Table Talk: Avenida: A family project with a live-in ghost

Posted: December 17, 2009

Avenida, opening tonight in Mount Airy (7402 Germantown Ave., 267-385-6857), really is a family project. Husband-and-wife chef team Edgar and Kim Alvarez, who most recently ran Gladwyne's Delaware Market House, had their kids, Emma, 8, and Alejandro, 6, design the children's menu.

And then there's Emily, 9. She's the ghost that came along with the historic building at Germantown and Gowen, last home to Cresheim Cottage Cafe. Edgar Alvarez says he's heard her closing doors upstairs late at night, but the relationship has been cordial.

The Alvarezes, who met at Striped Bass, partnered with local developer Wayne Zukin.

Decor is sunny Spanish colonial, and one dining room has a working fireplace. They're opening without the liquor license, which is in progress.

The Latin menu, infused with dishes from Edgar Alvarez's native Guatemala, is priced for the neighborhood; besides the kids' menu, there are a sub-$13 bar menu, entrees priced from $14 to $19, and homemade desserts. (See more photos and menus at http://go.philly.com/avenida).

What's coming

There's Chops steakhouse in Bala Cynwyd, and come February, there will be Chops Too in the former Oceanaire, a former PSFS building at 700 Walnut St. on Washington Square. Owner Alex Plotkin says it will be a mix of steakhouse and seafood/sushi, with dinner entrees from $17 to $30. (He's planning to source beef from Brandt, Niman Ranch, and NatureSource, including prime New York strip and center-cut filet mignon.) Plotkin, a Culinary Institute of America grad whose background includes management at the Four Seasons and the Palm, will remove Oceanaire's raw bar in favor of a contiguous bar.

Floret, the reconfiguration of the Pond/Passerelle space in Radnor, is aiming at a late December/early January opening. (Speaking of which: Former Pond chef Abde Dahrouch will start as chef at Wilmington's Domaine Hudson in January.)

Briefly noted

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., has announced its lineup of chefs and wine educators for its outing June 18-20, and Philly.com "Uncorked" host Marnie Old is among the featured speakers. She will lead seminars titled "Secrets of Wine & Food Pairing" and "Stunning Spanish Whites."

Ava, the Italian BYOB at Third and Gaskill Streets, has closed just shy of six years, owner Michael Campagna confirms.

Brodeur's on State Street in Media's old borough hall has gone out. The building is borough property, and council president Frank Daly said Media has a responsibility to pursue $30,000 in back rent. An attorney for owner Dan Brodeur did not return a message seeking comment.


Contact Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. For restaurant news in real time, read his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider and follow him on Twitter @phillyinsider.

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