Morning Headlines: Dranoff’s One Ardmore Place Gets Township Committee Approval

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Carl Dranoff’s various Ardmore plans, first proposed more than a decade ago, have caused controversy for almost as long. So it wasn’t surprising that discussion of the residential/retail proposal for Ardmore at last night’s Lower Merion Township Building and Planning Committee meeting was “raucous,” as the Inquirer‘s Carolyn Davis put it. Things devolved into personal sniping, with words like “boorish” and “venomous” being thrown around. (Davis writes that things started getting ugly last week with a string of emails — which, alas, no one leaked to us.) The meeting didn’t end until after 1 a.m.

What’s known among Main Line residents as the “Cricket Lot” project — real name: One Ardmore Place — involves an apartment building with 121 units and roughly 8,000 square feet of street-level retail space fronting Cricket Avenue. Carolyn Davis boils down years of debate:

Critics say the project is too big for its site and neighborhood. Proponents claim it would boost downtown Ardmore by drawing young residents to live in a transit-friendly building near the train station.

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Tired Hands Brewing Is Expanding

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Tired Hands Brewing in Ardmore is adding a production facility. The building, which will have a capacity of 10,000 barrels a year will be located just under a half mile away from the original Ardmore Avenue location. The new location will also have a second beer cafe with a “very different” culinary theme.

In addition to the production and cafe spaces, there will also be room for aging beer in hundreds of oak barrels.

No word on when the new facility will open but it is welcome news for one of Philadelphia’s beer scene.

Tired Hands Brewing [Official]

Bryn Mawr’s New Isabella Sparrow Is a Clover Market Spin-Off

isabella sparrow

Photo of the Bryn Mawr store from Isabella Sparrow Facebook page.


Ardmore’s outdoor Clover Market is a home decor mecca for enthusiasts of the vintage farmhouse/warehouse/industrial aesthetic. Want an old tin sign with rusty edges? An antique watering can that doubles as a planter? Some bowling pins with flaking paint? The Clover Market is the place to go.

Vendor Hillary O’Carroll has been so successful with that kind of merchandise at the Market, she’s now opened a store — the first Clover Market bricks-and-mortar spin-off in Lower Merion Township, according to the Main Line Times.

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Viking Pastries in Ardmore Gets TV Makeover

viking pastries before

Viking Pastries in Ardmore is being redone inside and out as part of a TV show. The big reveal for the Cricket Avenue bakery is set for today at 5:30 p.m. Official word on what show it is has been mum, but The Main Line Times says it is for a Food Network show and spots Nancy Glass Productions on site. We’re going to guess it is an episode of Save My Bakery, which actually has been on the Cooking Channel, a subsidiary of the Food Network.

Food Network giving Viking Pastries a makeover; big reveal Thursday [Main Line Times]
Viking Pastries [Official]

This Is the Most Expensive House in Ardmore

Backyard of 245 Glenn Road, Ardmore, PA

Backyard of 245 Glenn Road, Ardmore, PA

Brimming with descriptions like “architectural grandeur,” “luxurious, state-of-the-art amenities,” “old-world elegance,” and “sweeping panoramic views,” the listing for this “majestically sited” estate gives quite the florid account of this Main Line home.

Yet the home is less obtrusive. Almost every room has stark white walls, providing a feeling of endless decor possibility. There are countless French doors, spacious living and dining areas, and the lower level has a billiards room, a recreation room, and “bonus” rooms.

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Carl Dranoff Under NIMBY Fire, aka Parking Parking Parking

Rendering of One Riverside Park via Dranoff Group.

Rendering of One Riverside Park via Dranoff Group.

Developer Carl Dranoff has two projects that are being challenged by nearby residents. The first challenge is to One Riverside, a 21-story tower at 25th and Locust designed by architect Cecil Baker, which has been embattled from the start. From PlanPhilly:

Since its proposal, One Riverside has generated protest and petitions from near-neighbors, as well as questions from some about whether the property should be developed at all.

The latest obstacle is more technical: an appeal of Dranoff’s conditional zoning permit, which I could explain but unsurprisingly involves parking, like every NIMBY battle, and I just refuse to go there. At any rate, it sounds like the appeal, which will be heard by the Zoning Board on Oct. 23rd, isn’t worrying Dranoff much.

Dranoff’s attorney, Peter Kelsen, said he is glad that the controversy over the project has at least narrowed…Kelsen said that a discussion about the legitimacy of the FAR bonus is preferable to the more existential question of whether a building should be there at all.

The other challenge regards One Ardmore Place, which has inspired so much ire, THERE’S A MOVIE ABOUT IT. No point in going on and on myself when you can watch the movie, which is called The Parking Lot:

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Sylva Senat Lands at Ardmore’s Saint James

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Modern Indian Cuisine with Sylva Senat of Tashan

Good news for fans of former Tashan chef Sylva Senat. Michael Klein reports that talented chef has landed at the Saint James in Ardmore. We feared the chef might head back to New York City but hadn’t considered the connection between Senat and the Saint James’ Michael Schulson. Senat cooked for Schulson when the energetic Schulson was Buddakan New York’s executive chef.

No word yet on a new menu but we’ll be following carefully.

Chef Sylva Senat lands on the Main Line [The Insider]

Photo by Yoni Nimrod

US Open Eating Guide

wicker-us-open-merion

During US Open week, tens of thousands of golf fans will invade Merion and the Main Line. Here are some suburban suggestions on where to eat (and drink) while remaining chain-free.

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Menu Changes at St. James

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The Saint James in Ardmore has been plagued by a number of poor reviews since it opened just a few months ago. Critics complained about weak service and even weaker food, to which owners Michael Schulson and Rob Wasserman responded by purging some of the opening staff (including chef Matt Moon) and reworking little things like Happy Hour  menus.

But now the St. James has made a big menu change. A few weeks ago, they rolled out a new board which is much more limited than the opening menu, with the daily specials and flat breads sections cut entirely along with a number of smaller revisions. Having eaten there several times over the past few months, I saw a significant uptick in the quality of the food when I dropped by on a quiet Thursday night (less than a third of the tables were filled at 7 p.m.) after the recent change. There’s a solid raw bar, bowls of mussels, a pork belly sandwich and sides of English pea risotto and brussels sprouts with bacon. I enjoyed a simple cheeseburger that was not overdone and served on a soggy bun like the others that I had failed to enjoy on previous visits. And now, with this tighter, more focused menu, the St. James may even start producing food good enough to make folks forget about the terrible reviews handed down by both Craig LaBan and Foobooz’s Trey Popp and get some customers back through the doors.

You can check out the St. James’s new menu here.

Saint Or Sinner? [Trey Popp's Review]

St. James [Official]

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