It’s never pleasant to write about the demise of any restaurant, whether new ones that never took hold or longtime favorites in a time of crisis.
Earlier this week, Philly’s culinary community got word that both the decade-old Dmitri’s outpost in Queen Village and the Gayborhood’s Maison 208 were closing up shop. While Dmitri’s might not be gone for good, Maison is sadly done-done-done.
The newbie first: a little over two years ago – and after countless stops and starts – Maison 208 opened at 208 South 13th Street. Though currently owned and operated by Herb Reid, it was started by one-time Tashan executive chef and Top Chef 2014 contestant Sylva Senat. Together with Maze Hospitality, Senat’s 208, with its groovy retractable roof and French-inspired menu, looked like a winner. Until it wasn’t, and Senat left the restaurant group in 2018.
The 208 space has long been weirdly troubled what with fires and break-ins, and of course, the fact that it was very nearly Jose Garces’ weiner joint long before Senat took it over. Get that address a smudge stick soon, and let’s get to work finding another worthy tenant.
Worthy? Wonderful? If you ever hit Dmitri’s — Queen Village’s 30 plus-year-old Greek BYOB seafood restaurant — you know those are apt adjectives, especially if you’re discussing the best octopus dining on the planet. Long owned by Dmitri Chimes, the man also behind Dmitri’s Northern Liberties location (currently being rehabbed, that will re-open in December), the Queen Village spot suffers from structural problems that need to be seriously addressed and repaired before any consideration of re-opening occurs at that Catharine Street address. Mike Klein at the Inquirer mentioned too, in his recent story, that Chimes “has been having trouble finding qualified kitchen help.”
This is not the first time I have heard this – Monsu in the Italian Market, a Sicilian-inspired BYOB from chef-owner Peter McAndrews shuttered as he had long claimed not to be able to find the staff he needed to go on.