Spread Bagelry is expanding its business. At 269 S. 20th St., directly across the street from the current store, its owners are adding Spread Baked Goods. While the original shop offers Montreal-style bagels with spreads and sandwich fillings, the new venture will offer loose bagels, muffins and sweet baked treats. Perhaps this is an effort to address lukewarm reviews of long wait times by offering a quick stop for those looking to buy a baker’s dozen? No word yet on whether we can expect a similarly proactive response to complaints about high prices. Construction continues in the space that most recently housed Brown Betty Petite, representing the newest commercial addition to this stretch of South 20th Street.
This block has certainly seen a new life in the past decade plus. Flanked for many years by Wawa on the corner of Locust St. (now a 7-Eleven) and a run down and dirty beer and snack deli at Spruce St. (now the beautiful and bountiful Food and Friends), the block welcomed Audrey Claire in 1996, which it seemed to set the pace for a new type of growth. Some long-time businesses remain on this block, including include Lee’s Hardware, which is a decent place to get keys made and cut glass for your DIY frames. Szechuan Hunan has stood the test of time, likely because it’s the epitome of tasty, inexpensive Chinese food that East coasters grew up eating. Next door, the spot that houses Seafood Unlimited in a past life was a hole in the wall good for pizza, cheesesteaks and thick cigarette smoke. The fish restaurant has held its own for a better part of a decade, and is currently closed for renovations and expected to re-open in June.
Walking by Domenick’s during your commute will still find the immaculately dressed Italian owner setting up the barbershop for the day, with the red, white and blue ribboned pole adorning the front. Maxx’s Produce has watched neighbors come and go for a solid stretch, and is a veritable competitor of Sue’s on the other side of the park. And D’Angelo’s Ristorante has lasted through the years, seemingly riding out the lean times by reinventing its offerings and broadening its target for patrons. It currently hosts a weekly house party with live music and, apparently, a disco ball.
Audrey Claire’s success on the corner of Spruce led to Twenty Manning (at the corner of Manning St., natch), which originally offered an Asian-inspired menu. After a fresh coat of paint and new decor, the restaurant was reinvented by its owner as an attractive American bistro with the same name. Cook replaced the uber-chic Snackbar (and a couple of other fancy eateries that came before) to provide Rittenhouse-ites cooking classes for the upper classes. Hello World was previously owned by a local antique dealer through the 90’s who seemed to sustain his business selling furniture out front that was found on trash day, and was the go-to place for furnishing your college studio apartment when Uhuru was too far to hike.
Surrounded by commercial, residential and tree-filled segments of our city, this block of little businesses is likely to retain its charm and continue to be a lasting shopping area and restaurant destination. And as it continues to evolve, we’ll be watching.