City Tavern
138 South Second Street
  • Phone: 215–413–1443
  • Website:
  • Cuisine: American
  • Price Range: @ $31-50 pp
  • Executive Chef: Walter Staib Chef/Owner

The Editorial


"The Most Genteel Tavern in America"
       - John Adams

This is the spot where the likes of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, George Washington, and John Adams hung out. Philadelphia has tons of history going for it and The City Tavern is a big part of the picture. The truth is the City Tavern went through some difficult times (not to mention the fire that actually destroyed the building in 1834). It was a very good restaurant back in the day (1776) but by the time the Bicentennial rolled around (1976) it could only be characterized as a typical tourist trap. Of course, things changed quite dramatically in 1994 when Congress awarded the management contract of the City Tavern to Walter Staib.

Walter Staib Walter Staib is a world-class, internationally acclaimed chef, and an innovative restaurant owner and consultant. Walter Staib is a chef who was going to do much more than simply manage an historic restaurant in Old City. He was going to invest his heart, soul and money into this project, and he was going to make City Tavern a serious restaurant in every respect. He was going to replicate the true customs and the food of 18th Century Colonial America. If you don't believe the food was great back then, you haven't tasted his rendition of Martha Washington Style Turkey Pot Pie. Today, this is a restaurant where the locals dine, and an important part of America's culinary history. Chef Staib is the author of three (soon to be four) cookbooks: Black Forest Cuisine, City Tavern Cookbook, and City Tavern Baking & Dessert Cookbook as well as an ongoing TV personality.

The City Tavern has seven intimate dining rooms, three wine cellar rooms, and a beautiful garden for some of the best outdoor dining in the area. Born and raised in Germany, Chef Staib is understandably a proponent of the famous quote by Ben Franklin - "Beer is proof that God exists and wants us to be happy." With beer recipes from Thomas Jefferson and George Washington produced locally by Yards Brewery, even the beer is authentic.

Philly's 22:
XIX Park Hyatt | Audrey Claire | Caribou Cafe | City Tavern | Davio's | Fork | FridaySaturdaySunday | georges' | Horizon's | Lacroix at the Rittenhouse | Le Bec-Fin | Le Castagne | Marigold Kitchen | Nunzio Ristorante Rustico | Palace at the Ben | Positano Coast | Prime Rib | Susanna Foo | Ten Arts at the Ritz Carlton | Twenty Manning | World Cafe Live | Zinc