Things are looking up on North Broad Street and the surrounding blocks, as development begins to fill in a former no-man's land between Temple University and Center City.
Developer Eric Blumenfeld says he is getting closer to announcing retail and restaurant tenants for the Divine Lorraine Hotel at Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue, and he has a deal on the table for both a New Orleans bar/restaurant and a cafe from chef John Mims a block south, at 667 N. Broad St. He also wants to install a concert venue in the Metroplitan Opera House at Broad and Poplar Streets.
Note the opening last month of South Kitchen & Jazz Bar at the former Route 6 site at Broad and Mount Vernon Streets, and the summertime rollout of the bar Lorraine, a hipster haven, at 1502 Brown St. (below).
Meanwhile, Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver of Mount Airy's Earth Bread + Brewery are building out a brewpub in the new building at 1720 Fairmount Ave. and are hoping for a November opening.
Bar Hygge - pronounced "hYOO-guh" and taken from a Danish expression roughly translated as "cozy camaraderie" - will have an American menu.
The brewery will be branded separately as Brewery Techne (say it "TECH-nee"). Like Earth Bread + Brewery's beer, Techne beer will be sold off-premises at bars.
Santucci's, the square-pizza specialist, on Monday, Oct. 12 will open a roomy bar/restaurant at the corner of Broad and Wallace Streets, where Alessandros was (655 N. Broad St., 267-639-6014).
It happens to be on the opposite corner from Osteria. (Two completely different price points, for sure.)
Alicia Santucci's branch of the family in 1959 opened the Santucci's on O Street in Juniata, and now owns the Italian Market location. Uncles own other locations in Northeast Philadelphia.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, and there's weekend brunch.
A few blocks away in Francisville is the recently opened Vineyards Cafe (847 N. 16th St., 215-232-3000), an adorable creperie/sandwich cafe on the corner of 16th and Ogden Streets.
Owner Orest Chornodola, who like his wife, Zoriana, emigrated from Ukraine several years ago, says he drove past the neighborhood on his bike and figured that the area needed a coffee shop.