Tritone Officially Becomes The Cambridge On South Street Tonight

It was a sad day for many musicians and drinkers in Philadelphia when word came out last October that South Street dive bar/music venue Tritone was to close. Tritone was either an awesome or awful place to grab a drink or see a show, depending on your tastes, the volume of the band, and who was working the door. It was never a dining destination, though drunk food they did fairly well. Sometimes.

But as of tonight (actually as of 4 p.m.), Tritone is long gone, replaced by The Cambridge from Hawthornes’ Chris and Heather Fetfatzes. And if you’re looking for the beat up stage, the disintegrating walls and carpet, and that photo hanging on the wall of a girl puking in a parking lot, you will surely be disappointed.

The Fetfatzes have dramatically transformed the spot from dirty down-and-out dive to sophisticated tavern and moderately priced neighborhood eatery. (After all, Bob & Barbara’s is just across the street for anyone looking for a quintessential Philadelphia dive bar.) There’s enough reclaimed wood to build a yacht, and the backyard is lovely and has a distinct hidden away feeling. Tritone sort of had a backyard, but because it was a noisy music venue, the neighbors complained constantly, and seating out there was frequently restricted.

Whereas Tritone had not a single draft beer, Cambridge has 24 handles, with beers priced from $4.50 to $7. Tritone was always good for a cheap burger, which I’m pretty sure was only $4.50 at one time or another, while Cambridge’s house burger is $10. But the real winner looks like the $13 Porker Burger with its brined hand-ground pork, roasted long hots, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone, though some may prefer the $15 Cambridge Hall burger featuring dry aged beef, red wine poached pears and brie. The most expensive dish is the bone in lamb shank, topping out at $22.

As for the $3 Pabst-and-Jim Beam “Special” combo that the late former Tritone co-owner and longtime Philadelphia bartender Rick D. created and that Bob & Barbara’s serves a boatload of, that’s not available here anymore. “Bob and Barbara’s already does that really well,” says Chris, who likes to drink the Hammonton Smash, a $10 combination of Hendrick’s gin, simple syrup, lime juice, muddled cucumbers and blueberries, and a bit of mint.

And local bands hoping to get a gig should probably stick with Kung Fu Necktie. While Chris says he will probably book a couple of live music shows a month, he’s happy to be leaving the screaming guitars and irate neighbors in the past.

Cambridge Menus

Cambridge Menu ~ To Start and Salads (PDF)
Cambridge Menu ~ Burgers, Sandwiches, Mains (PDF)
Cambridge Menu ~ Sweets (PDF)
Cambridge Menu ~ Nightcaps (PDF)

Cambridge facade and backyard photos by Jason Bartlett

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  • Tonyjlive

    Sweet patio. It looks beautiful from the sidewalk, but that patio is a solid bonus. Glad to be a neighbor.

  • The Naive Neighbor

    Oh great, just what Philly needs: another faux British gastropub serving $15 dollar burgers and $10 cocktails. I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THEY ANNOUNCE A CRUMMY HAPPY HOUR.

  • Dan

    The problem here is that the Hawthorne’s people are involved. Their food is consistently underwhelming and their price to quality is always a bit poor. Beer prices should be cheaper too considering they are in the Bella Vista Beer Distributor family.

  • Andrew

    Hawthorne’s has help wanted ads on Craigslist now as much as Portifino used to (back when the ads were free). So, that tells me that either 1) their staff doesn’t make much money OR 2) that they are difficult to work for. Maybe it’s a combination of both.

  • apologiesinadvance

    Well, at least you’re not already jaded about a new restaurant that hasn’t even opened yet. Oh, wait..

  • The Naive Neighbor

    You probably didn’t mean to but you’re using jaded in exactly the right sense, i.e. “dulled or satiated by overindulgence”.

    We’re more than overindulged with this kind of restaurant in the city, and I doubt I’m the only one who’s going to pick someplace (anyplace) that offers more than this generic cookie cutter ‘counter casual’ menu and decor.

    Even if I was walking past I wouldn’t think “ooh, a sophisticated tavern” I would think “oh, another irish bar, greaaaat’.

    This isn’t some great condemnation of all things gastropub (I think the Institute is killing it) but Hawthornes folks please, try harder.

  • Apologiesinadvance

    Sweet dictionary quote..

    Seriously, you talk like it’s a freaking Olive Garden. God forbid, another place that (likely) makes a solid burger and serves good beer. Oh, the horror!

  • NameNotNeeded

    I’m super excited to try this place! Hopefully I can get in this weekend. Menu looks great. So many good options. Octopus sounds killer.

  • Jordan

    Dan.
    Your rant is tired and old. You say that over and over as to the fact that you have no clue about. A. Pricing and B. where people actually purchase product from.

    Get a clue and find a new rant.

  • Apathyinadvance

    I’m not horrified but how can this strike you as anything but a waste – let’s shut down an interesting and unique venue to open another tired gastropub that ‘makes a solid burger and serves good beer’ with all the flair and creativity of an airport bar. No attempt at reaching out to local artists, an open disdain for local music and nothing about sourcing local ingredients.

    You’re right, it’s not an olive garden, but it’s about as exciting as one.

  • Jimmy

    You people crack me up.

  • hawt dawgs

    Went to their soft opening night during Beer Week. Food was free, which is always a bonus, but was also delicious, tastier than what I’ve had at Hawthornes. Tap list was showcasing a new-to-Philly brewery, can’t remember the name, but remember it was also tasty. Patio was an amazing space. I look forward to trying them out again now that they’re open for real.

  • apologiesinadvance

    Hate to say it, but there’s little use for “local artists” at a functioning restaurant, except as servers. And if enough people actually cared about the “interesting and unique venue,” Tritone’s would still be there.

    And do you really want to talk about unique concepts and “local ingredients?” Farm to table (natch) restaurants are verging on gastropub-level market oversaturation. You’re just not bitching about them yet, as it’s still somewhat trendy – give it 2 years, and you’ll be posting the same complaints about the newest place serving local microgreens and some NJ corn and tomatoes at the end of summer.

  • no

    @apologiesinadvance: I do have to agree with what you say about Tritone not working out. Its a shame, but that’s just how it is.

    But by your own admission, we ARE oversaturated with gastropubs, and yeah, we probably WILL complain about whatever we are oversaturated with two years from now. What exactly is your point? That we shouldn’t complain on the internet? That’s what the internet is FOR (that and pr0n).

    Look, if Cambridge had a webpage we could preview the menu, that might help change our collective minds a LOT – maybe we have the place all wrong. As it stands, I wouldn’t even consider going here because I don’t know if my vegetarian gf could eat much, nor do I have any idea if I could even afford to eat here.

  • Internet101

    @ No: You aren’t very good at the Internet, are you?

    http://www.cambridgeonsouth.com/

    And for those who lament the loss of Tritone, I would suggest that it is a direct result in the change of the South Street area. The new residents in the neighborhood, to the best of my knowledge, did not frequent Tritone.

    Besides, there are now many places in Philly with live music.

  • apologiesinadvance

    Really not trying to defend them, specifically, as I have no dog in this fight.. but the kneejerk, “this place isn’t as cool as I want it to be” negativity is just crushing on this site sometimes. I mean, the place wasn’t even open yet, and the bitterness just started flowing. And, honestly, watching (some of the same) folks direct the same sort of negativity on Meme when the closure was announced was just nausea-inducing.

    I blame the decline of civil restaurant discussion on Matt Schwartz.. or something.

  • Steve

    You people crack me up…I love how one said, “let’s shut down a unique venue to open up another gastropub”….the Hawthorne’s folks did not do some hostile take over. The fact is The Tritone was not doing well and that’s because it was a shite bar! Their staff was rude, the acts they booked were often terrible, their food was inconsistent and the place was a dive in the worst way possible (I like dive bars, but Tritone was just filthy). I’m sure there were people who loved it for the above reasons…but clearly not nearly enough for them to make money to stay open. So let’s stop mourning Tritone as if it were some shining beacon. If it were, then it would be thriving and still open. I can’t wait to try the Cambridge and see what they have done with the place.

  • Internet101

    Another thing: Let’s look at this new restaurant as a victory for South Street. We now have between 18th and Broad:

    Vegetarian
    Gluten-free bakery
    Mexican
    Indian
    Thai
    Bob and Barbara’s
    Jamaican
    Southern-inspired (Rex 1516)
    Pizza
    Italian
    Gastropubs
    Wine bar
    One of the best BYOs in the city (Pumpkin)
    Pure Fare

    In a way, The Cambridge is the only gastropub in the area.

  • Alex

    I’m happy there’s another decent sounding place to eat in the area and I wish them luck…. But to be fair, the area is not just South Street, there’s plenty of gastropubby places already… Pub and Kitchen, Grace, the Sidecar, and Resurection are all in Grad-Hosp and just as close are Good Dog, Misconduct, and Monk’s. The menu looks decent and considering it’s connected to bella vista I’m sure the beer selection will be killer. I do hope the food is better than Hawthorne’s, it’s never been bad but it’s never blown me away either considering the price point.

    The food scene’s like any other, if Philly’s indeed oversaturated with these sort of restaurants (which it likely is), supply/demand says the lesser one’s should go under and make way for better spots. A bit more competition is never a bad thing. And to the one(s) complaining (can’t tell if it’s indeed multiple users or just one with multiple user names), your credibility is sort of shot if you really think the Institute is the best in the city… decent but certainly not even top 5. The Royal, Khyber, Resurrection, Standard, and SPTR are all superior IMO.

  • Apathyinadvance

    It’s not so much mourning the Tritone, (free market economy, if they can’t survive then so be it) but disappointment at something unique being replaced by the exact opposite – did they just copy and paste the Dandelion and hope it was far enough away that nobody would notice?

    More competition is all well and good, but the whole point of comments sections is to express an opinion – if I thought they were doing something great, I would say it (like the institute, nobody said it’s the best in the city but they just got a new chef and he’s changing up the menu in great ways) but I think they’re boring and about five years too late, so I have few qualms in saying so. If people were complaining about how they didn’t like Meme, maybe it’s because they didn’t like Meme? Is that not okay?

  • Guest

    You people crack me up. There, somebody had to say it.

  • gonzo

    It’s not a copy / paste of Dandelion at all…

  • LikeACharm

    And like that The Cambridge has over 20 postings in the comment section. Whether the haters realize it or not, this restaurant is the hottest buzz of the week.
    This place will be an excellent addition to South St. Some friends went last night and said the pork burger is already up there as one of the best beer friendly sandwiches in the city. Hopefully I can get one Saturday night.

  • barryg

    lol @ copy and paste of Dandelion. The menu has, I think, zero items in common if you don’t count a hamburger. It has a British sounding name and that is where the similarities end. The reality is that while the gastropub market is crowded, the area around 15th & South really isn’t. The closest competition–Good Dog and Monk’s are packed all the time. I for one welcome this menu at this location. I was hoping Rex would fill this need but the menu just doesn’t do it for a casual night out.

  • Apathyinadvance

    Racking up 20 comments isn’t necessarily a good thing, Ramen Boy got lots of attention, not much of it good.

    And Barryg: really?

    Cambridge Main: Malt Vinegar Battered Fish & Chips
    Dandelion: Beer Battered Fish & Chips

    Cambridge: Steak Frites
    Dandelion: Steak & Chips

    Cambridge: House Roast Beef
    Dandelion: Warm Roast Beef

    etc. Which is fine, whatevs, but it’s slightly hypocritical to say Bob and Barbaras does the $3 special already so they shan’t serve it, but the margins on the rest of the menu and a $9 dark and stormy are so high they just can’t resist.

    It’s great for anyone in the neighborhood, and a $15 burger here isn’t any more egregious than at Tapestry or Good Dog etc, but gah, Foobooz, save the press release disguised as gushing praise for something that actually merits it.

  • Dustin

    I think this place sounds great. If its not your thing, then don’t go. Crying about the loss of some dive bar that wasn’t turning a decent profit it just silly.

  • LikeACharm

    I have no clue what a ramen boy is nor would I ever venture to dine there.

    I think it’s good that the new restaurants are putting recognizable food items on their menus and then throwing in a few twists. It adds friendly competition to the city.

    This thread could have the most comments out of any all Summer!

  • Austin

    Few quick points about this odd Cambridge/Dandelion comparison thrown out there:

    – this place and the Dandelion look nothing alike

    – look at the beer programs of each place, distinctly different directions (hell Cambridge is going with an “all-sour” bottle list). Plus, I doubt Cambridge is going for “faux British gastropub” considering it doesn’t look like they have cask beer (or maybe one), which is pretty much Rule #1 when going for a British pub. It looks like it’s going in the American gastropub direction.

    – you’re definitely going to see different crowds at each place, as Cambridge looks like it’ll be more of a locals spot while Dandelion (like most Starr places) obviously is a big tourist draw.

  • Jimmy

    @ Guest – I already said it.

  • Guest

    Jimbo: That was an attempt at sarcasm after seeing multiple posts start that way.

  • barryg

    Hold up, Cambridge is serving fish & ships, steak frites, and roast beef sandwiches?? Who else around town is ripping off Dandelion that I didn’t know about.

  • Social

    Alex, your list reads like a “who’s who” list of hipster douchebag hangouts filled with poseurs. Take a bath, return Daddy’s credit card and get a real job you losers
    “not even top 5. The Royal, Khyber, Resurrection, Standard, and SPTR are all superior IMO”

  • g-ho res

    I don’t think this competes at all w/ Resurrection, Grace or Sidecar. Those are all 9-12 blocks away– the Trias and Irish Pubs are closer to each other than that!

    Count me among those excited for a new, different option from what’s been available in the neighborhood. Now, if only Kenny Gamble would do something with the Royal . . .

  • Carl

    Lot of haters out there. But, I get the idea they have never been and do not live in the neighborhood. I do and have wanted a place like this ever since I moved here. I used to live a block from Sidecar and have missed having a nice neighborhood place with great beer and good affordable food that close. It is definitely a good addition to the neighborhood.

  • Disappointed Customer

    Terrible service and food. Even gave it a second try. The spoke with a guy named Dan that didn’t know his ass from his foot. This place is beat.

  • YeOlde

    waaahhhhh wwahhhhhhaaaaahhhhaaa Disappointed misses playing with his garage band at Tritone….waaaaahahahaha p.s. Dan knows who you are and will kick your ass, he has tattoos you know

  • http://www.whydoesitmatter.com noooo

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  • Escoffierx

    Went last night and had a few beers and the burger, they had berliner weisse on draft which is fairly rare. Also had perogies, they were good too. People with me all tried different things but the consensus was the same, the food is solid (better than Hawethorns). The decor is definitely interesting in that it has a lot of reclaimed features. The beer list was smart, not an all-sour bottle list but a few options there. The draft list was well done offering unique micros and everyone we interacted with was friendly and helpful. I really don’t see what the uproar was about, this is a solid addition to the neighborhood. I would imagine if you went to Tri-tone then you would probably not go here, and that’s okay. Comparing this to Royal, SPTR, Sidecar, or even the P.O.P.E would not be a stretch, it definitely fits in the niche.