Fourth & Cross - Pennsport BYOB

Yesterday I stopped in to tour our latest hospitality project, the restaurant Fourth & Cross. Opening day is drawing near, and it was time to check out the progress. There are many neat details from owner/builder/chef Andrew Michaels, who used a lot of salvaged material for the finishes, in keeping with the Farm to Table concept. Look for Michael Klein's Inquirer column next weekend for more details. Pennsport is a virtual food desert, and locals are anxiously awaiting opening day.

The exterior shapes up. The beautiful graphics/restaurant logo by uber graphic designer Nikki Hagedorn, sign by Baker the Sign Man.

We specified the original French doors to be joined as one to meet code. All millwork by owner. Lettering reverse paint on glass.

Love the powder blue pews. The wainscot is made of salvaged door paneling.

The pristine cookline with the old school check rail (holder). The herringbone tile is a nice touch too.

Nice to see our plans on the counter.

Subway tile wall in herringbone pattern, quarry tile floor in running bond, countertop made with salvaged hard pine from the renovation.

With all of the storefront glass, the interior feels light and airy. Nice sliding function for the windows. Great corner location. Flooring is cherry face plywood shop-fabricated in 12x24 panels and face screwed so damaged panels can be removed.

The wooden turn latch allows the security gates to be opened for glass cleaning.

The wooden turn latch allows the security gates to be opened for glass cleaning.

Destination: Navy Yard

Expert builder Drew Miller (Fork, Vietnam, Teikoku etc.) and I checked out the Navy Yard's latest dining destination, Lo Spiedo. Lunch was packed--managers said they did over 200 covers in the 120 seat space. We both liked the clean industrial/vintage design that showcases the historic bones of the building.

Our meal was on the expensive side, but the four Bloody Mary's were partly to blame (they were excellent). The wings were rumored to be really good, but were just average IMHO. My Chinese wife makes better wings with a secret soy and garlic based sauce, but that's a subject for another post. The brisket sandwich had a nice smoky flavor, but I wasn't in love with it--and I really wanted to be, given Vetri's reputation and all the media buzz.

Service was attentive, but not intrusive. Kudos to the staff for NOT circling back to ask how the food was--so few restaurants understand how wrong that is. Service staff is not supposed to put guests on the spot like that, they are supposed to notice if something is amiss and fix it.

Would we go back? Sure, but I'll wait for warmer weather so we can sit outside and gaze at the old battleships across the street.


Stopping by Bibou

Drew surveys the exterior. It needs help! See below for a couple of renderings we did a while back--one of six that we put together to help Drew in his process.

The food at Bibou is stellar I am told. It would be great to have the opportunity to re-design the dining room and facade. I stopped by to help my builder friend Drew Miller with some ideas. He recently updated the kitchen and was asked by the owners to help them renovate front of house. No hospitality designer will be involved. The plan is to create a corridor off the entry, in order to reduce cold drafts in the winter. This will make the small dining room smaller. The first order of business should be the removal of the low slung acoustic ceiling, which lowers the ceiling by at least 18."  There is a direct correlation between ceiling height and how close people feel comfortable sitting or standing near each other. The higher the ceiling, the more personal space one has, or feels that they have. We had a nice chat with the chef, and enjoyed a couple of slices of freshly baked bread.

The vinyl floor helps reduce breakage, but it should be replaced. Wide plank white oak would be a nice choice, in keeping with the French theme.


Charming service station with freshly baked bread on the bar.

This is a more conservative approach, but it opens up the front and brings a sense of place to the establishment.

Wouldn't this be lovely? Totally doable given the level of food and service at Bibou.