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Chef Wentz: East Passyunk and now Fairmount

Townsend Wentz is going into Fairmount with an Italian BYOB.

Townsend "Tod" Wentz, now deeply into the construction of his first solo restaurant, on East Passyunk Avenue, has another restaurant deal in the making.

Pending neighborhood approval, Wentz will open an Italian BYOB at 23d Street and Fairmount Avenue in Fairmount - the former Garden Fresh. It happens to be not terribly far from McCrossen's Tavern, which Wentz helped put on the map.

"I couldn't turn this space down," Wentz told me, adding that he signed the lease with Pearl Properties before the one at 1623 E. Passyunk Ave.

Wentz has selected Townsend as the name for the French-influenced bistro at 1623 E. Passyunk, which he hopes to open in April.

The menu of the 50-seat Fairmount restaurant will cover all of Italy but will be seasonal and feature handmade pastas. The restaurant will be open for dinner six nights a week.

Wentz, the Lacroix and Four Seasons alum who was awarded two bells for his work at McCrossen's, notes a dearth of Italian restaurants in that neighborhood, as both L'oca and Illuminare gave way to other cuisines.

The timeline is not set; Wentz said a lot of work will need to be done.