by Brandon Fox
It'll be landlocked, but Short Pump deserves its own Boathouse, no matter how far away the nearest lake, river or ocean. Kevin Healy is fully aware of the irony and refers to this incarnation as "dry-docked" at the Short Pump Town Center.
"Because it's not on a body of water," Healy says, "it gives us a little artistic liberty to interpret what that means."
Both the Boathouse at Sunday Park and the Boathouse at Rocketts Landing trade on their spectacular views, so instead of looking outward, Healy is looking elsewhere for design inspiration. "We're going to try to make it beach-cottage-y," he says. "Hopefully we can achieve a really cool inside that's inviting and comfortable."
Healy has spent the last 35 years vacationing in the Hamptons at his in-laws' place and has a clear vision of what he wants. He's working with Walter Parks Architects and contractor Kevin O'Leary to help make that become a reality.
Menus at the other Boathouse locations change seasonally and that will be no different at the new restaurant. But Healy plans to expand raw bar offerings and add sushi. Another difference is that this Boathouse will serve lunch six days a week, as well as dinner and brunch on Sundays.
"It's not the lake and it's not the river, for sure," Healy says. "We know we have a lot of customers in that area. If we bring what we do closer — it won't be the same as Sunday Park or Rocketts Landing — but hopefully, it will give them a reason to come out a little more often and enjoy what we do."
Construction will start in mid-November with an opening date planned for mid-April. boathouserva.com.
New brew: Mekong and the Answer Brewpub's An Bui will expand his beer empire to the Fan this week. Commercial Taphouse officially reopens under his ownership Friday, Oct. 10. The menu isn't exactly Vietnamese cuisine — fusion is the word we've been hearing from Bui since he bought the place. On it, you'll see executive chef (and An's niece) Thuy Bui's pot stickers, ramen and bulgogi beef sub with pickled radish and kimchi, which is topped with a fried egg and seaweed, along with other dishes, including a regular ol' burger. Most important, Commercial Taphouse will become the home of 20 taps and an unnumbered amount of bottled beer — and a new outlet for this beer-crazy town's beer fanatics.
Restaurant roundup: A new restaurant called Belle and James is planned on the ground floor of an under-construction Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites on East Main Street. … Lion's Paw developer Charlie Diradour started construction on the Boulevard on what will become a Starbucks (with a drive-through) and beer-and-wine retailer Growlers to Go. … Moo Burgers aims to make affordable burgers that are healthier, using hormone-free, grass-fed beef and will open in the old Nile Ethiopian space. … Around the corner, DiCarlo's Pizza is coming to the former TNT Diner-Myte location on West Broad Street. … And Church Hill's cheese-steak shop, Str8 Out of Philly, has closed its doors.