Blue Bear Tavern, the restaurant and bar that’s been coming along slowly over the past year in the space that once housed Doc Watson’s Pub near 11th and Locust streets, quietly opened last Friday night. The owner is Bob DeBolt, former CEO of Vesper Hospitality Management, the company that we told you was behind Zavino and at onetime was partnering with Jose Garces to bring Frohmans Wurtshaus to life. Running the kitchen is Billy Gilbo, who previously fronted Union Trust and was once on-deck to oversee culinary operations at the now dead American Oak project. Xavier Mariezcurrena and Tony Aiazzi from hospitality consultancy WorkShop Kitchen are helping out with menu and cocktail list development.
For the time being Blue Bear will be open, serving a limited menu. Mariezcurrena said it’s designed as a introductory bill of fare to whet guests of a more elaborate menu that will debut with the tavern’s grand opening on October 14.
Meanwhile, DeBolt and former partners in Vesper are working on plans to divest the company of Zavino, and WorkShop Kitchen is developing the food and beverage programs for a new hotel project called CommRow in Reno, NV.
Blue Bear Tavern, 216 S 11th Street, (215) 922-3427