This is a big week in Philly-area retail happenings, with both good news and bad. We’re losing a great boutique, gaining another cool shop in Fishtown, and hearing rumblings of Suburban Square’s expansion about to be underway. Find out the dirty deets on all the shifts happening in Philly retail news now. Read more »
Besito Mexican Restaurant will bring Mexican food to Ardmore’s Suburban Square on Monday October 26, adding to Suburban Square’s dining scene that runs the gamut from the independent Parlor to the chain Not Your Average Joe’s.
Besito (translated as “little kiss”) will be an upscale restaurant with an extensive tequila list and stylish decor. The Ardmore location will have a 150-seat restaurant, full bar, private dining area and outdoor patio with a fireplace that can accommodate up to 30 additional people.
Oooh, the Suburban Square expansion proposal appears to be chugging along. Per the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison, Kimco Realty received a recommendation for approval from the Lower Merion Planning Commission for their tentative sketch plans two days ago. Now, the Building and Planning Committee is scheduled to hear them later tonight.
Here is what Kimco wants to do:
- Construct four-level parking garage with 571 spaces at 75 St. James Place;
garage would include 3,000 square feet of retail space at grade along Coulter Ave.
- Construct two-story, 40,000-square-foot building at 100 Coulter Ave.;
include first floor retail; second floor office space
- Construct one-story, 3,445-square-foot addition to rear of Trader Joe’s
- Demolish existing storage building with Class II historic resource (it was a former freight shed dating back to 1885)
Suburban Square might be getting a Madewell next month, but the open-air shopping center is losing its department store. A rep from Macy’s confirmed that the company will be terminating its Ardmore lease in early 2016. The store will continue operations throughout 2015. Expect a final clearance sale around March of next year (these usually last about eight weeks, according to the rep), and a final closing around April.
No word on what will be taking its place, but stay tuned.
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]