West Passyunk Ave. is a hard pill to swallow for most diners in Philly. Even though some of the city's best restaurants and cafes lie west of Broad Street, the general Philadelphia traveling diner's mindset stands: if it ain't East, it ain't happening.
Maybe Chaat and Chai will be the change Philly needs.
The Indian street food BYOB is scheduled to open sometime between the middle and end of October. It'll have 20 seats, a menu of traditional and specialty chaats, as well as various southern Indian small plates, meant for sharing and exploring. Once things settle down after the opening, the restaurant will offer homemade spice mixes to-go.
Owners Anney Thomas and Margie Felton, both alums of Commissary (a gourmet cafeteria from Philly's restaurant renaissance of yesteryear), had originally wanted to open a small high-end grocery in South Philly. Things changed after stumbling upon the property at 1532 Snyder Avenue, directly across the street from Melrose Diner, and adjacent to Di Nic's (the wrong one, oft confused for Dinic's in Reading Terminal). They saw the cafe-outfitted space, fell in love, and changed their entire business model to match the aesthetic.
Not to say they didn't add to the aesthetic; this might be the most colorful restaurant in Philadelphia. Most of the interior design was styled by The 7 Textures — they were the geniuses behind the Chaat and Chai ceiling, decorated entirely with hanging umbrellas. The walls are splashed with four murals by local artists, and the doors, chairs, and tables were painted and decorated by Thomas and Felton, themselves.
Stay tuned for updates.