FringeArts - the city's edgy cultural powerhouse - is putting together a brasserie for its new home in a century-old former fire department pumping station on Columbus Boulevard at the foot of Race Street, across from the Race Street Pier and Ben Franklin Bridge.
Chef Peter Woolsey has stepped away from the kitchen at his Bistrot La Minette in Queen Village to work with FringeArts' Nick Stuccio on the project, which will be open seven days a week for dinner, plus weekend brunch. It's adjacent to FringeArts' state-of-the-art theater.
The restaurant's name? I asked Woolsey just that very question, and he replied by rolling up his left sleeve to expose the words "la peg.," punctuated with a period. That is his pet name for his French-born wife, Peggy. The ink has been on his arm for 10 years.
Groundswell is doing La Peg's design, while Stokes is handling the architecture.
They have great bones to work with: 45-foot ceilings, glazed brick, huge arched windows, and rough concrete floors. They're installing a mezzanine over part of the room (especially the kitchen), so every seat will have a view of at least the bridge.
Outside, there will be a large tiered garden and seating in what is now a driveway parallel to Race Street.
Woolsey says the food will be French, "but I'm not as hellbent on the French experience as I am at Bistrot. That place, you could rip out of the ground and drop in France. Here, we'll have things I like and where I've been - not as exclusively French."
La Peg also won't be too expensive. He and Stuccio are cooking up $50 performance-and-dinner deals, and Woolsey says there will be a three-course, $30 special nightly.
They hope to open by FringeArts' signature Fringe Festival in September.