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Oct 29, 2009 12:46 PM

Replacement for Cresheim Cottage

Has anyone heard anything about the Latin restaurant Avenida, replacing Cresheim Cottage. They were supposed to open in September. The Cresheim Cottage sign is still up???!

Cresheim Cottage Cafe
7402 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119

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  1. Just went by there the other night while running.
    didn't seem like a site of renovation and activity. i'm not too optimistic for the near future.

    1. Just read The Insider Column by Michael Klein and: "Avenida, the Latin in Mount Airy, is still waiting for a liquor license; figure it'll open two weeks after the paperwork arrives."

      21 Replies
      1. re: alonna Smith

        i hope they have better luck than earth bread and brewery had... L&I left them hanging for months.

        1. re: alonna Smith

          Why let the place sit there and not make any money? Why wouldn't they open as BYOB and then switch when the license is granted?

          1. re: bucksguy14

            E, B & B's thing is they brew their own beer - couldn't really go BYO there

            1. re: Bigley9

              I wasn't referring to EB&B, I was referring to Avenida.

            2. re: bucksguy14

              I was sure that they had run out of money or something. I agree with you that a soft opening as a BYOB seems better than no opening at all for a place like this. I live right around the corner and have been eagerly anticipating a hearty latin restaurant in the neighborhood.

              I find it suspicious that they haven't finished the renovations and their website is down (it had been up), but I said that about Earth Bread & Brew too, which did finally open 6 months late.

              1. re: drewdraws2

                Because there is no money in BYOBs, BYOBs will be a thing of the past. Restaurants need the LBW revenue to survive.

                1. re: john237

                  I'm not buying that, john237. Do you have any idea of the cost of liquor liability insurance?

                  1. re: bucksguy14

                    As a matter of fact I do, do you have any idea of the COGS of LBW vs. the COGS of Food?

                    And for the record, if an establishment allows liquor to be served that are still liable for Dram Shop suits. As the restauranteur you are still responsible to ensure patrons are not leaving your establishment intoxicated. The same way if you provide liquor in your home. It's Host Liability.

                    So the idea that a BYO can avoid liability, and thereby do not require insurance, is ludicrous. Here's the real world facts, MANY BYOs and MANY smaller Bars, Taverns, etc, run without Liquor Liability Insurance. It is NOT required in Pennsylvania. It's a roll of the dice of the establishment's owner.

                  2. re: john237

                    Wow. I hope you're wrong. I love BYOBs.

                    1. re: JanR

                      You love BYOs because they have great food or because you can eat cheaply there in comparison to full service?

                      Many of the BYOs I know of opened as BYOs because of the cost of the liquor license. Shoestring operations, thinly capitalized do not thrive in downturns of the economy.

                      BYOs operating out of store fronts in strip centers, one step above the food court in the mall.

                      1. re: john237

                        You sound like someone who owns a "full service" (I'm not sure how having a liquor license makes a restaurant full service?) restaurant. There are plenty of really good BYOs that have very good, or better, food, excellent service, a well maintained dining area and kitchen, happy employees and regular customers. I have family members who have owned, and do own, BYOs that fit the description above. To generalize and say that BYOs are "shoestring operations" that don't thrive in times of economic stress is not true. Simply do a search of Chowhound boards for BYOs and you'll find plenty that get rave reviews and comments about how long they've been in business.

                        1. re: bucksguy14

                          Many restaurants HAVE done well in the past. Many business do well in good economic environments. I'm not saying that BYOs do not/can not have great food and great service, I am questioning their profitability and long term economic viability.

                          I sound like someone who owns a "full service" restaurant? I don't know what else to call a sit down restaurant with food and liquor other than full service. Is there another term you feel is more appropriate?

                          Simply because I am knowledgeable on a topic doesn't mean I am involved in that business? Care to discuss insurance? finance? law?

                          At the end of the day beyond "great food, excellent service, well maintained dining room and kitchen, happy employees and regular customers" the goal of the restaurant is to make money, which many BYOs do not.

                        2. re: john237

                          While I certainly appreciate the economy in bringing your own bottle, I love BYOBs for other reasons. The good ones have great food. They are often small, intimate spots. I can name several byob's that are thriving in this economy. In fact, it's difficult to get a table: bibou, littlefish, gemelli (don't know how good this one is, just that I can't get a table on short notice), gilmore's, bistro 9, hamilton grill, pumpkin, birchrunville, alba, modo mio, blackfish... And, in response to your last sentence, last week I visited a byob in a strip mall in Springhouse that was excellent: Mina Cucina. Nothing like the food court in a mall. And I know of at least one terrific byob (Pif) that closed only because the owner opened a full service restaurant (Ansill). Ansill has sadly closed. Pif would have still been thriving.

                          1. re: JanR

                            Forgot to add another advantage to byob's. It is very nice to be able to bring a favorite bottle from one's wine collection.

                            1. re: JanR

                              Maybe I somehow wasn't clear in my post. While we all agree some BYOs and well as full service restaurants can make great food and have great service, the point of the business is to make a profit.

                              Busy while definately an advantage, does not guarantee profitability.

                              I've owned restaurants, yes chains, god forbid, that did 1500 covers on a Friday night. That equated to 90K a week in sales, that's busy.

                              A place with ten tables, turning the tables 2x, equating to 40 covers in a night? I cook bigger meals in my kitchen at home.

                              1. re: john237

                                This is an interesting point. There a number of highly successful BYOs in the city that have been in business for a while. But, that doesn't mean they are making a lot of money. Many restaurants with liquor licenses and bars struggle to break even or coast along barely making a profit.

                                This is why so many BYOs are cash only (no CC percentage eating into the margin) and turn tables aggressively. I don't think it is coincidental that Daniel Stern closed Gayle, Mike Stollenwerk of Little Fish upgraded to a bigger spot with a liquor license (as did Dimitri's some time ago and David Ansill of Pif), the women behind Lolita and Bindi have a mini-empire for scale, the people behind Meligrano have two other spots with licenses, Audrey Claire has 20 Manning, the examples go on and on. BYOs in Philly are a great way to build a reputation, but unless you have a large space that do a lot of covers (witness La Viola's expansion) or do a lot of take-out business like the Mexican spots on Wash Ave, it is hard to pay the bills. There will be exceptions, especially places that have a great reputation, like Marigold Kitchen, but even Solomonov and his partner sold it and all their remaining spots have liquor.

                                BTW I don't think the economy changes this game at all. If anything it will just reduce the number of total restaurants of all types to meet smaller demand. Suprisingly in the city the number of closures does not seem to be up and new spots keep opening, but this could be a lagging indicator.

                              2. re: JanR

                                Wow not the conversation I expected when I opened this thread! Back to the original topic.... I agree I have been perplexed by the lack of activity there. License or not - I have seen nothing happening there at all to indicate intent. That being said, the owner of Wine Thief told me that was not the case and that there was work taking place inside and it was just not visible because of the access from the rear, so who knows. Hokka Hokka was certainly successful operating in the short term while waiting for their license and while not as profitable as a BYO, I think it is a nice opportunity to work out the kinks of an opening that can kill a restaurants early reputation otherwise...

                                Wine Thief
                                7152 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119

                                1. re: hillster

                                  Agreed. And it has the advantage of getting people in who would not ordinarily frequent a place with a liquor license. Happened to me a few times. Gayle and Meme are two places that come to mind. If you really like the place, you will come back when they have their liquor license. And I understand your eagerness. This area could use a good latin restaurant. Cuba doesn't fill the bill.

                                  1. re: JanR

                                    Just by Cresheim Cottage today, NO activity at all.

                                    1. re: john237


                                      Opens Dec 17 - and I'll be there! Sans Doxie....Welcome to the neighborhood Avenida!

                                      1. re: doxiemom

                                        I posted my own rambling rec on another string...but the short version -

                                        Avenida is now open. GO! Go hungry! Wear loose pants...