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Ava's Place in Fairview Village

Following in the footsteps of Benny's Bar-B-Que USA (that folded about this time last year ), we have a new occupant in the little eatery at the top of the hill - Ava's Place.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Ava's Place offers the standard steak/hoagie/luncheonette fare that, in itself, makes it somewhat redundant in these parts. There were some reasonably priced dinner specials (Chicken Marsala and Chicken Alfredo over pasta with veggies) but my first experience was not that great. Two cute waitresses greeted me and attended to my water and menu needs but neither could tell me who Ava was or if she is even a real person. The fish and chips I selected proved to be disappointing fishy tasting slabs of commercially breaded frozen filets served with a cup of bottled tartar sauce and (ugh!) those extruded imitation French fries. C'mon! How hard is it to serve real fries? I never judge by one experience so I went back for a chicken cheese steak with mushrooms on a nicely toasted, good quality roll with a small Greek salad. Redeeming but not memorable.

If Benny couldn't make it there with (IMHO) top quality house-smoked bar-b-que using fresh foods from local purveyors, I fear Ava's days are short-lived. Fairview Lunch and Padrino's Pizza are within eyeshot, Deeg's and Speck's Chicken are two miles up the road and Trooper has lots of options just down the hill at Ridge Pike.

In short, Ava's is convenient for emergency chow but not worth a special trip. I will at least try one breakfast but that will be the last shot if warranting a repeat trip. Any other experiences out there?


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  1. I grew up about 1/4 mile away. There has ALWAYS been a diner there (since 1960.) When I was 12, I got hit by a car crossing Germantown Pike to go to Revilla's Inn (it was owned by a Cuban family) for a cheesesteak They had great mango milkshakes back then !!

    I suppose with that history, there will always be a diner there, but some are just better than others.

    1 Reply
    1. re: phillyjazz

      I would agree the place is terrible the chef Jeff is dirty and unsanitary this a place that you would take some one that you really dont like.

    2. Thanks for that review, CP.

      BTW, there's little worse than "imitation" french fries. I wish they were deemed illegal.

      1. Sorry to say but, I agree. It's destined to fail. The new Keystone Family Grill on Ridge Pike in Trooper/Eagleville is packing them in. Always crowded. B, L, & D served with family style dinners available.

        1. OK., Hounds. Truce. I didn't mean to slam Ava's but the seeming confluence of sub-standard fish-and-chips with the historic inevitability of its sucko location seemed to put the writing on the wall for me. Benny's was a super great idea with a super product. He only lasted six months. Ava's will need to do something to get noticed - and quick. I will, however, try a breakfast.

          In response to Cheesewit's post, I tried Keystone today for lunch. I can judge a lot based on the venerable turkey club sandwich and fries. I was more than pleased. Despite slow service from my server (she was venting family woes on friends at the next table), the club was one of the best in recent memory. The generous slices of juicy house-roasted white meat turkey breast (still slightly warm) contrasted beautifully with crisp cold lettuce, fresh tomato (red ones, not pink) and perfectly crisped bacon. And the fries were the real McCoy. Any place that roasts their own turkey breast (in lieu of the sodium-laden processed turkey roll) and offers a most generous club for a competitive price (with real fries) makes points with me.

          So, Ava's Place, you have an uphill fight here. If you can offer batter-dipped pieces of fresh cod with fresh cut fries and the obligatory side of malt vinegar, I'll give you another try. Until then, you're competing with daily fresh roasted turkey breast down the hill, which may be one of many reasons they are packing them in.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Chefpaulo

            CP: Glad you went to Keystone Grill and gave a quick review. I haven't been in but have seen the full parking lot at each meal time. I have a copy of their menu and am intrigued by a couple items. One is the Man vs Food Burger. I need to try that.

          2. Ava's is right up the street from us and we gave breakfast a try this morning. ENtered mid-morning on Saturday and found only three tables open (out of 15). I tried the basic breakfast - eggs tables , sausage, homefries, toast, side of scrapple and was pleased with it all. Mrs had creamed chipped beef with home fries and gave the thumbs up. Orange juice (1x) and 2 coffees brought the total to $16 + change. Lunch menu looks varied and we'll try that as well based on breakfast.

            Service was abrupt as there was only two servers, but it was adequate as our server stopped by several times quickly to handle any issues. (kethcup, coffee refills, food checks)

            Sounds like we need to try the Keystone....wil do..

            1. I recently tried Ava's for breakfast. It was probably one of the worst breakfasts I've had in awhile. I will never go back. It's a shame. I can imagine their walk in is filled with packaged food. I don't think much of it is very fresh. Skip this place all together. Deeg's and The Fairview Cafe are much better. Haven't tried Keystone yet, but I'll definitely give it a shot.

              1. We enjoyed our outing to Ava's. There was only one waitress on, but she was extremely pleasant and efficient! She know who Ava was when the kids asked and was wonderful to our kids. Drinks were served immediately. Our food arrived piping hot. I agree about the fried fish and the sauce, but for that price, what do you expect? I am not a big FF person, so I can't vouch for them, but the kids ate them up. We tried Keystone once, and that was enough (considering the hair in our food when it arrived and the dirty hands of our server). I do agree Keystone is always full, but Ava's deserves a chance. Ava's had a full board of specials, the chicken parm dinner was HUGE and overflowing the plate. The rice pudding for dessert was homemade and excellent. We will be back for breakfast (on Friday or Sat. when our wonderful waitress works and will be there!).

                1. We have eaten at Ava's 3 times now and I must say the food and value are very good. Honestly it's nice to have someplace that isn't a pizza place. The sandwiches were awesome. Much better than Fairview lunch. It was busy when I went and picked up lunch today so somebody is liking it. Give it a try. We were happy enough to return. Better than most in the area.

                  Ava Restaurant
                  518 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Beshwannabe

                    I heard that the reputation for Ava's is so bad that they will be changing the name to 1st Bite real soon the truth is the food does bite so the name is fitting.

                    Ava Restaurant
                    518 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

                    1. re: place is terrible

                      The sign is up with the new name. Personally, I think it should be called The Last Bite or Another One Bites the Dust. This place has failure written all over it and will never get my business.

                      1. re: cheesewit

                        Its location 50 feet back from the highway, the difficulty turning in coming north up the hill and difficulty seeing it going south have contributed to the demise of all occupants.

                        Interesting question: I was once told that Germantown Pike has a national historic highway designation and that neon signs are banned along its route. Come to think of it, there are none around here. Has anyone else heard of this? If not for this potential glitch, I'm sure Benny's Bar-B-Que USA would still be up and thriving. Great stuff he had!