Le Bus Stops Here

Timber Lane resident reboots his legendary restaurant with a new spin for the Falls.  Now OPEN to rave reviews. 

If you haven’t seen the Philly.com article yet — heads up! Le Bus Bistro will be bringing homey American cuisine to the corner of Ridge and Midvale, in the space vacated when Johnny Manana’s closed last November. (UPDATE FEB 2018 — LeBus East Falls is open!)

What the piece doesn’t tell you, though, is that East Falls’ rumor mill was onto this scoop weeks ago. In fact, a neighbor on Nextdoor kinda goaded Le Bus owner (and Fallser) David Braverman into confirming his intentions and coughing up some details. Which we shall blab here…

Quick backstory: this winter, the neighborhood was rife with rumors and speculation about what’s replacing Manana’s. First we heard it was going to be local taco joint, then a gastro-pub, then an old-school diner, then a dive bar… whatever. A few weeks ago, though, the same name kept buzzing around & around: Le Bus.

You know Le Bus? It’s a cute restaurant in Manayunk but that’s actually a totally different owner. There’s a connection though: David started that restaurant, then in 2003 he sold it to focus on becoming a very successful commercial artisan bakery operation (whose breads/bagels/pastries are still featured at Winnie’s spin-off).

BTW, David lives on Timber Lane (off Schoolhouse), where a sign on his front lawn used to perplex me…

Anyway, last week a neighbor posted “LeBus to the vacant Mananas Location?” on Nextdoor’s community forum, and within minutes, David Braverman confirmed his plans to open “Le Bus Bistro” this Summer (although it’s Fall now & construction is still underway):

“…I’ve spent the last month full-time in my Timber lane test-kitchen, working on ideas, testing recipes, cooking meals for Isa, my kids, relatives, and friends, each of whom have gained roughly 10 pounds,” he said in an open letter to East Falls.

“LeBus Bistro…will serve American regional home-style food, simple, fresh, abundant, affordable.” The restaurant hopes to open mid-summer 2017 for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch featuring the breads & desserts that Le Bus is famous for.

Neighbor reactions ranged from delighted to over-the-moon. Perhaps Nadya Popil spoke for many of us, “This literally just made my day! I absolutely cannot wait! Welcome to East Falls!”

Local businesses concurred. “Congrats and welcome to the EF business district!” commented Conrad Street realtor Heather Petrone-Shook, “Maybe you can turn that chili pepper into a croissant?”

Don’t laugh! Fallsers seem to have strong opinions about what should replace Johnny Manana’s iconic giant chili pepper — or if it should stay as it is:

“Take down the pepper, please. Burn it or donate it to the Mummers.” — Edan Cohen

“I like the pepper it is a landmark and… it adds a bit of whimsy.”  — Niki Niksa

“I hope you keep the pepper! I like the croissant idea, too.”  — John Biando

“Rumor has it that a giant streaming cup of La Columbe coffee will be painted in the intersection over the shamrock for the grand opening.”  — Gary Chalpaty

“I don’t care if he hangs a croissant off the front, I look forward to gaining 10 lbs as well…”  — Paul Kleschick

Even David chimed in, admitting he sees no reason to take down the pepper. But he likes the croissant idea, too — in fact, his daughter majors in sculpture at Franklin & Marshall College, and has already offered to create a croissant to hang above the entrance on Indian Queen Lane. Maybe he could go bigger? He’s actually checking with his landlord.

Meanwhile, after fifteen years of baking, David’s eager to get back into the restaurant business with the new Le Bus Bistro at Ridge and Midvale. “Restaurants are so different from commercial baking. It’s instant gratification. You feed people and they leave happy.”

Judging from neighborhood buzz, David’s making people happy already. Exciting news for East Falls! Can’t wait for more details as we head towards opening day…


  1. Very much looking forward to this addition to the neighborhood. Supporting the local restaurants and bars has added 20 pounds for me but I’m not complaining.

  2. I absolutely love this idea and cannot wait til it opens and is settled. I’m excited, we needed something new in East Falls!

  3. I attended an invitation only lunch at LeBus East Falls today and had a fabulous meal and an awesome experience. Their Grand Opening is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 7th. Fallsers you’re in for a real treat!

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