Philadelphia

GRASSO BROTHERS BLOOMING NEW RESTAURANT ++ A New Sub Dance Club

I’d never eaten at Roy’s but I did run in and get a few snap shots of him last year when I heard he would be making an appearance at the restaurant that bore his name. Above the James Beard award winner Chef Roy Yamaguchi.
I also grabbed a few shots while I was inside. Phileb NBC10’s Bill Henley at the food bar with his wife Susan, who is blocked by the flowers, but I would recognize her beautiful eyes anywhere. They’ve been together nearly 20 years, and are vegetarians.
The open kitchen, which in the new restaurant by the Grasso brother’s remains with the same concept.
Standing near the 15th Street entrance looking right. I didn’t venture into the restaurant too far as this was a stop off between Meritage and Union Trust where Michael Vicks was having his first meal after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. At the time I didn’t know the Grasso’s owned both buildings, as well as Del Frisco’s. (How lucky is our City to have so many restaurant entrepreneurs that see a vibrant Philadelphia foodie scene. Garces, Grasso, Starr, Val & Marcie and a handful of others.)

Roy’s suffering from the economy, closed last July. The owners of the property Joe and David Grasso decided they wanted to open a little something there themselves. At first they were going to open a seafood bar. But that’s all changed now…
Note the windows at 500 Degrees, extended to the ground. I never realized that 500 Degrees was part of the “Roy’s” building. The Grasso Brother’s are giants in the commercial property industry here in Philly. Owning many of the building’s that house some of our most delicious restaurants.
Walking home one night I noticed that one of the windows at the old Roy’s was being extended too. So I decided to go back the next day to investigate. Was the new restaurant starting to emerge.

Lo and behold two windows had their bricks knocked out. I went into 500 Degrees to take the time to wonder what was going on inside, and how was I going to find out. (If you go back now this whole side is knocked to the ground under each window.
BTW 500 Degrees is open Fri & Sat til 3PM
When I left the burger place I found two guys working on the windows. Later I would learn that the guy on the left was Joe Grasso. I introduced myself and Joe said it was nice to finally meet me. He then graciously invited me into the new restaurant to check out their progress.
Which was basically a gutted Roy’s. Joe tells me that many people think this building is historic and wondered if their hands would be tied with the renovations, but in fact it was built: 1948

The restaurant/bar is going to be geared more towards a sports bar with a comfort food menu. The center of the room will house the longest bar in the City, surrounded by tables to satisfied guests more intimately. On the far wall will be the ever popular open kitchen (in this picture). Above the mezzanine will wrap around the entire restaurant so everyone gets a view, and al fresco, they’ll have it. Opening date is set for February 2011. The same month the basement club headed by Mark Marek plans to open. No name has been made public for either space. Since leaving G Lounge, another sub floor night club, last year, Mark Marek has been a regular promoter on the dance club circuit, executing successful parties in Atlantic City all summer; no doubt taking notes and incorporating the best elements into this new dance club, his club, he’ll be calling the shots.

Look for a few surprises in the sub dance club that you won’t find anywhere else. Did you know this building used to be a bank, and guess what’s down there? Mark Marek, is having a contest to name his new club. The winning name gets VIP Bottle Service on opening night (I sent in a half dozen suggestions). Oh Bottle Service you say, I hear that it will be very limited and the club will cater to all, with seats for the non-bottle buying public too. What’s going on in this City, finally there are choices to dance in Center City, good news for all. Both business will be run separately, but in a complimentary way. On the right of this picture will be a large see through glass door which will lead to the new club. And with that Center City gets exciting just a little more, and 15th and Sansom comes alive. I think the new hours of 500 Degrees is a good thing, as that place will be a gold mine this time next year. UPDATE: The Name of the New Restaurant: American Oak