections.
Queens’ best-selling slider so far: The 40-year-old Vegan, which, in our book, vies for “Best Named Slider” honors with Bad Romance. (Although how dark chocolate ice cream rolled in peanut butter cups and sandwiched between peanut butter cookies could possibly end badly is beyond us.)
“I always wanted to own an ice cream shop,” says owner Meridith Coyle, who worked at a Rehoboth Beach ice cream parlor as a UDel freshman.
The Girl Power section sells gifts, home décor items and local art, all fancifully displayed under flowering tree branches.
“I wanted to create a place for women in small business to show their wares,” Coyle says. All operate on commission; none are saddled with rents. Current collaborators include bellaDONNA gifts and monogrammed items, Alex Eco Events, which brought in the trees and other eye poppers, Cloud Nine Painter and fine artists.
The Queens’ Table solves a few headaches for Coyle.
It uses vacant space she already owns – she bought the entire shopping center in 2017.
And it should help offset COVID-related losses to her catering business.
“I don’t think catering will return to the level it was at pre-COVID,” Coyle says. “So, out with the old and in with the new. I’ve had to pivot big.”
The Queen’s Table, 1544 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, is open weekdays 11 to 9, Fri. and Sat. 11 to 10, Sun. noon to 8. ‘Queen for a Day” private parties available.
***Happy Hour Open House with free wine and ice cream, Friday, May 7, 3 to 8. Open House is free but “Meet & Greet” photo giveaways with special guest, reality TV star/cannoli queen Kathy Wakile (formerly a Real Housewife of New Jersey) requires a $35 -$75 ticket via Eventbrite. ***
Sea change at Main Line Seafood: New market and unique fast-casual eatery in Paoli
Main Line Seafood – a seafood store and so much more – is finally up and running in the old Van Cleve bridal boutique in Paoli.
SEPTA forced the owners to leave their old location (formerly Seafood USA) to clear the way for the expanded Paoli train station. Partners Sean Sim, Alan Chung and Mike Casselli had hoped to move to the Paoli Shopping Center.
No dice. The shopping center didn’t want them, Sim tells SAVVY.
So they settled on the homey former Van Cleve building, which – like the fish they hand-cut in store – they gutted, adding a full restaurant kitchen and indoor seats for 45.
The new place is double the size.
Good thing, too. Business has doubled during the pandemic, says Sim. (On the flip side, COVID delayed their move by several months.).
Main Line Seafood operates fast-casual style.
You choose your exact fish from what you see at the counter, tell them how you’d like it prepared (ordering kiosks are coming), grab your drinks from a fridge (or pop open a BYO bottle or can), take a seat, and wait for your food to arrive. Or skip the last few steps and take everything home.
Sim says his team can grill, bake, fry, blacken, and properly season any fish in the case. There are also homemade soups, slaws, raw bar items, lobster rolls and popular Hawaiian-style poke bowls. Coming soon: All-you-can-eat crab and lobster nights.
No surprise: freshness is everything here. The partners pick up their tuna, swordfish, halibut and the like from Philly’s waterfront fishmongers themselves.
Sean Sim says he’s been known to cut open fish before buying it to make sure the fishmonger’s freshness claims are true. “They don’t play with me,” he says.
Sim says he works to hard keep his prices lower and his seafood fresher than Wegmans and Hill’s. While Main Line Seafood can’t always match the deals at Acme and other supermarkets, their quality and freshness can’t compare, he says.
As busy as they are, Sim, Chung and Casselli aren’t finished yet.
Later this spring, they plan to open a ten-seat sushi bar in a small building out back and hope to expand to Broomall or Springfield someday soon.
Main Line Seafood Market, 72 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, 610-640-1330, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays until 8 and Sundays 10 to 5.
A trove of delightful (and new!) Mom’s Day gifts with local ties
…For the great entertainer: Slices of heaven from My Pita Pies
Better than pizza, My Pita Pies, hand-crafted Greek pies are the newest venture from Chef Frances Vavloukis (above). Pies are fresh baked weekly at BodyX, her demonstration kitchen/workout gym in Bryn Mawr. Frances was just 9 years old when she started cooking for her Dad after her mom passed in her native Greece. Decades later, she still follows her family’s authentic recipes, adding the same secret ingredient to her famous pies: a whack of her phyllo with her father’s broom. Order traditional spanakopita (spinach) or one of 10 savory or sweet varieties ($79), including gluten-free and vegetarian that come boxed to reheat and feed a crowd. Order a gift card here. (PS We brought a GF spinach pie to Easter dinner. Nostimo!)
…For the avid paddle player: A custom paddle racket cover from Stitched by Aimee Poduri
Like any smart venture, Stitched solves a real-life problem experienced by Poduri and other paddlers at Waynesborough CC: grit on the faces of rackets that can scratch iPhones, bloody knuckles and even chip rings. The paddle season is long over but “orders are still flowing in,” Poduri tells SAVVY, who also creates covers for tennis rackets. Pickleball racket covers may be coming soon. Covers are $70 – $100 and can be ordered via @stitchedpaddlecover on Instagram or email [email protected].
…For the lady who loves flowers but hates to see them die: A never-wilt arrangement from MLWShowroom
Snatch up a sunkist lemon number, like the one ML Willcox is holding above, for just $56 at her new Wayne showroom. Silken and sweet, it’s guaranteed to keep mom smiling for months, not just a few days. Or ask ML to create your own arrangement. You can even BYOC – Bring Your Own Container. Visit @MLWShowroom for Insta-spiration.
…For the mom-to-be: What You Don’t Expect When You’re Expecting
Pregnancy doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck … or derriere … or low back or pelvis. Take it from Dr. Brandi Nemchenko (above), Wayne prenatal chiropractic specialist (Bloom @ Experience Chiropractic), who just updated her book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting. Using humor – you gotta laugh about this stuff, right? – Nemchenko explains which aches and pains are normal and offers safe ways to break the cycle of pregnancy pain. Available in Kindle or paperback versions.
…For the classically chic tennis or golf girl: A little pick-me-up from Club & Court
Just launched over the nets at Merion Cricket Club by locals Lara Evans and Kristin Nevins (above), Club & Court fashions are old and yet new. They meld the spirit and classic style of old-school active wear with modern fabrics, colorways and silhouettes.
Choose tennis or golf tees/tops from $68, skorts and shorts from $88, dresses from $118 and more. You’ll be as proud to wear ’em to the farmer’s market as you will to the club.
Good news for neighbors protesting new townhomes behind Eagle Village
A major defeat for a plan to build 41 townhomes at the Strafford estate of the late Dodo Hamilton. The Radnor Board of Commissioners voted unanimously April 12 to deny the trustees’ conditional use application that would have permitted multi-family homes in an R-4 residential area of Radnor.
Radnor’s solicitor outlined three grounds on which the BOC could justify a denial, all related to the proposed storm management system: it violated code by taking up open space required for recreational use, it put a structure (even though underground) on open space, and the applicants failed to give a full description of the system, including specifics about stormwater flow onto neighbors’ properties.
A group of vocal neighbors has long opposed the project, citing density, traffic and flooding concerns in the streets and yards behind Eagle Village Shops.
This one may not be over. The applicants just might appeal.
This and That
Devon’s off but Radnor Hunt Races are BACK on May 15, albeit with limited attendance, no food or drink sold on-site, open-sided tailgate tents, and no special contests and events to minimize folks intermingling. Shucks but we get it. “Party pod” packages and COVID guidelines here.
Another tree fight in Radnor. The township is poised to cut down 117 mature trees, some up to 100 ft. tall, in Fenimore Woods. Local conservationists and some neighbors are begging the Board of Commissioners to halt the plan, which has already been put out to bid. The trees would be clear cut to make room for a new playground, pavilion and restroom at the park. “We can save the canopy of Fenimore Woods if we raise our voices,” neighbor Camrin Azzarano tells SAVVY. “My passion for saving this canopy is growing faster than the new baby trees they plan to plant will for sure.”
Haverford Township is mourning the untimely death of widely respected Commissioner Andy Lewis, 64, son of US Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and a former Delco councilperson. Andy Lewis passed a few weeks after he was diagnosed with the rare neurodegenerative disorder, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, at the Hospital of the Univ. of Pennsylvania with his family at his bedside.
Mila Kunis is set to star in the Netflix film, Luckiest Girl Alive, the New York Times bestseller by Villa Maria/Shipley grad, Jessica Knoll, who also wrote the screenplay. We interviewed Knoll shortly after her explosive revelation of her own gang rape in high school, which plays a part in her novel.
Hope some of you will find it in your hearts to contribute to the gofundme launched after the sudden death-by-aneurysm of Berwyn Nails’ owner Maria (Quy Kim Vu) at age 47. Maria leaves behind five kids, one at Stoga, one at TEMS, and money is tight. Her sister Lieu is helping raise her niece and four nephews along with three children of her own. Alyssa Metz-Topodas, a longtime patron of the salon across from the Goodwill in Berwyn, started the fundraiser. No amount is too small, she says.
Children’s clothier CBOP has moved to the former Patricia Adams Gifts space in Haverford Square.
Chester County Commissioners and local planning and parks officials will host an Open Space Summit April 29 at 6:30 pm on Zoom. The county is just two percentage points shy of reaching its goal of 32 percent open space.
In time for Mother’s Day and college grads, Walter J. Cook Jeweler’s spring sale runs April 23 through May 8. Stop in their Paoli store for 25-percent off storewide. Select merch is 50- to 75-percent off.
Day Spa by Zsuzsanna, that oasis of beauty and well-being, on Conestoga Rd. in Wayne, just added hair services.
Another welcome waft of spring: The Devon Yard Farmer’s Market opens May 12. Shop every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Give T/E is giving again. This new group of civic-minded women hears pitches from local charities, then votes to award one a big gift. Spring’s winner was FLITE (Foundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Easttown) which will receive $10,000 from Give T/E and a matching $5,000 from the Richard M. Schulze Foundation. Give T/E members commit to giving $100 and meeting twice a year. The group is actively seeking new members.
Radnor grad Mike Badey and his father George have cashed out. In a sign that recreational cannabis is coming our way eventually, the Badeys sold Keystone Shops, their mini-chain of medical marijuana dispensaries, to out-of-state Trulieve Cannabis Corp., for $60 million. Keystone opened the region’s first dispensary at the old Devon Dairy Queen in 2018.
Lower Merion School District is looking for a new leader. School Superintendent Robert Copeland will retire in the fall. He’d hoped to hold out until after the new middle school opens in Villanova but COVID forced the Copelands to reevaluate their plans.
A Lower Merion teacher who was in her classroom when Senator Heinz’ plane crashed at Merion Elementary School 30 years ago has died. A woman who lived with uncommon gusto, Sarah Dwyer, 83, also bought a horse, Fairwinds Honey, that won ribbons at the Devon Horse Show and later owned Fairwinds Collection antique store in Narberth. She passed from heart failure last month. She 83.
Homegrown alt-rock band Mt. Joy is reaching new heights. The boys from Stoga and their bandmates will headline Colorado’s storied Red Rocks Amphitheatre May 22. No more playing second fiddle. Hot damn.
Kudos to Cuffco Electric, now ringing in its 100th year in Bryn Mawr. Started in 1921 by William Cuff when he returned home from World War I, Cuffco has since been run by his widow, Anne Reilly Cuff, then his son, Dick, who expanded to create Main Line Custom Kitchens in 1980. Dick’s son, Dan, runs the show now. His wife, Shelly, oversees the kitchen business. A longtime booster of the Bryn Mawr business district, Dick Cuff is also president of Bryn Mawr Fire Company.
The fastest growing sport in the U.S. is headed to UMLY. Official outdoor pickleball courts are coming to the Upper Main Line YMCA, likely the first week of May.
Fans of M. Night Shyamalan’s creepy “Servant” series on Apple TV should keep an eye out for Season 3 scenes showing the Ocean City Boardwalk, filmed last month, and the Fitler Club and Rittenhouse Square, filming this week. The show doubled its viewership in Season 2.
The widening of the PA Turnpike near Chesterbrook/Glenhardie is well underway. For neighbors, those sounds barriers can’t come soon enough.
A sweet new take on Happy Hour in Ardmore. Parlour is offering 50-percent off its ice creams Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 6.
Sign of the times. Chester County has launched a new Teen Talk Line, open after school and evenings for youth who feel stressed, sad, isolated and overwhelmed. Call 855-852-TEEN (8336) or text 484-362-9515.
A milestone blood drive that keeps on giving. With so many schools and businesses cancelling drives, blood is needed more than ever. Donate yours at the 10th Annual Carol H. Axelrod Memorial Blood Drive at the Radnor Activity Center in Wayne, Tuesday, May 4, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. COVID protocols in place. For every pint you give, organizers will donate to 10 local nonprofits: Radnor Fire Co./Radnor Ambulance, Bryn Mawr Fire Co., Wayne Food Pantry, Wayne Senior Center, Peter’s Place, Radnor ABC, Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, Women’s Resource Center, Radnor High School Scholarship Fund and DMAX Foundation. Appointments are required, visit www.chablooddrive.org/.
Chester County mom Marisa DiChiacchio is pleading for help for her son, Connor, 12, who is battling the fatal disease, Sanfilippo Syndrome type C, akin to Alzheimer’s in children. The Save Connor campaign is raising funds for clinical trials that might save his life. The campaign has a new video and a gofundme. The two research projects must be funded by the end of June.
Hurting for students and selling off some land, Valley Forge Military Academy wants to open Valley Forge Military Charter School on its Radnor campus for grades 6 to 12. The co-ed school would run on a “military model” and hopes to open in fall of 2022.
Collectors’ alert. Hit hard by COVID, Wayne Art Center will host a one-day art sale, Spring Off the Wall, May 2, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Each piece was donated by a local artist and will sell for just $150 with proceeds to benefit the art center. Timed entry, eight-minute speed shopping, and safety protocols will be in place.
Time for another food drive for Wayne Food Pantry. Contactless drop off 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot across from Radnor Fire Co. this Saturday, April. 24.
High fives to Jamie Jones of WhirlAway Travel, just named a 2021 “Top Travel Specialist’ by Conde Nast Traveler. The magazine cited the West Chester agency’s expertise in travel to Africa and the Middle East as well as its rep for planning family travel, food tours and over-the-top trips. Our travel-starved selves would sure love to whirl away with you one day, Jamie.
And finally, check out these cool cameos in the closing credits of Last Call, the new comedy written by Wayne developer, Greg Lingo, that centers around a Delco bar.
Why Christopher’s and Teresa’s?
“I felt they were a great representation of American small businesses and by having the masks on their crews, we would always remember this time, the time of the pandemic,” Lingo tells SAVVY.
Works for us. Y’all were more than ready for your closeups.