Restaurant Rumble Surburban Square: David Mantelmacher If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of The Kitchen

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carla's picture
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Image and video hosting by TinyPicPlate's owner David Mantelmacher in Suburban Square is reportedly being a little b*tch when it comes to the new restaurant coming to Ardmore St. James Place? This is one of the new places going into the courtyard space in Suburban Square. Is this David Mantelmacher going to complain about every new eatery?

Face it, who really goes to Plate much any longer except it's regular bar crowd? It had a sort of following of locals, but even way back when it first opened I thought it left a lot to be desired. In all the times I have been in it since it opened, I have never seen it filled to capacity. Always fairly empty in fact with an over-priced mediocre wine list and average food not so reasonably priced.

So anyway, Michael Klein of the Inquirer is reporting that the owner of Plate has put a petition before the state Liquor Control Board, purportedly over parking and congestion. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Really? A new restaurant by for real restauranteurs Rob Wasserman and Michael Schulson is set to open on the other side of Suburban Square and all of sudden up pops this concern from the opposite end of Suburban Square?

Wow that's sooooo cute. Anyone ever seen this David Mantelmacher at a township meeting when Suburban Square was discussed asking discussing parking and "congestion"? Write a letter to the local paper complaining of parking and congestion? Could it be this is just a dirty trick to keep this new restaurant from opening on time, because we all know that delays = more expenses for starters?

Shame on David Mantelmacher. Maybe David Mantelmacher would like it more if everyone just stopped patronizing Plate?

If you can't stand the heat David Mantelmacher, get out of the kitchen.

Michael Klein, The Insider: Monday, February 20, 2012 The Saint James facing a delay

Restaurateurs hoping to open in the city are almost guaranteed a challenge to their liquor licenses. Neighborhood associations want assurances that these bars won't become nuisances, or that they won't otherwise detract from the quality of life.

Oppositions to liquor licenses in most suburban towns are rare - rarer still if they're not in the heart of a residential neighborhood.

Consider The Saint James, an American restaurant planned for Suburban Square in Ardmore. It'll take over the Victoria's Secret.

Restaurateurs Rob Wasserman and Michael Schulson got the blessing of Kimco Realty....as well as the Lower Merion Township....But .....they have one opponent, whose petition before the state Liquor Control Board may delay the project a month, pending a hearing: It's David Mantelmacher, who's owned the restaurant Plate in Suburban Square for nearly nine years.

To Mantelmacher, it's about congestion. "We've had parking issues at Suburban Square..."

....Kimco's Nina Rogers, noting that the Saint James plans to offer valet: "It is a busy shopping center, which is a great problem." As for a parking problem, she added: "That's David's opinion."

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dmuth's picture
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A few years back I looked at their drink menu, and saw that a substantial number of mixed drinks on the menu had Southern Comfort in them.  For you non-alcoholics out there, SoCo isn't something you normally drink.  SoCo is the sort of thing you give to your drunken buddies when they show up at your place at 2 AM wanting booze.

That said, a look at said menu now shows only one drink on the menu is made from SoCo.  The rest have liquors like Absolut and Kettel One, so that is in fact an improvement.

My drinking problems and shriveled up liver aside, complaining about a restaurant opening up in the same same shopping center where you yourself have a restaurant is disingenuous, to say the least.  Come on, really, Dave?

 

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carla's picture
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This restaurant owner could do OTHER things other than try to keep a restaurant from opening: like update his totally dated venue. From decor, to layout, to menu, his largest problem is it is all dated. When he heard new restaurants were coming to Suburban Square he could have updated in some areas, etc. But he didn't. He acts like Plate is a first tier dining destination and it's not. It never has been. It's a dated suburban spot that was never quite hip. This restaurant owner's problem isn't the competition, the problem is his restaurant itself.

Check out reviews on the place:

Google Reviews: Plate Restaurant & Bar
105 Coulter Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003
Suburban Square
(610) 642-5900 ‎

Feb 22, 2012

On a recent paranormal exploration trip gone awry my crew and I came upon Plate, an Ardmore establishment of haunted repute. Its awkward construction juts outward to Coulter Ave reminiscent of the right wing of Hitchcock's Bates Motel; like that ill-famed outfit, so too are Plate's patrons rumored to later go missing. Greeted by a lovely hostess, we were ushered into the dining room where dinner was soberly ordered and produced. Our fellow visitors seemed at ease despite their purportedly grave surrounding, and the meal was consumed with little fanfare.... until our paranormal meter spun off the charts as the spirits of tormented souls drowned our wary revelry in 90s house music. The thumping bass pierced our minds and punctured our hearts as we covered our ears and clawed at our eyes. Soon after we noticed the men and women surrounding us were unaffected. They were ghosts themselves! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Oct 10, 2011

I live on the mainline and go to a LOT of restaurants in the area and in Philly. Third try at Plate again last night - 3 strikes and they are OUT. Our Waitress (who never even had a HINT of a smile on her face) could not have cared LESS about simple courtesy, service, or promptness. We almost walked out because from the time our dinner plates were cleared (VERY Ho Hum food, WAY overpriced...) it was OVER 40 MINUTES until dessert arrived!!! Fine - we are DONE. We will NOT be back and I intend to spread the word to all of my clients and colleagues about how totally disappointing plate is...

Aug 15, 2011

This place is a filthy hole with spoiled food . They served my party spoiled cole slaw. It tasted horrible, and the waitress confirmed that it was indeed old and past its expiration date. The waitress was apologetic, but the manager was an a$$ about the whole thing. Will never go back.

The place is not the cleanest. Dirty ladies room.

Yelp Reviews on Plate

8/23/2011

Please, for the sake of the good people of the Main Line, do something with this place. It is simply a shame-of-a-restaurant. My impression is that the owners of Plate hire poorly and have NO creativity or vision.

12/29/2011

Just awful, awful service....the management should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

Main Line Dine Review of Plate

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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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This restaurant owner's problem isn't the competition, the problem is his restaurant itself.

Sounds to me like Plate's problem is the lack of competition.

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dmuth's picture
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Sounds to me like Plate's problem is the lack of competition.

Not news: BobG will probably mention how free markets will solve this problem.

News: I'll actually agree with him!

 

I totally can't wait to until The Saint James opens up so I can stop by...

 

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politeia's picture
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I'm very good friends with the ex-wife of Mantelmacher's former business partner when they owned Circa and Xero in Philly, so I have heard a bit about Mantelmacher.

Let's just say that I'll let the posts and reviews in this blog thread speak for themselves in regards to Mantelmacher and Plate.

One thing for sure - you won't find me giving Plate any business.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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This is shameful behavior, and basically confirms most locals opinion of their experiences at Plate. 

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Latest development here: http://www.mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2012/03/14/main_line_times/news/doc4f6091e7245b3243755652.txt?viewmode=fullstory

 

Summary: The dude who owns Plate (the single existing sit-down restaurant in SS, with hot so glowing reviews) doesn't like the idea of having potential restaurant patron's money flow to a future competitor, so he's using the regulatory ststem to thwart the process of the competitor from ever getting off the ground. Kimco's corporate managers are in no comment mode, without actually saying no comment. But this tidbit is listed:

Meanwhile, the restaurant owners are moving ahead. Schulson said Kimco gave notice about two weeks ago to Victoria’s Secret, which currently occupies the space that will become the St. James. The store had 30 days to vacate. It could not be determined this week whether it will leave Suburban Square permanently.

Analysis: Kimco just spent $1+ Mil on improvements, and the new restaurant seems to be a centerpiece to what they have in mind.  You gotta assume Kimco corporate is fully staffed with sharp legal eagles who know contract and RE law, and are evaluating what their options are with the owner of Plate. It would be hard to imagine Kimco has been deaf and dump to the percieved shortcomings of Plate (questionable service, so so, uninspired food offerings, a blah to non-existent bar scene, and hig-end prices) while there is potenntial for so much for from a bar/restaurant in a so called lifestyle shopping center.

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carla's picture
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UPDATED article from Cheryl Allison below.

David Mantelmacher is a jerk pure and simple. I still say he is doing this because he is too freaking lazy to clean and update his restaurant and hire better staff. I hope people continue to choose other dining establishments. Plate is dated and this guy has never to my knowing ever gone to a commissioners meeting to complain about parking in Suburban Square. Did he complain about Ruby's in the same vein? Has he ever even written a letter to the editor of Main Line Times expressing concern about parking or anything in Suburban Square??

And one of the other things he doesn't like is the sound of music, quite literally? Does he think that an upscale restaurant like the one he is trying to keep from opening is going to have jam bands or something? Does he also hate First Friday Main Line which puts music on the streets???? Or National Night Out in Suburban Square which has music? Where is he on Santa Claus and The Easter Bunny???

So David Mantelmacher has cost this new restaurant time - they are saying now they will open in July - the heart of the summer. That stinks. Maybe if we're lucky Plate will be out of busines by then?

Lack of parking has restaurant owner protesting new venture

Published: Monday, March 26, 2012
By Cheryl Allison

A hearing was held Tuesday in a dispute over the liquor license for a new restaurant coming to the courtyard of Suburban Square in Ardmore.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is not expected to issue a decision in the case for several weeks, but the owners of the St. James say they are moving forward to construction for an opening this summer, with or without alcohol at first.

Michael Schulson, chef-owner of Sampan in Philadelphia and Izakaya at the Borgata in Atlantic City, who is partnering with Rouge owner and Lower Merion native Rob Wasserman in the venture, said in a recent interview that the St. James, described as an American grill, should open by late July.

That is a little later than the May timeframe they had anticipated, but Schulson, in an interview, said the delay should be nothing more than “a two-month hiccup.”

Fellow Suburban Square restaurateur David Mantelmacher, owner of Plate, a nine-year tenant, filed a petition challenging issuance of a liquor license for the new American grill.

Schulson said the petition was based on two counts: parking and outdoor noise. The St. James’s application states there will be no outdoor music, he added, however, and he said he and Wasserman will offer valet parking...Where more employees are going to park is another question. “I employ 45. Say they’re going to employ 30. ... I get these tickets. I’m responsible if my employees park in a wrong area,” Mantelmacher related.

“The Liquor Control Board allows people to protest”; that’s the purpose of those orange notice signs, he said. “I’m being looked at as the big bad guy because nobody is giving me any answers.”

Asked for comment on the dispute, Geoff Glazer, vice president of acquisitions and development for Kimco’s Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, said late Tuesday, “Since the hearing before the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board just occurred today and a decision has not yet been rendered on the liquor permit for the St. James, we prefer not to comment until after the board’s decision about issues such as parking logistics that were part of testimony.”

“He doesn’t want to allow fair competition” is how Schulson sees the other restaurant owner’s action. That can be a legal issue, he said, adding that he and Wasserman have engaged counsel in that regard.

Here is the Montomery County Board of Health's inspection report from October 2011. Ick.

Here's a link to all the reports from all the health department inspections for Plate:

http://webapp.montcopa.org/health/Inspections/InspectionDates.asp?License=A12925

Maybe people who live with glass plates should not throw stones? Mantelmacher’s inspections aren't pristine are they?

Just sayin'

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It just occurred to me.  I'll be able to walk to the St. James.  For people like me, Mantelmacher's argument is just plain silly.

 

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Smiling good news. Wasserman and Schulson won their liquor license battle with Plate. there was never any doubt they would win. Plate just tried to get through another couple of months this summer without competition. big victory for consumers.

 

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http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20130127_The_Saint_James.html

 

Hhm, who's the b*tch now?  Sorry to dash all of your hopes. Plate is here to stay it seems.  

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In a bizzare twist of fate this only strengthens the hand Plate was dealt.   On another note the bad review by the Inky food critic is no real surprise, word of mouth has had it pegged that way also.

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Finding skilled restaurant workers in the burbs is "painful," says Schulson, whose Saint James kitchen had an 85 percent turnover in the first three months. But the problem is as much economic as geographic, he concedes, with line-cook wages only barely above what some say they'd receive in unemployment compensation.

Wait, so he doesn't want to pay higher salaries for skilled workers, and then complains about it being hard to find skiled people?

If that quote is indeed accurate, I'd question what this person is doing running a business.

 

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Dear Angela, work at Plate or something? Anyway, what the owner of Plate did to the folks at St. James wasn't right no matter what Craig LeBan said in his review. I am guessing from the reviews that St.James isn't any better than Plate in the end, which is a huge disappointment. haven't tried St. James yet, if they work out the kinks I might. however, my low opinion of Plate stands. incidentally stuck my head in the door of Plate recently when in Suburban Square and turned around and left- nothing had changed. And it still smells.

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The way I see it what the owner of plate did was protect his business (and yes, his staff!) in what is a severely difficult economic circumstance for any small business. However the media decided to spin it is on them. The animosity was not perpetuated by plate, or David, or any of his staff. In fact one of the owners of st James told David to go f*ck himself when David apologized (unnecessarily) for protecting his business. Alongside tweets from the administrator of st James twitter account that plate can "suck it". I'd say its just desserts.
I prefer to express my opinion of businesses by not supporting them. Rather than slander them on the Internet. And I hope that any other owner/boss I may work for in the future stands up and protects not only his business, but my income as well.

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The way I see it what the owner of plate did was protect his business (and yes, his staff!) in what is a severely difficult economic circumstance for any small business.

Wait wait wait.

What about the staff who worked at St. James?  Don't they deserve do tbe protected too?  If not, what makes the employees at Plate restaurant special in this regard?

If you want to talk smack about St. James failing, feel free. You can certainly feel that way if you like. But to imply that a business trying to sabotage another business by interfering with their ability to get a liquor license is okay? That's just depraved.


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You ask me, they are both average and priced a tad high for the quality of food and service.

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