by Pete Mazzaccaro
Soon after news spread that Alma Mater had closed, property owner David Fellner sent word out that he had reopened the restaurant and music venue at 7165 Germantown Ave., rechristened it 7165, and intended to pursue more of a fine dining concept.
About two weeks ago, Fellner made good on the promise, hiring chef John Peralta, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and former executive chef at the Barnes Foundation’s Garden Restaurant. Peralta worked with Susana Foo and owned a high-end catering business in New York City.
Peralta said his vision for 7165 is “modern comfort food.” Diners at 7165 will find a tight, 12-item menu featuring shrimp and grits, Korean style chicken wings and brisket poutine. Prices are reasonable for the area with dinner dishes costing between $10 to $14.
“Our focus is on quality,” Peralta said. “We’re going to be sure to use the best possible ingredients, establish ourselves and expand the menu from there.”
In a Mt. Airy neighborhood already well stocked with well-known restaurants, from McMenamin’s pub and Earth Bread and Brewery to higher-end eateries like the Grain Exchange, Trattoria Moma and Jansen, Fellner and Peralta said they were aware they needed to do something different.
“We think we really set ourselves apart in several ways,” Fellner said. “We are the biggest restaurant in the neighborhood. And we intend to remain a music and entertainment venue.”
The stage at 7165, retained from the location’s initial run as a music venue called North By Northwest that attracted national touring acts, makes the location one of the best live music rooms in the area. It can host more than 150 patrons for dinner and music.
Fellner said the restaurant will also host other special events, including an election-night party in which results and news coverage will be projected to a large screen on the stage.
Peralta said that another new path for the restaurant will be catering and private parties. The downstairs, basement-level floor has a full kitchen and private dining area for events. He said he plans to expand takeout and off-location catering in the near future, too.
7165 is located at 7165 Germantown Ave. Phone is 267-437-2077. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 to 9 p.m.