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More new restaurants head for Fishtown

With Stephen Starr’s new Frankford Hall, the recently opened Fathom restaurant, and the now-hiring barbecue joint at Girard Avenue and Leopard Street, Fishtown is rapidly growing as a place for nightlife and fine dining.

And, if a July 12 meeting of the Fishtown Zoning Committee is any indication — it usually is — this trend shows no sign of slowing.

That evening, details were presented for a new restaurant with live music at 1310–1312 Frankford Ave. and residents overwhelmingly supporting the much-buzzed about Pizza Brain, an eatery/museum/potential world record holder opening further up the road.

During the meeting, organizers for Pizza Brain, a pizzeria that plans to host a museum of pizza-themed memorabilia, unveiled designs for the project showing outdoor seating in a small courtyard behind the restaurant and living space that the owners plan to inhabit.

As presented last week, the plan — which was approved at the meeting by a vote of 53–3 — would include a 355-square-foot dining room, an open-air pizza prep area with a surrounding countertop for additional seating, and the aforementioned 459-square-foot courtyard.

Located at 2313 Frankford Ave., the space was formerly home to the Little Flower Shoppe.

The proposal also includes living space above the restaurant and in a detached rear garage where the owners plan to live.

Yet, even with such an overwhelming vote of support, residents shared concerns with the owners like extra trash that could come to the community when the business opens and offers take out food.

Opening the pizzeria are Fishtown residents Brian Dwyer and Michael Carter along with South Carolina pizza chef Joe Hunter and Ryan Anderson, a local designer and sculptor.

“We care about the community,” assured Carter. “I hate trash, but Frankford Avenue is a business district … That said, I can’t wait to until we participate in the first cleanup day (after we open).”

The owners said that, as local residents — they will be living above the business — they intend to be good neighbors, and Dwyer said he’s been meeting steadily with neighbors on the block to ensure a positive local relationship as the business moves forward.

The owners hope to open Pizza Brain sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Just down the street from Pizza Brain, a new live music venue and restaurant could be coming to the neighborhood.

Alex Generalis, of Miles and Generalis Development, presented the outline of a project that could bring a 60-seat live music venue and restaurant to 1306–1312 Frankford Ave.

Overall, the space is about 6,400 square feet on the ground floor with 2600 square feet available on a mezzanine level.

Generalis said the project — which does not need a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to build — was intended to be a small “piano bar or spot for a folk singer.”

Generalis expects the eatery and live music portion to be about 4,000 square feet.

The additional space, he suggested, might be used to create a 2,000 square foot “neighborhood commercial space”.

Generalis suggested a deli or similar business could use that space.

Also, there is space available for outdoor seating for an additional 40 patrons.

Making his intentions clear, Generalis assured the crowd that the business would not be a night club. In fact, the liquor license he obtained explicitly prohibits hosting a nightclub or cabaret.

However, he does plan on selling to-go beer.

“Perhaps, growlers may come out of there,” he said, proposing the 64-ounce jugs of draught beer would be more likely than six-packs.

The property would include about 14 parking spots in the rear and, if needed, Generalis said, there is a municipal lot located at Frankford Avenue and Thompson Street for added parking.

“We see this as a key corner for Frankford Avenue,” said the developer.

Currently, Generalis is working with at least three separate restaurateurs that could fill that space. He didn’t want to speculate on what type of restaurant might occupy the building.

The building is now being renovated and he hopes to have it occupied by the end of the year.

Reporter Hayden Mitman can be reached at 215–354–3124 or hmitman@bsmphillya.com

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