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Restaurants that vanish


rlibkind
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In my 27 years in Philadelphia, two restaurants I frequently enjoyed pulled up stakes in the dark of night and just disappeared without warning.

One was Cuvee Notredame on 17th and Green, where Michel Notredame skipped town abruptly. The other was Tivoli, a Danish-inspired restaurant (great herrings) on Front Street in the building now occupied by Fredericks. I learned of its disappearance when I called for a reservation and the landlord answered, who asked whether I knew the proprietor so he could track him down to collect back rent. That was back sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, I'd guess.

Which of your favored restaurants did similar instant vanishing acts? Any good stories behind them?

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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chef theodore, the first nice greek restaurant i ever went to.

actually, i was like 15, so it might not have been that nice. but i remember it being pretty nice. and good.

and then he was going to open a place down on delaware ave somewhere, and then he disappeared. or something. i was a suburban kid very new to dining out in the city at the time and only remember the story because i had eaten at the restaurant.

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The Manayunk Farmer's Market. I loved that place. It was always bustling on the weekends and just had a really good vibe to it. Also had the best pizza ever, a stand called Mattaeo's I believe. It is now occupied by a Restoration Hardware and a Pompawhachamacallit Mills. I'm glad to say that my vow to never enter or purchase anything from either of those stores remains intact.

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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Sukhothai, on the street floor of my building, closed abruptly two summers ago. Within weeks, there were orange signs on the door advising those who entered that Ecolab owned the dishwasher inside and wanted it back, and at about the same time, the Thai sculpture that had been inside the restaurant had been installed in the lobby of my apartment building. That last suggests to me that this was also a case of back rent.

I note that Lula, Sukothai's successor in that space, was dark this weekend. And as with Sukothai, and unlike the last time Lula was closed, there are no signs about the place being closed -- not even the non-specific "closed for renovations," which is the traditional restaurant euphemism for "we've gone out of business."*

I fear the worst and hope that it's what the bartender there hinted might happen -- yet another retooling to position the place to appeal to a different crowd, like the gay men who packed it on the second Friday of each month for Tony Sparacino's parties.

*That sign now appears in the window of Uruartu, the Armenian joint on 10th Street. :sad:

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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There's so many places I miss (I moved way west in 2001) that I'm afraid to even ask about! This isn't a restaurant but I'm wondering if the Booth's Corner farmers market is still around (right down near the Delaware border in the Delco 'burbs)? That's where I used to do a lot of my marketing, especially for holiday baking. We have next to nothing like that out here in AZ, and I'm feeling kinda homesick this weekend.

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I miss Verge, formerly of East Falls. I went when they first opened, they were closed within a couple of months. They must've incurred too much debt refurbishing the space, it was beautiful inside. It was especially bad at the time considering that the only other decent place in the neighborhood, Sprigs, had recently been replaced with a sports bar.

Booth's Corner is still around, but only open Friday and Saturday.

Edited by Buckethead (log)
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I miss Verge, formerly of East Falls. I went when they first opened, they were closed within a couple of months. They must've incurred too much debt refurbishing the space,

Verge didnt close because of debt service, nobody went there.

I mean not enough people, the food was actually quite interesting but opening a restaurant anywhere between center city and 34th street OR center city and Manayunk is a big risk because you are just out of the mix, they become too much of a destination.

The above theory may be very wrong but it's certainly being tested currently by The waterworks and RAE at Cira.

Though Craig Laban practically said "speak hands for me" and gave the death stab to the waterworks with that Rat story in his review.

The owner of Verge was Mark Sherman who is spending tens of millions developing housing and work space in east falls.

http://www.themillsateastfalls.com/

Money wasnt the issue, it just didnt do *any* business plus it had an extremely bad location. It was around a dangerous curve on Kelly drive where no one driving likes to stop and is also prone to flooding from overflow of the river which actually happened a few times.

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Buoy-1 Seafood on the corner of 401 and 30 in Frazer, Pa

I used to waitress and cook there and I miss it.

I miss the fish chowder and Larry Dunn..

It went downhill the last yr of its life before the fire, but I miss it nonetheless...

Edited by GlorifiedRice (log)

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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This may be old news by now but... I headed to Blue in Green on Sansom Street for my favorite pancakes in the city this past Sunday and found it gone. It's been replaced by a rather uninspiring looking sushi joint.

Tampopo is respectable, and does a brisk lunch business. It opened, what, this summer? It's not by any means the best sushi in the city, but it's a welcome addition for those of us who work in the neighborhood (if only for the fresh tuna bi bim bob alone!) Reviewed by Philly Weekly in October.

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I miss Asakura, a pleasant little Japanese restaurant out in Delaware County. I believe it was started by the owners of Le Champignon. The sushi was very good, the tempura was light and crisp, and the service was always wonderful. I think it's a Chinese restaurant now. :sad:

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  • 2 weeks later...
I note that Lula, Sukothai's successor in that space, was dark this weekend.  And as with Sukothai, and unlike the last time Lula was closed, there are no signs about the place being closed -- not even the non-specific "closed for renovations," which is the traditional restaurant euphemism for "we've gone out of business."*

[...]

*That sign now appears in the window of Uruartu, the Armenian joint on 10th Street.  :sad:

Uruartu update: I walked past the place on the way to Pennsylvania Hospital yesterday evening and noticed the lights were on.

I looked inside the window and saw tools, a power saw and two-by fours strewn across the tables and someone at a rear table looking over something that looked like architectural drawings.

It may well be that Uruartu's closing is one of those rare occasions when a restaurant that's "closed for renovations" without a specific reopening date really is closed for renovations. One can hope.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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