Beginning this June, Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar will be adding to the competition of the local food and beverage scene.
Though Harvest will add to the competition, surrounding establishments do not anticipate that it will hurt their businesses.
Harvest will occupy the real estate previously held by Marathon Grill and MarBar on the corner of 40th and Walnut streets. Its success, though, is still under speculation.
Notable features of the restaurant to consider are Harvest’s more formal setting, including its upstairs wine bar, its location beside The Rave, as well as its health-conscious seasonal menu. The majority of dining selections will be under 500 calories and will use ingredients from local and sustainable farms.
The surrounding eateries — which are more casual — do not see Harvest as a major or direct competitor.
While Hummus Grill co-owner Fabrice Saadoun said Harvest’s opening is “scary because it’s more competition,” he does not believe it will affect Hummus much this summer.
Though he is worried about his restaurant come September when students return, he thinks the more formal setting of Harvest will not be best-suited for a college campus. “It’s mainly students, and I think students are more on-the-go rather than fine-table,” Saadoun said. “I think it will be difficult for [Harvest].”
For another fast-casual restaurant in the immediate area, 90 percent of its customers are students, according to Service Manager Dan Howling, who wishes to withhold the name of his restaurant because he is not certified to speak on behalf of the company.
Howling does not believe Harvest will affect their business much because the nature of the two restaurants are very different. “We’d be more worried about a place like Subway coming in as opposed to a fine-dining [restaurant],” he said.
Sweetgreen supervisor Jeff Thomas also noted that Marathon’s closing did not affect Sweetgreen’s business. He does not see too much competition with Harvest because Sweetgreen is more casual.
Instead, he believes Harvest’s opening will be beneficial for the area. Both Harvest and Sweetgreen focus on healthy dining options.
Thomas called Harvest “a great addition to the local market.”
“It’s definitely a good thing to promote positive eating,” Thomas said. “It will benefit to have another business in the local area to attract people from a wider range to our location.”
City Tap House — which has a bar and offers more formal dining options — might see Harvest’s arrival differently, Thomas said.
However, City Tap House general manager Andy Farrell sees Harvest as a benefit to the local food scene. Though he admits that Harvest will be adding competition for his restaurant, “I welcome quality businesses into University City,” Farrell said. “Quality restaurants … only puts us on the map more as a place with a vibrant restaurant scene.”
Harvest’s location beside the theater may also play a part in its success. “Dinner and a movie always seem to go hand in hand,” Thomas said.
Farrell disagrees, as he does not see a fine dining restaurant and a theater going well together. “I think that’s a tough sell,” he said.
Assistant managers of The Rave, Steven Mewha and Jeremy Salapek, however, believe Harvest will help increase ticket sales. The Rave is planning to reopen its bar and lounge in February, but Mewha does not anticipate losing customers to Harvest, as Harvest will be more formal in atmosphere. “I don’t really see [Harvest] as competition,” Mewha said.
“We rely on other local business in the area to promote ours,” Salapek said. “It’s great that something is going in next door. It’s good for the neighborhood. It’s definitely good for our business as well.”Comments powered by Disqus
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