Ah, spring — the time when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. It also happens to be the time when some Center Square residents turn to thoughts of “man, a beer and a sandwich on a local rooftop patio might be nice in the coming months.”
When encased-meat mecca Gene’s Sausage Shop opened in late 2009 and craft beer destination Fountainhead opened the following April, both promised rooftop destinations for patrons, complete with hot food and multiple beer and wine options. Since then, Gene’s and Fountainhead have flourished—but aside from a brief sneak-peek last year at Gene’s, neither have opened to the public yet.
Thankfully, that all changes this year. Both places tell CSJ they plan on remedying that situation over the course of the coming spring and summer. However, both representatives hesitate to give a definite opening date, for a number of reasons. Licensing, construction, landscaping and weather all play into when each will open.
Manager Yolanda Luczsz of Gene’s says that all their licensing is complete, construction was completed last year, and while they plan on opening some time in May, “It all depends on the weather,” she said.
“Everything is ready to go. I’m hesitant to give any dates – last year we kept saying month after month after month, but in the first warm period, we’ll be open.”
Gene’s rooftop will feature four rotating beers (focusing on German, craft and local offerings) and a menu of items like sausages, schnitzel, pierogi and kebab will come from their “grill hut.” Patrons will be able to drink and dine during normal business hours and will share space with a garden of herbs and tomatoes that Gene’s kitchen and deli staff will use to make their in-house specialties.
“We want to keep it real casual, very welcoming,” says Luczsz of the space.
Aaron Zacharias, managing partner of Fountainhead, says that their rooftop space isn’t as ready to go as Gene’s, but they’re still aiming for an early July / mid-summer opening if all goes well.
“We’re really psyched about it,” he says, adding that it’s going to be “a fully landscaped green oasis. A real getaway. We’re going to have some great wines up there, we want it to be a vacation.”
In addition to wine, the rooftop will naturally feature the well-curated craft beers aficionados have come to expect from Fountainhead. The menu will have some overlap from downstairs but patrons can also expect some patio-specific offerings. “We want to create a different experience geared for outside,” Zacharias said. “It’s gonna be very summer-centric.”