At a March meeting of the board, Newtown supervisors voted unanimously to give conditional approval to Ardana Food & Drink to open a new 6,700-square-foot restaurant at 2948 South Eagle Road.
The location of the site is the former Solstice restaurant in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center adjacent to other establishments such as Chipotle, MOD Pizza, and Iron Hill Restaurant & Brewery.
Joseph Blackburn, the attorney representing Ardana owners Michael and Antoni Christou, gave a brief description of the development. "In large respect, the operational components of the Ardana restaurant mirror or are in fact less intense than those that existed with respect to Solstice, particularly with respect to seating."
He continued, "This would be the second Ardana restaurant. Mr. Christou and his family have six restaurants, the other Ardana restaurant is presently operating in the Valley Square Shopping Center in Warrington. Mr. Christou is a Council Rock graduate, so this is a bit of a homecoming for him and his family."
The restaurant will have 250 seats, including 90 outdoors that can be used as weather allows. While the capacity is 250, both Blackburn and Mike Christou assured the board that the restaurant would likely never exceed roughly 160 patrons on any given night.
The restaurant will be open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
"This is a family-owned, Mediterranean restaurant. My family is from Cyprus, so pretty Greek-heavy with a lot of Italian food," said Mike Christou as he explained that the name Ardana comes from a village in Cyprus where his grandmother grew up.
"Personally, I grew up in Newtown, so I'm excited to come back, excited to take that space with a family-owned concept. We'll be lunch and dinner, a comfortable environment, and hopefully the type of place that everyone feels they can go to."
While mostly supportive of the proposal, a few members of the board had some minor concerns about parking and other issues. Chairman Dennis Fisher asked if the township could get a commitment that all Ardana employees would not park in front of the restaurant to free up space for customers in the shopping center.
Speaking for Christou, Blackburn responded, “It is certainly in the restaurant’s best interest not to have its employees taking up their prime parking spots. I think it’s fair to say that is something they would self-regulate.”
Supervisor Elen Snyder added, "That really worries me, the number of tables you're going to have and the lack of parking. I know you're going to be faced with that. It's a tough situation there, so have a plan." To address some of the parking concerns, Christou explained that there will be a valet service that Brixmore (shopping center owner) is setting up.
In the end, Supervisors Fisher, Snyder, Kyle Davis, and Phillip Calabro voted to approve the development. Supervisor John Mack was not present for the vote. There is no set date yet for Ardana's grand opening, but Christou said he hopes the restaurant will be open by the end of the month.