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January 04, 2018

A list of potential replacements for Johnny Rockets on South Street

Casual dining chain's location on corner of Fifth Street closes after 20 years

Humor Food & Drink
Johnny Rockets South Street Philadelphia Google Maps/Street View


It's the end of an era for bored teenagers and intoxicated Philadelphians whose late-night cravings led them to a casual dining restaurant, and not nearby and objectively better options.

Johnny Rockets on South Street has closed, according to Michael Klein over at

After 20 years of serving patrons at the corner of Fifth Street, the chain's location will cease to dish out burgers and milkshakes under the guise of a 1950s-style diner. Klein reports the franchisee and property owner couldn't agree on a new lease, and it's now being marketed to developers as a potential restaurant, grocery or convenience store.

The options for the next lease signer are endless. But it's important to remember that this is the east side of South Street we're talking about, which means the incoming shop must fit the description of one of the businesses already lining the commercial corridor between Eighth Street and the Delaware River.

I've narrowed down the potential replacements for Johnny Rockets, based on the incoming store's seemingly random but oddly fitting combination of new neighbors.

• A sex shop
• A convenience store that is convenient only if you're looking for bongs/bowls/cigarettes/black and milds/incense
• A bar with an owner who's eventually indicted by the feds
• A bar that delivers Mardi Gras flare with an, um, unique brand of Philly drunkenness
• Another sex shop
• Geez, how many sex shops can be on one street?
• A combo cell phone/sneaker store, akin to the KFC/Taco Bell joint restaurants
• A bar that's actually pretty good (probably only room for a few of these, realistically)
• Jon Taffer reclamation project
• A decent bar that seems wayyyy out of place
• A garage for Philly's motorcycling community, who are all already parked across the street 24/7 anyway
• A visitor's center for aimless college freshmen

I'm sure I'm missing something from this list. So, if you think of a potential business that should be added, shoot me an email or hit me up on twitter.