January 25, 2017

New Stores, Restaurants Join Princeton Scene; Cargot to Open Next to Dinky Pub in Late Spring

DAZZLING DESIGNS: Among the many new retail and eating establishments coming onto the Princeton scene this spring is the Cargot Brasserie, a French inspired eatery next to the Dinky Pub and Kitchen, shown here in a rendering by Celano Design Studio of New York.

The ever-shifting landscape of Princeton shops and restaurants may be even more turbulent than usual over the coming months, with Carnevale Plaza preparing to open on eastern Nassau Street, MAC Cosmetics moving in to Palmer Square next to Ann Taylor, The Papery stationery store relocating to Princeton Shopping Center to be joined by Dental Care Princeton and a creative salad company called Chop’t, and the Cargot Brasserie opening in Princeton’s arts and transit neighborhood. 

Planning a convivial atmosphere and simple service, Cargot, across from McCarter Theatre and next to the Dinky Bar and Kitchen, which opened six moths ago, will seat 165 inside (including 15 at the bar) and 65 outside on its patio. “Cargot will serve delicious, French-inspired, approachable food,” a press release reads, “and will offer a seasonally changing menu of classic brasserie fare including Steak Frites, Escargot, Moules Frites, Steak Tartare, and more.”

The name is derived from a French dish — shrimp or lobster cargot — but is also punning on the building’s past as freight and cargo site for the old train station.

Run by Fenwick Hospitality Group, which also operates the Dinky Bar and Kitchen, Agricola, Main Street Restaurant Group, and the Great Road Farm, Cargot Brasserie was designed by Delano Design Studio of New York.

Fenwick owner Jim Nawn commented, “The Dinky has been met with appreciation in the community, similar to Agricola, and based on the same experience of great food, service, and environment. But it alone is incomplete, as we move toward opening Cargot, which will offer a different but complementary experience, dining on French inspired fare throughout the day, in a bright and comfortable setting.”

Reflecting on the new arrivals coming to Princeton Shopping Center, Elizabeth Furnelli, managing director of Eden property management, stated, “It’s an exciting time at Princeton Shopping Center as we prepare to welcome several new partners throughout the spring.” She went on to mention The Papery, which is relocating from Palmer Square, Chop’t and Dental Care Princeton, stating, “We look forward to the new openings, which all continue to enhance our vibrant neighborhood.”

In response to a question about seven vacant store spaces at the shopping center, Eden’s Communication Manager Elizabeth Traynor declined to comment further, saying only, “We take a thoughtful approach to merchandising and look forward to that continuation at the Princeton Shopping Center.

Palmer Square Management marketing director Anita Fresolone reported on the addition of MAC Cosmetics at 11 Palmer Square West, and expressed optimism about several other possibilities, but would not provide further details. “We are currently working with a retail real estate company, MSC Retail, based in Philadelphia,“ she said. “With them, we are dealing with many prospects that would make great additions to the Square, but there is nothing we can announce right now.”

Ms. Fresolone would not comment further on nine vacancies in Palmer Square, but noted that stores had had a favorable holiday season and were excited for the year ahead. She added an invitation to “Palmer Square on Ice” on Saturday, February 4, with ice experts from Ice Sculpture Philly on hand with the creation of an Ice throne, an Ice Bar serving complimentary hot chocolate, an Ice Graffiti Wall, and a Live Demo at 1 p.m.

Palmer Square Management had no updates on the status of the former post office building that is slated for renovations in preparation to house the Triumph brew pub, which is currently located on Nassau Street.

Development on eastern Nassau Street is underway on the site of the former Davidson’s Grocery now called Carnevale Plaza. Pre-leasing has begun for a building containing 23 apartments and a roof top patio, with a TD Bank branch scheduled to open there by next June.

Gourmet food store Bon Appetit is awaiting permit approvals for a food kiosk on the plaza. Linda Fahmie, president of ROI Renovations and Development and developer and property manager of the site, described significant activity and interest in Carnevale Plaza. She noted that “eastern Nassau Street has become a destination, with offices, stores, and eateries, and the plaza will be another exciting addition to that.”

Other developments in Princeton include major renovations to what used to be the Army-Navy Store on Witherspoon Street, indications that Sante Integrative Pharmacy will be moving in to what used to be Morris Maple at 200 Nassau Street, and the recent opening of Elephant in the Room Design for consignment and retail furniture, home decor and more at Princeton North Shopping Center on 206.