Might Philadelphia's long-standing restaurant expansion be coming to an end? I have 70 reasons that will not happen anytime soon.
That is the number of projects targeted to open in the first half of 2015.
Admittedly, not all are white-tablecloth or even fine-dining. A steak shop, a bowling alley, and an ice cream parlor are in the mix, as well as a few chains - no doubt to annoy purists who choose to ignore the fact that out-of-towners' investment in a city is a key barometer of a local economy. So, hello, there, Cheesecake Factory.
I'm hearing of a few blockbusters in the pipeline, as always, but details are too tentative to mention. You want facts.
Here are the highlights:
Rob Wasserman is reconfiguring The Saint James at Suburban Square in Ardmore into Parlor Pizza Bar, by March 1 "at the latest," he said. A big-bellied gas and wood oven are going in right now.
Dim sum will become A Thing within the next month with the debuts of New York's Nom Wah Tea Parlor (218 N. 13th St.) in Chinatown and homegrown Bing Bing Dim Sum (1648 E. Passyunk Ave.) in Passyunk Square. Nom Wah is New York City's oldest dim-sum specialist; Bing Bing is a fanciful creation of Shawn Darragh and chef Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle Bar. Both will have bars.
New York-based Bonchon Chicken, whose specialty is Korean fried chicken, is fixing to open within a week at 1020 Cherry St. in Chinatown. Its bar will specialize in soju, the Korean firewater.
Also from out of town are Calexico, the New York-based California-Mexican hybrid, which is due in February at 1600 South St. (a Fishtown location is down the road); a branch of New York's quirkily popular Big Gay Ice Cream (on South Street east of Broad Street, next to Juniper Commons), due this winter; and the polished (and long-delayed) Mexican out of Chicago called Mercadito (2116 Chestnut St.), due this spring.
On the entertainment front:
South Bowl, a South Philadelphia sibling of Northern Liberties' North Bowl, should be rolling on Oregon Avenue just east of the I-95 overpass within two weeks.
Northern Liberties will get Heritage (914 N. Second St.), a restaurant, garden, and jazz bar from Jason and Delphine Evenchik (Time, Bar, Vintage), in February.
Tin Roof, a Nashville music venue/bar/restaurant, is looking at late spring at 1521 Sansom St.
The Vesper Club, tucked on Sydenham Street near 15th and Locust Streets, is being converted into a restaurant/supper club cleverly called Vesper; it should open by spring.
Oh, and that Movie Warehouse project that TLA Video was planning at 631 N. Sixth St. - movies and food? Not happening.
How about expansions?
Chestnut Street Philly Bagels, a subsidiary of South Street Bagels in Queen Village, is getting close at 1705 Chestnut St.
Fuel, the health-conscious eatery with locations in Center City and East Passyunk, will open a branch shortly at 5 W. Lancaster Ave. in Ardmore.
Hunger Burger is an offshoot of By George's in Reading Terminal Market in early February.
Joe's Steaks (the former Chink's from Northeast Philadelphia) is looking at a February opening of a branch at Girard and Frankford Avenues.
The Pop Shop's Medford branch is looking at Feb. 19.
In late winter, 13th Streeters Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran will turn the corner of 13th and Locust Streets into Bud & Marilyn's, a retro comfort fooder.
Whetstone, a rustic American, is due in early spring at Fifth and Bainbridge Streets from chef Jeremy Nolen and his Brauhaus Schmitz compatriots Doug and Kelly Hager.
Not Your Average Joe's is planning a spot at Suburban Square in Ardmore this spring.
Tod Wentz of Townsend is looking at spring for his Italian BYOB at 23d Street and Fairmount Avenue in Fairmount.
Tria is planning a Fitler Square location (23d and Pine Streets), to open in March.
March is the stated delivery date of Carlo's Bakery at 21st and Walnut Streets,.
Mitch Prensky of Supper on South Street is looking at early spring for Scratch Biscuits (1306 Chestnut St.), a spinoff of his signature dish.
Spring is the target of Lorenzo & Son's new pizza/Italian spot at Gay and High Streets in West Chester.
Mercer Cafe's Navy Yard spinoff project is up for spring.
Joncarl Lachman and Bob Moysan of Noord are targeting May for their French/North African bistro at 943 S. Ninth St. in the Italian Market.
Late spring is the target for a Pizzeria Vetri on Chancellor Street, in the rear of 1616 Walnut St.
Sweetgreen is planning something significant at 1821 Chestnut St. - roof deck included - but the timeline is unknown.
So are hard details about the taqueria from HipCityVeg/Charlie was a sinner's Nicole Marquis at 133 S. 18th St., plus word of Rooster Soup Co. (the do-gooder spot from the Federal Donuts people), and Sylva Senat's new spot at 13th and Chancellor Streets.
Same Same is a Vietnamese street-fooder coming to 614 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties in March.
On East Passyunk:
Expect P'unk Burger (from SLiCE Pizza) at 1823 E. Passyunk) soon, and an unnamed family-friendly Italian restaurant - probably this summer - at 1533 S. 11th St. from Mike Giammarino, who had planned to move his pizza hit Gennaro's from 1429 Jackson St. Now, he says, Gennaro's will remain and the new restaurant will be something different.
On the bar scene:
"End of January" - meaning soon - is the target of Boxcar Brewing Co.'s brewpub at 142 E. Market St. in West Chester.
Feb. 16 is the target for Brick & Mortar, the cocktail specialist/restaurant at the Goldtex building (314 N. 12th St.)
U-Bahn, a subterranean sibling of U-Bar at 1320 Chestnut St., is due in a month.
Tired Hands Fermentaria is the name of Tired Hands Brewing Co.'s cafe, due in March at 35 Cricket Terrace in Ardmore.
The crew from MaGerk's in Fort Washington hopes for a March debut of a second location, at 303 Horsham Rd. in Horsham.
I'm hearing April for Guild Hall Brewing Co., the brewpub in Jenkintown.
Misconduct Tavern is readying a branch at 18th Street and JFK Boulevard for spring.
A transformation of South Philadelphia's Triangle Tavern is up for spring.
Clarkville, a beer bar from the Local 44/Memphis Taproom/Strangeloves trio, is up for spring at 43d Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia. The same team is talking about a summer debut of Coeur at 824 S. Eighth St. in Bella Vista.