THE WORLD FAMOUS RESTAURANT DOWN BY THE RIVER…
Since the late 1800’s, hungry Philadelphians and tourists have traveled to Old Original Bookbinder’s Restaurant. The restaurant, located dockside on the Delaware River, originally grew out of the seaport itself when Samuel Bookbinder opened his restaurant for business. All of the ingredients were close at hand. The river teemed with shad, schooners docked at the port with their cargo of spices, and the Chesapeake Bay offered its bounty of oysters, crabs, and clams. Fresh produce arrived daily from the fields and dairies surrounding Philadelphia.
Old Philadelphia surrounding Bookbinder’s Restaurant has charming cobblestone streets and restored colonial brick houses. Visitors and celebrities touring the city regularly stopped at Old Original Bookbinder’s to enjoy its legendary seafood. Famous patrons included Diamond Jim Brady, Babe Ruth, Tennessee Williams, Teddy Roosevelt, Al Jolson, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra.
The restaurant was rich with history. The cobblestones at the Raw Bar were the original cobblestones from Walnut Street, worn down by the feet of the Continental and British armies. The ships wheel at the entrance was salvaged from a molasses schooner that met its fate on the high seas at the turn of the century. Sarah Bookbinder’s lunch bell is now silent, but remained standing inside the entranceway as a tribute to the tradition of great dining.
The thriving little restaurant was passed to the Bookbinder children and stayed in the family until the depression era when it was acquired by John Taxin. It stayed in the Taxin family until it unfortunately closed in 2009, ending it’s distinction as one of America’s oldest continuous seafood restaurants.
The Taxin family opened another Old Original Bookbinder’s restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. It is located on the first floor of the restored warehouse building at 2306 East Cary Street. The Richmond restaurant in Tobacco Row is a complement to the Philadelphia location.
In the early 1970?s Old Original Bookbinder’s created a foods division, selling traditional restaurant favorites packaged as convenient take home products in specialty and grocery stores nationwide. The foods division offers a full line of seafood soups and sauces bearing the familiar yellow and blue Old Original Bookbinder’s label.
The Bookbinder’s food division was separated as a stand-alone company in 1999. Silver Spring Foods now manufactures and markets Bookbinder condiments. Bookbinder Specialties acquired the rights for the food, soups and seasoning lines in 2009, with the goal of merging the tradition and heritage of the old favorites with the expectations and tastes of today’s gourmet consumers. Our legend continues!