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Philly Suburbs Prove to be Prime Real Estate for Restaurateurs in 2013

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The suburban Philadelphia food scene is experiencing a renaissance. With heavy-hitting chefs making their way out of the city limits, and innovative new concepts being introduced into the mix, 2013 may be the time that the Main Line receives its worthy time in the limelight.

It started late last year, with chef Michael Schulson and Rob Wasserman debuting their American bistro, The Saint James, in Suburban Square. Soon after, chef Michael Solomonov launched his latest concept with Steve Cook in the suburbs too, the Merion Station-based Citron and Rose.

Now, Nick Pashalis of Estia and the casual Pietro’s Coal-Oven Pizzeria, announces that he is joining his esteemed comrades in launching a new non-city space along Lancaster Avenue, in Wynnewood. The 7,200 square feet location, formerly home to a Buca di Beppo, will be divided into two concepts: a Pietro’s and a more casual Estia spin-off, coined Estia Taverna. Expect his new project to debut come 2014.

Over in Mt. Airy, an old-time favorite is making its grand return. As of this month, Neil Campbell and Andy Shahan will debut the reinvented Goat Hollow. The historic space, last vacated in 2008, will feature an American brasserie-style menu as crafted by chef Adam Glickman, formerly of Monk’s Cafe. Expect a roundup of hearty entrees, burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads. The perfect complement to the food menu will be the attractive beverage program, which highlights a venerable craft beer list and an artisan cocktail lineup crafted with house-infused liquors and syrups.

Nearby, come early spring, the Chestnut Hill Hotel will transform into Bardea, an affordable Italian-American haunt with James Beard Best Chef Award nominee Jay Caputo reigning over the kitchen. The appeal of the Germantown Avenue-based eatery will be its sophisticated take on wood-fired pizza, a salumi bar, fresh pasta and prime outdoor dining along the main strip.

Another local, culinary wunderkind includes My Three Sons Hot Dogs and Beer Emporium, which debuted in downtown Media in late December, at 300 W. State St. The 15-deep hot dog menu is built off of all-beef, custom-butchered dogs, each individually paired with a fine-tuned assortment of toppings. Menu highlights include the LaLa Land Hot Dog, which features a creamy fennel slaw with a drizzle of whole-grain Dijon mustard; the Cally with chopped avocados, tomatoes, onions and basil aioli; and the classic Toddling Town, layered with yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, white onions, a dill spear, slices of tomato, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. Extra perk? The in-house, bottled beer stock is anticipated to fill up to more than 300 bottles.

Phoenixville also recently welcomed a new by-the-bottle shop, Fenice Creolo. Craft beer enthusiasts Christopher Lamarra and Tom Mastronardo have revived the former Epicurean space into a unique Italian and Cajun mash-up with its own microbrew-centric, take-out wing. The steep selection has plenty of beer geek draw, featuring eclectic six-packs, craft-your-own packs and 20-ounce bottles. While the beer shop is open, the restaurant is slated to debut early 2013.

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