Enjoy a locally brewed beer with that South Philly cheesesteak?
Passyunk Square, whose restaurant scene has exploded in the last decade, will get a brewery and taproom, as the city zoning board on Wednesday approved Cartesian Brewing’s plans to convert a former auto-body shop on East Passyunk Avenue near Wharton Street, across the way from Pat’s and Geno’s.
The deal has a whiff of intrigue as the landlords are Center City restaurateurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, who bought the property, 1324-26 E. Passyunk Ave., two years ago. Last summer, Turney and Safran disclosed that a restaurant project was in the offing but did not offer specifics.
Cartesian owner Evan Roth, a homebrewer and South Philadelphian, says he wants to create a “local-origin brewery," opening next spring. “Our mission is to try to use as many local flavors, artisans, and producers to showcase the Philadelphia region,” he said. "Think of it as a farm brewery within the city.”
“When you drink a glass of our beer or fill a growler of our cider, you won’t just know the ABVs and IBUs, you’ll know the name of the people who malted the grains, who grew the hops, who picked the apples, who opened the tap,” the copy on Cartesian’s website reads.
(Cartesian’s name calls to mind the 17th-century thinker René Descartes, to whom the quote “I think; therefore I am” is attributed. Perhaps Roth can tweak it to “I drink; therefore I am.” The logo incorporates the x, y, and z axes.)
Roth said he believed that every neighborhood can support a brewery; aside from Hale & True, a cidery on Seventh Street near Bainbridge, Cartesian will be the only brewery east of Broad Street and south of Washington Avenue.
Cartesian will retain the exposed bricks, steel beams, and concrete floor. Roth hopes to open with a lineup of his own beers, as well as Pennsylvania wine and spirits at the tasting room. Food will be prepackaged snacks, though Roth says customers will be encouraged to bring their own.
Roth’s plans call for a brewery with bottling and canning capabilities, retail sale of bottled beverages and growlers, the retail sale of food, beverages, and groceries, and a sit-down restaurant. “The microbrewery will not be a destination spot and will more likely draw the clientele from those within walking distance frequenting Pat’s Steaks or Geno’s, which are nearby,” the notes read. Hours will be 3 p.m. to midnight Wednesday to Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
The plans say maximum occupancy would be “49 or 50 people” — 46 customers and three employees.