Paging Stephen Starr … to the Main Line

The 'burbs need good Mexican, pizza, and liquor-licensed restaurants

Dear Stephen Starr,

It’s a random mid-week evening and I would give anything to pick up one of your Stella pizzas for dinner. Or the El Vez guacamole. Or a baguette from Parc. Mmmm… Unfortunately, we can never manage to drag the over-scheduled family into Center City on a school night. I just wondered if you know that I represent a really sizable population of suburban restaurant-goers that would be happy to give you lots of revenue if you opened an outpost or two in our neck of the woods.

In case you’ve never visited the Main Line (20 minutes Northwest unless you get stuck in traffic on 76, which is probable), it’s a pretty place populated with no shortage of foodies and is a virtual restaurant dead-zone. Really, you’d be amazed at the bland, uninspired selection of restaurants for such a nice area. Planning a Friday evening out with friends locally can be tough. To give you the lay of the land, we have handful of okay BYOBs, a couple of average restaurants that are so popular you can’t get a reservation, a steakhouse, and hardly any really solidly good restaurants. Once you’ve been to the better places, which is a relative term since we seem to have kind of low standards out here, you get to see the same menus month in and month out — or year in and year out in many cases. Lots of locals can’t be bothered going into the city for dinner at all because of the hassle of traffic and parking, so I bet a lot of new customers would be drawn to an Ardmore, Villanova or Wayne location of any of your restaurants in addition to the rest of us who regularly trek to your current establishments.[SIGNUP]

And don’t forget there’s also the lunch crowd that’s always looking for somewhere decent to eat. Again, there are the couple of usual places, most of which offer so-so food and service. Many people opt for BYOBs, which leaves those who enjoy a sociable glass of wine with their soup or salad high-and-dry, because no self-respecting mother wants to tote a whole bottle of wine to lunch without raising some eyebrows and basically proclaiming publicly that she has a serious drinking problem.

We are most definitely lacking some seriously good quality, consistent, licensed restaurants that are interesting and enjoyable with good food and service. Particularly, great pizza and Mexican are so close nonexistent around here that you would have no competition to speak of. How many times have you opened a restaurant in Center City with no competition? Tempted yet?

Should you happen to decide to come and scout the area for locations, may I suggest you stop and have lunch in Gladwyne or Narberth? Okay, that was a joke. There really isn’t anywhere to sit down for a nice lunch in either of these villages. And by nice, I mean food, tables and daylight. There are a lot of homes, schools and businesses in these areas and nowhere to even meet a friend for lunch. Are you starting to understand the problem?

I hope this letter finds you between Center City and Atlantic City restaurant openings with time to consider servicing your hungry Main Line neighbors. We would certainly be happy to see you!

cc: Jose Garces