Michael Klein: Chef brings Avalon to Downingtown

John Brandt-Lee in Avalon Pasta Bistro in Downingtown. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

After nine years at Avalon in West Chester, chef John Brandt-Lee is branching out to Downingtown with a second BYOB.

At Avalon Pasta Bistro (78 Lancaster Ave., 610-873-4200), opening Thursday, July 14 in the century-old house that formerly held Jasper, Brandt-Lee is taking a slightly more casual approach.

Pastas will be served in smaller-than-entree-size portions priced below $20; also offered will be flatbreads, salads, and cheeses. A four-course tasting menu including the 15-item antipasti platter, two pasta courses, and dessert is $40. (Payment is cash only.) Here is the opening menu.

Talk about a hometown deal: Through an arrangement with nearby Victory Brewing, the restaurant offers two comp pints of beer or glasses of sangria. At the outset, it will serve dinner only Tuesday to Saturday; lunch will start soon. There's a new patio for alfresco dining.

See the making of the restaurant in a video.


New in Delco

Jolly Weldon of Jolly's Rocking Piano Bar is a week or two from opening Mammoni Cucina Rustica (17 S. Morton Ave., Morton, 610-690-2400), a South Philly-style Southern Italian restaurant-bar whose name translates to "mama's boy" (tagline: "If mama cooked like this, you'd never leave home") and whose decor features black-and-white photos of mothers with their sons. Steve Quicci will oversee a menu with entrees from $16 to $24. Weldon and partners plan to open a second Jolly's in half of the property in late summer.


Shank's moving

Two years ago, Shank's Original Uptown moved from South Philly into the tiny luncheonette space on 15th Street near Sansom. But at 700 square feet, it's run out of room, and owners are looking for larger quarters elsewhere in Center City. July 15 is the last day at 120 S. 15th St. The Shank's stand at Pier 40 on Columbus Boulevard will remain open.


Reviving Ortlieb's

Avram Hornik and Mark Fichera plan to revive Ortlieb's Jazzhaus in Northern Liberties, which closed last year. Hornik said it will open as soon as the liquor license is transferred from founder Pete Souders. 

Michael Chow's Sang Kee is really on the move. Besides a Sang Kee Noodle Bowl due in Newtown Square next month, he's opening a Sang Kee Noodle House at Premier Plaza at 1601 N. Kings Highway in Cherry Hill in early August.

Slight change of concept at Marigold Kitchen in West Philly. Patrons in the main dining rooms can order a la carte but not a tasting menu. Those seeking a tasting menu must book the new chef's table private room, which accommodates six to 10 people for either $85 for 12 courses or $125 for 16 courses.


Contact Michael Klein at mklein@philly.com. Follow his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider and on Twitter @phillyinsider.