Table Talk | Woods' Knock energizes 12th and Locust location

Posted: September 06, 2007

Opportunity did knock for brothers Bill and Steve Wood.

After selling their popular Woody's Bar last year, they couldn't stay away. They've applied more polish with Knock, a contemporary resto-bar that opened last week at 12th and Locust Streets, in the corner that's seen a series of eateries, including Lula, Sukothai, Pamplona and a branch of Dmitri's.

Knock (225 S. 12th St., 215-925-1166) is named after the Knock Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland.

The Woods have brought in Jim Petrie from the former Deux Cheminees to manage, and Steve Huey, who worked for them at Woody's before he headed to culinary school, as chef. Menu is American with a few global influences; entrees range from $17 to $26.

Knock, open nightly, maintains the room's bar area just inside the door, and a baby grand piano for show. Tables in the comfy dining rooms are cleverly designed with lifts; they're in the down position (and covered with linen) for dinner but can be raised later to bar height in the evening. Lunch and brunch will follow in due time.

What's coming

Fairmount prepares to hop: The Belgian Tavern - the Monk's-owned tap replacing Tavern on Green at 21st and Green Streets - is due to open Wednesday. And get set for Urban Saloon at 2120 Fairmount Ave., in a long-underutilized building (Val's, Gloria's, and Heaven's Fine Dining) near Jack's Firehouse. Kellyann Beene, who has managed at Continental Mid-town, McFadden's, Rock Lobster and Maui (she used to be Kellyann Stepak), is behind it. The name should be a tip-off of the concept, but final details are still being worked out.

Philadelphia Java Co. is days from opening a second cafe, at Second and Christian Streets in Queen Village. Let's say Philly Java is reproducing, because the new location was a photocopier-repair shop. The original Java is at Fourth and Gaskill Streets, and it has a juice bar inside the Sweat Gym on Passyunk Avenue. Menu includes soups, salads, panini and baked goods by co-owner Alia Banna and her mother, Fadwa Kashkash.

Bombino's, a moderate-price Italian BYOB, is about five weeks out in the former Meze at Ninth and Catharine Streets in Bella Vista. It's a partnership between chefs Al Paris of Mantra and Matthew DiNatale, who's worked at Mantra, Circa and Ristorante Primavera. Feature: an antipasto bar in the dining room. It's named after Patrick Bombino, DiNatale's brother. "He died of cancer at 20," says Patrick's stepsister, Michele Malin Seidman. "He always wanted to have a restaurant. This is a celebration of him."

Surely you'll start hearing lots now about G Lounge, being built under the radar - and under street level - at 17th and Chestnut. It's in the basement of the building occupied by Davio's and Rite Aid. Owner Mark Marek says it will be a "social environment," serving Davio's food. The well-traveled Marek, who has worked for Govberg Jewelers (Danny Govberg has a stake in this), says he's aiming to please those who are tired of the usual bar/pub/lounges. He's taken elements of venues he's seen elsewhere, including a catwalk. Why the name G? "G can mean anything," he says. (Govberg, maybe?) Opening is penciled at mid-November.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/michaelklein.

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