Little Pete’s, the Center City diner whose old-fashioned ways made it a beloved gathering place for downtown workers, late-night hipsters, and visiting politicians, is expected to meet the wrecking ball soon in order to make way for a 300-room hotel.
City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a bill Thursday that would rezone a narrow block in Center City to allow for the development of a boutique 12-story Hudson Hotel.
The block is bounded by 16th and 17th streets, Chancellor and St. James streets. It is currently home to a parking garage and, on 17th Street, the staple Center City diner Little Pete’s, a nail salon, and a flower shop. Those buildings would apparently be demolished to make way for the hotel, according to representatives of Councilman Johnson’s office and the City Planning Commission.
The news provoked an immediate reaction — some of it from famous names beyond Philly:
Attention Philadelphia. If Little Pete's goes I shall not return.
— John Hodgman (@hodgman) October 31, 2014
Just heard the news about how they're tearing down Little Pete's and if I didn't hate New Philadelphia enough before, I really hate it now.
— Maria T Sciarrino (@mariatsciarrino) October 31, 2014
free little pete's
— Atrios (@Atrios) October 30, 2014
They’re going to demolish Little Pete’s downtown. This is the worst Mischief Night in Philadelphia in years.
— Dan McQuade (@dhm) October 30, 2014
oh god I'm gonna cry about Little Pete's in this bar huh
— Kevin A.D. (@hipsterboner) October 31, 2014
Where. Else. Am. I. Going. To. Get. Scrapple.
— Joseph Murray (@PPDJoeMurray) October 31, 2014
Over at Philly Love Notes, our pal John Titlow composed a paean to the joint a few years back:
Unexpectedly tucked away in Center City’s posh shopping district is something of a time warp. On the inside, Little Pete’s feels no different than it must have when it first opened 34 years ago. Just beyond the dated outdoor awning and the old school cigarette vending machine by the entrance lies a somewhat hideous-looking green counter surrounded by matching diner stools. Along the adjacent wall, there’s a row of booths cushioned with that very same 1970s-style green and blue pattern. Over the back counter hangs a faux-neon “take out” sign that looks like it would make any thrift shop dweller’s day. As diners go, this 24-hour hole-in-the-wall is legit.
Your waitress, clearly a veteran of the profession, walks up and drops off a few menus. The food is typical diner fare, easily on the better side of the grand spectrum of Philly diners. It’s not quite a foodie’s paradise, but that’s beside the point.
The news isn’t all bad, Philly.com reports:
John Koutroubas, who with his brothers owns the corporation, said he learned Thursday afternoon that a 300-room hotel will be erected on the site.
Koutroubas said he had been waiting for the day this would happen and said he believed that the restaurant’s closing would be a year away. The brothers own another Little Pete’s near the Art Museum.
The new hotel would be a Hudson Hotel, whose parent company is Morgans Hotel Group. When asked if a Hudson is coming to Philadelphia, Morgans declined comment.