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March 13, 2015

Five for Friday: Robert Perry

Influencers Restaurants
Robert Perry Thom Carroll /for PhillyVoice

Robert Perry, owner of Tattooed Mom on South street, poses on the bar's second floor.

Meet the man behind the Mom. Robert Perry, owner of street art-gallery-meets-bar Tattooed Mom, talks about his childhood planning events, cotton candy and the future of South Street. 

What’s the last book you read cover to cover? 

“Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins. I had read a lot of Robbins growing up but somehow missed this one.

Where in Philadelphia would you go on a perfect date? 

I love the abandoned piers on the southern edge of the Delaware where folks have left little pieces of art. It's a beautiful and peaceful place that will probably be developed soon.

I'd follow it with a vegetarian meal at Hardena, an Indonesian restaurant in South Philly. Then, if the weather permits, a rambling walk down side streets and alleyways. Wait, do the piers and alleyways sound serial-killer crazy? 

What did you want to be when you were a kid? 

I honestly didn't think about a job or a career when I was a kid. I grew up in Hawaii and I just enjoyed all the fun small kid things like going to the beach, hiking, and playing in parks. I did throw yearly carnivals for muscular dystrophy in my parents’ yard so I guess I was planting the early seeds of creative entrepreneurship. 

What’s the best cocktail you had recently? 

The best cocktail I've had recently was the Whiskey Carnival at Tattooed Mom (see childhood influences above). It's our take on an Old Fashioned, made simple and fresh with Bulleit Bourbon, bitters, and locally sourced cotton candy. Watching that pink candy cloud disappear into the glass and then enjoying the different notes of the ingredients is my little sideshow dream come true.

What does the future of South Street look like to you? 

I'm really excited about the future of South Street, and the city in general. I see a diverse creative community forming and growing. A beautiful blend of the history with anchors like the Philadelphia Magic Gardens and forward-thinking projects like Bainbridge Green and community arts from Paradigm Gallery is happening.

I hope to see the area organically evolve into a vibrant arts district where the lines between the street, the gallery and the community blend, blur and boost one another.

I'd love to see Tattooed Mom go for another 17 years and then another and another as a place where everyone is welcome to create freely, exchange ideas and enjoy a Dum Dum lollipop.