QUESTION: What establishment is in the location of the old Bookbinder's on 125 Walnut Street in Philadelphia?
A) It's still Bookbinders
C) The Olde Bar
D) Plough and the Stars
The American Treasure Tour blog has enjoyed focusing some attention on our new phillumeny collection - that is, our collection of matchbooks. In fact, we've enjoyed it so much, we are not quite done with it yet. Today, we honor a Philadelphia legend - the Old Original Bookbinders! If you are unfamiliar with Bookbinders, that means you are probably not from the Philadelphia area. When it closed for business in 2009, it was as sad a moment as it could be. It was opened by a Dutch-Jewish immigrant named Samuel Bookbinder in 1893. Its original location was at Fifth and South Streets, but it moved to Second and Walnut five years later to be closer to the very active docks along the Delaware River, to ensure fresher seafood and proximity to its clientele.
The Bookbinder family lost control of the restaurant in the 1930's, only to open a competing restaurant a few blocks away. That's when "Old Original" was added to the name of one of Philly's most famous eateries, so popular that Frank Sinatra himself was considered a regular. His picture was displayed over Booth #25 for years. Located across the street from Philly's Customs House, the Old Original Bookbinders celebrated military recruits who signed up during World War II and Korea by offering them free lunches. Fine food continued coming out of the site into the 21st century. Unfortunately, the first signs of trouble appeared in 2002, when it closed just after New Year's Day. Unsuccessful reboots led to the closure of the shop for a number of years, but fortunately, souvenirs such as our matchbook survive.
ANSWER: C) The Olde Bar.