Harbor East Deli is expected to open this weekend in the storefront occupied ever so briefly by Elevation Burger.
Alex Smith, grandson of Harbor East godfather John Paterakis, is opening the restaurant with two partners.
Smith was a partner in Elevation Burger, the grass-fed burger restaurant that came and went in the space of nine months.
"I had a falling out with the franchise company," Smith said of his last venture. Namely, he said, Elevation HQ did not allow him to play background music, sell beer or wine, or have televisions in the dining area.
"When you have a franchise company that's not willing to work with you, not willing to learn, it's time to move on," he said. Smith invoked some McDonald's history, something he's familiar with since Grandpa bakes buns for the chain. "Franchisees proposed the Big Mac, proposed the salad, the wraps."
And so, at Smith's new venture, there will be music, beer, wine and liquor, and 10 plasma TVs.
The new place will have one thing in common with Elevation: an affordable menu, at least compared to the fine-dining options that dominate that upscale corner of town.
There will be burgers, whole pizzas and pizza by the slice, deli sandwiches, lamb and chicken gyros, streamed and fried shrimp, and nine different types of cheese steak. I don't have all the prices, but the sandwiches start at $6.50.
Because Elevation was a franchise, Smith could not use any of the fixtures from the old restaurant. He said the space has been completely renovated and has 91 seats, up from 41. There will be 40 additional seats on the sidewalk.
"Anybody who ever ate at Elevation Burger will never know it existed," he said. "There is not a spec of Elevation in here."
No spec of Elevation in this deli. Photo courtesy of Alex Smith