September 17, 2018
After literal years of waiting, Philadelphia's very own P.J. Clarke's officially opens for business this Friday, Sept. 21. In fact, you can already visit the space now for food and drinks ahead of the grand opening -- the kitchen has been working in test mode since its soft opening earlier this month.
The space quietly started serving in the Curtis Center just after Labor Day. The kitchen is helmed by Ned Maddock, a chef originally from Havertown whose recent credits include chef de cuisine at Brigantessa, as well as stints at Lo Spiedo, Vetri, and Teresa's, among others.
Leading up to the grand opening, P.J. Clarke's has been adjusting to the new space and menu, which is currently functioning at a limited version. Expect some raw bar options, hearty pub fare, burgers, and fish n' chips, among other items, before the full menu goes into effect.
The opening has been a long time coming – a really long time coming. It's been more than two years since Mayor Jim Kenney and former Gov. Ed Rendell announced the location of the restaurant bar, which has three locations in New York City and one in Washington, D.C.
Why the lag? Owner Phil Scotti, who is originally from Norristown and a grandchild of Genuardi's founder Gasparo Genuardi, was meticulous in the space design. Here's a glimpse at the result, two and a half years later, including a scoreboard that seems permanently set to Super Bowl LII.
If you do stop in and are torn for what to order, your best bet is to choose off the burger menu. Pay special attention to the Cadillac burger, which was, legend says, originally named by Nat King Cole as "the Cadillac of cheeseburgers."