Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Three, Two, None for Maia

I don’t have much in the way of specific details but I have it on good authority that Maia, the monstrous market/café/restaurant combo opened in Villanova in mid-2008, has officially closed its upstairs fine dining room.

Apparently, a three-bell review from the Philadelphia Inquirer – usually a near guarantee of success – wasn’t enough to smooth the way between a troubled economy and the ever fickle Main Line. Maia's subsequent demotion to two bells in Laban’s year-end review can’t have helped.

The downstairs café and bistro areas at Maia remain open, at least for now.

Various rumors of Maia’s demise have been rampant for months now; with some saying the market portion of the business would go first; others, that the upstairs fine dining room would indeed close; and others still that the whole joint doesn’t have much life left. The writing has certainly been on the wall given the recent departure of Chef Terence Feury, who is now heading up the kitchen at Old City’s Fork.

Given the incredible scale of the venture, one could easily go so far as to say the writing has been on the wall from day one. Whatever your feelings about Maia, though, there’s no debating the closing of its flagship dining room deals a significant blow to the Main Line’s constantly struggling dining scene.

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Past reviews of Maia:

Addendum (18 March):

Michael Klein reports at The Insider that the closing may just be for a few months, while the owners "reconceptualize" the upstairs space. Time will tell....


Tim said...

Not a good sign of things to come. I've had a few good meals in the bistro section, but haven't been back (by chance, not design) since Terence Feury left. That space is a killer - the previous tenant, a supermarket, didn't last a year.

TWG said...

too large

David McDuff said...

Definitely too large, Tom. That's been one of the problems since the beginning. Too many choices and too many identities under one roof.

And you're right, Tim, the space certainly doesn't help. No visibility from the road, an exterior that looks like an add mix between a corporate park and a strip mall....

My guess is that the reconceptualization mentioned by Michael Klein (see the addendum below my original post) will likely turn out to be a divestiture of the upstairs space to different owners. As I said, time will tell.

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