Michael Klein: Three new restaurants planned in Philadelphia

The 401 Diner in Conshohocken has been spruced up and revived by the crew from nearby Isabella, with a menu of locally sourced fare.
The 401 Diner in Conshohocken has been spruced up and revived by the crew from nearby Isabella, with a menu of locally sourced fare. (DALLYN PAVEY)
Posted: September 22, 2011

The top of today's column is like a game of six degrees of separation:

Tim Spinner and Brian Sirhal, whose Cantina Feliz is the toast of Fort Washington, have signed on for 2321 Fairmount Ave., taking over the Art Museum-area rowhouse space that was Illuminare. The alums of Jose Garces' Distrito hope to open La Calaca Feliz, as in the "happy skeleton," in January.

Mexican comida is the focus of Dos Vatos Tacos (basically, "two guys," aiming for a late October opening in the eensy space at 4369 Main St. in Manayunk that formerly housed Little Zesty's. Owners Rich Rivera and Rob Nydick of Belvedere Business Group, who own the nearby Agiato and the Main Street Market, are also planning Cervisia, a beer-centered restaurant and bottle shop, in the former Mainly Shoes across the street at 4400 Main St. Cervisia will feature 36 craft taps and more than 100 bottle selections. The menu will feature upscale pub fare, a brick-oven pizza bar, and classic American plates. Anticipated opening is spring.

Adsum is down

Adsum, which opened in July 2010 at Fifth and Bainbridge Streets, has had a rough patch. A month after chef/partner Matt Levin bowed out, managing partner Kar Vivekananthan has struck a deal with Belvedere Business Group (see above) to turn the neighborhood bistro into a gastropub with a dozen beers on tap and 60-plus by the bottle, plus a small-plate menu. It is expected to reopen under the name Tapestry in about three weeks. Safe to say the new operation won't revive the Tastykake-based sliders, Four Loko drinks, and other gimmicks.

Scarpone is returning

Three years ago, Joe Scarpone reluctantly closed Sovalo, arguably the swankiest restaurant in Northern Liberties. He next headed to Manayunk to set up Agiato; he left shortly after its opening following a falling out with the principals of Belvedere (see above). On his own, Scarpone just signed a lease for the triangle-shape spot at Passyunk Avenue and Catharine Street in Queen Village that last housed Trattoria Alla Costiera. Ulivo, a form of the Italian word for olive, will be neighborhood-friendly, a collection of mainly pasta, pizza, salads, and panini with top entrée prices in the low $20s. Target is Nov. 1.

401 Diner returns

Tom Richter, Peter Richter, and chef Michael Cappon, the crew at Conshohocken's Isabella, have spruced up and revived the nearby 401 Diner (401 Fayette St., Conshohocken, 484-351-8029). It's now dispensing a menu of locally sourced fare from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, till 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and till 9 p.m. Sundays.

Contact Michael Klein at mklein@philly.com or @phillyinsider on Twitter. Follow him at www.philly.com/food and catch his blog at http://www.philly.com/insider.

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