Combine a retro diner and a newfangled city coffee house and you pretty much have the idea behind Dottie's Dinette, in its first week at 1080 N. Delaware Ave., directly across from SugarHouse Casino's entrance.
There is no phone-book-size menu, explains Jeff Larsen, who with business partners Tim MacColl and Satya Ponnuru are behind the venture. The idea is to do fewer items better - "America's greatest hits," as he calls them.
Susan Vanvreede, who spent seven years in the Garces Group, most recently at Distrito, is chef/manager. She is backed by Garces alum Brandon Hall. They're serving Greenstreet Coffee, Benton's bacon and wagyu beef.
There's breakfast all day - figure on $4 for an egg and cheese sandwich to $11 for a western omelet with home fries and toast and $12 for French toast. Entrees include meatloaf, a BLT, mac and cheese, chicken salad wrap, burger, corned beef sandwich on a pretzel roll, and chicken sandwich. Desserts are made in-house; soon, bread willl be baked there, too.
The whole place - with the concrete walls and floors, high ceilings and homespun food and feeling - is reminiscent of the now-closed Cafe Estelle, not too far away in Northern Liberties.
Hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. for now; dinner will start soon. The plan down the road is to stay open late to feed casino patrons and workers as well as people attending shows at the forthcoming Fillmore - the concert venue planned by Live Nation down the street.
The partners' private-equity firm, Larsen MacColl Partners, has several hospitality companies in its portfolio, including Tin Roof - opening a live music/restaurant on the 1500 block of Sansom Street next year - and, with owner Tim Bonnie, Johnny Manana's in East Falls.
A second Johnny Manana's is due to open Jan. 15 right next door to Dottie's, and a third is teed up for 1410 Chestnut St. in Center City. (That spot had been targeted for Shifty's Taco, which opened and closed its first location in Brewerytown not too long ago.)