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Water Works goes to private dining

The luxe restaurant off Kelly Drive had been paring its hours of operation, most recently opening only for weekends for dinner and Sundays for brunch.

After nearly nine years, the Water Works restaurant - one of the city's more atmospheric fine-dining experiences, with ornate chandeliers and stunning views of the Schuylkill from its perch at the foot of the Art Museum - has stopped serving a la carte meals altogether.

It's open for private dining and special events only.

The Water Works had been paring its hours of operation; most recently, it had been serving weekends for dinner and Sundays for brunch.

Owner Michael Karloutsos confirmed the transition to private dining and special events. "We're in the midst of a healthy and robust catering season," he said.

The building, which dates to the 19th century, is the site of the nation's first water-pumping station. The politically adroit Karloutsos navigated miles of red tape in converting the Water Works into a restaurant. The $3.2 million project was financed with a $2.1 million taxpayer loan from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which the Karloutsos family backed with their personal property as collateral.

Three years ago, an investigation by "It's Our Money," a joint project of the Daily News and WHYY funded by the William Penn Foundation, disclosed that the city had been paying the Water Works' utilities.