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There Can Only Be One Brick & Mortar... Or Can There?

Photo: Brick & Mortar, Cambridge/Facebook

Franklin Mortgage alum Mike Welsh is currently working on a new project called Brick & Mortar, as originally reported by Zagat. The new restaurant and bar is going into the Goldtex building, which is happy news for its Eraserhood neighbors, who don't have a ton of food and drink options nearby.

Gary Strack, however, was a little less thrilled by the news. Strack is a Boston chef and owner of Firebrand Saints, Central Kitchen ...and Brick & Mortar, a well-known cocktail bar that's been around for about three years now. This week, his rep sent around an "Official-Ass Press Release" snarkily announcing his brand's unexpected "expansion" to Philly (we've included the full release below). And yes, they've got jokes:

We want to thank Mr. Welsh for doing the legwork and being so supportive of the Brick & Mortar brand, and are looking forward to his next endeavors titled Drink, Trick Dog, and Pouring Ribbons.

(If you don't get the joke, reference Drink, Trick Dog, Pouring Ribbons.)

We talked to Strack today, who acknowledges that the name is not exactly uncommon. "Let's face it, 'Brick & Mortar' is a skateboard company, and it's a band, and it's ton of guys who actually lay bricks," he rattled off, laughing. At the same time, he adds, "When you think of a name, you Google it, right? I mean, I did. And I didn't think the skateboard company would be too bummed, but if there had been another cocktail bar, I probably would've thought it through and gone to a different name."

For what it's worth, Strack says that he's familiar with Franklin Mortgage, which Welsh was involved with until 2012, and that "it's a great place."

And, Strack told us, he ran into some issues in the past when San Francisco's Thomas McNaughton opened Central Kitchen, which is a name Strack has been using since 1999. He didn't mind, he says, until a lawyer began sending him "saber-rattling" letters that McNaughton wanted to copyright the name. That's not to say Strack's feeling litigious — he repeatedly assured us that his team was "just having some fun."

Here's the full press release. (NB: Consider all the quotes within to be tongue-in-cheek and fabricated — inother words, Welsh has not actually referred to the new concept as a speakeasy. His Brick & Mortar was described in Zagat's initial reporting as an accessible "neighborhood American tavern." According to Strack's rep, the speakeasy joke below was based on the fact that Welsh's in-progress bar doesn't have a sign up yet.)

Brick & Mortar Announces New Brick & Mortar in Philly

Philadelphia, PA — We at Brick and Mortar were surprised and excited to hear about our new location in Philadelphia. Owner Gary Strack has always prided himself on creative concepts, and is thrilled to be working with a team whose obvious originality, well, speaks for itself.

"I wasn't really looking to expand," Strack said, "but apparently the wheels are already in motion, so what the hell!"

The new building is currently unmarked and without a sign, a wild new concept co-founder Mike Welsh refers to as a "speakeasy." That's the kind of radical innovation we admire and applaud his efforts in mapping out new territory in the national cocktail scene.

"In honor of the Brick & Mortar Philadelphia space, we created a special cocktail called the Chinatown North, which is just a Red Hook that we renamed," said bar manager Matthew Schrage. "…on second thought, maybe we'll just call is a Red Hook and pretend it's something new and different."

We want to thank Mr. Welsh for doing the legwork and being so supportive of the Brick & Mortar brand, and are looking forward to his next endeavors titled Drink, Trick Dog, and Pouring Ribbons.

· All Mike Welsh Coverage [-EPHI-]

Brick & Mortar

315 N. 12th St., Philadelphia PA

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