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Guppy’s Good Times, the Conshohocken tavern known as much for its support of local charities as its selection of all-local beers and free-range burgers, is opening a location in Philadelphia.
It will go into the space at the corner of 8th and Fitzwater in Bella Vista, which has sat vacant since Jason Evenchik shuttered La Casa de tu Madre last October.
“This came out of nowhere,” said proprietor Robin Gupta, “but the deal was brought to me, and I just like that area. I think Guppy’s is a really good feel for that area.”
Expect a lot of local-only beers on tap — potentially 36, as Gupta is still working out the details of the new draft system he’ll install — plus standards in bottles.
The food menu will be very similar to what’s offered at the Conshy location, with a few more more salads and healthy entrees. That means burgers, wraps and cheesesteaks (all meat at Guppy’s is from local farms and raised free-range and without antibiotics), plus bar snacks like nachos, tacos, fries and wings. There’s also poutine with real cheese curds from Wisconsin, a tip of the hat to Gupta’s upbringing in Montreal.
There may also be sushi, depending on how chef Itoh Shiro, who runs the successful sushi program in Conshohocken, feels about handling a second location.
Prices at the Philly spot should come in very close to what they are in the burbs, despite “all these Philly taxes and permits,” Gupta said. “I’m getting a crash course on all this from my accountant right now.”
No big renovations are planned for the interior, other than a paint job (think soft, subtle blues, grays and browns) and some new furniture, plus a bunch more TVs and games like darts. The downstairs space, previously a game room of sorts, will be converted into a private dining area.
Gupta, 45, opened Guppy’s in 2005 as a side project, but after the real estate crash decimated his mortgage business, he embraced it as his main livelihood. He became known for participating in community events and hosting fundraisers, and the bar flourished. In 2013, he opened a Guppy’s in East Norriton — but last year sold it to a different family.
“I never thought I was gonna open another one,” Gupta admitted. His plan instead was to concentrate on his budding cryotherapy franchise, Orange Cryo Wellness, which recently opened up shop in Northern Liberties. But then the Bella Vista location came calling.
To run it, he’ll rely partly on longtime manager Melissa Rascon, who will be a part-owner of the new outpost.
Guppy’s South — “We’re adding a really small ‘South’ to the logo,” Gupta said — will start with dinner seven days a week, plus brunch on weekends. A planned Bloody Mary bar will feature a hundred or so hot sauces, plus lots of toppings like shrimp and bacon.
Gupta plans to expand the philanthropic model that helped make his bar into a household name in Conshohocken.
“We started helping out with community events just because it was a good thing to do,” Gupta said, “but it worked out well.”
He also participates in Feeding America’s 100 Million More Meals Challenge, with a portion of proceeds from designated menu items (and all cryotherapy sessions) going to the national hunger relief organization. After joining halfway through last year, Gupta said he donated enough to provide more than 300,000 meals; his goal for 2017 is to get over a million.
Look for Guppy’s in Bella Vista to be open before St. Patrick’s Day.