May 13 debut for Starr's Frankford Hall

Owner Lorival Felix mans the pizza oven himself at Massa Pizza & Grill, a contemporary Italian-Portuguese BYO in Ambler.
Owner Lorival Felix mans the pizza oven himself at Massa Pizza & Grill, a contemporary Italian-Portuguese BYO in Ambler. (MICHAEL KLEIN /
Posted: April 28, 2011

Stephen Starr is talking about a May 13 debut for Frankford Hall, his beer garden at 1208 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown. This will be a casual spot set up in a former commercial building whose interior brick walls were simply punched out to make doorways.

A courtyard will provide the outdoor seating; it's separated from the indoor seating by large garage doors. The simple menu will feature walk-up counters and young women selling food and beer tickets.

What's new

Lorival Felix has set up Massa Pizza & Grill, a contemporary Italian-Portuguese BYO at 131 E. Butler Ave. in downtown Ambler (215-641-0900). Chef Peter Alessandrini Jr., a former saucier at the Four Seasons Hotel, turns out assorted meats and seafood entrees (mostly under $21), while Felix staffs the pizza oven. He previously owned Ricardo's in Huntingdon Valley. It's open daily for lunch and dinner.

The Doubletree at Broad and Locust has opened Balcony on the mezzanine level; it serves breakfast and dinner (5-10 p.m.) daily. The hotel's longtime chef, chef Neal Drinkwine, is turning out a "classic comfort cuisine" menu.

What's coming

Due in Willow Grove in late September is Pittsburgh-based Mad Mex, whose lone Philly cantina is at 34th and Walnut Streets in the Shoppes at Penn. The Willow Grove outlet will be at Moreland and Fitzwatertown Roads, in the strip mall that used to house Nothing But Noodles. Construction is to start in three weeks.

Hogfish Bar & Grill is coming together on the former site of Osaka restaurant at 372 W. Lancaster Ave. in Wayne. Partners Ed O'Neill and Michael Scartozzi will focus on seafood from Florida, notably the hogfish. They are planning a late May or early June opening. It's unrelated to the Florida restaurant of the same name.

Thanksgiving in spring? One of the house specialties at the Blind Pig, a pub opening at 702 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties, is a Thanksgiving dinner bite. Chef-partner David Hentz starts with turkey, coats it with mashed potatoes and stuffing, batters and fries it, and serves it with cranberry sauce and gravy. He's working on the place with his wife, Debra Ciasullo, and John Byrne, who all met at Keliann's, the tap at 16th and Spring Garden Streets.

Serafina, the luxe Italian at 18th and Sansom Streets, is looking at a May 24 grand opening.

Ralic's Steakhouse in Haddonfield has pushed back its reopening to June 16.

Cherry Hill's Kuzia by Sofia will sell Mediterranean food this season at Camden Riversharks games.

Briefly noted

Heng's Thai has closed its Newtown Square location; its Springfield, Delaware County, original remains.

Contact Michael Klein at Follow his blog at and on Twitter @phillyinsider.


comments powered by Disqus