Twee West Philly Restaurant Fences In Big Chunk of Public Sidewalk

The "barrier" surrounding the William Street Common sidewalk cafe at 39th and Chestnut in University City. | All photos by Patrick Kerkstra.

The “barrier” surrounding the William Street Common sidewalk cafe at 39th and Chestnut in University City. | Most photos by Patrick Kerkstra.

Some quiet chatter on social media Tuesday alerted Citified to a long, tall fence surrounding the sidewalk cafe of the new William Street Common bar and restaurant at 39th and Chestnut streets in West Philadelphia. The establishment, which opened in February, is owned by power restaurateur Avram Hornik (Morgan’s Pier, Union Transfer, Boot & Saddle and more), and it features cocktails in mason jars, a hyped no-tipping policy, and, if I remember right, mismatched, self-serve tableware. All of it is a bit twee for West Philly, but it’s a nice place nonetheless.

But just look at that monster fence! It’s attractive, as far as fences go, but it’s jarring to see such a big swath of public sidewalk cordoned off for what is so clearly a private use. Most outdoor cafes commandeer public space to one degree or another, of course. But somehow it feels very different when passersby get to gaze at the leisurely patrons and their food, and vice versa. Sidewalk cafes are supposed to feel like a part of the streetscape. They’re supposed to blend private space with public space.

There’s no blending with this fence. Just taking. And it’s not at all clear that this cafe, as constructed, is permitted by city law.

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Boot & Saddle Sign Will Soon Shine Again

UPDATE: Monday’s Boot & Saddle sign relighting has been postponed. Len Davidson says more work needed before the old boot glows again over Broad Street. Stay tuned.

Posted by Inga Saffron on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The two-story tall Boot and Saddle neon sign was recently taken and down and refurbished. This past weekend saw the sign get reinstalled at the Broad and Ellsworth bar, and soon it will be relit.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Inga Saffron, that was set for Monday, June 15th but that date has been pushed back.

In the meantime, read Saffron’s Good Eye column about the Boot and Saddle’s sign.

Boot and Saddle [Foobooz]

Avram Hornik Bringing William Street Common to University City

Photo by Jason Melcher

Photo by Jason Melcher

Zagat has the scoop on William Street Common, the new restaurant and bar from Avram Hornik (Morgan’s Pier, Union Transfer, Boot & Saddle and more) and chef David Gilberg (Koo Zee Doo, Morgan’s Pier in 2014). There will be no tipping at William Street Common though there will be a service charge added. Check out Zagat for more on that. We’re much more excited for Gilberg’s food, the old-school arcade with Skee-Ball, $5 cocktails, and the three drink brunch with bottomless donuts.

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Morgan’s Pier Gets a New Chef


Morgan’s Pier, which opened on the Delaware riverfront two summers ago has made a splash each year with a significant name in the kitchen.

In Morgan’s Pier inaugural year it was David Katz of the much loved Mémé who ran the restaurant operation. Last year, the ownership group that includes Avram Hornick and Sean Agnew tapped George Sabatino who had just made a name for himself at Stateside.

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Where We’re Eating: Boot and Saddle

boot and saddle square“Back in the saddle again” is more than just an Aerosmith lyric. It’s what looks to become a familiar refrain as I return time and again to Boot & Saddle, the bar from Avram Hornik and Sean Agnew (Morgan’s Pier, Union Transfer) that restores the country-western joint that closed more than 15 years ago into something altogether new that feels like it hasn’t changed in decades. The western paintings remain from the old Boot & Saddle, as do the stamped-tin walls and ceilings. What is new is a bar illuminated by an I-beam lassoed in thick rope, with six Edison-style bulbs hanging down. And then there’s the 150-person-capacity live-music venue behind a soundproof door at the back of the dining area. Even the much-cooler-than-me waitress admitted needing to Google most of the bands, but the vibe is undeniable. During a British punk band’s set, the bar area’s music matched the live band’s energy; on a quiet Tuesday night, the same bar became a welcoming oasis. The beer list is well-curated, with some hard-to-find American craft brews, and while the cocktail lineup was less successful, you should probably just be drinking whiskey here anyway. Plus, George Sabatino has designed the short and vegetarian-friendly menu with all options coming in under $15. So however the night finds you, this Saddle won’t chafe.

Boot & Saddle [Foobooz]

First appeared in the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Winter Wonderland and Restaurant Coming to Penn’s Landing

George Sabatino and Avram Hornik are creating a winter wonderland on the Delaware.

This winter there will be a lot more than just a ice-skating rink. | Photo by G. WIDMAN FOR GPTMC

The Blue Cross RiverRink on the Delaware Riverfront is turning twenty years old this year and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has some great sounding plans for the rink this year. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve the waterfront will be hosting a pop-up holiday village. The grounds will be designed by David Fierabend  of Groundswell Design (Morgan’s Pier, PHS Pop Up Garden) and will feature a 400-person warming tent. The tent will house a temporary bar and restaurant by Four Corners’ Management (Avram Hornik) and chef George Sabatino. Sabatino will be serving up a menu of “winter favorites” in a restaurant surrounded by garden grounds of pine trees, fire pits and the ice rink.

So basically, what they’re creating is a winter equivalent to the PHS Pop Up Garden. Complete with the same designer and operator. Sounds good to us.

Boot and Saddle Is Opening on September 9th

boot-n-saddle_300pxSouth Broad Street’s Boot and Saddle is reopening this September as a 150-person capacity live music destination with 60-seat bar and restaurant. Closed since 1995, the bar with the giant neon boot on the side will be reopening under the direction of R5 Productions, Sean Agnew, The Bowery Presents and FCM’s Mark Fichera and Avram Hornik.

In addition to local and national artists ranging from punk, metal and indie rock to electronic, singer-songwriters there will even be some country back at the old Country and Western bar.

While live music will be the attraction in the back room, the 60-seat main room and kitchen will be open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. The full-service bar will include ten local craft beers on tap plus seasonal beers from around the United States. Also expect to see some inexpensive crowd favorites.

More on the Boot and Saddle »

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