Dining Out! Is the Mike McCann Team’s new column about all of the great places to eat in Philly, from the classic spots to the hidden gems. Read up on all of these fantastic restaurants that keep our city de-licious!
City Tavern is a rare Philly attraction in the sense that it appeals to the most touristy of tourists and the most seasoned Philly natives. The original City Tavern was a frequent hangout for founding fathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Chef Walter Staib, host of the Emmy-award winning historical cooking show, A Taste of History, came across the opportunity to recreate this important part of Philadelphia and U.S. history and quickly became enthralled in the idea. He set out to create an authentic and accurate reconstruction of City Tavern, painstakingly designing the menu, decor and even the wait staff clothing, in order to establish an atmosphere and experience that reflects 18th century Philadelphia. City Tavern Reopened in 1976, marking the country’s bicentennial, and had received constant praise, attention and awards ever since. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to speak with Chef Staib about what makes City Tavern such a unique dining experience.
City Tavern is a romantic, candle-lit restaurant that brings back the days of when ale was flowing, dining was an event and revolution was brewing. Recreating the atmosphere of a fine dining restaurant in 1773. The restaurant is located in the most historic square mile of America. What’s better than that? This rich history and heritage couldn’t be found anywhere else in America. Our servers are in costumes, live musicians play the harp and harpsichord with songs from the era so guests feel like they’ve stepped back in time. This is the location where George Washington first met John Adams. It’s where Paul Revere stopped in Philadelphia for his midnight ride; it’s where Thomas Jefferson spent more of his salary than anywhere else recorded in Philadelphia.
All the cuisine at City Tavern is farm to table with fresh ingredients. That’s how our founding fathers did it and it’s how we do it today to recreate the taste of the 18th century. The menu contains interesting items that were popular in the past, such as venison, rabbit and duckling, as well as classic comfort foods, such as turkey pot pie, corn chowder and a selection of salads.
Our knowledgeable and friendly staff provides excellence customer service while also educating tables on the history of City Tavern. People may come in for a drink or dinner, and they leave with a delicious history lesson.
We have four Ales of the Revolution made by Yards Brewing on tap, which are beers made with the founding fathers’ original recipes. City Tavern also serves raspberry shrub, a sweetened vinegar drink topped with champagne based on Martha Washington’s recipe.
We have to say that we are extremely grateful for City Tavern’s presence in Philadelphia. Chef Walter Staib has essentially created a time machine, allowing Philadelphians and visitors to experience the U.S. in the 1700’s through his artful blend of food and history. With it’s prime historical location on 2nd & Walnut St, in the heart of Old City, this tavern was bound to remain a staple in the historic district of Philadelphia. Staib humbly states that, above all, he is honored to be “continuing in the tradition of Philadelphia’s sophistication and good taste.”
Written by Patrick Kaisinger (Mike McCann Team Blogger Extraordinaire)