The venerable Liberties, the taproom on Second Street near Fairmount Avenue in Northern Liberties, has become Bourbon & Branch, a comfort-fooder/cocktail bar with plans to host an eclectic slate of live music on its second floor. Chef/owner Alex Carbonell (Lola's in New Hope) says his menu (everything $19 and under) is inspired by classic European/American tavern fare. Vegetarian options abound amid sandwiches (burgers, sausage grinders, fish tacos), main plates (bourbon-glazed seitan, bangers and mash, shepherd's pie), pies, and apps.
The Rittenhouse Square location of Crumbs Bake Shop closed after only 14 months. Its outposts in five suburban malls remain. In happier cupcake news, Lily Fischer and Nima Etemadi of the homegrown A Cupcake Wonderland are readying a cafe called Cake Life Bake Shop at 1306 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown for a summer debut. Also, TV's Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, will bring a branch of Carlo's Bakery this summer to 21st and Walnut Streets.
Jose Garces is looking at April for the opening of Volver, his restaurant at the Kimmel Center. Chef de cuisine Natalie Maronski has worked for Garces since he opened Amada in 2005. Garces also has leased space at 2401 Walnut St. to serve as offices as well as culinary and mixology labs. Also planned is a cafe where the test dishes will be served.
Weekday lunch has started at Kevin Sbraga's new Southern roadhouse, the Fat Ham (3131 Walnut St.).
Varnana "V" Beuria needs more space at her East Passyunk bruncherie/coffee shop Chhaya Cafe, and so she is planning to move a few doors down - from 1823 E. Passyunk to 1817 E. Passyunk. The new space will allow for 55 seats, up from 28.
Wok (1613 Walnut St.) has shut down after nearly 21 years, as the building will get a retail tenant, the luxe-lifestyle brand Calypso St. Barth.
Tacconelli's in Maple Shade has closed, pending its move to a larger space nearby.
A Little Cafe in Voorhees has closed as chef-owner Marianne Cuneo-Powell shifts gears into catering.
Dmitri's on Fitler Square will mark its finale March 1 as Dmitri Chimes looks to relocate in the face of a rent increase. The other Dmitri's locations are unaffected.
More restaurant news at www.philly.com/mike.