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Table Talk: Three eateries replace one in Blue Bell

The old Johnny Cross' building on Skippack Pike just east of Route 202 in Blue Bell, briefly Savory Grill in its last incarnation, now has three occupants:

The old Johnny Cross' building on Skippack Pike just east of Route 202 in Blue Bell, briefly Savory Grill in its last incarnation, now has three occupants:


, a Korean barbecue;


, a Japanese restaurant/sushi bar; and a 350-seat banquet hall (1002 Skippack Pike, 215-654-8900). All share a common kitchen, overseen by a chef known to all but his mother as "Mr. Choi."

Patrons enter a common lobby and are directed to the dining room of their choice; all are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

General manager Daniel Minn says the owner, whom he declined to name, believes that there's a huge market for Korean food in central Montgomery County, especially a need for banquet space. "A lot of immigrants came here in the 1980s and prospered," he says. Their children are now marrying.

Gaya is contemporary - cream walls, dark woods, highly polished marble floor, tables set with crossed American and South Korean flags. Each table has a gas grill, specially ventilated to minimize smoke in the dining room. Hot pots start at $10.

Asuka has black-topped wooden tables decorated with crossed American and Japanese flags. The stone fireplaces from Johnny Cross' remain. There's a full sushi-bar menu; figure on $15 to $25 for cooked entrees.

What's new


(2371 Haverford Rd., Ardmore, 610-649-7192), a simple spot with a wide-ranging Japanese menu (plus sushi bar, drinking bar, and to-go beer case), has replaced Sapporo just off the corner of Wynnewood and Haverford Roads, across from the Route 100 train station. Owner Christine Li says she sold her restaurants in Raleigh, N.C., because there seemed to be a need for Japanese cuisine on the Main Line. Chef Tommy Fok lists Delaware's Mikimotos and Devon's Shangri-La on his resume. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 11 p.m. Sundays.


Gioia Mia

, Fabrizio Pace and Peter Kokalari's sexy trattoria at 2025 Sansom St., has pulled up stakes after less than three years. New occupant will be


, a partnership involving Todd Rodgers, Bruno Pouget, and chef Steven Cameron of Blue in Surf City, N.J. - who own the building. Rodgers describes Noble, which they hope to open in November, as a seasonal, modern American with a focus on fresh local ingredients. It will offer a boutique wine list of small producers, as well as local brews and bartenders who specialize in classic cocktails.

Cameron, chef at Blue, recently was named a semifinalist for the 2008 James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.

Pouget, creator of Caribou Cafe, also is a partner with URBANSPACEDEVELOPMENT in Apothecary Lounge, a small-plater/cocktail lounge under construction at 102 S. 13th St.

Pace and Kokalari, meanwhile, have a line on a new location - almost signed - inside 1500 Market St. (commonly known as the Clothespin building). More to come on that project, whose name will be

Roman Bar & Grille


Another from Daniel Stern?

Daniel Stern, riding high with


in the Cira Centre and


in Queen Village, is said to be in final negotiations with ARCWheeler to put a "Rae-ish" restaurant inside 10 Rittenhouse, the 33-story condo development going up on the north side of Rittenhouse Square (18th between Walnut and Sansom). No name or concept yet. Opening would be quite a way off, as the rest of the building is a way off. Stern is no relation to the building's architect, Robert A.M. Stern.

Briefly noted


, on Broad Street near Locust, now has a keyboardist, the well-traveled Kenny Gates, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Mark Van Horn of

French Quarter Bistro

in Royersford has ventured into Collegeville (315 E. Main St., 610-489-7282) with


, a Creole-influenced sandwich shop, open for lunch and early dinner Mondays through Saturdays.

Brasserie Perrier

is getting a new chef de cuisine: Perry Katsapis, who was the roommate of chef/co-owner Chris Scarduzio at the Culinary Institute of America. He's replacing Daniel Marcantuno, bowing out tomorrow for a better commute after nine years. He's joining another "BP,"

Brandywine Prime

in Chadds Ford, as chef de cuisine. Scarduzio and Georges Perrier have a mid-May rollout planned for

Table 31

in the Comcast Center.