Monday, November 10, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Letto Deli

The days are numbered for Little Pete's iconic 18th and Chancellor location, so I decided to take a friend who was in town for the weekend. It seems that the city has taken note of the impending loss because the line to grab a table trailed down Chancellor Street.

It's a diner, they're all the same, and Midtown III is right up the street. Aside from Little Pete's decor and signage, the menu and building itself are nothing special. Architecturally speaking, Center City was hit with a bigger loss as demolition of the Gayborhood's former Letto Deli began today at 13th and Chancellor.

Since Letto's closure, a rumor circulated that it would become a Jose Garces joint. That would be fitting. The building's Mike Bradyian design would serve as a great home for restauranteurs seeking unique space. 

Not long ago this strip was lined with run of the mill hoagie shops, strip clubs, and XXX theaters. The Gayborhood's Midtown Village is now busting at the seams with new restaurants, particularly on 13th Street just south of Walnut. While the space may very well wind up serving as another restaurant, it's unlikely the new building will command the same amount of kitsch. 

Progress is great and this neighborhood is experiencing one of the greatest renaissances in Center City in decades. But there's something about artisanal pizza and bottomless mimosas that's just so...basic

Letto Deli itself was nothing remarkable, with the exception of decent, affordable sushi. But its home was as unique as the neighborhood once was. Midtown Village seems to be slowly licking the icing off the Gayborhood one business at a time, replacing it with that trendy fondant stuff that everyone picks off their cake. 

No renderings of the building's replacement have been released yet. The lot is deep and narrow so it may find itself with another one story building. But why bother? Especially when the original building looked as cool as Letto Deli.

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