Downtown West Chester appears to be experiencing what can only described as a bit of a dining explosion. Starting with the beginning of summer and continuing through the fall, West Chester is on pace to welcome nearly a dozen new restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and bars. Not since before the pandemic has Downtown West Chester welcomed so many new establishments at one time.
“I think we are seeing more businesses coming to town because they see a value in setting up here,” said John O’Brien, Executive Director of West Chester Business District. “We have a large population base in the greater West Chester area, high household income, strong education levels, a ton of community events that connect people to West Chester, and a certain charm with the look and feel of the town.”
In all, it’s obviously a recipe for restaurant growth.
Think you can name them all? Stop scrolling now and see how many you get.
CAFES AND HOT BEVERAGES:
- Twin Valley Coffee opened earlier this month on the ground floor of the Church Street Market House building. This marks the third location for the coffee shop that has seemingly built a reputation with millennials and Gen Xers.
- Mimi’s Tea Cottage – is a traditional English tea room complete with floral garlands, brocade chairs, and dainty tea cups. Tea options range from full service to a quick catch-up over a cuppa and a scone. Mimi’s Tea Cottage opened this summer on High Street.
- Lacava Coffee Company, formerly Calabash Coffee, is opening a shop on Gay Street. According to their Facebook page, they supply the “best quality retail roasted coffee” from Central and South America. Originally, scheduled to open in June, that date appears to have been pushed to “Summer 2023” and maybe later.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DESSERT
- Rose’s Little Donuts is the new donut shop coming soon to 22 N. Darlington St. Originally planned for this summer, it seems like building renovations are taking a little longer than expected. (That never happens.)
- Steaks West Chester is a new enterprise from Speer Madanat, owner of Pizza West Chester. It is coming to 698 E. Market Street, the former home of Peter Clark Kitchen. Don’t know much yet about the new concept but you can bet those steaks will be stuffed on fresh-baked bread.
- Happy Bakery, or City Buns 2.0, is the revised vision of local baker Vicky Lambert. Vicky is still testing recipes; the new format will allow Vicky to offer an array of sinful creations beyond her decadent cinnamon buns. But, don’t worry, there will still be cinnamon buns. Opening is planned for later this month – location is still 34 S. High Street.
- 9 Prime – Opening on S. High Street in the old bank building, 9 Prime is the highly-anticipated 11th location from celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani. The expansive 400-seat restaurant is being described as a “modern Italian steakhouse” and will include multiple bars across several floors, year-round outdoor dining, and a below-ground speakeasy set inside the original bank vault. The opening is currently scheduled for later this fall.
- The Basement at Santinos – Once the Basement at Ram’s Head, the underground location was revamped and re-opened in August under the Santino’s name. Not sure what to expect? Shot pitchers are $10 – all day, every day. Which I think pretty much sums it up.
- Serum Kitchen and Tap House is the latest concept from the Imprint Beer Company. It is being described as an “elevated neighborhood experience” and it is rumored Chef Carlos Centeno has been tapped to lead. Expected late 2023.
- Turks Head Wines is a new tasting room and bottle shop opening on N. Church Street, again in the Church Street Market House building. According to their website, they specialize in wines from the north coast of California. The bottle shop is scheduled to open next month – with the larger tasting room following next summer.
- Saloon 151 Tequila Bar – Earlier this summer, Saloon 151 opened its new tequila bar concept aptly named “The Tequila Bar at Saloon 151.” While essentially an extension of the main bar, it is located where Star of India used to be, The Tequila Bar does have its own drink menu and feel.
Loosen those pants people, because this doesn’t include in-the-works projects, like the Greystone Oyster House expansion and the restaurant that will eventually anchor the new Gay Street hotel; those coming just outside Borough limits, like Bert’s Homemade Ice Cream, the new ice cream shop opening in Bradford Plaza (see Hello); or non-restaurant additions like the Green House or the Corner Art Collective (not that those will affect your waistline.)
For his part (and not surprisingly seeing it is his job), John sees this as a win. “I think these new businesses will help continue to see our town grow stronger,” he said. “For residents of West Chester, this means higher property values and more amenities for them.”
Now that can’t be bad, right? What do you think? Good or bad? And which are you most excited to see?
Originally published, Sept. 22, 2023
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