Yesterday at 3 p.m., the bar in the Belfry - chef Celina Tio's casual saloon and coffee-bar concept adjacent to her seven-month-old Collection restaurant at 1532 Grand - was practically vibrating with activity: The concrete floor was being scrubbed; the bar, created out of old reclaimed wood panels, was polished; and all of the liquor was being stocked behind the bar. Last night, Tio was hosting the first of two soft openings (the second is tonight) for the Belfry before its official opening this weekend.
Tio says she's waiting until January 9 to host a "grand opening" for the Belfry and the Collection," but both venues will be open to the public until then.
Tio pointed to the state flag of Pennsylvania hanging on a pistachio-colored wall in a corner of the room, a former showroom for a plumbing supply company. The Belfry and the Collection are names taken from gathering places in the private boarding school in Pennsylvania that Tio attended as a youngster. Tio had hoped to open the Belfry soon after the Collection opened last summer, but construction delays slowed the process. Her first preview of the space was in November.
The very casual Belfry will feature two menus, both different from the Collection's menu. A breakfast menu, featuring grab-and-go dishes ordered at the counter, will be offered from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. A later menu will be offered at 2 p.m. Tio will offer coffee from Oddly Correct, the Broadway Cafe and the Roasterie (among others), but no fancy lattes or cappuccinos.
Regular customers who make the Belfry their favorite watering hole will be encouraged to buy a membership ($40 for the first year), which includes a personalized, etched specialty pint glass and discounted liquor rates on certain nights.