Big round of restaurant opening and reconceptualizations, amid what many feel is the worst economic climate for dining in decades.
El Azteca II at 714 Chestnut St. is looking to reopen the week of Sept. 7 after a redo. The cantina, which had its share of infamy last year thanks to tequila-toting college kids, is applying to the state to transfer its liquor license into the space from its second location in Northeast Philadelphia. Owner Agustin Mata says he wants to close the Northeast branch, which is on Grant Avenue. El Azteca is on the same block as Jones, Las Vegas Lounge, Aqua, Morimoto, the forthcoming Chifa from Jose Garces, and the forthcoming Union Trust steakhouse. There was a recent tempest in a teapot over Union Trust's liquor application (one opponent, who it turns up ended up filing too late); an LCB spokeswoman tells me that the board has not heard from any opponents about El Azteca's posting. So far, that is. The application was received in Harrisburg on Aug. 8.
Also cantina-related: Sunday (Sept. 7) is the opening of Adobe Cafe's South Philly branch (1919 E. Passyunk Ave.).
Melograno, which had to vacate its space at 22d and Spruce to make way for Mémé, is targeting Sept. 16 for its new spot at 2010 Sansom St.
Minar Palace at 1304 Walnut St. is just awaiting a health inspection, which was supposed to happen Sept. 3, but didn't.
Alison Barshak had promised us that we'd be able to wear white shoes to the opening of Alison two in Fort Washington. Still no opening date, alas.
Caffe Casta Diva at 227 S. 20th St. is looking at Sept. 13 for a reopening after a dramatic renovation that's updated the early 20th century opera house imagery and doubled the seating.