Reality TV can indeed make a difference, as two downtown clubs were made over last month for a new Spike show, Bar Rescue. The star is Miami-based bar consultant Jon Taffer, whose career began 30 years ago with the Glen Mills post-disco landmark Pulsations.
Sometimes all a place needs is a good scrubbing. That's what happened to Downey's at Front and South Streets; the menu was tightened up in the process. Next up was Swanky Bubbles at 10 S. Front St. The '90s called and got its theme back. Now known as Sheer, it's more female-friendly, says owner John Frankowski, who says Taffer made the bar and seating more welcoming and installed a dance floor upstairs. "Women love to dance, and men love to follow," Frankowski says.
The shows will premiere this summer.
The modern Xilantro has opened in downtown Wayne (103 N. Wayne Ave., 484-580-8415), boasting a 100-plus tequila list and modern Mexican food from chef Juan Pablo Quiroz, including tableside guacamole. It's open for lunch and dinner daily, and Sunday brunch. A tortilla station will be set up in the dining room. Owner Luis Marin (Los Sarapes/El Sarapes) is partnered with lawyer Joel Solomon, who is already considering other locations and cities. See the menu and more photos at www.philly.com/xilantro
The Khyber Pass/Royal Tavern/Cantina Los Caballitos/Cantina Dos Segundos crew is creating a Japanese bar concept. Chef Todd Dae Kulper, who came to Philly early last year to open what turned out to be the short-lived sushi-ist Ro-Zu, is behind Royal Sushi & Izakaya, which is under construction at 782 S. Second St. in Queen Village, the old La Grolla and Il Villaggio. Co-owner Stephen Simons says he and Kulper are aiming for September. The Royal will have an izakaya - or Japanese-style bar - in the front, and might have a more traditional Japanese look in the dining room/sushi bar - all with a neighborhood feel.
The Food Network show Restaurant: Impossible is making over Scrimmages, a sports bar at 5723 Concord Pike in Wilmington. It will close Wednesday for renovations and will reopen next Thursday. To attend and possibly get your dining face on camera, call 302-478-8638.
Golf pro Jim Furyk will host a celebrity-server night on June 28 at Morton's in King of Prussia, a $300-a-person (including tax, gratuity, and valet parking) feed benefiting the Children's Miracle Network. Tickets: www.helpmakemiracles.org/event/celebrityserversnight or at 610-491-1900.