New businesses at 44th and Penn, Things are happening despite the pandemic

General Manager Michael Harmon, a big fan of the Alien Franchise, poses with an Alien in front of comics in the store.

This article was written by Connor Cummiskey

Two new businesses have setup shop near the intersection of 44th Avenue and Penn Avenues.

If you need to get out of the cold, Hot Comics and Collectibles officially moved into the location November 1, 2020.

“We are your one-stop shop for all of your nerdy needs and wants,” General Manger Michael Harmon said. “We are a comic books store, a collectible toys store a gaming store – specifically card games Magic (the Gathering) and Pokemon.”

The store strives to have an open, friendly and non-judgmental atmosphere for its customers, Harmon said.

One of three locations, this store moved from New Hope. The proximity of the new location was good for the store, because moving too far can alienate their existing customer base, according to Harmon.

Hot Comics was looking for a new place once its old lease ran out. One of Harmon’s business partners previously owned the current location. Hot Comics arranged to purchase it from him, Harmon said.

“It was important to us to be in a neighborhood, to be some place with a sense of community,” Harmon said.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hot Comics had offered tournaments for card games. They are currently working on trying to restart tournaments possibly as soon as April, Harmon said.

“In-store gaming has been a big part of our stores in the past and it will be again as soon as we can, you know, ensure we are doing it safely and responsibly,” Harmon said.

In the spring the store hopes to host a grand re-opening barbecue. The store has a large garage door it can open to host open air events, according to Harmon.

For more info go to hotcomicsandcollectibles.com, or checkout their Facebook page.

A bite to eat down the street

Just down the block from Hot Comics is The Pickles Cafe, a new restaurant and catering service that moved into the space previously occupied by Emily’s diner.

The restaurant bought Emily’s Cafe about a year ago, and ran it until recently when Pickles’ lease was up, owner Gabby Ghani said.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on it, Pickles got through the pandemic so far thanks to  paycheck protection program loans from the government and what they had managed to save up before, Ghani said.

But things are still a struggle these days in the hospitality industry. “Right now a lot of people don’t want to go out to eat,” Ghani said.

There are not a lot of catering deals for Pickle’s either, excepting funerals.

While the restaurant offers a variety of breakfast foods as well as burgers and sandwiches, one of its specialties is Italian food.

“We do authentic southern Italian cooking,” Ghani said.

Most everything that Pickles serves either in-store or for catering is made in house, according to Ghani.

On Wednesday nights the catering service will be offering pop-up Little Italy nights.

 The restaurant started offering pop-up Friday fish fries starting at the end of February. If there is enough interest, the restaurant could offer Friday fish fries every Friday all year long.

For more info on catering go to thepicklescafe.com.