The upcoming dinner theater in Fishtown has a name, and it’s a fitting one given the building’s past life as an ice cream machine factory: Fabrika. The word and variations of it mean factory in Russian and several other languages. The owners, originally from Eastern Europe, envision Fabrika (1108 Frankford Avenue) as a combination of restaurant and performance venue where a series of acts will unfold throughout the evening.
“It’s going to be reminiscent of a dinner theater in the 1930s and ’40s, where people come in for dinner and every now and then acts pop up at different places in the venue,” describes Ylia Dzlieri, one of four partners in the project with Lasha Kikvidze, Alex Gritsyuk, and Boris Khanataev. “It might start out with a DJ. Then half an hour later a singer comes onto the center stage. Ten minutes after that, a jazz pianist in the corner, or a sword swallower or aerial performance. And then someone sitting down eating dinner, who people won’t know is an actor, will get up and do Shakespeare. It will be unexpected — we want a shock effect.”
Dzlieri says the name Fabrika works on a few levels. It’s a nod to the building’s history as a manufacturing plant, and to the industrial appearance, with metal and exposed brick, Fabrika will retain. “It will have that feel of a factory when you walk in; you can’t mistake it for anything else,” he says. It’s also manufacturing art: “We’re going to have acts pop up like on a conveyor belt.”
The main floor of Fabrika will be a lounge with a small circular stage in the center surrounded by couches and low tables, with regular tables lining the walls, plus two bars. There’s also a mezzanine that will serve as the VIP section, with more tables and bottle service.
The food will be a blend of cuisines, including French and Georgian (the country south of Russia and north of Turkey known for khachapuri). Dinner will be served tapas-style.
If construction and permitting go according to plan, they’re hoping to open at the end of the year.