Flannel, a Southern-Inspired Restaurant, Will Replace Chhaya Cafe in South Philly

Low-country cooking and southern kitsch make their way to East Passyunk Avenue.

Chhaya Cafe | Photo by Marie Jordan

After nearly a decade on East Passyunk Avenue, Chhaya Cafe, the popular neighborhood bruncherie and coffee shop, will become a southern-themed BYOB called Flannel.

Back in April, Marc Grika — an ex-chef and restaurant veteran of over 20 years, both in Philly and beyond — bought the business from Vernana Beuria, who opened the the cafe in 2010 (and moved it into its current home at 1819 East Passyunk Avenue in 2014). He told the Inquirer that he wouldn’t make any immediate changes to the space, but that he’d probably add dinner in September “as well as special events, including pop-up dinners from guest chefs” — like the one he threw on June 28th, a southern-inspired supper with recent Top Chef contestant Natalie Maronski.

That dinner served as a teaser of what’s to come. Flannel will be a “whimsical and fun” BYOB that specializes in southern comfort foods — specifically the regional delicacies of the South Carolina low country (Grika says he spends a lot of time down there). Maronski will stay on as a chef consultant.

The plan is to keep Chhaya open through the summer and start making small changes to the space over the next few weeks, then close for a week or two to rebrand the space — adding wood, brick, flannel, plaids, some “country kitsch” — in late August/early September. Flannel should be up and running sometime after Labor Day.

Grika says they’ll serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, plus a Sunday-only take-out supper. “We’ll feed you all day through the week, but you should go hang out with your friends and family at home on Sundays,” he says. Monday nights will be reserved for something called Family Meal, a one seating, family-style meal inspired by restaurant staff meals.

Also joining East Passyunk Avenue’s restaurant row later this summer: River Twice, another southern-inspired BYO opening in the old Izumi space — though it leans more modern/New American than rustic country.