18 Defunct Philly Restaurants Philadelphians Want Back
Just about everyday we’re hearing about new restaurants opening up or new menu changes which makes it a challange to keep up with Philadelphia’s lightening fast food scene. So it made us wonder, was Philly’s food scene just as good if not better in those yesteryears? Sure we didn’t have hipster menus, large craft beer selections or trendy food trucks but restaurants had to crank out top notch dishes with little promotion. For many on this list social media wasn’t a thing. Bloggers, well blogging as a word wasn’t invented yet during the heyday of many of these on the list but these now defunct Philly restaurants had patrons coming back over decades for more. For those nostalgic foodies looking to take a trip down memory lane we present 18 Defunct Philly Restaurants Philadelphians Want Back. Which is your favorite?
200 S. Broad
Perhaps Philly’s hippest yet chic jazz restaurant, Zanzibar Blue played host to a who’s who in jazz during its run from 1990 until it closed its doors in 2007. The food, the drinks and entertainment here were top notch. I can almost still taste the duck platter with apples.
So classic they had to put a historical marker a the site. Founded in 1940, Palumbo’s was near and dear to south Philly Italians as it was a banquet hall for hundreds of weddings and other special occasions. Unfortunately Palumbo’s succumbed to a fire that destroyed this community treasure.
Snockey’s Oyster & Crab House
1020 S. 2nd
One of the more recent yet saddest closings in Philadelphia’s restaurant history was this seafood gem in South Philly. After serving Philadelphians for a whopping 103 years Snockey’s closed its doors but the memories of this place will forever live on.
54th & City Ave.
The self titled “Finest in Chinese Cuisine,” was a weekend hotspot. Many Philadelphians may have thought of this restaurant as a classy take on Asian way out on City Ave. with the cool water fountain. It was definitely a pioneer in the Asian food scene.
Back when you could get full off of a few bucks, Taco House was a staple especially for the students who frequented this joint for the chili con queso and other Mexican fare.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
261 S. 21st
After 42 years of serving tasty American comfort food, Friday, Saturday, Sunday closed its doors last year. With an 4 star rating on Yelp and rave reviews this place is obviously sorely missed.
Le Bec Fin
Philadelphia’s first 5 star restaurant was this world renowned eatery founded by Georges Perrier. It’s French cuisine was the stuff of legends and as you can imagine the prices were the highest in town, which made it the hottest ticket during Restaurant Week.
After opening its doors in 1976, Commissary was considered a Philadelphia landmark among foodies back in the day. Unfortunately then owner Steve Poses stated that his restaurant suffered greatly after the food court in Liberty Place opened in 1991. Sales plummeted and this wildly popular joint closed its doors for good.
The late restaurateur Joseph V. DiLullo’s Italian eatery Dilullo Centro redefined Italian eating in Philadelphia with it’s scrumptious food and fancy decor. After opening in 1985 the restaurant continued even after Chef DiLullo’s sudden death in 1994. Eventually the restaurant underwent a name change in 2000 to Toto and is now home to Estia.
Classic American fare doesn’t sound like something you would go out of your way for, but Square Peg did more than a great job to bring cool twists to classic American dishes. Its cool atmosphere and menu selections are definitely missed by Philly foodies.
Back when Old City was still a nightclub hot spot, Tangerine had a decor that could rival any trendy lounge. A Stephen Starr product, Tangerine wowed customers with its decor and menu items. However, this hip place eventually closed its doors back in 2009.
4411 Main St.
A victim of Uncle Sam, Derek’s tax woes led to the demise of this Manayunk hot spot. American cuisine and the vodka bar was a big draw here as it was on of the more livelier spots along Main St.
The Old Original Bookbinder’s
Philadelphia’s elite, well-to-do and socialites gathered here at what is perhaps Philly’s most legendary restaurant. We’re sure many of you were scrolling through the list just to be sure we had it on here. Although many attempts were made including Jose Garces’ “Old Bar” the magic this place once had just cannot be replicated.
Philadelphia Fish & Co.
Now home to the trendy Mexican restaurant Lucha Cartel, Philadelphia Fish & Co. was a staple in Old City. The seafood was tasty, the atmosphere was perfect and the vibe was upbeat. Definitely wish we could have one more dish here.
Horn & Hardarts
54th & City Ave. | 818 Chestnut
Talk about a blast from the past. Horn & Hardarts was the first of its kind to offer cafeteria atmosphere with the futuristic wave of buying food through vending machines. Along with food on conveyor belts, this place was Jetson’esque but unfortunately it folded and so to did the many memories Philadelphians have of this joint.
Nodding Head Brewery
You’d walk right past it if you weren’t looking for it. However, once upstairs this unassuming place opens up to an actual brewery with actually really good food. The atmosphere was classic Philadelphia and the beer selection was what made this place a local favorite.
Front & Lombard
With sweeping views of the Delaware River, this chain restaurant became very popular with local Philadelphians. The wait was was usually long but worth it. The endless salad bar and drinks is what had patrons coming back.