Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Revolutionary Dining

Today, I had the opportunity to dine with one of our clients.  A colleague of mine selected the restaurant:  City Tavern.

City Tavern operates in a rebuilt American Revolutionary War era tavern, the original of which was a nexus for social and political activity at that time.  The building was damaged by fire and demolished in the mid-19th century, but was rebuilt in time for the Bicentennial, thanks to the discovery of a copy of the original building plans; the decor is authentic, so far as I can tell, and the tableware includes pewter water goblets and tureens as well as china and glass.  The staff wear better-than-average (but far for museum-quality) versions of mid-18th century costume, and the menu includes many 18th century dishes.  I had the Pepperpot soup, a kind of spicy beef-and-cabbage soup that looked scary but tasted wonderful.  The bread basket thoughtfully provided by the restaurant included some small, delicious scone-like biscuits that were identified as cinnamon pecan biscuits and supposedly were made from a recipe by Thomas Jefferson.

It would have been nice to linger, particularly since it was a gray rainy day, but all of us had other places to go and tasks to perform, so we parted after a pleasant meal.  Although I've had better and more exciting cooking elsewhere, City Tavern will give you good hearty food that at least evokes the general air of the period.  Its prices are at least reasonable (about $10-$25 for an entree) for a "nice" city restaurant in the Northeastern part of the United States.  It makes a nice start to a ramble around the historic parts of the Old City area of Philadelphia.

EDITED after the fact to correct typos and refine language. (Most notable change; the original City Tavern was demolished in the mid-19th century, not the mid-18th century as the post originally read.)


  1. What a fun discovering that restaurant. I did Rev War re-enacting for a couple of years, and it's still a favorite time period. Your pepper pot soup was a good choice. It has a long history. Here's a bit more info on it -- at a food history website I think you'll enjoy.

  2. Thanks for the pointer to The Old Foodie--looks like a great site!

    I am still learning what a wealth of information there is on the Internet about food, including historic food. Sometimes I am amazed at my own temerity in starting a food blog! But I'm having fun with it.