After 16 months of development and construction, restaurateur Max Tucker, a partner in the Mad River bar operation, finally has a smile on his face.

Ladder 15, a industrial-looking pub occupying a hgih-ceilinged former city firehouse at 1528 Sansom St., is days from opening. It's pretty much waiting for the health inspection, which in Philadelphia means "anytime."

Tucker and partners envision Ladder 15 as much more upscale than the Mad Rivers in Old City and Manayunk, which cater to the college crowd. And a peek at the menu, designed by Tucker's buddy Mike Stollenwerk, chef-owner of Bella Vista's Little Fish, finds potential tastiness, with such items as a soft pretzel stuffed with corned beef, Gruyere and mustard, as well as flatbreads, short ribs, and a chicken gyro. Chef Ann Campbell, who left the White Dog Cafe amid its management shakeup, will execute. The draft menu here does not include a last-minute addition aimed at vegetarians: a smoked mushroom "VLT," including crispy potato and Dijon. (This will sub for the lump-crab BLT.)

Patrons also will be able to build their own salad from a "golf card" of ingredients, similar to the system used at Jones.

In a random twist, Tucker says comp cotton candy (in different flavors) will be doled out at the end of meals.

Ladder 15 will be open from lunchtime through late night daily.

Next up on the same block (at 1516 Sansom) is the former Sansom Street Oyster House, reflagged simply Oyster House when it opens this spring.

Ladder 15 menu (draft)
Ladder 15 "salad golf card"
Ladder 15 wine and beer list
Ladder 15 specialty-cocktail list