Little Pete’s

About an hour ago, a friend sent me a link to an article in the Inquirer. I glanced at it five minutes ago, and what I read caused me to sit up straight in my chair, in surprise and regret.

Little Pete’s on Chestnut St. is closing.

Little Pete’s is an institution in my family. In the last ten years of their lives, my grandparents ate dinner there six nights out of seven. On the seventh night, they would order in. My grandmother would only sit in a booth, and so they left for dinner by five pm, in order to ensure that much coveted booth. I spent a semester of college in Philly and ate there with my grandparents two or three times a week for five months. Every time we sat down, my grandfather would start reciting all the options open to me on the menu, and always reminded me that dinner came with soup AND salad AND two veggies AND dessert. A child of the depression, he loved getting good value for his money.

When family came into town, a Sunday morning brunch was always organized to occur at Little Pete’s. My great-aunt Flora always ordered pancakes and sausage, no matter what time of day. My cousin Melissa would always order french fries and place them next to my grandmother, who having been released from a lifetime of dieting by a stroke at 76, would eat them with gusto.

My grandmother would regularly run into classmates from high school in the dining room, sixty and seventy years later. The waitresses all knew her and would always bring her an iced tea with her menu. They catered her memorial service reception. A six months after her death, we had a family reunion brunch there, complete with many of my Hawaiian cousins. My two oldest cousins performed a hula dance in the smoking section. When I’m sick, I go there for chicken soup, along with a little mothering from the woman at the front counter, who knew me when I had pigtails.

I once watched a woman propose to her boyfriend in the front section of the restaurant by having a waitress place a ring in a slice of cake and bring it to the table.

Little Pete’s, you will be missed.

2 Comments so far

  1. suzanne (unregistered) on June 30th, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

    No. way. Seriously. No. way.

    No. way.

  2. Sherri W. (unregistered) on June 30th, 2005 @ 6:54 pm

    Bummer. Though I’ll admit, I went to the 17th and Chancellor one before I started going to the Chestnut Street location. And even *that* didn’t start until after Diner on the Square was bought out and gentrified by the Marathon Grill people.

    Still, for 2 AM french toast without quite so much cigarette smoke as Midtown, Little Pete’s rawks. Sorry to see it closing….

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