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Royal Izakaya gets a step closer

Zoning board allows its wall signs as well as its expansion.

For every restaurant project that drags out a year, maybe two, before the doors open, there are those that take three.

I refer to Royal Izakaya, the Japanese bar at Second and Fulton Streets in Queen Village that the team behind Khyber Pass/Royal Tavern/Cantina Los Caballitos/Cantina Dos Segundos has been trying to open.

Co-owner Stephen Simons said the building - which housed the restaurants La Grolla and Il Villagio and an aborted steakhouse project that left the place in shambles - had been in serious need of repair.

The next hurdle has been overcome: a zoning variance for wall signs and a modest addition, on the Fulton Street side.

Today, the Zoning Hearing Board of Adjustment granted variances for nonilluminated signs as well as expansion work that will add about 18 seats. The Queen Village Neighbors Association gave its blessing last week.

Hunt is on for a chef, since Todd Dae Kulper has left Philly.

So when will Royal finally open? "Three years ago," Simons said.