With his planned Downingtown restaurant creeping over budget, John Brandt-Lee of Avalon in West Chester is using a novel way to get finished without dipping into his line of credit: Kickstarter.com, where entrepreneurs seek funding from potential customers. As of Tuesday, Brandt-Lee has received pledges of $3,985 toward his $10,000 goal. That's a fraction of the total budget for Avalon Pasta Bistro (78 W. Lancaster Ave.), but he says it "gives my project a community involvement and gives me better legs when I open the doors." Avalon Pasta Bistro is on tap for early June. Those who pledge will get custom parties and food. Brandt-Lee will get the money only if he gets $10,000 in pledges by May 27.
James, which won plaudits in Bella Vista, closed last Saturday as owners Jim and Kristina Burke want to set up a different concept in Center City.
A couple of closings: Tuscany Cafe (down after 17 years at 222 W. Rittenhouse Square) and Naked Chocolate Cafe (1317 Walnut St.). Naked Chocolate's Tom Block is talking about a revival elsewhere.
Eyal Aranya and Yoni Nadav, who love to eat healthfully and had a few bucks to indulge their passion, are behind Burger.Org, a colorful organic burger shop at 326 South St. (267-639-3425). Everything (beef, turkey, chicken, vegetables, even beverages) is organic. Layout includes a smoothie/espresso bar in the front and table seating. Late-night hours, too.
Firebirds Grill, a steakhouse chain in the vein of Redstone Grill, has scheduled an early fall opening at 91 Wilmington West Chester Pike in Chadds Ford. It has a spot in Newark, Del.
The Vetri Foundation's Great Chefs Event, assembling dozens of pot-bangers, is June 14 at Urban Outfitters at the Navy Yard. Details: vetrifoundation.org.
Contact Michael Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider and on Twitter @phillyinsider.