Birra to Open on East Passyunk in May

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Last week, buried in a press release announcing the upcoming East Passyunk festival, Flavors of the Avenue, was word on two new restaurants opening up on the Avenue — a very nebulous project from the people behind the Green Eggs cafes — and Birra, a restaurant and bar at 1700 East Passyunk Avenue, from Gordon Dinerman, most recently of City Tap House. We spoke with Dinerman today and got some preliminary details.

Location: 1700 East Passyunk Avenue, at Morris. It will take occupy the corner space that has been Doggie Style’s dog daycare. The Doggie Style retail store will stay put (Doggie Style owner Ira Goldfarb is Dinerman’s partner in Birra).

Food: Dinerman says he’s designing and engineering the menu himself and has a sous chef in line, who he can’t yet name, to execute his vision. He describes it as “not spaghetti and meatballs. It’ll be rustic, not extremely complicated and seasonal, with a lot of smaller plates.” The food will only be prepared in brick ovens; there will be pizzas, roasted meats and panini.

Drink: As the name, which means ‘beer’ in Italian, indicates, beer is important here, although he will serve wine and cocktails. The selection will be more “worldwide craft,” including some of the new Italian craft beers and “a lot more bottles than taps. I think I can do a better selection with bottles,” he says. He expects to have about 10 beers on draft, plus an  engine on the bar. There are also plans for growlers.

Capacity: 50 inside, 30 to 40 seats outside.

Serving: Dinner to start, then lunch and brunch shortly after opening.

Anticipated opening date: Mid to end of May.

Birra, 1700 East Passyunk Avenue

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  • leigh

    Is the outdoor seating just going to be on the sidewalk or is there space in the back that we can’t view from the street?

  • @Leigh. Dinerman says outdoor seating will be on the sidewalk on both the Passyunk and Morris sides.

  • Mike

    Awesome, and just a few blocks from my apartment.

  • RJ

    I don’t know where 30-40 seats will be able to fit on that sidewalk. It is rather narrow to begin with and I’m growing very weary of having to squeeze around diners like I have to do in front of the Cantina. I think L&I needs to come down to Passyunk Ave with their tape measures and enforce the 5 foot pedestrian right of way law.

  • s.phil

    Damn RJ you must be old and miserable!!

  • buckethead

    I agree with RJ. The sidewalks on that corner are not very wide, the only way you’re going to fit 30 seats out there is to kick the pedestrians into the street. There’s a bus stop on that piece of sidewalk too if I remember correctly.

  • I live about fifty feet from there. Yes, there’s a bus stop. Yes, the sidewalks aren’t that deep (but they’re also not that narrow). And yes, I absolutely can’t wait for this and it’s outdoor seating.

    That said, I’m a little wary about the City Tap House connection. The two times I’ve been there, the food was just okay. Anyone know if Dinerman cooked there or just managed?

  • RJ

    Why am I “old and miserable” just because I want to be able to walk down the street unimpeded? I have lived in this neighborhood for a long time and I’m glad that Passyunk Ave is in the midst of a revival, but it should not come at the expense of those who live here. Also, businesses should be good citizens and conduct themselves according to the law. It is not too much to ask for.

  • barryg

    Love Cantina but the sidewalk seating is a bit ridiculous, I agree. They need to buy that ugly triangle lot next to it and turn it into a patio.

  • Joanna

    I’m all for outdoor seating and for keeping the hood hopping, but there is no way you can fit 30-40 seats on that corner, especially with the (very busy) bus stop right there!!

  • Melissa

    Not excited about the menu theme… Don’t we have enough of that already? I hoped for Indian food in the neighborhood. Le sigh.

    That outdoor seating can get a bit stinky. Whenever I walk past that area it reeks of overflowing sewers and dog poopie. Yuck.


  • Dan

    I haven’t seen a liquor license sign go up there. Do they have a license already? How can they possibly anticipate opening “Mid to end of May?”

  • cleevus

    Dinnerman is NOT a cook, he’s an ass kissing front man with the acmes of ass kissing, Barclay Prime and Buddakan, as his primary locales. But who cares. Maybe he cooks alot at home? On another note, Passyunk is destined to become what Market St in Old City became with the sidewalk seating. Soon you will see 18 year olds in stilletto heels and push up bras standing with menus and a pancake makeup cracked smile. Alas, all good things do, eventually, come to an end. Except peanut butter and jelly. That’s still real good.

  • Josh A

    I love the idea of Old City hoes on Passyunk, especially if they come south of Washington Ave.

  • leigh

    @barryg Yes! That grass area is going completely unused and would be perfect for springtime dining, like what’s happening further down the Ave at Le Virtu. The intersection between Cantina and what will soon be Birra is a mess. There was a proposal out last year to make that a landscaped traffic island, which is a great idea too. Sort of like the Izumi tables at the fountain or at 5th and Bainbridge when the restaurant before Adsum had tables out there.

  • Chrissy

    Lots of haters. Im not excited about the seating BUT the rest is to open up now around June & I am excited for more businesses opening up in the neighborhood!