How many at bats have there been at 34 East Butler Avenue? Really, I’m curious, as I’ve lost count. The Wyndham is the standout for me, otherwise, it’s a bit of a blur between then and now. Most recently, 34 East Tavern stepped up to the plate in June of 2013 after Finn McCool’s unexpectedly closed. A year later, 34 East was publicly listed for sale, and by next week, the building will have a new owner. With a new owner, comes a new restaurant, Gypsy Blu.
Although new to Ambler, the force behind Gypsy Blu is not new to the business, not by any stretch. Partners, Kim Strengari and Marianne Gere, are established restauranteurs, with three successful eateries under their belts. Stella Blu (2001), The Gypsy Saloon (2004), (see what they did there) and Southern Cross Kitchen (2012) are located just 20 minutes away in Conshohocken, and all three thrive within less than one mile of each other. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. I was not able to connect with the owners, so I cannot speak to the Gypsy Blu concept or menu, but am confident that it will be a welcome addition to Ambler. Their restaurants are known for great food and atmosphere, a fun bar scene, live music, alfresco dining (can’t wait to see what they do with the best patio in town), a rockin’ happy hour and exciting nightly specials. Brunch is served at two of the three locations (including bottomless bloodys and mimosas!), hopefully this trend will continue in Ambler.
I was told that after the final, last call at 34 East (this Saturday night) a crew will quickly step in and get renovations under way. Apparently, the plan is to close for only a short time (about two weeks) before reopening as Gypsy Blu. They have been hiring for several weeks and from what I’ve heard, training in their Conshohocken restaurants, so perhaps the staff will be ready go. Regardless, two weeks seems pretty bold, but cheers to them if they can pull it off. Also of interest, it was reported that the second and third floors will eventually be turned into 10-12 luxury apartments. Hopefully more on this to come.
For now, let’s welcome Gypsy Blu and hope that this batter hits a home run.
In the mean time, let’s help 34 East go out with a bang! They will be cash only and are offering HUGE discounts, as well as a DJ Thursday, Friday and Saturday, stop by, it’s a party!!!
UPDATE, April 7, 2015:
The property officially changed hands yesterday, April 6, 2015, sources say Gypsy Blu hopes to open sometime in May.
Yes, as I type it is 4 degrees, but warmer days are coming. Looking at this photo gives me hope; lush green grass, leaves on the trees, flowers, SUN! Fortunately the owners of 169 Rosemary take such pride in their outdoor oasis that they have a photo from warmer days, AHHH, this feels good. Truly a great house all around, but this private yard is one of my favorite features. Many a good time has been had here, and it is now time for a new owner to make their own memories here.
You truly have the best of both worlds in this charming Ambler Borough home; enjoy the excitement of downtown Ambler, then walk home to relax in your very own, special home. The location is superb, and this home has been beautifully cared for and maintained. The home boasts great natural light, spacious rooms, and a gorgeous, updated, eat in kitchen featuring gas cooking and stainless steel appliances.
This home is perfect for entertaining, as your guests will feel comfortable relaxing on the quaint, covered front porch (porch sittin’ is a must in Ambler), in the open living and dining rooms, which look into the kitchen (where everyone always gathers) and then out to the private, fenced in, rear yard.
169 Rosemary is a four bedroom home, but with so much space, that the current owners use the fourth bedroom as a fabulous walk-in closet and dressing room. The ceramic tile bath has an updated/retro feel that attests to the quality and style of yesteryear but speaks to modern taste. There is also a convenient powder room on the first floor and mud room off of the kitchen. The roof, siding and rear fencing have all been replaced within the last three years. The taxes are unbelievably low and of course, great schools (Wissahickon School District, Shady Grove Elementary).
This home allows you to move in, unpack, and start living your life in a wonderful town with incredible restaurants, theaters, shopping, annual festivals, farmers’ market, it is just blocks to the train, and so much more! There is time to be in before Spring and enjoy Ambler life to it’s fullest! Come see this wonderful home at the Open House, Sunday, February 22nd, 2-4pm.
To schedule a tour, contact me today. Allison Wolf, 215-704-9888, [email protected]
If you, like me, have been jonesing for Alice Bakery & Confectionary’s bread and baked goodies since the close of the Ambler Farmers’ Market in October, the wait is over! Well almost over, as we still have to wait for fit out and opening day, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Alice will be opening (hopefully in March) at 95 E Butler Avenue, the former site of Caffe Maida, on the corner of Butler and N Ridge.
This will be the second location for Alice Bakery & Confectionary; owner, Dennis Darr (right), opened his first bakery in North Wales just three years ago. Darr was formally trained at the French Pastry School and has worked alongside renowned chefs, pastry and otherwise, throughout his career. His well honed skill did not remain a secret for long in the sleepy town of North Wales, as word of mouth traveled and gushing reviews abounded.
Lacking a savory baker in town, we were very fortunate to have ABC join the Ambler Farmers’ Market for the opening season in 2013, and again this past year. What a treat Alice proved to be, a huge anchor for the market and undoubtedly, one of the biggest draws. If you’ve shopped the famers’ market, then likely, you’ve met Dennis. He is the friendly, tall, bald guy who has been up hours before the crack of dawn shaping, proofing and baking your the bread. Of course, bread is not all ABC has to offer, in addition to amazing breads you will find assorted pastries (scones, muffins, croissants, danishes, sticky buns), cupcakes, cookies and the like. If you only know ABC from the market, then you may not realize that it is also a fabulous lunch spot. Think charming french cafe offering delicious homemade soups, wonderful salads and sandwiches, quiche of the day (typically two varieties), and more. I’m totally addicted to their portobello mushroom soup (accompanied by a perfect French baguette, of course) as well as their chicken salad (loads of fresh dill, MMMM!). If you’re smart, you’ll save room for something sweet after lunch, my favorite is the pineapple upside down cupcake, or as I call it, party in your mouth. Last, but not least, Darr is also a chocolatier, he creates beautiful and decadent chocolates, and they offer custom cakes, as well.
Alice will open early in the morning, serve lunch from 10:30-2:30pm and close @ 6pm. Eventually (hopefully by Spring), they will extend their hours and stay open late to accommodate the after theater and dinner crowds. It has been said that a bakery is the heart of a town, and I believe that having this keystone in place will be an important part of Ambler’s continued growth. ABC will be a wonderful addition to our town and I can’t wait for opening day!
Be sure to like their facebook page for updates.
This is an exciting time of year, and Ambler is celebrating! As you can see below, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the holiday season in town. Ambler Main Street, our local theaters, shops, eateries, pubs and churches are all doing something to make the season extra special. Bring your family, invite your friends and celebrate with your neighbors!
December 4: Live Nativity at St. Anthony’s, 6-8pm. The Christmas Story is portrayed by over 100 parish volunteers, outdoors at St. Anthony of Padua, on Forest Avenue. Complete with live animals, this is a beautiful tradition that you don’t want to miss.
December 6: Ambler Main Street Annual Holiday Parade, updated time 11am. Make sure the little ones bring their letters for Santa!
December 6: Tree Lighting, 6pm. This is a new event this year, and hopefully one that will continue for years to come. The tree will be located in the grassy area next to Sweet Briar Cafe, on Lindenwold Ave. Presented by our friends on Lindenwold Ave, Sweet Briar Cafe, Tony Serrao, State Farm and Ambler Barber Shop.
December 9-28: Act II Playhouse is featuring three different holiday shows that are sure to please! ‘Making Spirits Bright‘ is a Holiday Comedy Cabaret (12/9-28). Murray the Elf returns in ‘Murray the Elf and the Case of the Stolen Sleighbells‘ which is a funny show geared towards families with children 5 years and older (12/20-26). Barrymore Award winning singer, Joilet Harris, returns for one night to perform ‘Joi to the World‘ an evening of Holiday Songs (12/21).
December 10: Holiday Sing-A-Long and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE!, 6:30pm, at the Ambler Theater. The Ambler Symphony will perform a holiday concert, followed by a sing-a-long of familiar carols. Following the sing-a-long, the theater will screen the Frank Capra Christmas classic (and my favorite movie, yay!), It’s a Wonderful Life!!! If by some crazy chance, you have not seen this movie, you must see it on the big screen! If Ambler is near and dear to your heart, you will immediately feel a connection to Bedford Falls. This film will melt the heart of Mr. Grinch and even Scrooge.
December 11: Santa by Train, 7pm. Ambler Main Street brings Santa to Ambler once again! He is foregoing his sleigh, it’s only December 11th after all, and arriving at the Ambler Train Station to greet his friends and join them in walking to the Ambler Theater. Once they arrive, the theater will screen a Christmas classic for the kids to watch as they wait for their turn with the big guy.
December 12: Holiday Shopping Night, 5-9pm. Your favorite Ambler shops and eateries will be open until 9pm and offer exciting holiday specials. This is a great way to support our local businesses and cross those gifts off your list. Of course, you’re likely to find a few gifts for yourself, but that’s okay, you deserve it! While in town, enjoy the sound of carolers!
December 20: The castle at St. Mary’s will be open for tours, 11am-5pm. The castle will be dressed for Christmas and Santa will be there (pictures, noon-4pm)! Admission is a donation of your choice and the event benefits the students at The Villa.
December 23: Forest & Main presents, The Night Before Christmas. I believe this is the third year F&M has done this, and it is a wonderful tradition. There will be a 5pm reading for families, complimentary milk and cookies for the little ones, and the spicy, adult version of this classic poem will be performed at 10pm. And yes, mulled wine will be flowing. If we’re lucky, Christmas Karaoke will ensue!
December 24: The First Presbyterian Church of Ambler is holding a Traditional Candlelight Service at 9pm.
If you know of other Ambler holiday events that should be shared, let me know. Next stop, New Years Eve!
Two of Ambler’s most iconic properties are currently for sale, the Ambler Cabaret was listed back in April, and today 34 East Tavern (or The Wyndham, as I still like to call it) hit the market. The owners are asking $2,899,000 for the property, which includes the infamous historic building with full kitchen, bar and restaurant (second and third floors are currently shells), a liquor license, the adjacent parking lot, and the building that houses El Limon.
This property has had a troubled past; between several unsuccessful endeavors, a partial wall collapse, and other sordid events, it seems to carry a bit of a dark cloud. The MLS remarks state that the property is ideal for “a hands-on owner who can take this location to the next level,” I couldn’t agree more. Between the incredible architectural detail and the best patio in town, there is LOADS of potential here. I’ve heard it called the crown jewel of the town, I hope that someone will come along and truly make it shine.
UPDATE, January 15, 2015:
The listing for 34 East expired this past November. The property was re-listed today at a reduced price of $2,400,000.
UPDATE, April 7, 2015:
The property settled yesterday, April 6, 2015, for $1,725,000.
August 4th marks Cornerstone’s 3rd Annual Narnia in the Park! Cornerstone Presbyterian Church returns to Pickering Field for five nights, as Rev. Dr. Carl R. Trueman reads C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The nightly readings, August 4-8, will take you back into the world of Edmond, Lucy and Prince Caspian as they are joined by Eustace in the search for seven lost Lords of Narnia. Each evening will also feature mini concerts of folk and classical music, light refreshments and activities for the kids. This is a wonderful event for the entire family, but don’t stop there, invite your neighbors and friends as well! Bring your own blankets and chairs and sit back as Pickering Field becomes Narnia. The icing on the cake… this event is FREE!!! Be sure to give Cornerstone a big thank you for their hard work in bringing this to the community, once again!
In the case of inclement weather, the event will take place at Cornerstone Church, 211 W. Bethlehem Pike, adjacent to the Sons of Italy building.
Unfortunately, the Ambler Cabaret was before my time. I’ve heard so many stories of great bands who played there and good times a plenty over the years. As I’m sure you know, the Cabaret closed over 20 years ago and has been out of commission since. It changed hands last summer for the bargain price of $151,250. That price was not only for the cabaret space, but included 5 apartments, as well as 5 additional office spaces on the second and third floors. The sale was private and rather shocking considering Ambler values, even despite the poor condition. As of today, the property has been listed for sale at a mere $1,150,000. Pretty quick potential return on an investment, I’d say. According to the MLS listing, “the 5 apartments are clean and very close to having a U&O.” There could be potential for the office spaces to be converted into additional apartments, and the cabaret space needs complete renovation. Hmmmm, will be interesting to see what happens…
UPDATE, April 7, 2015
After being on the market for 345 days, the price of 57 E Butler has been reduced to $799,900.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6548392 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
If you are reading this, likely you are familiar with Ambler and have come to love its “old world charm” as I have. Boasting many turn of the century homes, some quite grand, new construction homes are few and far between in this town of ours. Typically, the 1950’s split levels are regarded as “new construction” by most Amblerites, which is why it is unusual that the majority of homes currently for sale in the borough have all been built within the past few years.
As you will see below*, four out of the nine available homes for sale, are 3-4 years old, with another two being only 11 and 25 years old (as stated earlier, they are still considered new by Ambler standards). The four newer homes are located in Station Square, the W.B. Homes community off of South Main Street. Station Square is comprised of 58, three story, luxury townhomes, averaging about 2,000 square feet. The community was a bit of an anomaly itself, as some would say that the odds were stacked against them when they broke ground. At the time, they would be among the most expensive homes for sale in the borough, situated next to the train tracks, and hitting the market during one of the worst real estate markets in U.S. history. They surprised many when they sold quickly, and then quickly sold out. Many naysayers made much ado about the proximity to the train, but that location was no accident. Station Square is a transit oriented development, and as such, it is built around the SEPTA line, using the regional rail as one of its main selling points. With many trying to reduce their carbon footprint, living here enables them to break the chains of the daily drive, particularly for those who work in the city.
Many people move to Ambler for the obvious reasons, proximity and walkability to a wonderful downtown, regional rail, great schools, and to be part of a tight knit community, most of them looking for a home that offers the craftsmanship and appeal of times past. These newer homes open Ambler up to a different pool of buyers, those who prefer more low maintenance, carefree living. New, high end apartments will soon be available in Ambler, as well. Times they are a changin’!
* If you cannot access the homes below, that means they’re no longer available for sale. Two of the six went under contract while writing this post, 115 Mary Ambler Way in 3 days and 210 E Mt Pleasant in 10 days! As you can see, it is a great time to sell your home in Ambler. If you are considering just that, I’d love to speak with you, send me a note. To see a complete list of homes currently for sale in the borough, visit this page. If you would like a broader view, here you can see all homes in the general Ambler 19002 area.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6273682 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6325955 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6357526 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6354901 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6350859 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6354220 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
2013 was full of memorable moments in Ambler; some ground breaking, exciting and new, others struck a chord of despair and broke hearts. I feel that the moments below are worth revisiting as we bring this year to a close.
Wissahickon School Board votes to close Mattison Avenue Elementary. This decision was a blow to the Borough and so many who fought tooth and nail to keep the school open. Closing its doors once and for all in June marked the end of an era in Ambler. MAE was the last school left in the Borough, and one unlike any other. If you are like me and like to look for the silver lining, I believe that the fight to keep Mattison Avenue open brought people together. They forged bonds as they fought for their kids and their community, it caused many to “wake up” and be more aware and engaged. Following the closure, Ambler Borough went on to purchase the building; it will be the future Ambler Borough Municipal Building.
Mayor Bud Wahl announces that he will not seek another term. After twelve years of service, we wish Bud farewell with great admiration and respect. He accomplished much during his time in office and is a true champion for Ambler!
Forest & Main celebrate their first birthday. This made my list because it was one epic party. Think frat party, but without the crappy beer and bad behavior. F&M is a wonderful addition to Ambler and people came out of the woodwork to show their support. Safe to say, it was a good time had by all.
Opening day of the Ambler Farmers’ Market. This market was a long time coming and Ambler was ready for it! I’m fairly certain that my eyes sprang a leak as I looked up Butler Avenue and saw droves of people making their way down to the market. People of all ages, some with strollers, some with dogs; all of them, ready to shop and spend time with their neighbors. Farmers offering fresh, local food in town, what a sight it was!
The Ambler Arts & Music Festival takes over town! This Friday and Saturday festival was an incredible collaboration between Ambler Main Street, Ambler Rotary, and Ambler Borough. People enjoyed art and music, and partied in town all weekend. Top notch local artists displayed their talent and exciting headline musicians preformed on a state of the art stage in the Ambler Savings Bank parking lot. The highlight was Saturday night when the parking lot and streets were turned into a dance party as the Trammps took the stage. People are still talking about it!
The old Ambler Cabaret changed hands. While this may not mean anything in the immediate future, it has to be (please!!!), a step in the right direction. The Cabaret has laid dormant since 1994, but in it’s day, it was home to tons of great acts, including the Hooters, Tommy Conwell, Merl Saunders, and many, many more. I’ve not heard of any plans yet, but the potential here is HUGE!
El Limon (finally) opens. While Ambler saw several new openings in 2013, this one was highly anticipated (at least by me). We have some incredible restaurants in town, but are short on fast, easy, affordable options, and it’s Mexican! With free margaritas!
The first Ambler Candidate Community Meeting was held. This non-partisan meeting was an opportunity for constituents to meet those up for election, listen to their “stump speeches” and ask relevant questions. The vast majority of the candidates attended and there were no political overtones. This will undoubtedly become a regular event during election season.
Bottom Dollar opens for business. This was long awaited for many in Ambler, after being without a grocery store for more than four years. There has been a lot of debate as to whether or not Bottom Dollar is the “right fit” for Ambler, regardless of your opinion, it is here and open for business.
Proposed development at St Mary’s Villa was announced. While this has clearly been in the works for some time, the news and plans became public knowledge in late November. Naturally, the news was met with mixed emotions. There are still serious hurtles the developers must cross before this project moves forward. I realize that St. Mary’s is not part of Ambler proper, but the outcome greatly affects the Borough.
The annual Christmas Parade. What can I say? I’m a sucker for this parade. This year didn’t feature anything out of the ordinary, but it is so small town, so Ambler, that it makes my list.
Last, but not least…
Throughout the year, several precious little ones were brought into the world, including this cutie spotted at the parade! Congrats to all of Ambler’s new parents, especially my peeps, Marty and Rachel! 🙂
What am I missing? Chime in and tell me below!
Most importantly, Happy New Year, Ambler!
Save the date, January 13-20th!!! Participating restaurants, menus and pricing will be released immediately after the new year begins! In the mean time, RSVP to the event on facebook to be entered to win an Ambler Restaurant Week gift certificate!