La Peg takes the stage

The brasserie La Peg at FringeArts, with chef de cuisine Nich Bazik (left) and owner and executive chef Peter Woolsey, is set to open Friday.
The brasserie La Peg at FringeArts, with chef de cuisine Nich Bazik (left) and owner and executive chef Peter Woolsey, is set to open Friday. (STEPHANIE AARONSON / Philly.com)
Posted: August 22, 2014

For its next production, FringeArts will raise the curtain Friday on La Peg, a brasserie, in its headquarters at Columbus Boulevard and Race Street, across from Race Street Pier.

La Peg (140 N. Columbus Blvd., 215-375-7744) occupies the front of a century-old former fire department pumping station. From almost every part of the restaurant, you can see the Ben Franklin Bridge, whose distinctive towers and steel cables seem to loom over the dining room through the large, arched windows.

The architect Richard Stokes, who had 45-foot-tall ceilings to work with, ordered up a steel mezzanine to create an elevated dining area. The kitchen - domain of executive chef/operator Peter Woolsey and chef de cuisine Nich Bazik - is tucked beneath the mezzanine.

It's open for dinner only initially. French-influenced menu includes a daily $30 prix-fixe.

Aug. 25 happens to be six years to the day that Woolsey opened his first restaurant, Bistrot La Minette in Queen Village. Both times, he and his wife, Peg - yes, "La Peg" - had a newborn to care for, in addition to giving birth to a new restaurant.

La Peg seats about 100, and there's a 12-seat bar. Also sharing the building are FringeArts' 240-seat theater, studio, and offices.

Outside is 7,000 square feet of space that Groundswell Architecture has turned into an outdoor lounge, dining area, and bar.

What's new

Nick Sanfratello - whose varied past holdings have included World Cafe in Queen Village and Cafe Limbo in Southwest Center City - is in the soft-opening phase of Bruncheria (1507 N. 33d St., 215-235-1111), which is exactly how it sounds: a weekend-only spot, across from Fairmount Park, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Menu hits the basics: breakfast platters, burritos, quesadillas, wraps. Decor is colorful and kitschy. Old TV shows play on the tube.

What's coming

Andrew Wagner, sous chef at Continental Mid-town, and Marcus Versace, a bartender at Coco's near Washington Square, have agreed to buy Resurrection Ale House (2425 Grays Ferry Ave.). Leigh Maida and Brendan Hartranft (Local 44, Memphis Taproom, Strangelove's) are selling the five-year-old pub to focus on something new, hope to have a farewell event Sept. 21. Wagner and Versace will change the name.

Greg Dodge, who popped the wine/beer/pizza specialist Zavino onto the northwest corner of 13th and Sansom Streets nearly five years ago, is going to the southwest corner with Tredici. The enoteca, to open in early 2015, will serve a small-plate Mediterranean menu from chef Carlos Aparicio.

George and Kim Mickel, who own the Italian stand By George! and Mediterranean stand Mezze at Reading Terminal Market, are opening a burger stand on the market's center court in the space formerly occupied by Tokyo Sushi Bar. Its opening is targeted for the end of the year.

Steaking its claim

For the first time in its 84-year history, Pat's King of Steaks has a sign hanging at the point of its property facing Ninth Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philly. It has created a neon standoff on the famous intersection with competitor Geno's Steaks, whose facade glows like an orange sun across the way. The jeweled crown on the new sign is a smaller likeness of the crown hung at a former Pat's location at 33d Street and Ridge Avenue. That crown now hangs at Jack's Firehouse in Fairmount. Why put up a sign? "Just to make them a little crazy," Pat's owner Frank Olivieri said, half-joking, in a pointed reference to the other guys.


More restaurant news at www.philly.com/mike.

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