What has been a construction site on the corner of 40th and Walnut since last May will finally open to the public as Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar by the end of September.
Delays with construction, union workers, zoning and weather have pushed the opening date from June to the week of Sept. 26.
“There are always delays; it takes time to get investors and approval from the health inspectors,” Dan Steiger, Harvest’s managing partner, said.
He added that the construction workers on site are unionized. “Union workers don’t work that fast. It is out of our control.”
“Unexpected things pop up any time you are doing construction for a pre-existing building,” said Jeff Adams, owner of Green Edge Landscaping, one of the construction companies working on site. “Deadlines were pushed back and decisions weren’t made.”
Heavy amounts of rain during the summer also prevented the workers from working outside, according to Adams. The rain affected installation and masonry projects and caused electrical issues that could not be overlooked.
In addition, before the construction companies could begin work, certain zoning permits and structural issues had to be dealt with, explained restaurant owner Dave Magrogan, who also owns Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House, which opened at 34th and Sansom streets this summer.
“Building in a city is a long process,” Magrogan said.
Complex indoor renovations — including changes to the facade and stairway and the addition of an elevator — also contributed to a longer-than-anticipated design and construction phase.
Due to various issues, DOVER Construction, the general contractor company on site, did not start their work until June.
Project manager Bob Magyar of DOVER Construction said, “There were some unforeseen existing conditions that forced us to reschedule some things.” Once they began working in June, everything has proceeded on schedule.
When it opens, Harvest promises to be “a fine addition to the campus,” Magyar said. “Everyone will really enjoy it.”
The restaurant’s concept is “a changing farm to table menu,” manager Antonia Siemion said. The menu — featuring dishes mostly under 500 calories — will be upscale but affordable, she added.
Magyar and his workers built the space to have an open kitchen that will be exposed to the diners as they eat as well as a bar made from recycled glass, private dining areas and multiple fireplaces. The exterior earth tone stones are carried through in the inside decor.
Both the restaurant’s design and menu reflect a desire to highlight sustainable and organic materials and ingredients. “We tried to use as many sustainable products in our décor and menu as possible,” Magrogan said. “We are careful about the amount of waste we create.”
The outside dining area will have a lush garden feel and will be called “The Lawn,” Magrogan explained.
“We wanted to separate the restaurant from the busy city street,” he said. “It will be like an oasis for students.”