Barbed Wire

The Abington suburbs – a.k.a. the area’s epicenter of all things gentrified and affluent – once again seems to be swinging its pendulum back to its hipster, scenester roots thanks to the soon-to-be opened Be Life Café and Marketplace at 639 Northern Boulevard in Chinchilla.

Located where area restaurateur Vinny Lam – he of Blu Wasabi and Kyoto fame – formerly dished out Shabu Shabu (a Japanese version of hot pot), the esoteric eatery simply boasts “opening soon” on its newly hung signage as vegan elves seem to be re-doing its groovy interior well after the midnight hour.

Like the enigmatic Wonka factory, no one seems to go in or out, but big things are happening at the corner locale.

Just up State Street, the newly opened Jaya Studio has fitness enthusiasts rolling out their yoga mats in droves, while the area’s tragically hip have been crowding nearby Duffy’s Coffee House, where original music and open mic nights are served up alongside daily homemade quiche and Ethiopian Tchembe.

By the way, musician Mike Dillon will be strumming his six-string at Duffy’s this Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.

These new kids on the NPR listening block are joining granola crunching, tree hugging colonists like Everything Natural and Sole to Soul Shoes (where Birkenstocks and Dansko Clogs roam free) in their efforts to transform the bustling downtown shopping area into Clarks Green-wich Village.

Gag me with a neti pot.

To those who oppose these high-in fiber, low-in-fat vegetarian communists, fret not. We’ll always have the State Street Grille in order to down our favorite martinis, Lee’s Denim Diner in order to don the most decadent designer jeans, and Treat Accessories to forever dip ourselves in beloved bling. Let the revolution begin.

Meanwhile, yours truly harkened back to my Sicilian roots up Dunmore way this past Friday night as I devoured a most delicious repast dished up by celebrity chef Billy Genovese at the fabulous Italian eatery Gubbio’s, located on Chestnut Street. A veritable who’s who of the area’s most influential movers and shakers can be found bending elbow and raising fork at Gubbio’s on a regular basis and for good cause: Billy’s epicurean delights cannot not be ignored. No matter how many dietary New Year’s resolutions I make, it appears I just can’t quit him.

But what galloping gourmand would want to?

Besides, I’d rather die happy after downing a plate of his signature fried calamari washed down with a supersized cosmo rather than live forever on plankton and protein shakes.

Gubbio’s loquacious silent partner – Dr. Elmo Baldassari – held court in the bustling bar area Friday night, chatting up the likes of the bubbly Butchie Bistocchi, also known as that delicious dish who served up his own delectable vittles at the famed and former Angelo Bistocchi’s Restaurant, also up Dunmore way.

Photographer to the stars, A.J. Sandone, was also in the Gubbio house along with his gorgeous missus, Evelyn, and their beautiful baby girl.

Meanwhile, from over the rim of my absolutely delightful Absolut martini, I caught Times-Tribune Lifestyles Editor Faith Golay in my cross-hairs as she waxed nostalgic with a table-full of her gorgeous West Scranton gal pals including Kristin Janes Yeager, Rosemary Egan Tabone, Megan Duffy, Rosey Duffy DeAntona, Laurie Evans Kucharski and Dawn Doria O’Connor, who brought along her hunky hubbie, Chris, for good measure.

Those West Siders seemed to be having a hot time in Dunmore town that night, thanks to fine food, fabulous friends and a few rounds purchased by Dr. Baldassari. Smooches gracias to you, my good doctor.