Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Ever-Changing Face of Philadelphia

It's the great privilege for those who walk places to become intimately familiar with a cityscape. So it was for me and Philadelphia, which I took stock of the whole three weeks I was able to walk and enjoy the city.

There's an especially high amount of noticeable turnover in the storefronts, particularly food-related ones. However, there isn't a lot of empty space which leads me to hope that this reflects nothing more than a healthy transition for an ever-evolving metropolis coming into its own young chic reputation one new casual yet expensive dining experience at a time.

Biggest noticeable changes for any Philaphiles:

Le Bec Fin gave up its exclusive "only 5 star restaurant in the city" status to become CASUAL DINING. WTF Monsieur Perrier?
Brasserie Perrier went out of business.
Susanna Foo is going out of business.
Striped Bass is now Butcher and Singer, though apparently still owned by Starr

Chaucer's is now an overpriced yuppie pub
Bleu on Rittenhouse is now the latest and greatest Starr spot called Parc (which admittedly is great)
Hausbrandt across from the office (on 15th and Walnut) is closed, sad!
The Mansion late-night club is something else

The WaWa on 18th and Chestnut closed, as did several others within the city. This was a big blow to my green-tea-and-free-ATM-seeking self.
My favorite falafel place (Philadelphia Falafel House) is gone
Latimer Deli is no longer owned by Mike Love and their reuben has definitely suffered

There are also notable holdouts, such as Rachel's Nosherie, Devon, Towne Pizza, the Rendezvous, and an unlikely vegetarian Chinese spot Siu Xing. It's an inevitability that things will change, especially in a city like Philadelphia which seems to make itself over every year. I'm glad to see that some old favorites stuck around but open to new places.

Every time I geared up to go to an old favorite I always braced myself: will it still be open? Every time it was is a pleasant relief; every time it wasn't I allowed myself a moment's nostalgia before deciding what to discover, or rediscover, next.

1 comment:

Desomniac said...

I hate to hear that a Reuben has suffered. Mmmmm Reuben. Now I know what I'm having for lunch!