http://flymagazine.net/ is a great site to visit if you live in or visit Lancaster, York or Harrisburg. Keeps you up to date on what’s going on, events, dining, music and arts and culture. Happy Friday!
SCRANTON, PA — The idea of a Reading Terminal Market marketplace in the Mall at Steamtown is gaining momentum.
The concept to create a marketplace in a portion of the mall began nearly two months ago as brothers, Michael and George Boyd, both of Scranton, started a Facebook page to gauge public’s interest to save their city’s retail hub.
Thousands in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties have weighed in on the idea. Last month, the Boyd brothers said the positive responses were “overwhelming.”
Today the Facebook page, Reading Terminal Market at the Mall at Steamtown, has more than 5,800 “Likes” and is getting people talking about how to revive the mall.
If Philadelphia were a basketball court, Market Street East would be that inexplicable dead spot on the floor, the place where the ball just doesn’t bounce.
The eight-block corridor has four Dunkin’ Donuts and two Subway sandwich shops — but no outdoor cafe. A McDonald’s sits in what used to be a porn emporium.
The mid-street shopping selection on what should be a glittery avenue ranges from drug store to cut-rate clothing to cash-for-gold. Addicts come and go from a methadone clinic. The homeless own the corners, and the constant, rolling wall of buses fouls the air.
For years, when people like Paul Levy pitched the route’s potential to developers, they answered, “Yeah, I get it, but nobody goes to Market Street.”
Every changing neighborhood in Philadelphia seems to have one: a developer who dominates the scene.
In Northern Liberties, it’s Bart Blatstein. In Newbold, it’s John Longacre. In Point Breeze, it’s Ori Feibush. On South Broad Street, it’s Carl Dranoff. They amassed their real estate holdings when the neighborhoods were cheap, then became the masters of their destinies when the places emerged, Sleeping Beauty-like, from slumber.
Now, it’s Fishtown’s turn, and Roland Kassis is the reigning developer. Over 25 years, Kassis estimates, his company, Domani Developers, has collected a million square feet of property, mainly in old manufacturing buildings along Frankford Avenue, the neighborhood’s commercial spine. That’s almost as much space as the Comcast Tower holds.
Kassis, 44, who was born in Lebanon, raised in Liberia, and speaks French, exhibits the same manic energy and insatiable appetite for abandoned factories as the other neighborhood titans, but he has a sensibility more in tune with Fishtown’s arty, DIY, tattoo-and-vintage-loving culture. He not only nurtured a yoga studio on Frankford Avenue, he practices there and eschews meat. It’s hard to imagine many other Philadelphia developers chanting “Om.”
UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA – For seven straight days King of Prussia will be overflowing with enough asparagus bisque, Kona Crusted Sirloin, Chili Glazed Salmon and crème brulee to dazzle even the most jaded celebrity chef.
All those dishes and many more will be showcased by the town’s top restaurants during the inaugural King of Prussia Restaurant Week, also known as the snappily honed-down “dineKOP.”
Not surprisingly the brains and heart behind dineKOP, which runs March 2 through 8, is King of Prussia District (KOP-BID), producers of the annual Beerfest Royale.
Every day, Miss Anna comes to the Gallery – and on Tuesday, she was particularly elegant, in a long purple sweater, fashionable hairstyle, her eyebrows etched in darkly, perfectly arched.
“Her brother died two years ago,” said George Thomas, who owns the Creative Silver jewelry kiosk on the ground floor. “She was crushed. If I don’t see Miss Anna for two days, I worry. I call her.”
Who will worry about Anna Mazella, an Aramark retiree in her 80s, when Thomas closes his business – not by choice – at the end of the month?
In November, the Gallery’s owners, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and the Macerich Co., began to tell dozens of merchants that they would have deadlines to leave – some by the end of December, others at the end of January or February.
WILKES-BARRE, PA — Two more national brand eateries announced on Monday that they are closing their doors.
One week after its Hanover Township restaurant closed, and following two years of disappointing sales on a national level, Pizza Hut announced that its Kidder Street location also will shut down this week.
And Lone Star Steakhouse, part of a chain that features a Texas-inspired menu, will close its Kidder Street location this weekend. Employees at the restaurant confirmed Monday that the restaurant would close permanently on Saturday.
No one at Lone Star corporate offices in Plano, Texas, could be reached for comment.
LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP, PA – The Hamilton Crossings tenant roster is almost full, project developers Tim Harrison and Jeremy Fogel said Tuesday.
Nearly 100 percent of the retail and restaurant space available at the 570,000-square-foot shopping center has been leased, they said during a presentation organized by Commercial Real Estate Women Network Lehigh Valley.
“There are people that, personally, I’d like to fit, but we just don’t have the room,” said Harrison, of Staten Island, N.Y.
The Lower Macungie Township complex will feature several Lehigh Valley firsts — Costco, Whole Foods and Nordstrom’s Rack — but declined to name retailers or restaurants that have not previously been announced.
Every year when Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station shuts down one of its reactors for maintenance, several thousand workers flock to Peach Bottom Township in south York County.
The workers pour money into local businesses, but there aren’t nearly enough hotel rooms.
Peach Bottom Township’s one hotel, the Peach Bottom Inn & Restaurant, stays booked, but thousands more outage workers drive to hotels in Aberdeen or Bel Air in Maryland.
Meanwhile, some area businesses and residents have tapped into the need for lodging by renting campsites and rooms.
Some say the region could do more to capitalize on the workers’ need for lodging and other needs. But with little else driving people to the region, others say that south York county is already doing all it can.
Happy #SmallBizSat Eve! Tomorrow, head over to your favorite local shops and celebrate small businesses!
Look to this month’s openings for restaurants that are killing it in Pittsburgh. Last week, Burgatory opened its sixth location in Murrysville, the day after BRGR opened its fourth location in the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon. Earlier this month, Big Burrito opened the 13th Mad Mex in Erie. And in mid-December, the third location of Hello Bistro from parent company Eat’n Park will open Downtown.
These local restaurants are taking a page from national chains, borrowing from systems that streamline staff and menus, leading to higher profits than a traditional restaurant without the base ingredients of fast-food conglomerates. They also take measures to personalize experiences, blurring the line between fast food and full-service, offering satisfying meals and an inexpensive night out. And they’re doing better than ever.
Welcome to fast food 2.0, or maybe it’s 4.0, as the genre has been reinventing itself sinceMerriam-Webster added the definition in 1951. The trend here mirrors what’s happening around the country. Although the new breed doesn’t look like Wendy’s or taste like McDonald’s, it’s bringing fast food back in a big way. For years, the fast-food industry has received criticism for disconnecting people from community and culture as well as playing a role in the obesity epidemic. But the updated fast-food market is on a mission to revamp its image from villain to hero.
Downtown Bethlehem? There’s an app for that.
The Downtown Bethlehem Association on Wednesday debuted its new app that puts information about local attractions, restaurants, stores, hotels, parking and events all in one place.
“It’s a way for allow people to find things in Bethlehem all in one place – on their smartphone,” said DBA President Neville Gardner, who owns Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar at Main and West Walnut streets. “Bethlehem may be a historic town, but we’re definitely in the next millennium.”
The association has been working to develop the app for more than two years, Gardner said. Smartphones are increasingly being used in making plans, officials noted.
Responsible hospitality. The night-time economy. A “sociable city” plan.
They’re buzzwords for a basic concept.
Nightlife, and the neighborhoods in which it happens, are resources that need to be planned and managed, from transportation and parking to permitting and policing. And that involves comprehensive coordination between community business owners, an array of city agencies and institutions like universities.
“Like our transit planning, like how we manage special events, these economies will benefit from planning and management,” said Maya Henry, the city’s new night-time economy manager, a $65,249-a-year position created by Mayor Bill Peduto to coordinate those efforts. “My job is to bring the lens of the night-time economy to all of those places that already exist in city planning.”
If you name it, they will come.
Sonia Huntzinger, executive director of Downtown Inc, said that’s the theory behind York’s recent push to brand pockets of its 26-block downtown business district, creating a patchwork of neighborhoods that will each offer something different to regional visitors.
In the last two years, the nonprofit, which promotes revitalization of the city, has partnered with grassroots groups to demarcate several sections, including Royal Square, the Market District, Beaver Street and the latest, Weco.
The growth in destination branding, as the strategy is called, has coincided with Downtown Inc’s “Who Knew” campaign, a YouTube ad effort that highlights shopping and eatery options with the goal of bringing more foot traffic into local businesses.
The walls of Tutoni’s in York are covered with chalkboards — one displaying cuts of a pig, another showing different types of cheese — each with a description of where the food came from.
The pork loin, for example, was once a Heritage pig that roamed free on Rettland Farm in Adams County.
Bright green arugula leaves, one chalkboard says, were grown in the greenhouses of Brogue Hydroponics in Chanceford Township.
Soft, silky mozzarella was made at Caputo Brothers Creamy in Jackson Township.
Eleven restaurants brought vats of their best chowders for customers to sample Sunday at Easton’s first Clam Jam.
The scene looked like something straight out of New England. Servers carried raw bar platters of oysters and clams. The bar was pouring up drinks like Cape Codders and Bloody Marys rimmed with Old Bay and served with crab cakes. And the smell of seafood chowder filled the whole restaurant.
The event, coordinated by the folks at 3rd & Ferry Fish Market, closed off Ferry Street for a seafood festival that invited restaurants to serve their nautical best – hush puppies and lobster roll, steamers and oysters galore.
Editor’s note: We like how they roll in York. Their Downtown Inc. organization has been doing some awesome things and downtown York is becoming a destination again. Color us impressed.
The Downtown First Awards recognize businesses, organizations, and individuals who put downtown York first through their commitments of time, advocacy and resources.
See the list of nominees: http://downtownyorkpa.com/downtownfirstawards/