Hope you’re hungry, Main Line.
A rush of new restaurants has graced our shores or will soon set sail.
Interestingly, most are in Bryn Mawr – that split-personality hamlet that serves both well-heeled homeowners and cash-strapped college kids.
First, intel on what’s coming:
Trattoria Carina. Two sizable storefronts – Bryn Mawr Flower Shop and Professional Duplicating – will soon be home to Trattoria Carina. After 32 years in business, the flower shop’s owners are retiring, according to their landlord, Tim Rubin.
If you enjoy Avalon’s Diving Horse and Pub & Kitchen in Philly, put this one on your radar – ownership is the same. Rubin tells us restaurateur Dan Clark is working on a liquor license which may delay the trattoria’s debut to early spring.
Concept should be similar to the original Trattoria Carina in Center City: approachable Italian in stylish surroundings. Think homemade pasta and classic Italian dishes.
Trattoria Moma. A few blocks west, Tin Lizard Brewing Co. has slithered into the sunset for good. Its replacement: a second outpost of the intimate Mt. Airy favorite, Trattoria Moma. The chef/owner makes his own cured meats, pastas, breads and desserts and has a loyal following. EDITOR’S 9.7.22 UPDATE: While the owner is the same as Trattoria Moma, his new restaurant will be called Dua Mediterranean Kitchen and it will be BYOB.
The Pullman Restaurant & Bar. Tango’s ambitious and long-delayed replacement should pull into Bryn Mawr Train Station shortly. Construction has been chugging along for a couple years now. Interiors – by designer Barbara Balongue (Will’s and Bill’s Brewery, White Dog, Autograph) riff on the glamorous rail dining cars of yesteryear, complete with stylish piano lounge.
Lunch, dinner and small-plate bar menus will spotlight fresh, local sourcing. Owner is Jennifer Hammer, who reportedly tended bar at the old Smokey Joe’s in Wayne to help pay her way through Villanova U.
1009 Steaks. The former dive bar, Maloney’s Pub, is poised to become 1009 Steaks, a shakes-and-sandwich-shop with Angus Beef cheesesteaks, gourmet burgers, salads and such.
Chopt. A fast-casual creative salad shop is moving to the old Bryn + Dane’s space next to La Colombe. It’s the chain’s second store in PA. We hear Chopt salads are a smidge bigger than Sweetgreens’ and their Mexican Caesar is the bomb.
Sizable Restaurant TBD: The luxury apartment project coming to Bryn Mawr’s busiest corner across from Ludington Library expects to lease some of its 12,500 sq. ft. ground-floor retail to a restaurant. With township approvals secured, developer Cornerstone Tracy hopes to break ground in late fall or early 2023.
And that list doesn’t include two biggies that debuted in Bryn Mawr this summer: Fiore Rosso, celebrated chef Marc Vetri’s first suburban venture, and Veekoo’s promising expansion to Bryn Mawr Square. See our stories below.
So why is Bryn Mawr suddenly New Restaurant Central? In part, you can thank the pandemic, says Paul Aschkenasy, president of the Bryn Mawr Business Association and the developer of Bryn Mawr Village. With more suburbanites working from home, fewer are willing to schlep to Center City to dine, Aschkenasy says. “[City] restauranteurs no longer assume suburban customers will come to them. Attitudes have changed.”
“Bryn Mawr is on a good track right now,” adds a bullish Tim Rubin, who owns large portions of the town’s commercial real estate. “Restaurants and stores appreciate that we don’t have the huge rents and parking issues of Wayne. We’re on a nice roll.”
After a super slow-mo summer opening, Fiore Rosso – “red flower” – is in full bloom in Bryn Mawr.
And the Main Line is eating it up – despite the, ahem, splurge pricing.
Acclaimed chef Marc Vetri calls Fiore Rosso, his first suburban restaurant, an Italian steakhouse but Davio’s or even DePaul’s Table this is not. The menu is a curated mix of small plates and pastas, four main dishes and four steaks, the cheapest of which is $75.
And there isn’t a baked potato or white tablecloth in sight.
You’ll detect nary a trace of the old Enoteca Tredici, Fiore’s predecessor in Bryn Mawr Village and once the hottest table in town.
The side dining rooms are gone and the 5,000 sq. ft. space is now one big, lively room with soaring ceilings, a cozy bar near the entrance, and a private dining room and wine vault in the rear.
The vibe is approachable – not stuffy or snooty. Think comfy booths and banquettes, a TV in the bar, pop music playing faintly above the chatter.
No need to get gussied up either. We saw plenty of sneakers during our late summer visit.
You might even call Fiore Rosso blandly handsome but for the jaw-dropping original art gracing the walls – all on loan from the private collections of high-rolling Vetri investors Tom Gravina (Evolve IP) and Michael Forman (FS Investments). Picasso, Miro, Stella, Weems – they’re all here, joining you for dinner. Smashing company, right?
“If Marc Vetri is going to be our culinary artist, we thought: Why not celebrate all kinds of art?” Vetri Restaurants’ COO Jeff Benjamin tells SAVVY. “There’s even artistry in the all-Italian wine list.”
Service, too, is seasoned and top notch.
“We have a great core group here. We took a lot of time with training,” Benjamin says.
If scoring a table in prime time seemed impossible in July and August, it wasn’t because the place was packed. Tables were left open so the kitchen and servers wouldn’t be slammed.
“We eased into it,” explains Assistant GM Joseph Zumpano. “We wanted to get it right every single night.”
The limited seating policy is set to end any day now. Which mean reservations – at least on weeknights – will be easier to come by.
But do plan ahead – way ahead – if you’re aiming for a prime-time weekend table this fall. Insider tip: If there are just two of you, you could take your chances. Six tables for two are kept for walk-ins in the lounge area near the bar.
But enough about the artful atmosphere and service. What will truly wow you is the food – expertly conceived by Vetri and exquisitely executed by Executive Chef Jesse Grossman (formerly of Vernick and Osteria). A wood-fired grill drives much of it, imparting a subtle smokiness to sweetbreads, prawns, pasta, corn, fish and steaks.
A riff on the rustic farm-to-table steakhouses in Italy, Fiore Rosso strives for authenticity. The menu is laden with obscure Italian food names – best keep your phone handy for translations.
Most first courses – cicchetti (small plates), crudo, antipasti, and pastas ($14-$24) are on the small side. If you’re forgoing an entrée, order several starters or you’ll leave hungry.
The tangy steak tartare ($18) and the stuffed baby artichokes ($16) were tasty but not showstoppers. We’ll try something else next time.
The Fettuccine Bolognese Fiore Rosso ($20), however, was stellar: perfectly cooked al dente noodles in a rich ragu. No surprise the pasta shines here. Vetri literally wrote the book on pasta, i.e. Mastering Pasta in 2015. In the Philly area, we daresay nobody does it better.
As for main courses, there are four “Secondi” on the current menu, which will change seasonally: two fishes, a lamb steak and a veal chop ($37 – $70) and four “Bistecca,” two of which are mammoth and meant for sharing (or doggy bags): a 40 oz. Porterhouse ($168) and a 32 oz. bone-in ribeye ($150).
The house specialty is the rib-eye (below), the only cut that arrives dry-aged from Washington state then gets a few more weeks of dry-aging in house. (Raw rib-eyes are displayed proudly in refrigerated cases flanking the open kitchen.) The result of that patient TLC: uncommonly rich, tender and flavorful beef – a carnivore’s nirvana.
Also not to be missed: The whole orata (aka Mediterranean dorade/sea bream), a tender white fish grilled with piennolo tomatoes, capers, and olives (below). Simply sensational. Of course, at $58, it should be.
For dessert we went old school. When we heard Vetri insisted on putting an OG chocolate layer cake on the menu, we were intrigued. Fiore Rosso’s confection – made with crunchy dark chocolate and served with fior di latte (“simply milk”) gelato for $14 – was divine. Order it.
About the splurge pricing: Just know that everything is extra here including rolls and bread (from $9) and vegetable sides.
A couple can easily spend $300 to $400 – particularly if you order steak. Including tip, we paid $394 for two very small plates, a smallish pasta, the orata and the rib-eye, a shared dessert and one glass of wine each. (For the record, both pours – a dry, sparkling rosé, $15, and a Montepulciano, $17, were outstanding.)
Still, from start to finish, Fiore Rosso may be the Main Line’s most polished kitchen – on par with Vetri’s Center City flagship. You do get what you pay handsomely for.
And don’t discount the built-in savings. You won’t blow through gallons of gas, stew in traffic or pay for city parking. Heck, you won’t even need a new outfit.
Veekoo Bryn Mawr: Third location’s a charm
With little fanfare, Veekoo has been slinging stylish sushi and Shoyu in the far corner of Bryn Mawr Square since mid-June.
It’s the Asian-fusion BYOB’s third outpost and by far its most posh. (Others are in Royersford and Berwyn.)
This time, owners Tony and Shelly Li hired a designer to help them recast the 2,400 sq. ft. former Cosi space. “We wanted a city-like feeling,” manager Eon Li (no relation) tells SAVVY. “It’s classy with a warm, contemporary look.”
Thanks to COVID, renovations dragged on for two years. Chairs for the 7-seat sushi bar still hadn’t arrived from China in mid-summer.
It’s a cozy place: just 60 seats inside and another 12 on the patio. For the COVID-cautious, ceilings are high and giant front glass doors are kept open in nice weather.
On the menu: Chinese, Japanese and Thai classics, sushi and sashimi and Veekoo signatures. Salads, small plates and apps are $7 – $15; Entrées, noodles, ramen and rice plates run $14 to $34; Rolls $6 – $16; Sushi Bar entrées with soup or salad start at $24.
We ordered fresh oysters, the house salad, the Sushi Deluxe ($32) and the Manhattan roll ($16). Each was fresh, tasty and quite artfully plated. Servers were still green during our visit but trying hard.
Note to the table of regulars on the patio who begged us to keep Veekoo a secret, fearing they’d never get in again: our sincere apologies.
Now dripping IV bags into eager Main Line arms: City Hydration, operating in the heart of Wayne since late July.
While a few local medspas offer IV infusions to complement their wellness services – Revitalize Aesthetics in Ardmore and CryoScuptRevive and Restore Hyper Wellness in Paoli come to mind – City Hydration is the Main Line’s first dedicated “IV bar.”
Clients choose from a menu of 15 infusions, concocted to either cure what ails you – hangovers, jet lag, exhaustion, colds and flu, cramps, migraines and more – or promote wellness. There are specific formulas to boost immunity, nourish skin and hair, fight cellular aging, jumpstart metabolism and speed recovery from surgery.
Better living through chemistry, right?
Prices range from $145 for “Jet Lag and Fatigue” to $250 for the trendy wellness supplement NAD+, which purports to regenerate cells, clear brain fog, cut inflammation and ease cravings.
Clients include serious athletes, weekend warriors, frequent travelers, women with menstrual issues, cancer patients and people with chronic conditions, revelers after bachelor/bachelorette bacchanals, you name it.
Especially popular: bridal party packages. “They want energy and immune support before the wedding and hangover cures afterward,” says owner Christie D’Arcy, a former Jefferson trauma nurse who owns City Hydrations in Philly and Avalon.
Though skeptics have called it snake oil, converts are gladly dropping $150 – $200+ a bag – some as often as once or twice a month.
A former Jefferson trauma nurse, D’Arcy says her medical training informs her operations.
- Clients must be over 18 and pass health screenings. Anyone with a red flag must pass a telemedicine appointment with CH’s physician.
- Anyone over 65 must submit detailed health histories which are reviewed by a physician.
- All IVs are administered by RNs with critical care/ICU backgrounds. For an extra fee, nurses will make house calls.
City Hydration was the region’s first and only IV infusion lounge for three years but competition is coming. Six IV chains are heading to the Philly area, she says.
D’Arcy’s interest in IVs started in San Francisco where she worked as a traveling nurse after leaving Jefferson.
“IV bars were as common on the West Coast as Wawa is here,” she says. “The East Coast had nothing.” D’Arcy had also seen firsthand how IVs worked wonders for patients who came to ERs with severe headaches, fatigue and nausea – all signs of dehydration.
But why get a needle in your arm when you can drink lots of water and take supplements?
It’s all about bioavailability, according to D’Arcy. Only about 20 percent of nutrients taken orally actually get in your bloodstream, she says. The other 80 percent is absorbed by the gut and excreted. “With an IV, you’re bypassing your gut and making it 100% bioavailable right away,” she says.
D’Arcy opened Philly’s first IV bar on Walnut Street “with one chair and one couch in a tiny office” just before the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade. Her timing was impeccable. Local media ran stories about her “miracle” cure for hungover Eagles fans and business boomed. Her current Philly location is much larger with ample space for complementary services like infrared sauna, hydrafacials, micronutrient testing and compression therapy. “People are busy and appreciate the convenience,” says D’Arcy.
When she saw business consistently dipping in summer, D’Arcy followed her clients to the Jersey shore. She opened a second seasonal lounge on Dune Drive in Avalon in 2021.
“It’s been fantastic,” D’Arcy reports. “People are driving from Margate and Atlantic City for IVs,” Business has been so strong she hopes to stay open in Avalon through the off-season this year. She’s counting on her Wayne lounge to be just as popular.
City Hydration Main Line, 183 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne PA, offers micronutrient testing ($500), IV hydration ($75) and targeted IVs (from $150), Vitamin Boost Shots (from $25), Normatec Compression, NAD+ Infusion ($250-$1,000), and COVID testing. All services available in your home or office for an extra fee. Open weekdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m, weekends 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Book online, call 215-416-0109 or stop by. Memberships coming soon.
A burger and a beer with a side of Boggle, anyone? Order all three at Twenty One Pips, the Main Line’s first game café on Cricket Ave. in Ardmore.
Owner Matt Hendricks is rolling the dice that Main Line families and all those fun-loving at One Ardmore and Cricket Flats will want to play while they partake. He has proof of concept in his first game room/bar, Thirsty Dice, open in Philly’s Fairmount section since 2018.
About that name: Twenty One Pips refers to the 21 pips on a six-sided die. (Don’t feel bad. We didn’t know, either.)
With 5,000 sq. ft, on two levels, place has seats for 170, a library wall of 500+ board games, two vintage SkeeBall machines, a 3D Pong table and plenty more.
A $5 library pass buys you two hours of play. Staff “gametenders” can help you choose a game and show you how to play.
A full bar serves craft cocktails and local beers. The playful theme is everywhere: even the beer taps are game pieces.
On the menu: shareable charcuterie boards (from $18), snacks and salads ($7 – $14), flatbreads and sandwiches ($16 -$19), four dinner plates ($23 – $31) and two desserts. A “pipsqueak” menu offers the usual kiddie fare.
Speaking of which, parents and guardians are asked to supervise kids 12 and under. So no catching up with your pals while your little darlins’ run off to play Skeeball.
A grab-and-go coffee-and-croissant bar – constructed from Jenga pieces! – operates mornings through midday, pouring Herman’s coffee and selling baked yummies from Narberth’s Au Fournil.
The dining room opens late afternoon weekdays and late morning on weekends.
So far, the place is drawing families, groups of friends and several first dates. A hard-fought game of Scrabble can reveal a lot about a person, right?
Twenty One Pips, 24 Cricket Ave. (in One Ardmore), 610-228-2711, sells coffee drinks and baked goods weekdays 7 a.m – 2 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Table and bar service weekdays from 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. Reserve for peak times on Tock. Private parties and corporate event packages for 12 or more.
The Devon Fall Classic – the low-key but still thrilling sister to the big spring show – gallops into town Sept. 14 to 18.
Our Top 10 reasons to go:
1. Thrills, chills and hopefully very few spills in the show ring. Some of the nation’s top equestrians will compete in the $5,000 Welcome Stake Thursday night, the $5,000 Open Speed Stake Friday night and the $25,000 Grand Prix Saturday night. We’re pleased to report that Devon Showjumping Queen Laura Chapot has sent in her entries.
2. The hounds will be here. The always popular Parade of the Radnor Hunt Hounds will warm up the crowd Friday night at 6:30.
3. The lead line. Now a regular feature of the Classic, catch the always adorable lead line in the Dixon Oval Saturday afternoon.
4. Short waits – or no wait at all – for the Ferris wheel, amusement rides and carnival games on the expanded Midway.
5. Your kids will be amused – and not just on the Midway. In a Classic first, organized kids crafts will keep small fries entertained in the Pavilion Saturday afternoon while their parents linger over lunch. The weekend wraps up with $10 pony rides in the schooling ring Sunday, noon to 3.
6. The shopping is sensational. A record 43 popups will peddle their wares in Vendor’s Village, including the famous Devon Souvenirs stall.
7. You won’t leave hungry. Carlino’s Market was so well-received at the spring show, the Italian favorite has been invited back for the Classic. Other yummy vendors: Philly Hots, JT Wilder BBQ, Reading Coffee and Bassett’s Ice cream. Goes without saying the famous Devon Tea Cart will be wheeled out as well.
8. You won’t leave thirsty either. (And you’ll be entertained, too.) Enjoy happy hour deals weeknights at the Gazebo and Clydesdale’s Corner, Devon’s beloved watering hole. Levante Brewing will be pouring cold ones nightly in their beer garden near Clydesdale’s. Local bands will rock Pavilion and at Clydesdale’s every night. Among them: Just Add Water (Wed.), St. John’s Brass Ensemble (Wed. & Sun.), Rick’s Office Band (Thurs.), Bad Neighbor (Friday) and K Mac Trio (Saturday).
9. The price is right. General Admission tickets are just $3 – $10. (Kids 5 and under are always free.) Bringing a gang? Admission and parking are free on Wednesday (aka Family Fest/Community Day) when the first 100 kids under age 10 get a free ride on the Midway. Fancier folks can reserve a box for all five days for just $350. Or pay only $30 for a reserved grandstand seat for the whole show, $15 for kids, seniors and active military.)
10. It’s for a darn good cause. The Devon Fall Classic benefits the Devon Horse Show Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that keeps the historic fair grounds, show rings, barns and stalls in tip-top shape so Devon can attract world-class talent and raise all that moolah for Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Devon Fall Classic at the Devon Horse Show Grounds begins Wed. Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. and ends Sunday, Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. Midway opens at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. weekends. Full schedule, tickets, box and seat reservations and sponsor list here.
The hippest of plant purveyors not named Terrain has come to Devon.
STUMP has set up shop in the cute-as-a-button cottage near BMW of Devon, its 9th outpost.
Unlike Home Depot, the Acme or your local garden center, STUMP makes plant-buying intensely personal and – fingers crossed – foolproof.
“We’re a place where you can be less overwhelmed by plants,” STUMP’s Devon Store Lead Helen Nichols tells SAVVY. “You can come in with questions and concerns and you don’t have to be scared about what’s going to happen over time.”
Indeed, STUMP sets you up for success in myriad ways.
The store curates only top-quality tropical and desert plants that thrive in our climate and mostly shady suburbs. Those trendy fiddly fig trees, air plants, snake plants and succulents are all here, along with tried-and-true favorites like ficus trees and ferns.
Nichols checks all plants for insects and nursery neglect when they arrive. “I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about people taking plants home that die right away or have pests.”
Instead of the little plastic tag about water and light, you’ll leave with a “care card” that explains everything: proper care, signs of distress and how to troubleshoot them. If you lose the card, just look up your plant on STUMP’S website.
Not sure what plant will work in your room? Show Nichols photos of your space or bring in a planter you aim to fill. She’ll plant your purchase at no charge – in your container or theirs. STUMP also sells clean-lined and sustainably crafted artisan pots and planters.
Founded by Brian and Emily Kellet in Columbus, Ohio in 2015, STUMP has stores in four states, including two in University City and Northern Liberties.
The company came to Devon by chance. The Kellets spotted the “for lease” sign on the cute Tudor cottage while they were staying with friends in Berwyn.
Helen Nichols sealed the deal. A prized employee at STUMP Savannah and a Kennett Square native, Nichols told the Kellets she planned to move home after her college graduation and would gladly run the new store.
STUMP, 7 Lancaster Ave. Devon, is open Wed. – Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 11 to 4. Workshops coming soon. Ask about private events, girls’ nights and birthday parties.
What a difference a local owner can make.
When Main Line fitness entrepreneur Matt Littman toured the now bankrupt Philadelphia Sports Club’s former space at the Radnor Financial Center, he didn’t see years of dust, darkness and neglect.
He saw possibility.
“They totally let it slide but the bones of the space were incredible,” says Littman, who lives in Bryn Mawr and owns AFC Fitness clubs in Bala Cynwyd and Feasterville. “And I loved the location just off the Blue Route. Now I can serve members on two sides of the Main Line.”
Littman signed a 15-year lease and brought in fitness specialist Fabiano Designs to reimagine the 42,000 square ft. bi-level space. He knocked down walls to let in the sunlight, expanded workout studios, overhauled the locker rooms and installed state-of-the-art, well, everything. “We gutted it to the bone,” Littman says.
Open since August 1, Littman calls his newest facility a “best-in-class health-and-wellness destination” for nearby office workers, group exercise fans, indoor cyclists, yogis, swimmers, body builders, you name it.
“A few hundred people signed up before we even opened the door; the club sells itself,” Littman says. Several PSC members have already reunited at the new club, he says.
The place is light, bright and immaculate. “We have spaces within spaces to make everyone feel comfortable – whether they want to exercise on the main floor, more privately or with a trainer,” Littman says.
The club features:
- Two cardio/strength/circuit training theaters equipped with the latest Precor machines.
- A spacious group exercise studio and a mind/body studio (below) for barre, yoga and Pilates. Both were expanded.
- A 20-bike cycling studio with nifty LED lights and personal output monitors on each bike. (Your stats won’t go on a big board.)
- Two turf spaces for functional strength workouts, with or without a trainer. Unique to AFC: four individual workout “pods” with bench, kettlebells, Bosu, bands, balls and barbells at your fingertips.
- A four-lane heated lap pool.
- A separate, spacious weight-lifting area for pumpers of heavy iron.
- A Recovery Room with three muscle-soothing Hydromassage lounge chairs that can be reserved for 10-minute sessions. (We tried one. Heaven.)
- Certified personal trainers roving the gym floor. If you do tweak something, Ivy Rehab offers convenient physical therapy on-site.
- An all-day café with made-to-order healthy fare and La Colombe coffee open to members and the public.
- Brand-new locker rooms with glass-doored shower stalls, sauna and steam rooms.
- Complimentary towel service.
- On-site personal and small-group training.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy to speed healing and treat neurological conditions.
Memberships are $99/month – by our calculation almost half the cost of Life Time – and include full use of the facilities and all fitness classes. The only extras are personal training, physical therapy and “dives” in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Note to the COVID concerned: AFC’s new HVAC system offers advanced air filtration and circulation. Another plus: Littman, who lives ten minutes away, is a “clean freak” and promises he’ll be a hands-on owner.
We asked him why he’s so bullish on in-person fitness when many clubs have closed or are still struggling to return to pre-pandemic profitability. (Town Sports International Holdings, operator of Philadelphia Sports Clubs, filed for bankruptcy in 2020.)
“I really think people want to get out of their homes,” Littman offers. “They’re tired of looking at screens to see their trainers or riding a Peloton in the guest room. We’re social creatures.”
AFC Fitness, Radnor Financial Center, 555. E. Lancaster Ave., Radnor, 484.840.4500, is open weekdays 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. $99/month memberships.
Lose weight without leaving the sofa – and at SAVVY savings! Award-winning obesity medicine specialist, Dr. Janine Darby MD, will launch a new 12-week VIRTUAL group weight-loss program Tuesday nights at 7, Sept. 13 to Nov. 29. SAVVY readers get an introductory price of $600 – a $150 savings! (Register here.) Dr. Darby is known for the 3Ms: simple changes in mindset, meal-planning and movement that take the weight off and keep it off. Her uniquely effective telehealth practice, Lifestyle Changes LLC, also offers one-on-one weight management and corporate wellness plans.
How’s this for a dream job? Working among beautiful baubles in an elegant showroom helping excited clients select perfect gifts. Consistently voted “Best Jeweler on the Main Line,” Paoli’s Walter J. Cook Jeweler is looking for enthusiastic, friendly, flexible sales associates. If you’re a team player with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to grow in an exciting, personal-service industry, call Michael Cook, 610-644-5347, to have a conversation. Family-owned for 75 years, Walter J. Cook Jeweler offers hand-selected jewels, limited-edition pieces, custom design options and expert repairs.
Crazy for classic rock? This one has your name on it. The American Vinyl All Star Band – whose members played in iconic bands like Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Boston, James Brown, J. Geils Band and The Wailers – headline Valley Forge Casino Resort Sept. 9, playing hits from each musician’s former bands. AM Radio, the Philly area’s top 60s and 70s tribute band, will open the show. Tickets start at $60 and are on sale now.
***SAVVY Picks are shoutouts & promos on behalf of our sponsors. To learn more about becoming a SAVVY Pick, email [email protected]
Santucci’s: Paoli’s new hip-to-be-square pizza parlor
Cult-fave Santucci’s is off to a solid start next to the CVS in Paoli. It’s the chain’s eighth outpost and second in Chester County. With just three tables and a small counter inside, it’s cozy. Best plan on takeout or delivery.
Santucci’s square pies flip the formula, putting the cheese on the bottom and sauce on top. “That way the crust stays crisp,’ explains Kurt Marath, owner of the Paoli franchise. “It never gets soggy or greasy.”
Pizzas come in two sizes: a 17-inch large for $20 and a 9-inch for $10. (Though it’s called “Personal,” it can easily feed two.) Toppings are $2 to $6 extra. We tried a half Margarita/half BBQ chicken (below). Both halves were tasty, and the crust was crispy as advertised.
The Granny Smith Apple salad ($15) was seriously swell, too.
The Maraths, who both work in healthcare, are new to the food biz and bought the franchise as an investment. So far, the western Main Line has given the Paoli pizzeria a warm welcome, particularly at night, Marath says.
Santucci’s Original Square Pizza, 1776 Lancaster Ave., Paoli (next to CVS) is open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Order online or call ahead 610 424-2790 for pickup, home or office delivery. BYOB with limited seating inside and out.
Wait, is this a prank? A bot? Could Jason Derulo – THE Jason Derulo, hiphop superstar – really be DMing me, Josh Watson, offering to fly me to Miami to collaborate on a TikTok video?
With nearly 8 million Tiktok followers, the Wayne native and St. Joe’s sophomore was already getting noticed. Many of the mind-blowing videos he spent umpteen hours perfecting and posting as @joshvfx (vfx = visual effects) had gone viral. A few companies had come calling. Ads and sponsorships were starting to put a small dent in his college expenses.
Still, Josh Watson, 19, was no Jason Derulo. The singer-songwriter-dancer had 52.5 million followers (Tiktok’s 15th most popular account) and made $75,000 on every video he posted.
Who knew where a collaboration might lead? And so, on July 16 an over-the-moon Watson and two pals – because his mom, Eileen, didn’t want her son going alone – flew to Florida.
Derulo paid Watson’s airfare and put the trio up in a suite at the Hard Rock Hotel near the performer’s Miami Beach estate. Not too shabby.
“He was very nice, really chill,” Watson recalls. “Jason listened to my ideas, added a few of his own and then we filmed them.”
In about five hours, Watson, Derulo and his content manager shot three videos. One shows Derulo scaling walls and swinging through Miami streets Spiderman-style. “People were taking pictures, leaning out of car windows and filming on their phones but Jason took it in stride and stayed focused.,” Watson says.
Another video – suggested by Josh and filmed at Jason’s home – showed the star trying to impress his toddler son with his superpowers.
According to Watson, Derulo was a natural. “He was great in front of the camera; he often did a perfect take the first time.”
Back home in Wayne, Watson spent the rest of July editing the footage and coming down to earth. “Jason was super fun to work with. It was an amazing experience.”
Derulo posted the Spiderman video (below) in early August. So far, it’s received 1.7 million views. See if you can spot Watson and his pals near the end.
Ppl get us mixed up all the time @joshvfx
Follow @joshvfx on TikTok to view more of his viral videos.
When you have skin grafts over most of your body and no sweat glands or body hair, your body simply can’t beat the heat.
That’s why air conditioning is everything for Austin Beltrante, the T/E teen who suffered third-degree burns on 83 percent of his body and lost parts of three limbs after his foot touched a live wire at a Devon train trestle in May of 2021.
When summer started, Austin had to hole up in his bedroom, which was blessedly cool because it had a window AC unit – unlike the rest of the Beltrantes’ 100-year-old Berwyn home.
But these days, he has the run of the house; It’s cool throughout.
And not because the Beltrantes sprang for central air. Sila did. A T/E parent who works at Silas Heating and Air in King of Prussia read about Austin’s plight in SAVVY and told the boss.
“As soon as the team brought it up, it was an instant no-brainer,” recalls Sila CEO Jason Rabbino. “Here was a local family with a clear need for something that exactly fits what our people do for a living. How could we not do this and support the family?”
It took two weeks for the Sila crew to retrofit the Beltrantes’ home and install a largely invisible, custom HVAC system designed for Austin’s needs. Parts and labor totaled $60,000 and Silas donated all of it.
“This is a big change for us,” says a grateful John Beltrante. “It was tough having your kid isolated in his room because it was the only cold room. Now he can join the family and watch movies with us and be comfortable.”
Says Austin: “I’m happy to be out. It’s great doing the family stuff.”
What’s next on the Beltrantes’ home-improvement wish list to help Austin?
A shower stall that can fit Austin’s shower chair to replace the tub. “Climbing over a 17-inch tub lip is hard for him,” says John Beltrante. “And he needs soap dispensers on the wall so he can do it all himself and not have his dad in the shower helping him.”
OK, we’re putting it out there: Anyone know a big-hearted bath contractor?
Looking to expose your child to Spanish? Look no further than Lolo Leo: a learn-as-you-play space that debuts next week across from the Paoli train station.
Lolo Leo offers bilingual mom-and-tot morning classes for ages 2 to 5; preschool playgroups, drop-off after-school kids club for ages 3 to 10, minicamps for ages 4 to 6 and birthday parties.
The focus is on language learning through activities: arts and crafts, storytelling, songs or even yoga and mindfulness.
“Kids learn better in natural play, not sitting at a table and doing worksheets,” founder and lead teacher Erika Steinke tells SAVVY. “And when you’re really young, you’re a sponge.”
Some kids will just listen at first, she says, but several classes later, they’ll start asking questions and answering in Spanish. During one-hour morning classes, parents and caregivers can enjoy coffee and adult conversation while their little ones play and learn.
Early enrollees include Spanish-speaking parents who fear their kids will lose their Spanish if they don’t get enough practice and families that want their children to get a jump on language learning.
There’s a coffee station, art room, open play space, storytime nook (below) and a small, fenced-in yard.
The whimsical Wayne kiddie shop, The Blue Beret, will operate popup near the entrance.
A T/E mother of four kids under age 7, Steinke and her bilingual family moved to Berwyn in October of 2021 after six years in Barcelona. A U.S. Army brat, she spent most of her life in Europe. She met and married a Spaniard and speaks Spanish like a native. She has a master’s in early childhood education and operated a similar bilingual play/learn/celebrate place in Barcelona.
Steinke tells us inquiries and enrollments are coming in everyday. Looks like she’s onto something.
This and That
Folks who’ve dreamed of a grocery store taking space on Swedesford Rd. in Berwyn are finally getting their wish – sort of. Philly-based Asian supermarket chain Hung Vuong is moving to the old Mealey’s near Will’s and Bill’s Brewery, its sixth location. Instead of leasing, Hung Vuong bought the building for $5.4 million in late July. The chain carries American as well as Asian brands and is known for its ultra-fresh fish swimming in the market’s aquariums.
Contain your excitement. We just heard Meridian Bank is moving to the old Lulemon building in Wayne.
Taku Japanese Steakhouse will soon be slicing and dicing in King of Prussia. The Indiana-based hibachi company has taken over the old Champps near Regal Cinemas.
The historic Ship Inn in Exton is capsizing. The building and liquor license just sold for $2.25 million. New owners – a home beer brewer and pizzeria owner from Downingtown – plan to fix up the place and open VK Brewing, a microbrewery.
The 21-year-old who shot and killed Stoga alum Milan Loncar, 25, while Loncar was walking his dog in Brewerytown last year will spend the rest of his days behind bars. After hearing emotional testimony and reading letters from 25 family members and friends about the impact of Loncar’s death, a judge gave Josephus Davis the maximum sentence for second-degree murder in PA: life in prison with no chance for parole.
A King of Prussia Vietnam vet who beat a DC cop with a Trump flag during the U.S. Capitol riot was sentenced to four years in federal prison – the stiffest punishment yet for a January 6 rioter from PA. Howard Richardson, 72, apologized to the court and said he went to Washington as a patriotic citizen to celebrate and got carried away by the “mob mentality.”
A guilty verdict for the man charged with a creepy attempted kidnapping and robbery in the elevator of the Royal Athena apartments in Bala Cynwyd. Kent Powe, 60, followed the woman onto an elevator, stood behind her and pressed a handgun in her back. When the doors opened, the victim refused to leave the elevator. Powe took off when he saw another woman outside the elevator.
Here’s a retail first: a bridal boutique with a racy twist. The new owners of West Chester’s Ever After Bridal (formerly OZ Bridal) have installed a tasteful “adult” shop on the lower level. Yeah, that kind of shop. Think bedroom toys and barely-there lingerie for your wedding night or, well, any night.
More and more Main Line townships are going BYOB, as in Bring Your Own Bag. Haverford, Easttown and Radnor have all passed single-use plastic bag ordinances in the last few months and Tredyffrin proposes to do the same. The township will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance Sept. 19. For the record, Wegmans has already committed to banning plastic bags Jan. 1, 2023 and Trader Joe’s uses compostable plastic bags. Most ordinances don’t take effect until January.
After 28 years, the Nicole Miller store in Manayunk is no more. Owner Mary Dougherty, often confused for the designer herself, closed her boutique August 1 after Nicole Miller was sold to a private-equity firm. “We survived COVID, Superstorm Ida, six months of massive construction on Main Street and everything else life threw at us, but the last hurdle was too high for me to jump over,” Dougherty tells SAVVY. Her managing partner, Jillian Dunn, may reopen under a new name this fall. As for Dougherty herself, she’s exploring teaching, consulting and charity opportunities.
It’s Juice O’Clock somewhere. Actually, we know where. Juice O’Clock is coming to Wayne’s Louella Court. On the menu: fresh juices, coffee, protein shakes, ice cream and milkshakes.
Golf geeks, rejoice: Club Champion is up and running in Gateway Shopping Center. To celebrate its grand opening, the Wayne store is offering custom club fittings at 50% off with $500 equipment purchase. A national chain, Club Champion carries 60 leading brands and offers 50,000 hittable head and shaft combos.
The Devon train station could be in line for a facelift. Easttown Township has applied for a $3 million state grant to upgrade the station and nearby sidewalks and crosswalks.
Tredyffrin Township is poised to buy the Boy Scouts Cradle of Liberty property on Valley Forge Road for $1.8 million. The township wants to turn the 6-acre tract into a permanent substation for Berwyn Fire Company.
Haverford School is now 43 acres bigger, but in Bryn Mawr. The prep school paid $20 million for the Glencoe estate three miles away on S. Roberts Road to supplement its 30-acre Haverford campus. The school still hasn’t announced how it will use the tract.
The developer who was denied a Tredyffrin zoning waiver that would have allowed him to build townhomes at a Chesterbrook swim and tennis club is nothing if not tenacious. Dave Ludin of Green Bridge Development informed Picket Post officials that he will buy the club’s Chase Road property anyway – on Oct. 16. (He’s been under contract for four years.) Ludin reportedly will appeal the zoning denial and presumably likes his chances. (We’re merely speculating. The developer is not responding to our calls or emails.) The club hopes to lease back the property from Ludin so it can maintain its popular tennis and pickleball programs through the 2023 season.
Two enterprising Tredyffrin teen BMX biking enthusiasts hope to convince the township to allow a pump track/bike skills park at its composting site on Mill Road. VFMS 8th-grader Dom Pecora (the young entrepreneur behind Dom Fixes Bikes) and Stoga freshman Ronan Lynch will continue stating their case to Tredyffrin’s Parks and Rec board Sept. 14. The two say they’ll organize fundraisers for the project which they say will get teens off screens and out getting fresh air and exercise.
The Main Line’s fanciest public middle school welcomes its first students next week when 1,000 5th- though 8th-graders from Gladwyne and Penn Wynne will become Black Rock Middle School “Royals.” Where some young Royals will play certain sports, though, is unsettled. The district wants to clear trees and put extra playing fields at Oakwell, the leafy estate next to Stoneleigh garden that’s a short bus ride from Black Rock’s Villanova campus. Meanwhile, a coalition of residents and some officials have been fighting like heck to “Save Oakwell.”
A huge win for Willows Park Preserve, the nonprofit that’s bringing Willows Mansion back from the near-dead. Radnor Township just awarded the Mansion a certificate of occupancy, allowing it to host indoor gatherings and special events all year long. WPP oversaw the installation of ADA-compliant restrooms and the sprinkler system that made the CO possible.
Speaking of the Willows, we’re loving the lineup for their fall speaker series. The first speaker, American country house expert Jeff Groff, has come and gone but there’s still time to hear historic preservationist Greg Prichard spotlight the architecture and garden designs of leafy neighborhoods from Wayne to Wynnewood on Sept. 15. And on Sept. 29, author David Wren, will discuss his book, Ardrossan: The Last Great Estate on the Philadelphia Main Line.” Tickets are $30 per night. Each begins with wine and cheese in the Mansion at 5 p.m. Talks begin at 6.
It’s street-fair season on the Main Line. Among the festivities worth checking out (in chronological order):
After two years off, Bryn Mawr Day is back with a bang Saturday, Sept 10. All the old family faves are returning to the lot across from Ludington Library: fire-engine rides, circus acts, petting zoo, face painting, stilt walkers, school performances, farmer’s market shopping, food trucks and tastes of local restaurants. Free parking in three nearby lots.
A few miles west that same afternoon (Sept. 10), toes will be tapping at South Wayne Porchfest. Families are invited to stroll the neighborhood to enjoy a wide range of live musical acts: country, R & B, pop and classic rock cover bands, singer-songwriters, Baldwin and Villa Maria choirs and lots more. It’s a 100% free community event. Note that several South Wayne streets will be closed to traffic.
And that same night (Sept. 10), Chesterbrook’s Wilson Park will be rockin’ when tribute band extraordinaire, The Magical Mystery Doors, takes center stage for T&E Care’s 15th Annual Fall Fest. The band’s covers of Beatles, Doors and Led Zeppelin classics were so spot-on last year, T&E Care brought ’em back for an encore. The concert is free. Just bring a lawn chair, drinks (sorry, no alcohol), your wallet for food trucks and raffles, and your dancing shoes. It’s all in support of T&E Care, the grassroots nonprofit that helps local families in need. Head over to nearby Will’s + Bill’s Brewery for the after-party – T&E Care gets a portion of sales. Concert begins at 5:30. Rain date Sunday, Sept. 11.
A popup night market that some call “magical” is coming to Malvern Friday, Sept. 16, 5 to 8. Craft & Mercantile will gather 20 to 30 local makers and artisans, live musicians and food trucks under the stars in Burke Park. Kids crafts will keep the under-12 set busy while their parents enjoy the Mercantile.
Thousands of the faithful will converge on the grounds of Paoli’s Daylesford Abbey, Saturday, Sept 17, for AbbeyFest, an annual celebration of faith, music and family. Top Christian artists taking the stage include nine-time Grammy nominee Matt Maher, Micah Taylor of “Walking Free” fame, Jordan St. Cyr and the Philadelphia Catholic Gospel Mass Choir. Archbishop Nelson Perez returns to celebrate Mass. Food trucks, merch tents, Eucharistic Adoration, Confession and more. Details, tickets, vendor and sponsor info here.
Radnor Fall Festival returns to North Wayne Ave – rain or shine – Sunday, Sept. 18. Now in its 30th year, the family-friendly shindig features food, live music and performances, kiddie activities, Braxton’s always-popular Top Dog Contest, community vendors and more.
Bryn Mawr Night is back for a third go-round Friday, Sept. 23. The fun starts in the WSFS lot at Bryn Mawr and Lancaster Aves. with “a taste of Bryn Mawr” freebies, live jazz and “Broadway in Bryn Mawr,” presented by Wolf Performing Arts Center. Chat up local businesses, non-profits and wellness providers while you chew. Participating stores will run sales and pour bubbly. Select bars will serve BrynMawrtinis with “happier hour” pricing and most restaurants will run specials.
Fall for Ardmore, a first-time event for hop heads and foodies, takes over Schauffele Plaza, Saturday, Sept. 24. The Oktoberfest-inspired shindig features live music, seasonal beers from Tired Hands, Levante Brewing and Iron Hill Brewery, and tasty food from a range of Ardmore eateries. VIP seats in the beer garden and early-bird beer packages are now on sale. Lower Merion Township waived its bans on open containers and alcohol service in public places for the day. Downtown merchants will host pop-up events, sidewalks sales and specials.
You don’t have to play golf to enjoy Tredyffrin Library Foundation’s 2022 Charity Golf Classic this year. The public can join the duffers for drinks and dinner at St. Davids Golf Club after play ends on Thursday, Sept. 29. Tickets are $85 or $600 for a table of 8. “Needless to say, the past couple of years have been challenging for our libraries,” event chair Judy DiFilippo tells SAVVY. The Golf Classic helps the Foundation grow its endowment so it can support the Tredyffrin and Paoli libraries and ensure their futures.
Up, up and away … but not until October. Chester County Hot Air Balloon Festival has been pushed back to Oct. 8 and 9. There were too many competing events and not enough first responders to support an early-September Festival this year. Proceeds support the county’s community youth groups.
Who says there’s no such thing as a free …. haircut? New clients to dry-cutting maestro Artur Kirsch at his eponymous salon in Bala Cynwyd get a free haircut (valued at $150) with a haircolor booking on Monday, Oct. 17, 2 to 7 p.m. Kirsch has styled celebrities, media personalities and supermodels for years and regularly takes “Best of Philly” honors. Appointments include a complimentary photo by renowned fashion and beauty photographer D’Mont Reese. Call 610-667-1550 x 388 to book.
And finally, Kobe Bryant Drive? Could be. The guy who had Philly roadways renamed for journalist Ed Bradley and The Roots is pushing to have a stretch of Lancaster Ave. in Overbrook named for the late hoops legend. Local film scout LeRoy McCarthy says he’d eventually like to see Koby Bryant Drive extend into Lower Merion and end near Koby’s alma mater. Mamba mia!