Craftsman Row Saloon Officially Opens Today

craftsman-row-facade-940Today, Friday, December 4, brother-and-sister restaurateurs George and Vasiliki Tsiouris, co-owners of Midtown Village’s Opa and Drury Beer Garden, will officially open Craftsman Row Saloon. Craftsman Row replaces the longstanding Coco’s at 112 South 8th Street on Jewelers’ Row. The bar is named for the artisans that work in the area.

The Tsiouris’ have refreshed but certainly not gutted the space that was Coco’s since 1984. Gone is the carpeting (never a good idea in a bar) but much of Coco’s character remains. The facade remains largely intact, although with a brand spanking new canopy adorned with the Craftsman’s logo. The bar itself, still has nameplates of Coco’s regulars at each end. The booths have been reupholstered in dark brown leather. The floor is now distressed black hardwood floors. Faux taxidermy adorns the walls and “campfire-style” pendant lights give the space a comfortable saloon vibe.

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Opa Team Opening Bar on Jewelers’ Row

Photo via Google Maps

Photo via Google Maps

George and Vasiliki Tsiouris, who opened Opa several years ago are now looking to takeover the former Coco’s at 112 South 8th Street. The brother-and-sister restaurateurs who also run Drury Beer Garden behind Opa will open Craftsman Row Saloon later this month.

Craftsman Row is described as a comfortable spot to enjoy drinks and food for lunch, dinner and late night. The Tsiouris’ will maintain much of the character of Coco’s, keeping the bar marked by nameplates of Coco’s regulars at each end.

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Parker Spruce Hotel Owner Presents Plans for “Boutique” Fairfield Inn; Neighbors Air Grievances

Parker Spruce

The Parker Spruce Hotel | Photos: James Jennings

The Washington Square West Civic Association held a public meeting last Tuesday night regarding the redevelopment of the Parker Spruce Hotel at 13th and Spruce Street.

The room at Bluemle Hall on Thomas Jefferson University’s campus was packed with people waiting in anticipation to not only hear about the news plans for a hotel billed as a new three-and-a-half, four star establishment, but also to have their voices heard by the presenters, The Wankawala Organization, regarding the Parker Spruce’s traumatic past and damaging present taking place during interior demolition.

The information-only session became heated, but all in attendance were in agreement that something needed to change at this corner.

The Plan: Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott

The meeting started out swell. Owner Mihir Wankawala provided a taste of his personal background, mainly about how he moved to America from India at age 11, later went to Drexel, worked for Verizon and bought his first hotel property in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 2005. That’s the CliffsNotes version of how The Wankawala Organization came to be and now it employs hundreds of people spread over 10 brand name hotels in the Mid-Atlantic region. Wonderful.

A small fire on October 20, 2014 ultimately led to the closure of the building and, after four years of managing the property, The Wankawala Organization announced in April that they had officially acquired the hotel.

Given its history, Wankawala explained why the property remained in its seedy state: “I know a lot of you are upset with what we did after we took over in terms of the management, but again we just took the property under control because we couldn’t get the financing at that time … We are a well-run, well-experienced, professional organization who doesn’t have a record in running a property like this. So it was very hard to find people to run a property like this. Given that, that’s history, that’s past. I want to focus on [its] future and how we can make this a great success.”

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Trinity Tuesday: Pretty Gayborhood Rowhome on Panama Street

TREND images via

TREND images via

It’s official: Philadelphia is king of the rowhome.

But we knew that already, didn’t we? And what better way to commemorate the City of Homes than telling you all about one of the prettiest ones we found this week? It’s a bandbox rowhouse (naturally) and has been well-preserved in a pretty Gayborhood nook known as Panama Street. It’s in such pristine condition the listing even notes it’s move-in ready!

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Trinity Tuesday: Newly Listed Historic Residence in Washington Square West

TREND images via

TREND images via

It’s too often we come across beautiful, 19th-century Philadelphia homes that have been renovated into oblivion by misguided individuals. Stripped of their original details and charm, these residential jewels go on to lose that intrinsic “it” factor that made them desirable in the first place. Fortunately, whoever is responsible for having updated this Washington Square West trinity house did the job right. Would-be historic property owners, take note.

Standing at the end of a cobblestoned street, the two-bedroom comes with cozy living areas that feature hardwood floors and muted wall colors, so that even though it has certainly been modernized, it’s not strewn with any flashy upgrades that elicit laughs (at best). Meanwhile, the open kitchen – a room decked out in stainless steel appliances, granite tops and a travertine tiled backsplash,  mind you – has French doors leading out to a patio with a private door to Irving Street.

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Pig Feast at Petruce et al

Nobody burns wood more deliciously than Justin and Jonathan Petruce. Whether they’re cranking the height-adjustable grates of an Argentine-style grill to give lamb breasts a BBQ-like bark or roasting carrots for a dynamite cooked/pickled/raw salad, they coax intense depth from everything the flames lick. And Tim Kweeder’s wine list is the next best thing to a motorcycle tour of the gnarliest garagistes from Spain to Slovenia.   1121 Walnut Street, Midtown Village, 267-225-8232. Photo by Neal Santos

Photo by Neal Santos

This Sunday, August 16th,Petruce et al is hosting Little Pig 3.0, a summer pig feast featuring a wood oven roasted heritage pig.

The casual event is $45 per person and is served family style from the restaurant’s open kitchen, the dining area reconfigured into communal tables. Local vegetables, supplied by The Fields Edge Research Farm in Lancaster, will accompany the roasted pig. Each guest will also receive a can of the chefs’ favorite beer.

Best of Philly winner Tim Kweeder will showing he can rock the DJ booth as well as the wine rack.

The dinner begins at 6 p.m. and will be served on a first come, first served basis.

Petruce et al [Foobooz]

Price Jump!: Steampunk(ish) Carriage House on Irving Street For Sale

TREND image from former listing

TREND image from former listing

Alright, so we wouldn’t say it’s completely within the realm of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but you’d be amazed at what a collection of Victorian-inspired appointments can do to an interior. And honestly, that industrial wheel on the second floor living space already does a bang-up job of doing just that, so you’d have an excellent starting point. Price check? The rare Philadelphia home is listed for $2 million.

Interestingly, that’s a jump from when we last wrote about it. Another difference is its purported construction year, then noted as being 1913 and now identified as 1930, according to Zillow. The owner – it’s listed by them, not an agent – could not be reached for comment, but we’ll update as soon as we get word. (Ideally, they’re both wrong and it’s actually a 19th-century construction. You know, to have this whole steampunk thing hold water.)

In any case, here’s a refresher on the property, which potential investors may be happy to know has CMX-5 zoning, allowing for mixed-use usage:

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Trinity Tuesday: Versatile Rowhome in Philly’s Walker’s Paradise

TREND images via

TREND images via

Truth be told (and to dissuade denizens of nearby ‘hoods from lunging at my jugular), almost all the neighborhoods surrounding Center City will fall within WalkScore’s vaunted “Walker’s Paradise” grade. Today, though, we’re going to single out Washington Square West, where this week’s trinity home is located. Its score? Ninety-nine. Damn near perfect (especially if you’d rather do without a car, which might just be something to consider).

Situated directly across from Starr Garden Park, the two-bedroom has easy access to South Street (no lie, it’s literally right behind it) and is a few short blocks from Independence Mall. According to the listing, the house has been expanded and central heat and air conditioning keep it comfortable enough in the face of Philadelphia’s more severe weather.

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For One Night, Kanella Returns to Spruce Street


Kanella chef de cuisine Evan Butkovsky at COOK.

The Washington Square West neighborhood has missed Kanella since the Cypriot restaurant closed to move to Queen Village at the end of May. Chef/owner Konstantinos Pitsillides should open the new location within four weeks or so. But, WashWest is getting a taste of Kanella once again.

Kanella’s chef de cuisine Evan Butkovsky is joining up with Mercato’s Ryan McQuillan for a collaborative dinner on Tuesday, July, 28th. The Greek/Cypriot and Italian inspired tasting dinner (one sea, one people) will be held at Mercato, and will consist of three courses for $30.

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