Michael Klein: Southwestern tapas planned for 19th and Chestnut

Lillian's Cafe has replaced Alphabet Soup in Audubon, Camden County.
Lillian's Cafe has replaced Alphabet Soup in Audubon, Camden County.
Posted: September 16, 2010

Bold idea there, naming a restaurant/tequila bar after a fertility god.

That's what entrepreneur Adam Solomon, along with partners Richard Brenner and Kenny Yeretzian, are doing with Kokopelli, at 1904 Chestnut St. The spot, for many years a Little Pete's diner, spent a brief period as Pearl and later, even more briefly, was Akoya.

Solomon, who expects the opening late this year, says the menu will feature American Southwestern tapas.

What's new

The cozy/casual Lillian's Cafe has replaced Alphabet Soup (34 W. Merchant St., Audubon, Camden County, 856-547-1902). Bright decor includes Alphabet Soup's whimsical chairs. The American BYOB is the restaurant solo debut of chef Jacqueline Holt, whose background includes Walt Disney World restaurants, and her parents, Jim and Joyce. It's open Tuesdays through Saturdays for lunch (entrees $13.50 and under) and dinner (most entrees in the teens, though filet is priced at $23.50), and Sunday brunch ($14.95 fixed price). Menu, plus a kid's menu, is at www.lillianscafe.com.

Urban Cafe has moved from 5815 Wayne Ave. in Germantown to 5109 Rochelle Ave., above T. Hogan's Pub, in Wissahickon. It's still a BYOB/coffeehouse, serving brunch and dinner seven days a week, and now also handles Hogan's' food.

What's coming

Philly is in line to get its first dose of Le Pain Quotidien, the Brussels-rooted bakery-cafe with locations all over New York and Europe. Developer Pearl Properties is applying for zoning at 1423-25 Walnut St., right off the northeast corner of 15th and Walnut and catercorner from Butcher & Singer. Its zoning hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. A half-block west, Chipotle Mexican Grill is aiming at a late-October opening in the brownstone at 1512 Walnut St. that formerly housed Susanna Foo.

Signs of life on the 1500 block of Spring Garden, near Community College of Philadelphia. New is the wee Sakura Japanese Cuisine (1521 Spring Garden St., 215-569-3838), which has but 12 seats in the dining room plus four spots at the sushi bar. At the end of the block: The old Four Seasons at 15th and Spring Garden Streets is being redone as Colosseo, a brick-oven pizzeria with gelato from the folks behind J&J Pizza at Ninth and Federal Streets. It's several months out.

Briefly noted

Nicholas in Pennsport won't reopen after what was billed as a vacation break. It's the economy, says co-owner Nicholas Matteo, who owns the bricks and hopes to find a new operator. Also 86-ed: the Sam's Grill on Old York Road in Jenkintown after 21 years; Prive, the Mediterreanean lounge in Old City; and the Artful Dodger, the longtime pub on Head House Square.

The Ooka in Montgomeryville has added a steak-house menu to its Japanese theme, including 8-ounce filet ($28), 12-ounce New York strip ($35), and 32-ounce bone-in Black Angus ribeye for two ($60).

Lacroix at the Rittenhouse will get new chefs in late October as Jason Cichonski bows out to open his own restaurant. Sous chefs will be promoted: Jonathan Cichon - see, the stationery barely has to change - will become executive chef and Adam Lazarick will become executive sous chef. No change in concept.

Ben's Bistro, the cafeteria-style restaurant in the Franklin Institute operated by Frog Commissary, is doing renovations on and off through mid-October. When all is said and done, it will have a new name.

A Main Line branch of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza has opened at 321 E. Lancaster Ave. in Wayne.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at mklein@phillynews.com. Enjoy dining? Follow his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider and on Twitter @phillyinsider.

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