New Business/Opening Category
As many of you have heard, On Tap Philly is taking over the former Finn McCool’s (YES!). I spoke with both new partners two weeks ago and was waiting to find the time to put together a cohesive piece, but judging by all the emails and inquiry’s, it’s clear that you just want the deets, so let’s have at it!
The bad news is that I have a page of notes, but am limited to share only a few details at this point. Both partners and their chef (yes, I said, chef!) will be revealed at a future date, as they have a lot of work ahead of them at that is their focus at this time. It’s safe to say that Finn’s had a bad rap in town, so my first question was not about the beer, but about service, and then immediately followed by food. I was thrilled to hear that hiring top notch service staff with a focus on customer service is paramount to them. Their general manager and staff will be hand picked, well trained, and part of the On Tap Philly family. As for the food, they are still in menu development, but it will be a healthy, American menu with a farm to table feel. It was nice to hear one of the partners say that he would never serve anything that he’s not proud of and doesn’t want to eat himself. This individual is vegan, so he feels the pain of most menus having limited options, and that will not be the case at On Tap Philly. To the extent possible, they will source their food from natural sources and local farms. Knowing what is in your food and where it comes from was a point well stressed, AMEN to that! He did give me a few menu teases, to which I’m pretty excited about. What about the beer you ask? On Tap Philly will have a mere 72 beers on tap, featuring an in depth craft selection.
Their “gold” as I call it, is the patio, and if all goes according to plan, you should be able to enjoy a cold one out there sometime in mid April. We know how restaurant openings go in this town, so while I hope they can make that date, we shouldn’t hold our breath. Once open, they will serve lunch and dinner, seven days a week, and offer take out as well. They are currently hiring, so if you’ve got “the right stuff” get in touch with them, [email protected] Also, be sure to follow their updates on facebook!
To sum it up, I was told that they want to offer a really fun place that serves really good food. If they can pull it off, I’m sure this town will wholeheartedly support them!
Back in September many of you took the time to fill out a survey and sign a petition with regard to bringing a Farmers’ Market to Ambler, and I am thrilled to say that your voice was heard! The results of the petition and survey painted a very clear picture; not only are residents in favor of a market, but desperately desire access to local, farm fresh food.
This past August, a small committee within Ambler Main Street began working to bring a Farmers’ Market to Ambler; based on the overwhelming response from the community, the efforts kicked into overdrive. There has been a ton of behind the scenes work over the past several months, including writing a business plan that proved the Ambler community could support a market. There is still a lot of work to be done, but knowing that the market is a go is one of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of, ever. Although many hurtles have been crossed, we still need your support to help bring this market to fruition, please consider donating to the Ambler Farmers’ Market so that Ambler Main Street can bring you the best possible market!
Ambler Main Street will be working in concert with Farm to City, an organization whose goal is to unite communities, families, and farmers through good locally grown food. The market will open Saturdays, beginning in May and run through November, in the SEPTA parking lot adjacent to Trax Restaurant & Cafe. For now, please visit the facebook page and like the Ambler Farmers’ Market to keep up to date; there is a website and lots of information to come! Thank you for being a part of this!
Last month I eluded to another restaurant opening in town, but I didn’t want to spill the beans until I knew it was 100%. I just got it from the horses mouth, and I can’t wait to share the news with you! As is seen on the Ambler facebook page, we are a very opinionated bunch, so I’m sure there will be someone who is not thrilled, but I couldn’t be more excited! Welcome El Limon!
You may have visited their Conshohocken location, which opened just two years ago, and quickly grew in popularity. Two important things that make El Limon so popular are the food, of course, and the prices! You can easily have a quick snack or a great meal for $10 or less.
El Limon is pared down, affordable, authentic Mexican food; expect to see, tacos, quesadillas, sopes, tortas, fajitas and more. The ambiance, if you will, is not all that exciting, but everything is fresh and made to order. There will be table seating, and I imagine it will be somewhat limited as they are opening in the former Sherwin Williams space. El Limon is BYO, but they offer delicious free margaritas, all you have to do is bring the tequila!
El Limon will be open for lunch and dinner, along with some late night weekend hours (open till 3am on Friday and Saturday in Conshohocken!). Unlike Ambler, Conshohocken has a huge late night bar crowd which makes 2am a very busy time for them. Ambler is a bit sleepier so we’ll see how they adjust, either way, I’m looking forward to having a great spot open later than all the rest.
Construction is just now getting underway and they plan to open sometime in February, which in restaurant speak probably means at least March, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed! They don’t have a website, but check out their Yelp reviews for a taste of what’s to come. I’ll be sure to keep you updated along the way!
Most of you know that there was a previous, short lived, bakery run in the same location a few months ago. Homemade Delights had the best of intentions, but it just didn’t seem to offer what Ambler needs. Now under new ownership, with a new name, The Ambler Bake Shop will offer all that one comes to expect from a local bakery; you can quite effectively tickle your sweet tooth and satisfy your savory side as well. The Ambler Bake Shop will offer the standard fare such as cookies, cakes, cupcakes, tarts, sticky buns, an assortment of breads, rolls, and so much more. In addition to the usual suspects, they also do amazing specialty cakes including your standard sheet cake all the way up to tiered wedding cakes; you will have no problem finding the perfect cake for your special occasion. Another unique thing you’ll find at the Ambler Bake Shop is the Chew-Choo pack. Perfectly packaged and thoughtfully put together for those on the go in the morning, stop in and grab a $2 pack consisting of your choice of a cinnamon or sticky bun and a cup of coffee ready to go on the fly. There is plenty of parking at and around the Bake Shop, so you don’t need to worry about searching for a spot when you’re in a hurry.
Lori and Jeff are self proclaimed foodies, so you know they have high standards and will deliver a great product. They have two full time bakers on staff, as well as someone who comes in just to focus on the bread. Another thing that really excited me were their hours, open Tuesday – Friday, 7am – 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 8am -6pm! Great for early birds, people who do their shopping during the day and best of all, for those who want to stop in after work. I’m already looking forward to my favorite cold weather soups and stews and am thrilled that I’ll be able to pop into the bakery after work and pick up some freshly baked bread as the perfect accompaniment!
I know, the big question is… when will they open? Well, you don’t have to wait long as they plan to open their doors this coming Tuesday, October 2nd! Also, Lori and Jeff are wasting no time in getting involved with the community (love that!!!) and as a result you can expect to see them in the kids zone on First Friday (Oct 5) for cupcake decorating and also out on Butler Ave at Oktoberfest (the following day, Oct 6). Be sure to visit them on facebook and like their page to receive bakery news and updates, and beginning October 2nd, be sure to visit them in person!facebook)
Sweet Briar Cafe took over Ambler’s beloved Coneheads this past May, and the name change was meet with some harsh criticism. I say name change because Coneheads actually had several different owners over the years, but no one seemed to notice as the name, and everything else, stayed the same. I’m going to be completely honest, I was initially one of the “outraged.” Coneheads was an Ambler mainstay, a tradition, and who would do such a thing?! After the nostalgic dramatics wore off, I learned quite a bit about the new owners and their vision, and I love it!
This unbelievably tasty treat to the right was my first taste of Sweet Briar, usually I’m a peanut butter vanilla on a waffle cone kinda gal, but owner, JT, talked me into trying this brand new to the menu, ice cream sandwich. Holy cow, this puppy was good; so good that I didn’t even long for my ushe. Cookies and cream ice cream between two freshly baked chocolate cookies from their neighbor next door, Homemade Delights (at the time). On my next trip, I went back to my ushe and was happy that nothing had changed (contrary to some facebook grumblings); it was the same ice cream and as delicious as ever. While there I noticed some new signs in the ice cream window for creative and interesting new treats, even themed treats for 4th of July.
It turns out that Stephanie, daughter of owner JT Talese and her husband Frank, was the one behind some of these creative new ideas. Sweet Briar truly is a family business, and you can feel that vibe when you’re there. They are so family oriented that one of the motivating reasons behind taking on this new adventure was to give neighborhood kids a place where they would feel welcome and invited. The Talese family has lived in Ambler for years and the girls grew up with Coneheads and the library across the street being a big part of their lives. It was a safe place to go with friends and JT wanted to make sure that continued for generations to come. This is evidenced in their After School Happy Hour, which runs Monday – Friday, 2 – 4:30pm, and features special pricing on kid friendly foods. The menu consists of items priced at $2, $3 and $4 and is a great bang for your buck! Kids can expect to find fresh, made to order quesadillas with homemade guacamole, fresh (not frozen) chicken nuggets (fried in canola oil), smoothies, of course ice cream treats as well as other great items.
Also great about Sweet Briar is that they are committed to using locally produced foods and ingredients, and supporting the local economy as much as possible.Their wheat flour (ground on site) comes from JT’s parents farm, SweetBriar, in Bucks County. Seasonal produce comes from local farms or their own organic garden. They support Nelson’s Ice Cream of Montgomery County, also Dietz & Watson, Herr’s, local bakeries, and more. Growing up on a farm has clearly had quite an impact on JT, as the farm to table concept is very important to her.
They have been taking things one step at a time and have just recently released their new breakfast and lunch menus and as of last week are now serving Sunday breakfast as well. The menus may take you by surprise if you think Sweet Briar is just an “ice cream joint.” Breakfast and lunch cater to everyone; you can get a burger or hoagie, but you can also get grilled chicken lettuce wraps or quinoa mac & cheese. Sure they’ve got eggs benedict and meat cakes (yes, I said meat cakes- any breakfast meat dipped in pancake batter and grilled), but you’ll also find fresh ground whole wheat pancakes and smoothies. Healthy options abound at Sweet Briar, including daily specials like Cheddar, Kale & Mushroom Quiche or Grilled Chicken Wrap with avocado, tomato, lettuce, and a side of homemade tortilla chips.
Dinner is on the horizon, possibly making a debut in October. Dinner will reflect the same family feel with entrees like pot roast, cooked all day, homemade soups and the like. JT said to expect meals similar to something that she would serve at her own dinner table at home, healthy comfort food.
I could go on, but I think I’ve gone on long enough, it’s time for you to check out Sweet Briar Cafe for yourself!Sweet Briar Cafe 11 Lindenwold Avenue 215.542.0272 facebook Hours: Mon – Fri: 7am – 2pm, Breakfast/Lunch, 2pm – 4:30pm, Kids After School Happy Hour, Open for ice cream until 9pm (10pm on Fri) Saturday: 8am – 2pm, Breakfast/Lunch, Open for ice cream until 10pm Sunday: 8am – 2pm, Breakfast Only, Open for ice cream until 9pm Breakfast Menu Lunch Menu
Holy cow, there is so much going on this weekend it’s approaching overwhelming, but what a great problem to have! Here’s the lowdown for the weekend of May 4th…
Friday May 4
First First Friday ~ No, I didn’t stutter, this Friday is Ambler’s first ever First Friday! Join your fellow neighbors and business owners to celebrate all that is Ambler. Downtown Ambler will be bustling from 6-9pm with live music, art, food, activities and an awesome kids zone! The kids zone will be on Race Street, from Main to Spring Garden, and feature inflatables, face painting, crafts, games and more! The merchants will be open late and several of them will be offering exciting specials. To RSVP and see some of the offerings, check out the facebook event page. See you there!
Ambler Skate Shop Grand Re-Opening ~ Rise and shine with the crew at the skate shop on Friday, they will open for business in their new location at 9am. Yeah, it’s a little early, but they are sweetening the deal by offering complimentary Ambler Donuts Lunch will be pizza from their new neighbors, Candida’s, and come nightfall we’ll head across the street to Finn’s for a late night celebratory happy hour beginning at 9pm (unless today’s incident calls for a change in plans). Congrats to the skate shop on snagging one of the best spots in town (in my opinion)! 33 East Butler, old home to Fine Things.
Rock ‘N Roll on the Patio at Trax ~ Trax Cafe is hosting a super cool new concept this weekend; they will be transforming their fabulous patio into a sweet little music venue. Beginning at 8:30pm you can enjoy the music of Out of Order while snacking on bite sized taste sensations from Chef Steve Waxman. He has developed a special $5 snack menu for the event AND it’s still BYOB! You really can’t beat it, delicious, affordable food, live music and your own libations. I’m in!
Movie in the Park ~ Last year the movies in the park were such a success that they’re back! The movie this Friday is Mega Mind and begins at sundown at Knights Park. Be sure to bring your own blanket, chairs and snacks, but no need for your wallet, because it’s free!
Saturday, May 5
Philly Am ~ The Philly Am is a premier skate contest that has been around for many years, and this year the Ambler Skate Plaza at Knights Park is playing host. The timing is awesome as it coincides with the Ambler Skate Shop party weekend, they will of course be there, selling their wares but also hosting a tent to fix boards and do tuneups for the contestants throughout the day. You can expect to see 100′s of people in attendance, from young kids to seasoned pros. The different categories in the contest include, Grom (the young folk), intermediate, advanced and also a 30+ division. Three16 and several other well know sponsors (in the skate world) will be in attendance with give aways and prizes. In case you weren’t sure, this is absolutely a kid friendly event. Registration begins at 9am and the contest fires up at 10am. Expect the event to go until sundown, so if you can’t make it in the morning, swing by anytime, there’s sure to be a good show!
Now the big question is, how can I be in more than one place at one time…
Last week while walking in town I bumped into restaurateur, Dave Magrogan. He and his architect were outside the Shanachie discussing future plans; Dave confirmed that the rumors are true and that our beloved Shanachie (R.I.P.) will become Doc Magrogan’s, an Oyster House and Raw Bar.
Magrogan’s is a chain, with three existing locations (two in PA and one in DE), and is part of the Dave Magrogran Group along with well known Kildare’s and a few other restaurants. Personally, my first reaction is that Ambler is not a town befitting of a chain restaurant, but I will reserve judgment. However, I think it’s great that Magrogan’s is a restaurant unlike any of the other eateries in town. The menu looks pretty good, I am particularly looking forward to trying some items on Docs Raw Bar and am thrilled that a Nicoise Salad* will be available in town (my fave). Dave said they hope to open in September, I’ll keep you updated as we get closer.
I’m curious, have you been to any of the other Doc Magrogan’s? If so, please share your experience below.
*FYI ~ If you are a fellow lover of Nicoise, The Chestnut Hill Hotel/Grill has a fantastic one!
Cinnamon buns, cookies, and pies, oh my! If you haven’t heard, Ambler will once again have a bakery in town! It has been many years since beloved Goettner’s closed their doors, since then many locals have yearned to be able to pick up freshly baked goods in town. As of tomorrow morning, the wait is over! Homemade Delights will open their doors, Saturday morning, April 14th.
Homemade Delights is located at 19 Lindenwold Avenue on the corner at Race Street (near Coneheads). Owner, Tracey Hering, has been working hard since December to prepare the space for opening day. I had the pleasure of meeting Tracey and checking out the new digs this week, as you’ll see, the bakery is empty, but not for long! Although Saturday will feature a somewhat limited menu as they ease into things, but once up and running you can expect to find cookies, cakes, pies, cinnamon and sticky buns, specialty breads, cheesecakes, hand dipped chocolates including truffles and much more! Homemade Delights will not be baking rolls and traditional breads yet, but have arranged for Corropolese to deliver freshly baked rolls and Italian bread each and every day.
Homemade Delights will be open 6 days a week, hours below. Please visit Tracey and welcome her new bakery to Ambler, tomorrow morning, Saturday, April 14, beginning at 6am!
- Closed Monday
- Tuesday – Friday: 6am - 4pm
- Saturday: 6am – 3pm
- Sunday: 6am – 1pm
There is a lot of activity in town lately, so much so that it’s hard to keep up! As you know, Ambler suffered a great loss this past month with the closing of The Shanachie; Gerry, Ed and the whole cast and crew will be sorely missed.
Walking in town, a quote made famous by Alexander Graham Bell comes to mind, “When one door closes, another one opens,” and it seems as though there are quite a few doors opening in town. Here’s a rundown of who is new to town, moving around in town, and soon to make an appearance…
Ambler Golf Shop ~ 10 E. Butler Avenue, (215)628-GOLF, www.AmblerGolfShop.com
Ambler Golf Shop is a retail golf shop that opened mid February. They offer high end apparel for men and women, accessories and equipment, they offer re-gripping services as well. Owner, Kevin Melrath, is a former golf professional with the experience and selection you’re looking for in a golf shop.
Ambler Music ~ 310 E. Butler Avenue, (267)481-2850, www.AmblerMusic.com
Ambler Music is not a new kid on the block by any stretch, just fat and happy in a new location as of March. The extra space allows for a larger variety of teachers and the ability to cater to more students. Ambler Music offers a vast array of private music lessons, as well as general group lessons for children, performance services, recording and more. Whether it’s individual music education or volunteering his time organizing Ambler events, owner, Luke Cleary, is dedicated to increasing the arts and culture in the Ambler area.
Homemade Delights ~ 19 Lindenwold Avenue
Homemade Delights is a locally owned, family bakery featuring freshly baked goods including, cinnamon buns, bread, pies, cookies, cakes and more. Specialty items for the holidays and events will be available as well. They hope to open in early April.
Barberella ~ 44 E. Butler Avenue, (215)643-4066, www.barberellabeauty.com
Barberella is a chic boutique style hair and skin care salon, but they are not new to town, just new to Butler Avenue. After 6 great years on Forest Avenue the need for expansion can no longer be put off! Barberella’s new home has been a salon (Shirley’s) for the past 20+ years, but you may not recognize it, as it is currently undergoing quite the transformation. Owner Trisha Stewart and her stylists will be movin’ on up in May.
Ambler Beverage Exchange ~ 259 E. Butler Avenue
Ambler Beverage Exchange will occupy the former home of Ambler Beverage, but the similarity stops there! Of course they will carry the standard market beers, but the focus will be on local breweries, micro breweries and specialty import beers. Education will be a mainstay, with Ambler Beverage Exchange hosting tasting events and guest brewers. Look for them to open this Spring!
A shoe store of which I do not know the name, or any other details. How about some help here? Anyone, Bueller? ~ 38 E. Butler Avenue
Well, that’s it folks! Ok, ok, just kidding! Wanted to see if you were paying attention
Forest & Main Brewing Company ~ 61 N. Main Street, (215)542-1776, www.forestandmain.com
I know, all you care about is an opening date. Rest assured, you’re not alone, but unfortunately I’m amongst the huddled masses. A facebook update this past Sunday said “hopefully by the end of the week,” we shall see. Poor Daniel and Gerard have been working so hard for such a long time, let’s take it easy on them, no banging down the door and commandeering the pub. For now, you’ll have to drool over the photos I took back in January…
As for the Shanachie location, those “in the know” are being very tight lipped about it. All I can get out of them is that there is definitely a restaurant going in, but they won’t say what or when. If you have any information about this or know of any businesses I’m missing, please let me know in the comments below! See you in Ambler!
Today was one of those jump up and click your heels kind of day; not only was I able to sit down and enjoy great conversation with fellow Amblerites, but I also had the privilege of getting a sneak peek into Forest & Main Brewing Company! I, along with many of you I’m sure, have been dying to see what they’ve been up to in there. Of course, I follow their blog and facebook page but seeing their labor of love in the flesh today was truly impressive. Daniel and Gerard have really done an incredible job of transforming the space and it couldn’t be more perfect. I took a few photos to share with you (click the thumbnails below), but only of the bar area, you’ll have to experience the rest for yourself. Which leads to the question that everyone has been asking for quite some time now, “When will they open?!” If all goes well they hope to be open by the end of the month, be sure to check their facebook page for updates.
See you at Forest & Main