In Phoenixville, as in other municipalities during times of less-than-robust economic growth, when one business leaves, it’s often a while before another moves in.
Not this time.
While The Epicurean broke hearts when it abruptly closed its doors for the last time in mid-August, an exciting new restaurant and bar has already taken its place.
Christopher Lamarra, 30, says Fenice Creolo is going to bring a unique Creole and Italian flavor to the borough. Lamarra, who co-owns Creolo along Tom Mastronardo, 37, said the restaurant will boast a unique menu—though it’s a work in progress, look out for the blackened catfish and crab cakes—and appeal to a broad clientele.
“We want to please everybody. I want the guy with the backwards hat to come in and not feel like it’s not too stuffy in here. And I want his dad to be able to come in here too with his mom and have a bottle of wine and order dinner,” Lamarra explained from a stool inside the Village at Eland building.
“Let’s put it this way,” he added. “Our target audience is pretty wide.”
Will be pretty wide, anyhow. Lamarra and Mastronardo—who met while working at Ron’s Original Bar & Grille in Exton; a job they left three weeks ago to open Fenice Creolo—are still waiting on construction permits and consequently won’t be able to open the restaurant until, at the earliest, Thanksgiving.
Until then, the pair are running a takeout beer store; an operation that, Lamarra says, will continue to be a component of their business once the restaurant and bar opens.
“You’ll be able to get everything. Bud, Coors, Miller Lite, but we’re big beer geeks, so we’ll have other stuff here too,” he said, gesturing to a refrigerator full of six-packs and singles of Dogfish Head and other popular craft beers.
The pair's construction plans, which Lamarra thinks will take about six weeks to complete once the pertinent permits are in place, involve a pretty ambitious retooling of the space. Epicurean fans won't recognize much.
“It’s going to be a whole new look,” Lamarra said.
He added that they’re going to knock out the wall behind the bar, install a circular bar, and build the restaurant around that.
“We’ll be running 16 draught lines,” the beer geek smiled.
Fenice Creolo is located at 902 Village at Eland. You can call the store at 610-933-3993 or follow them on Facebook here.