In one of the more heartwarming developments since the pandemic began, Richard and Christina Cusack are planning to revive June BYOB, their luxe East Passyunk Avenue classic-French yearling that shut down in October 2020 amid failing fortunes.
The Cusacks have signed a lease for a more spacious dining room (50 seats, plus 20 outside, versus 28) at 690 Haddon Ave. in Collingswood, formerly That’s Amore.
They expect to open in mid-June.
“In the beginning, I was gung-ho, thinking we were going to at least make money with chicken [dinners],” said Richard Cusack, whose stellar kitchen background includes Restaurant Daniel in NYC, followed by Bibou, Le Chéri, Parc, and Le Bec-Fin.
When summer rolled around, the trade in chicken dinners had begun to slacken. “I kept trying to be positive, but going in [to work] was getting harder and harder,” he said. “It was a struggle because we weren’t making money.” After closing, he said, his next step was hustling to save money to reopen the restaurant by working pop-ups and doing odd restaurant and catering jobs.
After searching on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware, the Cusacks — whose children are 2 and 1 — found the Collingswood property, which is 15 minutes from their home in Bellmawr.
Cusack told me he’d revive some of the signature dishes from East Passyunk, including salt-crusted fish and duck three ways (yes, he still has his duck press). The couple plans to price the menu toward the neighborhood and build the menu with an eye toward the current labor market.
Atmosphere will be reminiscent of Versailles, he said, with gray walls, white linens, and the gold flatware from East Passyunk. There will be a fireplace with a loveseat, as well as a coffee table so customers can linger after dinner “instead of us kicking them out,” he said.