A taste of history.
From the late 1800's to modern times, hungry locals and tourists made Old Original Bookbinder's Restaurant a required stop when navigating the city of Philadelphia. The restaurant, located dockside on the Delaware River, originally grew out of the life of the seaport itself when Samuel Bookbinder opened his restaurant for business.
The location thrived with the ingredients close at hand, including a river teeming with shad and schooners docked at the port with their cargo of spices. The Chesapeake Bay offered its bounty of oysters, crabs, and clams, while fresh produce arrived daily from the fields and dairies surrounding Philadelphia.
Each noontime, Samuel's wife, Sarah, would ring the restaurant's bell, announcing the principal meal of the day. Dockworkers rubbed elbows with sea captains, prosperous merchants, and farmers - all dining together to enjoy what was becoming a new tradition of seafood at Bookbinder's.
The bustling little restaurant was passed to the Bookbinder children and stayed in the family until the depression era when it was acquired by John Taxin. Taxin's daughter and grandson carried on the tradition of fine food and service, earning Bookbinder’s the distinction as one of America's oldest continuous seafood restaurants.
The section of Old Philadelphia surrounding Bookbinder's Restaurant had 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. When you dined at the restaurant there was a chance that you’d be served at a table once occupied by Diamond Jim Brady, Babe Ruth, Tennessee Williams, Teddy Roosevelt, Al Jolson, Elizabeth Taylor or 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 ship's 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’s bell, although silent, remained standing inside the entranceway as a tribute to the uninterrupted tradition of great dining.
Keeping the tradition alive.
Unfortunately, The Old Original Bookbinder’s restaurant in Philadelphia was hit hard by the recession in 2008 and closed its doors in March 2009 amid bankruptcy. The Taxin family still operates the Old Original Bookbinder's restaurant in Richmond, Virginia which is located on the first floor of a restored warehouse building at 2306 East Cary Street.
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, condiments, and sauces bearing the familiar yellow and blue Old Original Bookbinder's label.