Johnny Manana’s is gone, but Gina Snyder of the EFDC believes the future looks bright at the corner of Ridge and Midvale.
“What’s going on at Ridge and Midvale?” We’ve heard that question a lot after the news that Johnny Manana’s closed recently, after 15 years in the Falls. My answer is always the same – the future looks good at that corner! The closing of Manana’s has opened up an opportunity for a new eatery to take its place.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Manana’s was a great thing for East Falls. The business was attractive, well lit and always seemed to have customers smiling and having a good time. The outdoor café seating sent a positive message about the neighborhood.
But the business had its ups and downs. In its last year, Tim Bonnie, the owner, filed for bankruptcy reorganization (ultimately dropped). This gave a number of eateries the opportunity to tell the owner that they wanted to take the space.
I have spoken with a number of possible restaurants. They are talking with the building owner and he is negotiating the future of the space. Something good will come out of this.
By way of history, when I moved to East Falls in 2001, that corner had a closed up check cashing business with metal gates. It was depressing. When Manana’s owner, Tim Bonnie, opened the business, it poured light and life into the intersection. Huge windows demonstrated that it was a new day in East Falls.
Mark Sherman and Dan Bernstein were investors of several properties on Ridge and Midvale Avenues. They spruced up the properties with great paint colors and brought in food businesses to liven up the Riverfront Business District (RBD). Manana’s was one of those investments that truly changed the feel of the RBD.
Recently, Mark Sherman sold the business to Rafi Licht, who has been participating in the RBD and working with other investors to improve the area. Our Business Improvement Team (BIT) now pays for sidewalk cleaning three times per week.
I have every confidence that Rafi will find a great tenant with a good business plan who will also be an active participant in the BIT. We will see a new eatery there operated by an experienced food business who is invested in the neighborhood.
We’re sad to see Manana’s go, but are excited by the possibilities. It’s a new day, East Falls!
Gina Snyder is Executive Director of the East Falls Development Corporation, a non-profit entity dedicated to community-based economic development for the benefit of East Falls.