Little Pete’s restaurant has been the greasy spoon of choice for Center City residents and workers for over 37 years. At the corner of 17th and Chancellor, just a block away from Rittenhouse Square, the all-night diner has managed to stay more-or-less the same while the neighborhood around it has changed rapidly.
But even Little Pete’s can’t withstand gentrification. The 24-hour diner and the three-story parking lot that lies above it have been slated to be demolished and replaced by a luxury hotel. Philadelphia City Council approved the re-zoning of the block to allow for the construction of a hotel in late 2015. The fate of Little Pete’s is now in the hands of developers.
In the meantime, life goes on as usual at Little Pete’s while they wait for the wrecking crew to arrive. Businessmen, taxi drivers, janitors, and couples crowd into the restaurant, some wondering whether they’re eating their last meal at one of Center City’s last 24-hour spots.
So we decided to camp out there for one day. We ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a late night snack. We wanted to make a kind of monument for the restaurant, a portrait of what life feels like at Little Pete’s while it’s still around.
Here are more sights and sounds from our day at Little Pete’s: