Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Frozen Custard, Italian Market, Gourmet Coffee, Seafood, Burgers & Fries . . . Fewer Empty Storefronts in Paoli!

Last week State Representative Paul Drucker announced $1 million from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program for the Paoli Transportation Center. This money represents a first step in this major land development project and we’re looking forward to the project getting in to full swing!

In addition to the transportation center funding news, it is exciting to see other positive signs of growth in Paoli. Under the leadership of Judy Huey and her brother Rob DiSerafino, Paoli Village Shoppes has become the centerpiece of Paoli. Their creative planning and vision for the future has set the standard for Paoli. Unlike other shopping locations on Lancaster Avenue, you rarely see an empty storefront or a ‘for lease’ sign at this location.

As space become available in Paoli Village Shoppes, there seems to be a new tenant waiting in the wings to take the empty spot. Jake’s, a cute frozen custard place is opening next to the Penn Liberty Bank. Not a traditional ice cream shop, Jake’s is fashioned after a Wisconsin Custard Stand with a menu anchored by “made fresh daily” Wisconsin Style Frozen Custard. Jake’s plans to be open by late summer! Another new addition coming to the Paoli Village Shoppes will be Martini’s. An obvious throwback to the DiSerafino Italian heritage, many of us are anxious to have an Italian market in our own backyard. (BTW – I understand that the owner of Martini’s Italian Market in Paoli Village Shoppes is the son of the owners of the old Martini’s Restaurant that was on Lancaster Ave. in Devon for many years).

Seafood USA in Paoli is now open and I understand has great crab legs and shrimp cocktail! Across from Seafood USA, the old Fellini’s restaurant (which unfortunately closed under Chapter 11), I see has a new banner advertising Grappa Cafe hanging across the doorway. Not sure what kind of food this new BYOB will be serving — I peeked in the window and it looks like new construction is underway.

Paoli Shopping Center has been challenged in today’s economy – they currently seem to have a number of empty storefronts. Many in the community were disappointed when the ice cream shop, Stone Cold Creamery closed their doors . . . but there’s a new banner, Ashys Burger & Fries, hanging over that storefront. Not sure what to expect from Ashys, other than burgers and french fries; also no indication as to opening date . . . stay turned.

Whirled Peace, q new fun frozen yogurt place with outdoor seating, has opened on Lancaster Ave. at the former site of Rita’s Water Ice. Opening just in time for our summer heat wave, Whirled Peace is setting itself apart from more traditional ice cream/frozen yogurt places — they have 4 flavors of frozen yogurt and twists with tons of toppings but it’s a do-it-yourself operation. At the counter you weigh your creation, pay and they hand you a spoon. As a FYI, be careful with how many toppings you add; I witnessed the surprise expression of a customer’s $8 ice cream!

I hope that I have encouraged you to pay a visit to Paoli . . . these small business owners are taking a chance and opening up their eaterys along this section of Lancaster Avenue and need our support!

When talking about Paoli, I’d be remiss not to mention one of Paoli’s most vocal cheerleaders! Always positive and enthusiastic, . . the face (and voice) behind a lot of the new exciting changes in Paoli is Marie Thibault. A long-standing Paoli homeowner and business owner, Marie served as the president of Paoli Business & Professional Association for the last 2 years. Although Marie’s term as president ended in June, her vision and tireless dedication that Paoli be ‘all that it can be’ will remain her legacy.

Full disclosure — Marie and I are close friends and together co-chaired the Paoli Sings the Blues, Paoli’s first bluesfest community event held last October. Successful beyond our wildest expectations with 5,000+ attendees, we are well underway in planning the 2nd Annual Paoli Blues Fest scheduled for October 2, 2010. As part of our fundraising efforts for the annual blues fest, we have scheduled a Paoli Sings the Blues fundraiser for July 30, 7-10 PM at Royer-Greaves School on N. Valley Rd. in Paoli – I will post the invitation and details tomorrow.

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  1. It is exciting to see new stores coming to Paoli. There’s nothing more depressing than empty storefronts. You’re right about the Paoli Village shopping center, they have done a great job with the place. Whether it’s Home Cooked or the Post Office, the place has a real updated appearance! Congratulations to Judy & Rob!

  2. Same theme, different location question: rumor has it Wawa will be moving into the long empty former Eckerd on Rt. 30 in Berwyn. Can any Community Matters readers verify? How exciting that would be!

  3. Just for clarification, one of the owners of Martini’s Restaurant (Buff) had three sons and a daughter. The other co-owner had daughters. Buff’s sons and daughter are not involved in this venture. The owner of Martini’s Italian market is a cousin of the restaurant owners and was not involved in the running of the restaurant.

    1. Pattye-
      Whirled Peace now has 6 flavors, and many more toppings than we had when we first opened. Our average serving is $4.50 which is a substantial portion of yogurt plus toppings weighing out at $.50 per ounce. We use compostable bowls and cups and our spoons are made from corn starch (yes you could eat them but we don’t recommend it. In addition to some of the best frozen yogurt around (on average only 25 calories per ounce) we make smoothies with our yogurt and fresh fruit toppings, and we serve fair trade and organic One Village coffee (Latte’s and fresh brewed) and organic teas through our Drive-Thru window or in the shop. We are getting ready to open our second location in Manayunk in early April. Stop in and say hi.

  4. I had contacted Wawa years ago when the then Berwyn Acme was closing, suggesting they consider the property as a centralized location with plenty of parking and perhaps even tables for all the folks doing local work who parked in the then Devon Wawa and other Wawas eating their lunch daily (making the lot inaccessible to stop and shop buyers. They said then that their “model” for any new location was to include gas tanks.
    It would be wonderful if your rumor about Wawa is true — but the traffic access to that site has never been good – getting in from the east or getting out going west … it’s better suited for a destination operation…but it would be great (though the Strafford Wawa might be done).

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