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Barcelona, a national wine bar, to open on East Passyunk

A taste of Spain - by way of a Connecticut-based chain - will come to the strip, whose thriving restaurant scene has been fueled solely by local chefs and entrepreneurs.

East Passyunk Avenue, whose exploding restaurant scene has been fueled solely by local chefs and entrepreneurs, will get its first national tenant.

Sources say that Barcelona, a Spanish wine/tapas bar rooted in Norwalk, Conn., has signed a lease at 1709 E. Passyunk Ave., now occupied by A Man's Image. The clothier, which had announced plans to move and downsize, will remain open for the immediate future.

Barteca Restaurant Group - whose brands include Barcelona and bartaco - has 11 Barcelona locations on the East Coast, from Georgia to Boston, in all sorts of settings. Its Atlanta location, for example, is in the Inman Park neighborhood, a gentrified part of town.

A Man's Image's building creates a triangle where 12th Street crosses the Avenue just south of Morris Street. The point of the triangle forms a wide sidewalk that could accommodate tables for outside dining. As the property is zoned CMX-2.5, a restaurant use is permitted by right.

Occupying 4,400 square feet, Barcelona will be among the largest restaurants on the East Passyunk strip.

No timetable has been disclosed.

The real estate had been in play for more than a year. The Inquirer's Diane Mastrull reported in January 2015 that owner Abe Mandel planned to relocate his longtime business to a yet-to-be-selected location, which he then would sublease to current employees. In December 2015, the Passyunk Post quoted Mandel as saying that A Man's Image's future tenant would be a company that owned "28 restaurants." He declined to identify the company.

Jacob Cooper of MSC Retail, which listed the property, would not comment.

Barteca, meanwhile, is being positioned for growth after infusions of capital from private investment firms.

A rep for the company did not return calls for comment