- Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
- 261 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA
- Website | Facebook | Twitter
- Cuisine: American
- Alcohol: Full Bar
In 2004, I lived in an apartment across the street from Friday Saturday Sunday. It was one of those too-good-to-be-true Rittenhouse rentals and my roommates and I, fresh out of college and high on some Sex and the City imaginings of what our life in downtown Philadelphia would be like, were too naive to know better than to sign the lease. There was exposed wiring, a bathroom floor that sank noticeably when you stepped onto the tile, and for more than a month that winter, the absence of heat. What it had was location, and that’s something difficult to argue against.
Across the street, Friday Saturday Sunday. The upstairs glowed blue in the light from the fish tank illuminated bar. Downstairs, a steady trickle of neighborhood regulars for whom the place was an institution, tucking into bowls of mushroom soup. Frankly, I never quite understood the appeal, but I learned a lot that year—especially about tenant’s rights—and I understood the restaurant as a beloved institution in Philadelphia’s dining scene.
Yesterday marked the rebirth of Friday Saturday Sunday off of Rittenhouse Square. But it is only the name that returns after the 18-month redo. The first floor is now where the bar action happens. A 14-seat marble bar pops in bright white. On opening night, bartender Paul MacDonald was already confidently pouring cocktails like the Oxford Comma, Nicaraguan rum, lemon, coffee, red wine and soda; and the Control State, vodka, lime, grapefruit, honey and savory bitters.
Back in 2005, Friday Saturday Sunday owner Weaver Lilley commissioned Philadelphia artist Tom Judd to create a series of murals for Lilley’s Rittenhouse Square restaurant. But now that the restaurant is closed and is in the midst of remodeling, the canvas segments have been removed, individually stretched and mounted as separate works of art.
Friday Saturday Sunday was a mainstay at 21st and Rittenhouse Square from 1973 to its closing in August, 2015. The restaurant was part of Philadelphia’s first restaurant renaissance and remained part of its scene for an impressive 42 years.
As for what’s next for the restaurant. Garces Group alum Chad Williams and his wife Hanna are refurbishing the restaurant and will reopen it with the same name.
Friday Saturday Sunday [Philadelphia Magazine]