Chef Andrew Kochan, a partner for three years in West Philly's Marigold Kitchen, has just signed a lease for 2121 Walnut St., the former L'Image photography studios on the corner of Van Pelt Street.

His unnamed bar-restaurant, which he hopes to open in July, will be new-American in concept with 55 seats in the dining room and 15 seats at the bar.

Kochan will continue to have a stake at Marigold, while Tim Lanza will shift from Marigold to become executive chef.

Kochan told me that the new restaurant will have an a la carte menu, unlike Marigold's ambitious tasting menus and BYOB policy. "The food will be as eclectic as Marigold but within reason," he told me. He also describes the approach as "a restaurant with a bar."

Atmosphere, he said, will be "metropolitan - think New York in the early 20th century."

The area has seen some solid growth of late. The new restaurant is next door to a new apartment building and is smack between Vernick, one of the highest-regarded bar-restaurants in the city at 2031 Walnut St., and the red-hot newcomer Res Ipsa at 2218 Walnut St.

Marigold, which has had numerous owners and concepts over the years, has been the springboard for numerous chefs, including Steve Cook, Mike Solomonov, and Erin O'Shea.