A redo on the way for West Oak Lane’s shuttered Green Soul restaurant

The owners of Green Soul, an eatery that opened in 2011, had hoped their new location in Chestnut Hill would offset the costs of running the less-profitable West Oak Lane location.

When that didn’t pan out, they decided to close the Ogontz Avenue location in the spring to regroup and work up a new concept. But that plan didn’t work out either.

A heating malfuntion that took longer than expected to resolve. That pushed the closing date up to Jan. 19, when the restaurant tweeted that the doors were closed “for good.”

What went wrong?

“It just wasn’t sustainable,” said Kim Bynum, who is part of the family-led group behind Green Soul and its sister restaurants including Relish, located across Ogontz Avenue. “We had devoted guests, but it just wasn’t sustainable, and that’s disappointing.” 

Benjamin Bynum, another owner, added that a lack of consistent foot traffic on Ogontz Avenue during the day limited business.

“For a business to work, it needs to be busy for more than just a couple of hours a day,” he said, adding that the Chestnut Hill location benefits from folks “constantly strolling” along Germantown Avenue.

Still brainstorming

The new concept — yet to be revealed — will focus on catering too, with the hope that it will increase overall business. 

“We want to fill a void in the community,” Benjamin Bynum said of whatever may come to the West Oak Lane storefront. “We want to be embraced by the community.”

Neighborhood reactions to the closing of Green Soul have been mixed, however, according to Kim Bynum. 

“Some were appreciative of us trying to be there and being there as long as we had been there,” she said. “Others have been disappointed as if we abandoned the community because we opened [the Chestnut Hill] location.

“We want to stay in the community so we are going to try and figure out what it needs and wants.”

They expect to reopen in about four weeks, according to Benjamin Bynum.

For now though, the team is focusing on the highly anticipated Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill, a jazz cafe they are opening with longtime partner and chef, Al Paris. 

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