Former Main St. Pottery Barn to become Harvest restaurant

The site of the former Pottery Barn in Manayunk will become a restaurant promoting local, seasonal foods.

Harvest, a growing local chain of specialty restaurants managed by Kildare’s Irish Pub owner Dave Magrogan, plans to open its fourth establishment on the 4200 block of Main St. in Manayunk that was once home to Pottery Barn, which closed earlier in 2013.

With two restaurants currently in operation and a third set to open in North Wales, Harvest is described by management staff as being an “upscale casual” restaurant with a seasonally-changing menu, with an emphasis on organic foods and drinks that are harvested locally, whenever possible.

Magrogan, who attended a recent meeting of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, said that while there is no definitive schedule at present for converting the former retail space into a restaurant, he explained that he is hoping to “capture the fall menu” with a September opening date.

Harvest’s fourth location 

Architect David Kleckner explained that while some efforts will be made to convert the 9,000 square ft. space into a working restaurant capable of seating as many as 275 people, he indicated that in terms of the building itself, he “wouldn’t mess with it very much.”

Currently, the first floor is expected to serve 150 customers in both bar and booth seating, with the kitchen area planned for the rear of the building. Retaining the building’s central staircase, an additional 125 seats are planned for the second floor, along with a small bar area and service kitchen. The first floor was envisioned to be the only floor in use 60-percent of time.

Magrogan said that the concept of the new operation will be similar to that of existing Harvest locations in Glen Mills and University City, featuring sustainable farm-to-table products from at least 75 local farmers, with many of the meals being less than 500 calories. 

He explained that the core demographic is “discerning,” a term he used to describe families and professionals that are active and health-conscious that have migrated away from national chains and mass-prepared foods.

According to Magrogan, this core constituency is why he’s choosing Manayunk for the fourth Harvest location, noting the large amount of fitness-oriented recreation that takes place in the neighborhood.

“We feel we’re pretty much their dinner spot,” he said.

‘We’ve priced ourselves out of the kid mode’ 

While Manayunk residents are often concerned that any additional eating establishment could result in the late-night revelry with which the neighborhood is often associated, the MNC indicated that Magrogan signed the Manayunk Development Corporation’s “four-party agreement,” which brings together landlords, tenants, and neighborhood leaders to mitigate negative impacts on the community.

MNC President Kevin Smith said that two salient features of the agreement are a prohibition of alcohol sales after 1 a.m. and a carryover of the agreement should the restaurant undergo a layout or concept change.

In addition, Magrogan said that Harvest restaurants tend to close before midnight, with the current locations’ bars seeing the largest volume at happy hour, to which he partially attributed to the restaurant’s price-point.

“We’ve priced ourselves out of the kid mode,” he said of potential college-age clientele.

Asked for response, Jane Lipton, executive director of the Manayunk Development Corporation, said that she’s excited about adding another high-end restaurant to the Manayunk business district, especially one that enhances the fitness-oriented lifestyle of many neighborhood residents and visitors.

“It’s a great concept,” she said. “It’s going to anchor that section of Main Street, which is really in need of that.”

Next steps 

With no civic opposition voiced and a four-party agreement in hand, Magrogan has a green light to begin work on Harvest in Manayunk.

At present, there are no hard dates, but Magrogan said that the building’s core structure is “fantastic,” with minimal demolition needed prior to construction. Kleckner said that a typical construction timeframe of three months could be expected.

Smith anticipated that refusals from the city will be issued over parking and usage, few other delays were anticipated, and predicted that Harvest was approximately two months away from receiving the necessary permits.

Magrogan said that after the North Wales location is opened in the summer, his organization will be ready to “take on another opening.”

“We really love the Pottery Barn space,” he said. “When we first walked in, we were intimidated by the size, but we feel that the core of the building lends itself to Harvest.”

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