Working Hard

We chronicle three local businesses that are making their way in the world:

Ryan Gooding reports on Hatboro’s Crooked Eye Brewery and Pub, a family-run business that started in a kitchen.

Marcelo Jauregui looks in on Miquel Gomez and his effort to run an old-fashioned  video store in Ardmore.

Kelsey Peart profiles the husband-and-wife team behind Creperie Bechamel in Wayne.

The Making of a Micro-Brewery

How one family went from brewing 5 gallons to 220 gallons of beer

By Ryan Gooding

Micro-breweries often conjure up a certain mental image: dimly lit, barrels disguised as tables, un-recognizable indie music wafting down from the house speakers – an almost hipster aesthetic.

The Crooked Eye Brewery defies those stereotypes.

Set back off of the main drag in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, the Crooked Eye sits quietly tucked adjacent to Silvio’s Deli and behind the Davidian Tattoo Studio.

Above the un-marked, windowless door — that looks more like a back-door than a main entrance, sits a sign: “Crooked Eye Brewery: For What Ales You”.

The brewery is not imposing, nor is it flashy.

Pulling the door open reveals, a large, fluorescently lit, almost colorless space.  Along the wall opposite the entrance, is the bar itself – completely normal save for its bare plywood side walls and white cinderblock backsplash.

“It’s brand new,” says co-owner Paul Hogan, gesturing towards the bar, “we just expanded it a couple weeks ago . . . big improvement over what it used to be.”

Hogan stretches out his arms, as if to demonstrate the size of the previous bar.

“Couldn’t have been much more than six or eight feet long,” he clarifies.  “Only sat three.”

Now, the L-shaped bar runs for nearly 20 feet and seats 13.

Crooked EyeAcross from the bar are four stainless steel tables – the kind of tables that might easily be confused with workbenches – and dozens more matching stools.

A garage door immediately to the left of the entrance serves not only as the bar’s only window during the winter time, but also as a makeshift outdoor bar in the summer months.

The floors are concrete, and dotted with industrial, floor-level drains.  The walls are unpainted, and almost completely devoid of hanging accoutrement.

“We’re going on our third year in the space,” Hogan said one recent Wednesday evening, during a visit to Crooked Eye, “and it’s never not been a work in progress.”

I’m not surprised.  Save for the bar itself, you might easily mistake the place as a workshop.

But, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

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The Last Picture Store

Ardmore’s Viva Video is a blast from the past

By Marcelo Jauregui

Monday: Dec. 7, 2015: 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Mere seconds have passed from the official store-opening time, and a customer has already pulled up in front of the back entrance of Ardmore’s Viva Video: The Last Picture Store.

Following right behind her is a man and child. Both walk briskly. The man’s shoulder-length hair is visible from a distance. He holds his son’s hand, pulling him along towards the store.

The woman hands Miguel Gomez an encased DVD before driving away. Gomez opens up the store and walks inside with his five-and-a-half year old son, Ash. Ash stays at the store with his father Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. when he gets dropped off at Kindergarten.

Ash runs around the store yelling excitedly about the large pile of movies that were

Miguel Gomez of Viva Video

Miguel Gomez of Viva Video

dropped off overnight. Gomez plugs in an auxiliary chord into his 4th generation iPod classic. Rock music immediately erupts from speakers around the store. Gomez helps Ash bring in the returned movies onto the counter.

“Oh, this one looks pretty cool,” says Ash.

“What’s that one?”


A huge smile runs over Gomez’s face. “How did you read that? Did you sound that one out? That’s the longest words you’ve ever sounded out, Ash!”

Ash takes me on a tour around the store. The store is somewhat divided into three spaces: one facing the parking lot, one facing the counter (this would be the middle of the store), and one facing Lancaster Avenue. The first space contains the DVDs on sale; the second, new releases; the third, everything else. The movies people ordered are in shelves behind the counter. Movie posters run throughout the store. Behind the counter are rankings written up on white boards and chalkboards: “Best Reviewed New Releases,” “Last Week’s Top Rentals.”

Salsa music is now playing as Ash shows me around. The first place he takes me to is the horror section. “I never watched this one, but my favorite one is probably The Evil Dead because my name is Ash.” Ash is the name of the main character of that film. Ash then leads me to the kids’ section. “I’m here a lot,” says Ash. He pulls out a few of his favorites: Garfield, Charlie Brown, G-Force. Ash points to a Harry Potter movie, questioning why it was in the kids section. We then start to talk about Harry Potter. “I have two of the books, but I didn’t read them because I don’t like books with no pictures,” states Ash.

We walk back to the counter. Before arriving, Ash quickly turns around and says, “Oh, one more thing, there are 14,000 movies here!”

Gomez chuckles. “I didn’t know he knew how many movies we had. He is correct.”

“You told me!”

“I know Ash! You have such a good memory, much better than mine.”

Ash goes to color near the back entrance. Gomez rushes over to the phone and answers. On the other line is a representative from The Ardmore Initiative, a business development bureau that provided Gomez with a job creation grant when he opened Viva Video.

Three years later, and Gomez is still keeping the place running. He is at the store Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 10.p.m. The store is open from 11a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. When Gomez is not working, his two partners in crime, Dan and Bryan, are at the store.

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The Little Creperie That Could

A husband and wife team work to make their small shop a success

By Kelsey Peart

Nestled in the corner of a half-residential, half-commercial cul-de-sac in the town of Wayne, Crêperie Béchamel serves up delicious and healthy crêpes.

The husband-and-wife team of Patrick and Jennifer Yasaitis work hard behind the counter, pumping out dozens of crêpes for hungry customers.

The small shop situated at the top of Louella Court. is a testament to the couple’s love for cooking and baking, letting Jennifer show off her skills as a pastry chef.

Jennifer and Patrick Yasaitis

Jennifer and Patrick Yasaitis

Although, the sweet crêpes are not their only specialty. The menu is divided into selections like breakfast, savory, kid friendly, dessert and classic sweet crêpes.

Patrick, of Bucks County, met Jennifer, of Delaware County, through mutual friends, “she was a friend-of-a-friend,” he says.

Their first date was at a crêperie in Philadelphia, which was–and still is–Patrick’s favorite food.

Now residing in Chesterbrook, not far from their crêperie, he says that they opened Crêperie Béchamel because “there weren’t a lot of places in the area where we could eat crepes the way we wanted.”

Jennifer had grown up and lived in Wayne so it feels “close to home. It’s our neighborhood.”

The crêperie has been open for three-and-a- half years, but “it hasn’t changed too, too much,” says Patrick. “You know, we are just trying to make things a little bit better. You get a little busier every day, every month. We have a lot of regulars we see a lot of the time, which is great. We improve as we can.”

 Saturday busyness

On Saturdays, Crêperie Béchamel is packed. The tables are full and Jennifer’s actions are visible behind a short, glass divider, all the customers watch as they share gossip, catch up and chat.

Jennifer works methodically, pouring batter onto the crêpe pans. She pours a large dollop in the center, spreads it evenly and waits. Flips the crêpe with a thin, long spatula and waits.

In the back, less visible, Patrick cooks the ingredients that will be folded into the crêpes. From the veggies to the meats, he prepares the gooey fillings and delivers them in silver bowls to Jennifer.

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