Michael Klein: 'Peasant food' on the Main Line

Gianluca Demontis and Rosemary Tran and their daughter, Camilla, in Fraschetta, which opened last week on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr.
Gianluca Demontis and Rosemary Tran and their daughter, Camilla, in Fraschetta, which opened last week on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 05, 2013

Husband-wife team Gianluca Demontis and Rosemarie Tran, who own the Italian BYOB Melograno at 2012 Sansom St., have ventured to their Main Line backyard for their next project.

Last week, Fraschetta, a 50-seat BYOB, joined Bryn Mawr's restaurant row at 816 W. Lancaster Ave. (610-525-1007). It's open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner; lunch will follow.

Demontis is going back to his Roman roots. "It's peasant food, done right," he says. Tran added rustic elements to decorate the former Ha Long Bay: wooden beams, wooden tables, exposed brick, a large mirror, dramatic sconces, a mounted pig's head, Demontis family photos.

The dining room features a counter with a prosciutto slicer. Menu (entrees $22 to $32) runs the board from meatballs to a dry-aged rib eye, with signature items of porchetta d'Ariccia and fettuccine alla Romana.

While Demontis takes the lead in Bryn Mawr, his sous chef, Joseph DiMatteo, will run the kitchen in Rittenhouse.

Closings

It's the end of the line for georges', the restaurant Georges Perrier opened 12 years ago in what is now the Eagle Shops on Lancaster Avenue in Wayne. A source close to the restaurant said management was reconfiguring it into a new concept, to open later this month. The restaurant seemed to rebrand frequently, as it also was known as Le Mas Perrier and Le Mas. Perrier has not run the place in some time. With the recent closing of Perrier's former Le Bec-Fin and the removal of Perrier's name from the Main Line bakery he founded, the Art of Bread, the chef's visage has effectively vanished.

The Chops steak houses at 401 City Ave. in Bala Cynwyd and at 700 Walnut St. closed last weekend. Owner Alex Plotkin said he ceded his interest to his investors and added that the spaces likely would be converted to offices.

What's new

Chef Mackenzie Hilton, who racked up a bunch of praise at Center City's Mercato before she left for San Francisco a year and a half ago, is back in the neighborhood at the Tavern, the cozily retailored subterranean bar-restaurant space at 243 S. Camac St. (215-545-1102) below Tavern on Camac. It was Terra before owner Steve Carlino and director of operations Randal Mrazik converted it into a late-night spot (opening at 6 p.m. and keeping its kitchen open till 3 a.m. daily except Tuesday). Expect many restaurant-industry people and entertainers in the seats.

Dan Cellucci has elevated his 2-year-old Roots Cafe in West Chester with a two-block move from 8 W. Gay St. to 133 E. Gay St., former longtime home of Gilmore's. The move tripled the seating at the organic-sustainable breakfast-and-luncher, and allowed Cellucci to serve dinners Thursday to Saturday. Among selections are dried-fruit-braised pork belly, smoked trout carbonara, stuffed portobello, and poached Chesapeake striped bass. Entrees are $20 to $25.

Town Hall Coffee, recently named to the Daily Meal's list of the best coffee shops in America for its Merion Station location, has just opened on the ground floor of the Franklin Residences (also known as Ben Franklin) at 822 Chestnut St. Lovely, high-ceilinged decor reflects the grandeur of the Horace Trumbauer-designed landmark. Owner Tim Noble is serving light fare and custom sandwiches made by Di Bruno's. (Di Bruno's, coincidentally, will be opening a branch in the Franklin's Ninth and Sansom Street corner later this year).

In brief

Bisou, chef Clark Gilbert's French bistro in Manayunk, is adding a 25-seat second-story deck. Gilbert hopes to have it completed later this summer.

Hickory Lane American Bistro in Fairmount has hired Albert Alvarado Jr. as executive chef. He was at Green Eggs Cafe in South Philadelphia.

The Brooklyn-rooted "makerspace" known as 3rd Ward that just opened at 1227 N. Fourth St., just north of Girard, will have another Brooklyn connection. Josh Grinker and Philadelphia native Tracy Young of Park Slope's Stone Park Cafe are on board to open a restaurant on the ground floor. Timeline, name, and concept are not yet firm.


Contact Michael Klein at mklein@philly.com.

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