Mike Stollenwerk, who arrived on the local scene in 2007 when he took over Little Fish, has been moving at a frenetic pace recently, opening Fish and Fathom Seafood House in the past two years, and apparently opening a larger Fish in the near future. He has another project coming down the pike, and this time he’ll be making his magic happen in Brewerytown. The new space at 2617-19 W Girard Ave. is gigantic- you could probably fit five Little Fishes in the first floor of the building. Stollenwerk will be executing two concepts here- one side will be a sit-down BYOB, and the other side will be a take-out prepared foods market. If this sounds a little high-end for Brewerytown, it’s because it is. There’s nothing like it in the neighborhood, but Stollenwerk is betting that it’s going to work.
He’s getting nothing but encouragement from the developers of the property, MM Partners, who have been extremely active redeveloping properties in Brewerytown over the past several years. Most of their past projects have similarly been rehabs of buildings on Girard Ave., but they’ve more recently begun working on individual new construction houses as well as larger-scale modular development, like the upcoming North 28.
MM Partners has titled the project The Braverman Building, naming it after the hardware store and bakery that once occupied the premises. Along with the market and restaurant, there will also be six apartments, along with artist studios and additional work space. The expected time for completion for the first floor is the end of the year or beginning of 2012, and the apartments should be ready a few months after that. Taking a look at what the building looked like a few months ago and even what it looks like today, this will certainly be a tremendous task.
When completed, this building will be a beacon of hope for other crumbling structures in the vicinity. We hope that this new establishment helps Brewerytown establish a little more cache with local retail entrepreneurs. While there has definitely been serious progress in recent years on Girard Ave. and in the neighborhood in general, we can’t understate the importance of an established industry guy like Stollenwerk coming into Brewerytown. Along with Mugshots a few blocks to the west, this establishment will hopefully blaze a path for many others in the not-too-distant future.