KENNETT SQUARE >> Portabello’s, the State Street restaurant that has achieved regional acclaim under Chef Brett Hulbert, is moving to a larger building complex to accommodate the growing patronage and popularity.
On May 7, represented by the owners of the destination building Geoff and Larry Bosley, Portabello’s announced a relocation to the old Enzo’s Pizza and adjacent old Kennett Paper (and dance studio) facilities at 108 and 110 East State Street from its current place at 115 West State Street.
The move is scheduled to occur this summer.
Geoff Bosley stated in his announcement that they don’t have enough room for the growth they are experiencing now. He also said the new site would provide more jobs and be an anchor in what is a now revolving door of occupants.
In connection with the expansion, the members of the Kennett Square Council unanimously approved advertising a public hearing on Portabello’s request to buy the liquor license formerly held by Fire Hill (formerly Brown Derby) in Toughkenamon and to receive parking relief from the requirement that they provide more places for customers.
The sites at the 108 and 110 addresses are now approved for 46 places, but with the planned expansions, the zoning rule is 53.
As justification for the parking relief, Geoff Bosley said — and the council members agreed — that the majority of the patrons use the restaurant after working hours when there is increased space in the borough parking garage at those times.
As for the work of the move, Hulbert, along with his wife and partner, Sandy Morris, said they are not awed by the enormity of a task.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Morris said.
Hulbert said being in a bigger facility will offer increased space and flexibility for seating and that there will be the opportunity for expansion of the menu.
The kitchen and chef-side dining is planned to be in the west side (old Enzo Pizza side) of the building with access created to the large, new dining room in the east side.
There will be five dining areas as well as a private dining room.
The expansion, Hulbert said, runs parallel with the growing popularity of Kennett Square as a tourist destination and vibrant town. He is pleased that Portobello’s is one of several restaurants that attract a variety of interests and offer different dining experiences.
During audience comment on the resolutions in the meeting, it was suggested a liquor license would tend to identify Kennett Square with alcoholic beverages.
Portobello’s is now a BYOB restaurant. Hulbert said just the opposite is true — that a liquor license gives the restaurant control over the drinking. He also said the future site of Portobello’s, like the present, will not have a bar.
The council members also spent significant time discussing a resolution which would establish the extent to which the meetings were to be run by Roberts Rules of Order. The meetings already follow the format, but the dialogue centered on how strictly discussion of issues should be influenced by the regulations.
Councillor Doug Doerfler said that with strict parliamentary enforcement, “We might lose the consensus (of discussions). We might be walking down the wrong path if we vote to establish this.”
But Wayne Braffman spoke in favor saying, “We are in the process of establishing that all members have equal voices.”
He called it an increase in transparency.
The motion passed.