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New Suburban Square Restaurant Opening Early Fall

The Saint James, Michael Schulson and Rob Wasserman's "affordable, contemporary" American-style restaurant, should open in Ardmore by October.

After lengthy and construction, Michael Schulson and Rob Wasserman's new restaurant, The Saint James, is almost here. The duo are aiming to open the American-style restaurant in late September or early October.

"It's been a long, long, long process," said Wasserman, of bringing the new Suburban Square restaurant, originally slated for a Spring 2012 opening, to life. "It's very exciting; we're now close to finishing with construction, and you see what you’ve tried to create on paper coming to life.  ... I can’t tell how much fun it is for us to walk in every day and see small minute details taking shape."

The Saint James, which will occupy the old Victoria's Secret spot in Ardmore's , is a collaboration between Schulson, of Center City's Sampan, and Wasserman, who owns Rouge in Rittenhouse Square. At The Saint James, the friends hope to bring an affordable, contemporary American menu to Main Liners.

"If you're a single wanting to hang out and grab a beer in the bar area, fabulous; if you want to enjoy a dinner with family, great. ... We wanted to make it a comfortable place for people to come and enjoy themselves multiple times a week," Wasserman explained.

Executive Chef Matt Moon, previously of Talula's Table in Kennett Square, will head up the kitchen.

The menu's classic American fare focuses on "back-to-food basics"—grilled meat and fish, fresh vegetables, "with simple vinaigrettes and marinades that make the flavors of each ingredient sing,” Schulson said in a press release.

The menu includes:

  • Trout Dip with “everything” bagel chips
  • Peekytoe Crab Toast with lemon aioli and dill
  • Steak Tri Tip with shallot and compound butter
  • Grilled Tuna Steak with avocado, tomato and chili
  • Roasted Half Chicken with lemon marmalade and celery
  • Shrimp Roll sandwich with butter lettuce, lemon and tarragon
  • The Saint James Roast Pork sandwich, with spicy kale, sharp provolone and jus

Entrees will be priced below $25, Wasserman said. As far as beverages, most bottles will fall in the $30 to $60 range, with a glass for $8-12, and the bar will also offer some local craft beers and cocktails.

"We wanted to create a menu people would feel comfortable ordering from," he explained.

The 120-seat restaurant will be evenly split between a seated dining area and a large bar area (featuring a 20-foot long bar). Outdoor seating for about 50 will also be available, with the added comfort of heaters for colder months, Wasserman said. A skylight is one aspect added during construction to what the duo call a rustic-modern design for the space.

Wasserman, a grad, said Kimco Realty, the owners of Suburban Square, had reached out to him and Schulson separately about opening a restaurant in the shopping center. The two friends decided to embark on the project together.

The reception in the community has largely been warm, Wasserman said. "It helps that we’re both very familiar with the area. Ardmore is so close to Center City, and everyone is aware of what we are producing here ... and to be able to bring that to Ardmore—I think everyone is pretty excited and thrilled."

The Saint James, located at 30 Parking Plaza in Ardmore, is aiming for a late September or early October opening, and will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m.

The phone line for reservations is not up and running yet, but will eventually be reachable at 610-649-6200.

In the meantime, check out the restaurant's website and the Saint James Facebook page (where you can view some construction photos, too). 

Schulson and Wasserman are not the only well-known restauranteurs expanding to Lower Merion this year. Michael Solomonov of Zahav an upscale kosher restaurant, in Merion this fall.

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Patch Reader September 04, 2012 at 12:34 PM
With this announcement -- and good timing now that 'shore house' season is over -- well to do main liners are already clearing their social calendars and having their bentleys, rolls, lambos and maseratis cleaned and waxed for opening night. If the two owners are savvy, they might position the bar to cater to the post-round-of-golf set, in which well heeled golfers show up at a bar and, in general, proceed to lie to each other about how good their game was that day. Of course the martinis fuel this lying effect. Then, the usual hoard of gold digger women will hear that the idle rich golfing set hangs at the bar, and after a while they will also show up en-masse. What better way to snag a rich husband or boyfriend? The golfer men will order the high priced drinks, and the women will coyly order bottled water or white wine. And once the sparks fly, nine months later we have the next generation of well-to-do main liners (idle rich father, gold-digger mother) popping out. It's now a proud way to do it, but somebody has to make the family genes carry on into the next generation!
Brian A. September 04, 2012 at 05:23 PM
What is the point of this comment? Suburban Square has fancy stores, that is it's 'thing'. If you, like me, cannot afford to eat regularly at Plate or this new restaurant, well, there are lots and lots of delicious and far less expensive choices in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr to check out!
Sean Gpill October 21, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Terrible! Made a resevation and they didn't want to seat us. Staff extremely rude, terrible ambiance...loud,cramped tables and again extremely rude staff!
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