by Sue Ann Rybak
Mt. Airy ‘s beloved Goat Hollow, 300 W. Mt. Pleasant Ave., will reopen under new ownership on Monday, Jan. 21. The restaurant closed in 2004 after 17 years in business. After that, it was taken over by Angie Brown, who had previously owned and operated Mt. Airy Cafe and then Soul in Chestnut Hill. It operated starting in 2005 as Angie Brown with a New Orleans-themed menu, but since 2008, the building has been vacant. (Prior to 1987 the property was run as Burba’s Restaurant/Bar.)
One hallmark of Goat Hollow was always the diversity of its clientele. There are few if any restaurants in which blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, gays and straights, working class and middle class, old and young intermingled so comfortably.
“The food was good, but that was not the main attraction,” said Gene Foster, a West Mt. Airy resident who used to frequent Goat Hollow. “It was definitely the people. You knew you would always have good conversation and maybe make new friends.”
On the internet an R. Lancaster recently wrote: “I sure miss the Goat Hollow. I had a lotta great memories there. I played with many bands there throughout the years, including the night of the Olympic bombing.”
Mt. Airy resident Neil Campbell, owner of Old City Race Street Cafe’, 208 Race St., said he and his daughter used to walk past the vacant building every morning after 2008 on the way to her daycare facility. “Sometimes, we would literally peek in the windows and imagine what it could be,” Campbell said. “It was a shame to see a property with so much potential sitting empty in our community. My business partner, Andy Shahan, and I decided to bring the restaurant back to life.”
Campbell said the idea of bringing the restaurant back as Goat Hollow came from the “voice of the community.” He said many people recalled fond memories of Goat Hollow as being a great “community gathering place.” Plans for the restaurant became a reality during a Mt. Airy Learning Tree (MALT) fundraiser in 2011, where Campbell and prominent Mt. Airy real estate developer Ken Weinstein, who also owns the Trolley Car Diner, agreed to join forces. Weinstein purchased the property in November, 2011.
According to Campbell, the restaurant’s namesake, Goat Hollow Tavern, references the historic name of a section of Mt. Airy. He added that supposedly a goat path ran out front near the buildings.
But don’t expect to see the décor of the old Goat Hollow, since the restaurant is getting a complete make-over. Campbell and Shahan have hired local businesses, including Metcalfe Architecture and Design, Fillippi Bros., Inc.; Philadelphia Salvage and Design Nehez to rehab, redesign and create custom pieces for the restaurant.
Campbell said the new restaurant will have an entirely “fresh new look.” Renovations include opening up the main bar room and installing several “reclaimed products and furniture.” Table tops have been created out of reclaimed wood from a factory in Germantown by Mt. Airy artisan Chris Stock, and benches were created out of pews from a church in Germantown.
“This place is being brought back to life for the locals and by the locals,” Shahan said.
“We are looking forward to partnering with Chestnut Hill Coffee and Baker Street Bread to continue our local ties,” Campbell said. “The American brasserie will offer delicious, rustic dishes alongside a craft beer and artisan cocktail program in a friendly atmosphere.”
Goat Hollow’s menu will be prepared by former Monk’s Cafe veteran, chef Adam Glickman, a former Mt. Airy resident. The menu will feature everything from appetizers to soups, sandwiches, burgers and salads to entrees.
“There will be something for everyone while being sensitive to vegetarian diets as well as people with food allergies such as gluten intolerance,” Campbell said. “We are excited to open our doors and welcome neighbors and friends as we would into our home; only with much tastier food and drinks.”
Goat Hollow will be open seven days a week serving lunch, dinner, late-night menus and weekend brunch. For more information or to make reservations, visit www.goathollow.com.
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