Brian Sirhal banks on blending past restaurant successes with the growing upscale Main Street dining establishment in his newest project.
Planned for 4400-10 Main Street, Taqueria Feliz promises rustic Mexican food that's more traditional than Sirhal and partner Tim Spinner's other eateries—La Calacia Feliz in Fairmount and Cantina Feliza in Fort Washington.
"We want great food and a great environment so that everyone in Manayunk and everywhere else will want to come here to eat," Sirhal told the Manayunk Neighborhood Council Wednesday night.
In October, The Philadelphia Inquirer broke news that the Jose Garces' alums set their sights on Main Street for their third restaurant. This continues Manayunk's recent successes with Han Dynasty opening a Main Street location and Yanako debuting, in addition to other attention garnered by Gemelli's, Jake's and Cooper's Wine Bar, Derek's Restaurant and Bourbon Blue.
The large space will replace the vacant Mainly Shoes and current Clairvoyant Monica (who will relocate next to MeadowSweet Vintage, the Manayunk Development Corporation said). This also was the proposed space for Belvedere Restaurant Group's Cervisia, but that project never saw the light of day.
Sirhal and Spinner plan for a 65-seat restaurant with one bar and floor-to-ceiling windows, which can open up to Main Street.
"Because the layout of the restaurant is open, we want air and light from outside to add to the ambience," Sirhal said.
Additionally, Taqueria Feliz will serve as a test case to incorporate the Manayunk Canal, MDC Executive Director Jane Lipton said. She's working with the Commerce Department to make the restaurant part of the city's facade program.
Taqueria Feliz does not need zoning approval to open. However, a four-party restaurant agreement already in place for Cervisia needs to be updated by the MNC. The agreement is signed by the MNC, MDC, property owner and tenant.
Sirhal presented to the neighborhood group and agreed with their principles regarding noise, hours and alcohol. Taqueria Feliz plans for only one 12-stool bar, which is less than Cervisia had, MNC Vice President John Hunter said. Eventually, the restaurant will build an upstairs events room, but that's down the road.
The restaurant will finalize its design plans by Thanksgiving and provide them to the MNC for review. Though the civic will vote at its Dec. 5 meeting, Hunter said it's more about getting the specifics in place.
"I think it's just a matter of looking at the original agreement, and your drawings, and see how they relate," he said.
Taqueria Feliz plans to open by March 2013.