Why did it take Brad Craig and Bob Storti four years to turn Toad's Tavern in Conshohocken into 8 East?
They did all the work themselves, and they did it during nights and weekends between their day jobs, says Robin Binnall, the manager.
Craig, an electrician, and Storti, a carpenter, are lifelong Conshohocken residents who simply wanted to create a blue-collar pub.
They ended up having to gut and refurbish the building, which Storti's father owns. It's off Fayette Street at 8 E. First St. (484-351-8452), next to Spamps and Spampinato's.
It's open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays (DJ on Friday and Saturday nights), and for brunch, lunch, and dinner on Sundays. Chef German Gonzalez has put together a menu of salads, sandwiches/burgers, appetizers, and entrees ($17 to $22), plus 20 beers on draft and 20-plus by the bottle. The second floor is used for private events. "It's not fine dining, nor do we want it to be," says Binnall.
Center City's first branch of Famous Dave's, the pit-barbecue chain, has opened at 1725 Chestnut St. (215-563-7601). It serves lunch, dinner, and late-night daily.
The third Mugshots Coffeehouse is open at 2831 W. Girard Ave. in Brewerytown (215-717-3327).
PJ Whelihan's will open its Downingtown location (853 E. Lancaster Ave., where Primavera Pizza Kitchen was) next week.
The spot at 13th and Pine Streets that was Leila Cafe will become King Tut, serving what Egyptian-born building owner Thamer Seoudi calls "ancient cuisine." He owns another King Tut location in Glassboro. He expects to open about Dec. 1, serving on two levels plus outside. Seoudi says he and Leila owner Mohamad Kammoun had a falling-out. Kammoun is building a new space at 1356 South St. for Leila Cafe. He hopes to be open by the end of the month.
The Fare project at Fairmount Avenue and Corinthian Street in Fairmount is back on track. Fare, a sustainable-food themer known as Meze when work started in May 2009, should be open in early 2011, says partner David Orphanides, a zoning lawyer and partner who has retained the services of chef Tim Bellew and front-of-the-house manager/wine guru Robert Amar.
Kanella, the Greek Cypriot BYOB at 10th and Spruce Streets, has gone to a family-style meze on Sunday nights - a $30 vegetarian version and a $35 meat/seafood version.
The future address of Salt & Pepper was incorrect in last week's column. It is expected to move from Bella Vista to 1623 E. Passyunk Ave. later this month.