Forest & Main Brewing Company is about to celebrate their one year anniversary in April, and boy, has their first year been phenomenal! After a much delayed opening, they opened to instant fan fare and gained a devoted customer base immediately. It didn’t take long for word to spread in the beer community, F&M fans are not just coming from Ambler, but from all over the area, some traveling quite a distance to enjoy their craft beers and tasty pub fare.
Being featured on the front page of the Inquirer, receiving praise from Craig Laban (which is not easy to come by!) and taking home the coveted Best of Philly Brewpub in 2013 highlight a few of their “first year” accomplishments. Just last week they were featured on a 6abc show called, FYI Philly (see link below). The F&M coverage begins at about 9:50 into the show, and is well worth watching. Owners, Gerard and Daniel, give a fantastic peek into the brewery, as well as providing great press for our beloved town!
Check out the video below and be sure to celebrate Forest & Main’s exciting first anniversary at the pub, Saturday, April 13th. There will be live music on the porch, 4-7pm, and undoubtedly a good time had by all.
Forest & Main Brewing Company 61 N.Main Street facebook
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!
I’m hoping this will be the case come January when the Holiday Window Display Contest winner is announced! There are several really wonderful displays in town this year, and sure, I could be politically correct and keep quiet about my favorite, but that’s just not me. If you haven’t been to the Ambler Skate Shop this month, then I suggest you get your hiney there ASAP! They have done an awesome job decorating their store for the contest; it is totally unique and creative, and not to be missed!
I was out the night of the parade taking pictures to post here, as I’ve done in years past, but after leaving the Skate Shop that night I realized that what I needed to write about was not only their fantastic effort, but what these guys are all about. Owned by Sean Khathavong, Mike McGuire and Craig Lutz, the Skate Shop is so much more than a shop. These three have created a place that encourages growth and community. Sure, they teach kids how to skate, but moreover, they teach kids respect and understanding. Reflecting on my childhood, I know that important life lessons are often learned when you don’t realize you’re learning them. This happens all the time at the shop, as the “teachers” are their buddies and role models; the kids are learning while having fun, building skills in not only physical, but mental acuity. Most of the guys at the shop are quite innovative and some posses amazing artistic talents, exposing kids to yet another creative outlet. McGuire is the one who did the holiday display, as well as all of the original Ambler Skate Shop gear that you’ll find in the store.
Spend a few moments talking with anyone associated with the shop and it is clear to see what a positive force they are within our community. I always enjoy seeing my friend Brittany’s photos from her sons Sunday morning classes at the skate park, so I asked her if she’d like to comment on her experience; as you’ll see below, she was thrilled to do so!
“The SkateShop! I LOVE the skate shop and the masterminds behind the operation!
I remember in middle school and high school, any of my friends who skated seemed to be automatically thrown into the “Punk” category by almost all adults! I have seen and heard Sean make so many strides to keep our Skaters from automatically being thrown into that category… I LOVE that a kid can walk into the Skate Shop without a dollar, ask for a bottle of water and Sean will hand him a broom or a bottle of windex and let him or her work for that bottle of water. ‘Nothing is free in this world, but you can work for what you want’, Sean lets them know.
I was so very pleasantly surprised, at our first Sunday morning Skate lesson, when I realized that my son wasn’t just being taught how to get around the park on the board.
He was learning:
1) how important it was for his body to stretch before any kind of physical activity
2) how to safely fall (WHAT A DIFFERENCE THAT HAS MADE IN ANTONIO’S EVERYDAY LIFE!)
3) proper skate park etiquette
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
I met Sean about 12 years ago, we worked at Bennigan’s in Willow Grove together. Skating, snowboarding, fashion and the importance of being a respectable human being were CLEARLY his passion. I see him even more passionate about all of these things now. Lucky for us parents in the Ambler Area, Sean has set up shop to provide us great service and wonderful products but more importantly the wealth of his passions are offered and presented to our young ones with the best intentions.
I’m excited you are writing about the shop! I hope we can keep them for many many years!” – Brittany Javier Craveiro
Brittany’s comments really sum up what the Skate Shop is all about, and I’m sure you’d get a similar response from any parent who is involved with the organization. Although the kids may phrase it differently, it goes without saying that they have an equally ecstatic response when asked about their classes and friends at the shop. Whether you or your child have moderate ability, or have never stepped foot on a board in your life, there is a class, and gear, to accommodate you. I strongly encourage you to visit the Skate Shop and see for yourself, be sure to say hi to ShopCat!
This December marks the 4th annual Holiday Window Display contest and several of Ambler’s finest are all dressed up! Between the businesses who have decorated and the borough, who has hung garland and lights throughout town, it is certainly feels a lot like Christmas! If you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you can even enjoy Christmas music playing downtown on Butler Avenue through the borough sound system!
There were two big changes to the contest this year; the first being that the sponsor who originated the contest pulled out. Without this individuals backing the contest almost came to and end, but fortunately Ambler Main Street stepped in and took over! AMS organized the event as well as put up the money for the winners (first, second and third place). The second major difference is how the winners are selected. In years past, the participating businesses were the ones who voted (not being able to vote for themselves), this year voting is open to everyone! There are two ways to vote, online or in person at one of three locations; Sew Vintage Boutique, Tony Laguda Formal Wear or Toto’s Gelateria & Caffe. The businesses who responded in time are on the ballot, but there is also a space for a write in vote, as there are several great displays that didn’t get in in time. Voting is open for the entire month of December, the winners will be announced and presented with their winnings at the Ambler Main Street meeting on January 29th at 5:30pm.
Hopefully you’ve spent some time in town this month and have had a chance to see how wonderful Ambler looks this time of year! If not, now is a great time to get out there, help support our local businesses and decide which display is deserving of your vote! Below are a few pictures from the night of the parade, many more windows have been done since then, so visit downtown Ambler and take a look!
Seeing as my last post was October events, I feel like I’ve let you down, particularly as there has been so much happening in town, but such is the case when I get really busy… Some of the many exciting things that I neglected to report in detail are the opening of several fantastic new additions to Ambler; Hatch, Frox, Ambler Beverage Exchange and a few more that are on the way! Also, some interesting restaurant rumors, one of which you’ve all heard, the other, I’m still working on the details; but I’ll tell you this, if it’s a go, then it has me excited! Stay tuned for more info.
Now onto December, holy cow, there is lot going on! Hopefully you’ll have the time, or be using some of your vacation time, and will be able to enjoy many of these great events. Also, please keep in mind all of the wonderful specialty shops and services that we have in Ambler; they offer exciting and unique, gifts, and who doesn’t like a gift certificate?! Alright, peeps, here we go…
Holiday Parade, Butler Avenue, beginning at 1pm.
Hatch is celebrating their grand opening, 10am – 5pm. Be sure to bring the little ones as Miss Eileen will be there with music especially for kids, 1:30 – 3:30pm. There will also be store specials, a raffle and more!
The Ambler Bake Shop is offering a free Christmas Cookie to children from the hours of 11am – 3pm.
The Holiday Window Display Contest kicks off! This contest runs for the entire month, so be sure to visit each and every window before you vote! Not only will a few of our fabulous local businesses be named winners, but two voters will be drawn at random to win an Ambler Restaurant Week gift certificate! Complete contest details can be found at www.AmblerMainStreet.org beginning, Saturday, December 1st.
Young Starrs Theater Company is performing Into the Woods at Temple Ambler, 2pm. The company is made up of young stars ranging in age from 8th grade to college students. Call the YSTC box office for tickets, 215-285-5500.
Santa pays a special visit to town! He arrives at the Ambler train station at 7pm, join him as he makes his way down to Borough Hall for the Christmas tree lighting!
The Ambler Bake Shop is hosting an Open House from 4pm to 7pm, be sure to stop in before visiting Santa! They will be offering tastings of their Christmas desserts, including cakes, pies, cookies, and more. They will also have sample dessert party trays as well as cookie trays that can be ordered for the Holidays.
Essenza day Spa is has partnered with other local businesses and is hosting a fun filled Holiday Shopping Event, Spa Style for a Cause! Enjoy champagne, food and desserts and complimentary mini spa treatments while you cross items off of your holiday shopping list. If that isn’t enough, they will also be raising money for the American Red Cross to help with Sandy Relief by holding an awesome silent auction. So many great offers, check the site for compete details. Event runs 5 -9pm, RSVP by December 3rd. www.EssenzaDaySpa.com
Addicted 2 Dance is hosting a Drop ‘n Shop/Dine. Drop off the kids (ages 2+) and spend a few hours in town doing your holiday shopping and getting a bite to eat, or why not do something for yourself and spend some time at the salon/spa! It is $5/child/hour; there will be games, movies and of course, dancing, all supervised by the great dancers, staff and parents of A2D. Pre-register at [email protected], offered from 6 – 9pm.
Holiday Sing-A-Long with the Ambler Symphony at the Ambler Theater. Join in this annual Ambler tradition and sing along to holiday favorites then settle in for a screening of the original 1951, A Christmas Carol. Symphony begins at 6:30pm, with the movie to follow at 8pm.
Chamaeleon Boutique is hosting Entertain with Style, which is an event that will teach to you to do just that! Pick up some great tips on how to “Entertain with Style” from several special guests, also enjoy appetizers and specialty drinks! Special discounts for all your holiday gift giving for that evening!
Wissahickon Middle School Honor Strings will be playing at the library at 4:30pm, then immediately following at Ambler Savings Bank at 5pm.
Saint Anthony’s will be having a Live Nativity, 6 -8pm.
Murray the Elf and the Case of the Missing Mistletoe kicks off at Act 2 playhouse. This is sure to be a great holiday treat for the family and includes a pre-show sing-a-long and post-show discussion with the actors. The show runs Dec 14 – 23, tickets are available here.
The Philadelphia Hand Bell Ensemble will be performing at the First Presbyterian Church at 4pm.
It’s family movie day at the Ambler Theater, always a fun time, benefiting a great cause! The doors open at 9am, and I suggest getting there early, as there is a lot to do! Be entertained by a DJ, local cheerleaders, special guests, prizes, raffles, Dunkin Donuts and more! Afterwards head into the theater and see your choice of either Brave or The Princess Bride. Admission is free with your donation of a new, unwrapped toy, or new winter clothing, or an non-perishable food gift. All donations and proceeds benefit The Mattie Dixon Food Cupboard in Ambler!
You do not want to miss “Twas the night” at Forest & Main! Spend the evening at the pub enjoying dinner by candlelight, costumes and two reading of the Christmas classic, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” There will be an early evening reading for families at 6pm and a second later in the evening at 10:30pm. I suspect this will be an annual tradition, be a part of the first one!
Congratulations to Pure Spa, as December 20th marks their 5 year anniversary! Join them to celebrate with some champagne, snacks and the best offers of the year! Stay tuned to their facebook page for more details.
Eat, Drink, Shop and be Merry at Holiday Night Out at Barberella! Take advantage of great specials on jewelry, makeup and hair products, also featuring a fun pop-up boutique with the fabulous fashions of Sew Vintage and also, psychic readings! Come prepared for fun, 5 – 9pm.
Between the hours of 5 – 8pm, be on the lookout for the big man! Yep, that’s right, before Santa heads off on his sleigh, he will be making a special appearance in Ambler! When you hear the fire siren, make sure you come a running!
There are undoubtedly some happenings that I missed, so keep checking back as this list will continue to be updated. If you know of any Ambler events that should be listed, please feel free to drop me a line, allisonbwolf at gmail dot com. Also, mark your calendars, as Ambler Restaurant Week is back, running January 20-27! More details, including participating restaurants and their menus will be released soon. If you’re on facebook, stay up to date here.
I wish you all a very happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in Ambler!
To say there is a lot going on in Ambler this month would surely be an understatement! You can always find out what’s happening in Ambler by checking the event calendar, but as October is so action packed, I thought I’d prepare a little summary below. Hope to see you in town!
Friday, October 5- If there were anymore packed into one night, it could be a crime…
- First Friday: Downtown, 6pm – 9pm, and beyond for some! This is the final First Friday of 2012 and it is sure to go out with a bang! Tons to do including a town wide scavenger hunt with a grand prize of an Ambler gift basket filled with $350 worth of local, Ambler, gift certificates. Fun filled Kids Zone at the corner of Lindenwold and Butler, fabulous merchant specials, live music, great food and more! www.FirstFridaysinAmbler.com
- Fashion For A Cause – Ambler’s Night of Giving Big: Several Ambler businesses have come together to organize and host a fantastic fundraiser that has already brought in close to $20,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania!!! The fundraising culminates in the big event, Friday night, Fashion For a Cause, which is a full scale fashion show. The evening opens with a cocktail hour, then the fashion show complete with catwalk and all the accoutrement including a dance performance on Cavalier Drive, then finishes with an after party and silent auction. I’m happy to report that this event is sold out, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this may become an annual event, so be on the lookout next year! www.AmblerGives.com
- Cornerstone Church Music Concert and Art Exhibit: You can expect an evening of Chopin, Devienne, Fauré, Schubert and Schumann featuring pianist John Silva, flutist Sarah McGahey and vocalist Lindsay Padden. Doors open at 6:30pm to see the exhibit and the music begins at 7:30pm at their location across from the post office (211 W. Butler Ave.).
- Caffe Maida Grand Re-Opening: They will be celebrating all weekend long, but the festivities kick off Friday at 6pm. They will host live music, tastings, giveaways and drink specials, and also unveil their new menu!
Saturday, October 6
- Oktoberfest: Downtown, Butler Ave and beyond, 10am – 5pm. Ambler is celebrating its 22nd Oktoberfest this year, and as always, it promises to be a good time for all ages! You will find great food, games and rides for kids, arts and crafts, live music and more! In the true spirit of an Oktoberfest, Dettera will setup street-side serving bratwurst and select Oktoberfest beers, also Forest & Main is opening early at noon and will have live music, tasty food and of course, beer.
- Sweet Briar Cafe Grand Opening: After taking over Coneheads this past May, Sweet Briar is ready to celebrate their Grand Opening complete with live music and tasty treats including fun seasonal items like Franks n Steins (hot dogs and root beer floats).
Friday, October 12
- Rock ‘N Roll on the Patio: Trax Restaurant and Cafe, 8:30 – 11pm. Come get your groove and your grub on outdoors at Trax. Out of Order gets rocking at 8:30pm on the patio and at 9:30pm Chef Waxman will offer a special grilling menu. The event is rain or shine and guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs for lawn seating. Don’t forget, Trax is BYOB!
Tuesday, October 16
- Le Mode de L’Automne: Massa, 6 – 9pm. Sew Vintage and Massa have teamed up to bring Ambler a fantastic night! Massa is opening up for an exclusive dinner and fashion show featuring the new fall line at Sew Vintage. The night begins with complimentary cocktails from 6-6:30pm, a delicious prix-fixe dinner begins at 6:30pm and the fall line is unveiled at 6:45pm.
Thursday, October 18
- Ambler Food Co-op Community Meeting: Ambler Theater, 7 – 8:30pm. Find out what progress the Ambler Food Co-op has made since the last community meeting in January as well as what you can expect going forward. Join us for an informative evening and help bring a Member Owned Grocery Store to Ambler!
Saturday, October 20
- Donate and Save Day: Cavalry United Methodist, 16 Park Ave., 9am -12pm. October 20th is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Donate and Save Day and Cavalry is having a donation day for IMPACT! in their church parking lot. Come do your part and bring your gently used items. As if that isn’t enough, participants will receive coupons for special discounts in and around Ambler!
Thursday, October 25
- Chef’s Harvest Tasting in the Alley: 6:30pm, Dettera. Join Chef Jeffery Power at Dettera for a 10-course Harvest Feast, featuring freshly caught fish, pedigree meats and fowl paired with composed fall vegetables and served with five exquisite wine pairings in their beautiful outdoor alley. Reservations are required, (215)643-0111.
Saturday, October 27
- Natalie’s Boob-ie Bash: Ambler Fire House, 6 10pm. Fundraiser to support longtime Ambler resident, Natalie Andia. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy, this event is an effort to relieve Natalie of the financial hardships she will incur while out of work receiving treatment. Tickets to the event are $30 which includes entry, food, beer and soda, music, raffles, and a silent auction.
Wednesday, October 31
- Attack of the Giant Leeches Halloween Party: Ambler Theater, 7pm. If you’re not planning to trick or treat in town, then there’s no other place you should be on Halloween! The costume party, complete with drinks from Forest & Main, begins at 7pm, the bash also features a live act by Yes, Hello! (Ambler sketch comedy troupe) and a screening of Attack of the Giant Leeches with live musical accompaniment from the local band, Agent Moosehead.
Whew, you better clear your calendar! Happy Fall
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)
The need for fresh food is not a new topic in town, and frankly, neither is a Farmer’s Market. You may remember some discussion about an Ambler Farmer’s Market back in 2010, unfortunately things got derailed. Two years later the market concept is alive and well, as there is a small group of committed citizens who are working hard to make an Ambler Farmer’s Market a reality. We hope to have the market up and running by Spring of 2013, but we need your help to do so! Below you will find links to a survey and a petition; please take a few minutes to show your support and help bring local, farm fresh food to Ambler!
Here are a few highlights from a recent trip I took to a farm market. I say trip because, while well worth it, it was considerably out of my way and as a result I am rarely able to shop there. Being able to walk to a weekly Farmer’s Market in Ambler would be amazing!
I think Ambler is ripe for a Farmer’s Market, what do you think?