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Opening date set for Chicago restaurant & bar at KoP Town Center

November 29, 2016

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, Kenneth Hilario

The opening date has been set for a Chicago-based restaurant group’s first foray in Pennsylvania at the King of Prussia Town Center. The group has looked into expanding in Philadelphia proper, but the city’s old architecture presents challenges.

JBG Cos. of Maryland has curated a list of food-and-beverage tenants at the King of Prussia Town Center, a 260,000-square-foot lifestyle shopping destination located a short drive from the King of Prussia Mall.

The next restaurant to open is a concept called City Works by Chicago’s Bottleneck Management. A grand opening is scheduled for Dec. 10, coinciding with the Town Center’s inaugural Winterfest.

A number of restaurants have already opened at the project: Naf Naf Grill, b.good, honeygrow, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar, and Fogo de Chao.

The King of Prussia Town Center location will be the first Pennsylvania restaurant for the City Works concept after its first outpost opened in Minneapolis earlier this year. Others are planned for Doral, Florida; Frisco, Texas; and Pittsburgh.

The mix of tenants at the Town Center attracted Bottleneck Management, CEO Chris Bisaillon said.

“Our co-tenants aren’t people we’ll be stealing business from [and vice versa,]” he said. “Combined, we grow the pie.”

The City Works concept can be divvied up into thirds: beer/liquor/wine, food, and an audio/visual component.

The America contemporary “with a twist” restaurant will have 90 draft beers, up to 30 percent of which will be local or regional, Bisaillon said. For liquor, City Works will have a “full premium cocktail lineup,” and on the wine side, it will have some on draft, as well as by the bottle and glass.

For entertainment, the restaurant will have four 110-inch TVs surrounded by 65-inch TVs for guests who want to dine or drink while they watch a sporting event. A DJ will also engage with the audience during commercial breaks.

Bottleneck also looked for locations in Center City several times, meeting with “a lot of the leading brokers within Philadelphia,” but the restaurant group ran into structural challenges.

“In Philadelphia, like a lot of historical cities, a lot of the retail spaces have lower ceiling heights, and we need 8,000-square-foot-high ceilings and an open-floor plan where you don’t have a lot of structural columns in your way that would obstruct the viewing experience,” Bisaillon said.

That type of architecture is “hard to come by in Philadelphia, unless it’s new construction,” said Bisaillon, who said he would “love” to be In Center City.

The space must accommodate the 110-inch, 5-feet high TVs, Bisaillon said.

“The second part is that our beer cooler alone,” he said, “because we have 90 drafts and backups for most of those drafts — plus our limited supply that’s yet to be tapped — it could be 600 square feet to 700 square feet. If you have a 3,500-square-foot floor plan, you’ve just taken 20 percent of it.”

That’s not to say a downtown location is out of the question. A Pittsburgh outpost is under construction “in the heart of the city” at the PPG Place.

“Our Chicago-based locations are also in urban centers,” Bisaillon said. “We love the city and the vibrancy. We like how the city works and plays.”

Bottleneck Management is looking to open up to five restaurants a year.

“We want to grow on a national basis,” Bisaillon said. “We’d like to build some clusters that allow us to operate efficiently with regional directors.”

“We’d love to have another one in Philadelphia,” he added. “It would help our clustering strategy. We just need to find the right space and make sure the market is there to support it.”

City Works will also join the slew of new restaurants opening during the current culinary boom in the King of Prussia area, which includes a number of new eateries at the King of Prussia Mall and Valley Forge Plaza Shopping Center.