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Apr 1, 2010 10:38 AM

I hear Ristorante Castello is moving into the Alison 2 space...

I heard from a source that Ristorante Castello will be either shutting down in North Wales and moving or opening a 2nd location in the old Alison 2 space. Should be good competition for San Marco and a nice addition to local dining.

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  1. That is a gorgeous space, I think Castello would do well in a nice stand alone location (instead of a strip mall).

    10 Replies
    1. re: AmblerGirl

      What is it about this area that people don't think really good restaurants can be in strip malls? Some of the best places in Fl, CA, AZ, to name a few states, that we've been to are located in strip malls. Where did being in a strip mall cause the mind-set in our area that you can't get good food there? I think Castello is in a great location - just about 7 minutes from my home!!

      1. re: bucksguy14

        Maybe you're biased because its so close to your home :) I have no problem with strip malls for every day places but since Castello is a bit more high end, a stand alone building just makes it feel more special.

        1. re: AmblerGirl

          At least somebody will get some use out of the remodeling Alison Barshak did on the place.. I think they may have spent more time planning and remodeling it than it was actually open for..

          1. re: AmblerGirl

            We went there before we moved from the Chalfont area. I think it's a case of perception - if they can't afford to be in a stand-alone space, they must not be that good. It's not the exterior that I'm paying for - unless, of course, we're talking about outdoor dining! But really, I've been in some top end places in other states that are right next door to a supermarket, or sporting goods store. It sure didn't have any effect on the decor or cuisine of the restaurant.

            1. re: bucksguy14

              I agree, Bucksguy, but you have to admit that when you pull into the parking lot and discover that the place you're headed is next to Joann's Fabrics, US Toys and Jim's All-You-Can-Eat Chinese Buffet, it's hard not to make an assumption (grin). Ristorante Castello happens to be one of those gems in an unexpected setting, making it all that much more charming. I'd worry that a move to the old A2 (formerly Marita's Cantina as well) might spoil it.

              1. re: PattiCakes

                One of the side benefits is - no parking issues. Now that Ambler''s becoming the next Doylestown, trying to find parking is no fun. That's no issue for Castello's. In fairness, I never went to A2, so I don't know the parking situation there.

                1. re: bucksguy14

                  A2 is not really Ambler. It's on Bethlehem Pike, near the intersection where Penssylvania Avenue, feeding off the Ft. Washington exit of the turnpike, dumps onto it. There is parking, but I would not call it the best parking situation. If you eat in Ambler, you have all of mainstreet to stroll afterwards; if you eat at A2 & go for a stroll, chances are that you will get hit by a car. And there's no place to stroll to, other than WaWa. That location has a less than stellar history of success as a restaurant.

                  1. re: PattiCakes

                    I'm familiar with the A2 location. You're right that parking's kind of limited and there's no real reason to think about taking a stroll around the Ft. Washington area. The no parking issues I was referring to were in a strip mall. If you can't find parking in Castello's current location, you're not looking! And, while you might have places to stroll along Main St. in Ambler, if your car is blocks away, that may be stroll enough for some people.

                2. re: PattiCakes

                  Precisely - all strip malls are not created equal. I have never even considered Castello's. In part, because I generally don't like to go out for Italian food but also because the location is completely unappealing. If they move, friends will want to check it out and despite the Italian menu, I will go.

            2. re: bucksguy14

              I truely dislike going out to dinner to a restaurant located in a stripmall. I want my evening to feel a little more special than a typical day running errands. Stand alones feel more like a destination for me. Just my opinion.

          2. Went to Ristorante Castello last evening. Not bad for where/what it is. Would suggest if they do move to Alison Two space that they get a liquor license. They are also missing a few of the finer touches that really good restaurants provide, i.e., didn't even ask whether we wanted bottled water, never offered fresh ground pepper, etc. I'm not trying to be picky, but it does make a difference. Food is good, not outstanding, but worth another visit.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sousue

              I actually heard from a usually reliable source that Castello is moving into Alison at Blue Bell, not Alison Two.

              1. re: Jdbc

                And I would add that the "Restaurant for Lease" sign is still up at A2.

                1. re: Jdbc

                  thats a small space
                  how big is their current restaurant?

              2. I like Castello and have eaten there several times. Sometimes when restaurants move and try to "upgrade" they lose the very thing that made them popular. Maybe they go into debt with the new place and have to cut corners. I don't think Cravings Cafe is the same as it was before it moved. Cravings also got a liquor license, and I like BYOB's. It doesn't matter if they are in strip malls. It's all about the food.

                1. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Need to do something about the web site. It's still focused on being in a shopping center in North Wales.

                  2. We may give them a second chance... we wrote them off in the old place (despite the GREAT food) because service was lacking and our waiter never returned with change from a check

                    this happened to us TWO TIMES< (we give everyone the benefit of the doubt)
                    we also had the feeling that the maitre'd was doing us some grand favor which inconvenienced him by seating us at a table... on Wednesday night when there were maybe 5 or 6 other tables sat.

                    but with a new place, maybe new staff? (the food is always excellent!)