4/06/2012 01:14:00 PM

Coming to Passyunk Ave: Blue Belly BBQ, The Garage, Fountainhead Saloon & Miss Rachel’s Pantry

East Passyunk Ave; Image via Facebook
East Passyunk is one of the hottest restaurant zones in Philly, as chefs and entrepreneurs continue to commandeer vacant storefronts and turn them into unique eating and drinking establishments. Gene Giuffi’s ode to everything pig, Cochon, has held down the northern end of the diagonal street for several years, and this June he's branching out with a new concept just a few doors away. The “city boy” chef, as he describes himself to MealTicket, is not a fan of strict definitions of the cuisine, and Blue Belly BBQ will serve smoked and grilled meats of all kinds. Look for jerk chicken, Korean-style beef, lamb-neck barbacoa and more in the Sixth and Catherine space that once housed seafood BYO Little Fish (746 S. Sixth St.).

Head south down the Avenue and you come to the intersection of Ninth and Passyunk, home to cheesesteak rivals Pat’s and Geno’s. In a former auto-body shop just off to the side of this neon-emblazoned tourist mecca, Jason Evanchik envisions a different kind of quick-serve spot. The Time Restaurant and Vintage Wine Bar owner plans to open The Garage, which will “bring the food truck experience indoors,” he tells Grub Street. A rotating selection of mobile vendors will provide eats to complement the casual bar, which will also feature 30 flat-screen TVs and foosball and pool tables. Evanchik is looking toward a summer launch (1231 E. Passyunk Ave.).


At the far end, relative newcomer Birra is doing brisk business slinging creative pizzas and other oven-roasted fare, and Gordon Dinerman is ready to take on another project. At the intersection that is home to the Singing Fountain, he has plans to open Fountainhead Saloon. Slated to be an upscale burger joint “in the spirit of [Jose Garces’] Village Whiskey,” Dinerman is looking to install 35 seats and another 18 outside, and hopes to open this autumn (1537 S. 11th St.).

There’s good news for non-meat eaters too, because, as soon as this month, vegan catering operation Miss Rachel’s Pantry will get a permanent home. The space at 1732 West Passyunk (just a block or two across Broad from the East Passyunk hot zone) was recently vacated by Cafe Giordino, and veggie chef Rachel Klein is currently working on renovations. Her popular delivery service will be housed there, and she is installing a farmhouse table made from reclaimed wood in order to host reservation-only, fully meatless dinners on a monthly basis. 

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