Dream a Little Dream: Main Line

Pennsylvania, Wayne, Anthony Wayne Theater  (8,005)
Yesterday we gave you the hottest restaurant neighborhoods in the region. Today we’re going to highlight three that could be our next best restaurant neighborhoods.

The Main Line

Current state of the scene: Dull.
What it needs: The will to change.

Given the Main Line’s concentration of wealth, its residents’ sophisticated palates, and a perfect location straddling the line between Philly and the farther-western ’burbs, it’s both ridiculous and shameful that with the occasional exception of places like Nectar, Georges’ and, possibly, the new St. James Place from Rob Wasserman and Michael Schulson, the area is a near-total restaurant wasteland.

What does it need? Everything. It needs a couple of stupidly huge and opulent build-outs from Big Name chefs willing to suffer the too-high leasing rates in order to cram overpriced “signature dishes” into the maws of the locals. It needs pioneering independent owners to look away from the main drags for spaces to house their genius 50-seat BYOs, and dumb-but-moneyed­ investors to bankroll their friends’ Thai-Caribbean­-fusion bistros, which will close fast and make room for smart, hardworking journeymen chefs who can come in and colonize those finished spaces. It needs Asian food that doesn’t come in a takeout box, burgers that don’t come from a drive-thru, some awesome pizza, a risk-junkie to bring foams and liquid nitrogen to the neighborhood (just so the residents have something to bitch about), and, finally, a real success story, to convince the skittish they can survive in one of the most challenging restaurant environments in the state.

Photo by EC Leatherberry