Table Talk: All of a sudden it's dining time in Swarthmore

Posted: November 19, 2009

Swarthmore is awakening as a dining destination.

First up, this week, is Rudi's on Park (112 Park Ave., 484-472-7686), an elegant, intimate BYOB in a restored house with hardwood floors, a romantic balcony, and lots of patio space for outdoor dining in season.

Make wisecracks about "too many chefs" - as it's backed by a proud consortium of 44 local investors - but the one who matters most is namesake Rudi Doeller, formerly the longtime chef at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Essington. His wife, Nancy, runs the front of the house.

His globally influenced menu, served Tuesdays through Saturdays for dinner, features entrees from $18 to $30; there's Sunday brunch, and a three-course, $30 prix-fixe is available Tuesdays through Thursdays. (See menu at

Also in the borough:

Aria (405 Dartmouth Ave., 610-543-2701), opening next week, will be a casual Mediterranean dine-in/takeout from Azim Naderpoor, who worked for many years for Caspian Grille in Lafayette Hill. Naderpoor is known to Swarthmoreans from his days as a vendor at its farmers market.

Hobbs Coffee (1 Park Ave., 610-624-1391), a French-ish cafe from two young, eager guys - Steve Ianniccari, 20, a Penn State senior (finishing his courses mostly online), and William Randall, 21, a chef whose resumé includes Carlino's in West Chester and Terrain at Styer's in Glen Mills. They hope to open between Nov. 27 and Dec. 5, doing soups, salads, sandwiches, and small dinners (focused on locally sourced ingredients).

Davide's (14 Park Ave.) - pronounced DAH-vee-day - awaiting a January opening, will be an Italian BYOB from Davide Micheli, now a partner in Osteria Bel Sogno in the nearby Olde Sproul Shopping Village.

Marty Spiegel, the Swarthmore town coordinator, explains that "relatively affordable" rents, a "fairly affluent" citizenry, and the proximity to "sophisticated" Wallingford and Rose Valley are driving the boomlet.

What's new

Jud Bertholf has opened Lucky 7 Tavern (747 N. 25th St., 215-232-7736) in the Fairmount corner store that formerly housed his restaurant Aspen. Chef Sean Pashley does a moderate-priced gastro menu from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Weekend brunch and lunch are due soon.

Treno Pizza Bar (233 Haddon Ave., Westmont, 856-833-9233) is PJ Whelihan's reincarnation of Kitchen 233 in Westmont. Idea is to keep the typical check (pizza, pasta, glass of wine) at $25. It's open nightly. Chef is Todd Fuller, previously Tangerine in Old City.

Sonic, the drive-in chain, has been ringing Philadelphia for a couple of years. The first city location opened this week at Butler Street and Aramingo Avenue in Port Richmond.

What's coming

Robert Moon, who's owned Shiroi Hana on 15th Street near Locust for a dozen years, is planning a Japanese sushi/noodle house called Doma at 1822 Callowhill St., next to the newish King of Tandoor, down the block from Sabrina's and Kite & Key, and across from the Rose Tattoo. Moon describes his concept as "special-occasion dining at neighborhood prices" and hopes to open in late December or early January.

Contact Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or For real-time restaurant news, read his blog at

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