Table Talk: Crab-cake impresario is thinking bigger

Posted: February 21, 2008

Bobby Chez, familiar to New Jerseyans for crab cakes and other takeout seafood, is slowly rolling out a more ambitious location, at the Shops at Brinton Lake in Glen Mills (100 Evergreen Dr., 610- 358-5020).

Louanne Simpson, whose background is managing for such chains as Boston Market and the Ground Round, operates Bobby Chez's Cafe under a contract with Chez owner Robert Sliwowski. For now, the cafe and takeout portion are open Tuesdays through Sundays from lunchtime through dinnertime; a liquor license, expected in a month, will bring the opening of its bar and dining area. Outside dining will start in spring.

Sliwowski operates seven locations, including Center City.

What's new

For six years, you could take the R5 Doylestown line out to Bocelli, a homespun Italian BYOB in the Gwynedd Valley station. For their new second location, owners Raphael Habib and Roberto Lakhaoua picked a spot near both the R8 Chestnut Hill West and the R7 Chestnut Hill East stations; it's across from Borders (8630 Germantown Ave., 215-248-1980), where Al Dana was. The new Bocelli shares a menu and concept with the original; entrees stay under $20. For now, it's open Tuesdays through Sundays for dinner.

What's coming

Pearl, the pan-Asian from the Red Sky team at 1904 Chestnut St., plans to make the leap on or about Feb. 29.

Devil's Den, the gastropub at 11th and Ellsworth Streets in South Philly, is about two weeks out.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant at 941 Haddonfield Rd. in Town Place at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill is looking to start recouping the cost of that $1.5 million liquor license on March 15; general manager Tom Brewer was at Barclay Prime on Rittenhouse Square.

Also on the plate for March are Kanella, a Greek-style Cypriot BYOB at 10th and Spruce Streets (March 25, Greek Independence Day); and, later in the month, the New York-owned King of Tandoor Fine Indian at 1824 Callowhill St.

April's list includes Zahav, the Israeli in Society Hill Towers; Azul, the casual Mexican from GiGi's George Markakis at 10th and Spruce (Markakis says he's selling GiGi to a partnership that includes Stephenie LaGrossa, formerly of the reality show Survivor); Union Gourmet Market & Cafe, in the new Western Union building at 1111 Locust St.; the Waverly, the New American from chef Michael O'Halloran of Bistro 7, at 412-426 S. 13th St.; Les Bons Temps (that's the name of the Creole-Cajun spot from Carmine's John Mims and Howard Taylor at 114 S. 12th St.); and Cooper's Brick Oven Wine Bar (that's the name of Bruce Cooper's new spot next to Jake's in Manayunk).

Down the road

H.I. Rib & Co., a casual, New Orleans-jazz-theme American grill, is under construction for a June opening at 505 W. Ridge Pike, Conshohocken, a former Lone Star. Owner Howard Israel (the H.I.), in business since 1983, has another in Pennington, N.J. Menu is reminiscent of the old H.A. Winston's chain.

The owners of 333 Belrose in Radnor are working on a "gourmet backyard cuisine/steak house" with wood-fired grill and open kitchen, at a historic paper mill at Routes 322 and 30 in Downingtown. Name is not confirmed; timetable is "early to mid-summer."

Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or Read his recent work at and

comments powered by Disqus