It’s been a strange couple of years for 720 Lancaster Ave. in Berwyn. For more than 10, the Berwyn Coffee Company lived here, casually and perhaps inconspicuously serving coffee and snacks to a small dining area. In 2010, however, after the departure of the coffee specialist, a tea specialist — Royal Tea House — moved in. Caffeine, in milder form.
Things started to get interesting in early 2011 with the introduction of La Petite Maison, a French bistro that opened in March, sharing the space with the tea house. Chef/Owner was Maurice deRamus, who’s worked at several area spots, including Meridith’s and A la Maison in Ardmore. Though we never made it there, the restaurant got wildly mixed reviews for both food and service, but universal confusion as to why there wasn’t a sign of any sort indicating that the restaurant even existed in the Tea Room space.
Fast forward a few months, and the Royal Tea House closes, announcing that they will be moving up the street to 682 Lancaster Ave. at the end of September (online ordering is still available). The space is vacated. Since La Petite Maison had no sign or no website, it merely disappears.
Then, all of a sudden, an onslaught of PR for the new, glitzy, high-end restaurant in the Wayne Hotel, Paramour, overtakes every food-related publication in the area. This is clearly a big-money opening — as big as we get in the ‘burbs, surely. The chef of this new venture? As if you had to guess – it’s Maurice deRamus! (Incidentally, the Paramour press release does not list La Petite Maison as part of deRamus’ experience.)
Which brings me to today. It looks like yet another restaurant is coming to this very same spot: Tiramisu, with a subhead of “Cucina Romana,” which is especially interesting when considering how close this spot is to Alfredo BYO, a popular neighborhood joint that specializes in Southern Italian cuisine (you could throw a rock), and Fellini Cafe, another popular red-sauce joint. I’ve always heard that McDonald’s and Burger King franchises actually do better when they are across the street from each other than when they are alone, so perhaps Berwyn is on its way to becoming an Italian mecca. And the idea of authentic Roman cuisine is certainly something I can get behind — especially if we can get Carbonara without cream, and guanciale instead of pancetta in both the Carbonara and the Amitriciana. How about some Fried Artichokes? Cacio e Pepe? Maybe even Coda alla Vaccinara? I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibilities.
Of course, I have no idea what Tiramisu will actually sell, or if it is even a sit-down restaurant (though I did see 7 tables through the window). All I do know is that they have a sign.
It’s a start.