Managing partner Sam Brouwer (above) has recruited a great chef — Drew Maloney, formerly of Monk’s and the Nodding Head — for a reasonably priced menu that includes the Connie Mack (a California veggie burger for $10), Ty Cobb salad, which approximates a Cobb for $14, flatbreads named for the Palestra, the Spectrum and the Vet.
By Theodore N. Beitchman
The end of summer and the beginning of fall means school, changing of wardrobes, shorter days and longer nights.
But to Philly region sports bars — where more and more of us watch our games every year because the live version has been priced out of our reach — there is a deeper meaning:
The end of an unwatchable Phillies season that was devastating to their bottom lines.
Now, even though they have lost their first two games, the Eagles are the flavor of the fans’ month in this most passionate of all American sports towns.
So, you can sit in a typical sports bar any time during the day and night and rarely be without commentary on Chip Kelly’s genius, Chip Kelly’s marriage, Sam Bradford’s knees, Shady McCoy’s mouth or all of the above.
Founding Fathers is decidedly not a typical Philly sports bar.
Its location, for instance, at 1612 South Street, isn’t near anything that can be remotely construed as sports-related, unlike the many that have sprung up near the South Philly sports complex.
The South Street West of Broad Association may be 40 years old, but only in the last 10 has it grown because the neighborhood has changed dramatically, thanks in great part to the influx of Generation Y’s attracted to the Next New Thing. The impetus was the closing of Graduate Hospital at 18th and Lombard and the explosion of apartments to rent in the area.
And last, but by no means last, is its name, a paean not to Ben Franklin and William Penn, but Connie Mack, Joe Frazier, the Palestra and Ty Cobb, among them — the founding fathers and legendary arenas of Philly’s sports history.
And that’s why you’ll find their photos on the walls — all the black and whites donated by the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
“I always wanted to open a restaurant and bar,” says Sam Brouwer, F&F’s managing partner who has two partners, Jon Adler and Mike Pollack, in addition to a few silent/minority partners.
And FF has recruited a great chef — Drew Maloney, formerly of Monk’s and the Nodding Head — for a reasonably priced menu that includes the Connie Mack (a California veggie burger for $10), Ty Cobb salad, which approximates a Cobb for $14, flatbreads named for the Palestra, the Spectrum and the Vet.
Not to mention a boatload of 20 draft beers — many of them locals — and a wide selection of bottled beer, cider and wine.
And Founding Fathers plays to its audience.
“This has become a great block or two of dining hot spots,” Brouwer says proudly.
“On the next block is the iconic Bob and Barbera’s, where you can get shot and beer for under $5, but there’s Rex [a southern style restaurant], Cambridge [an upscale spot] and several BYO’s.”
Founding Fathers doesn’t have the feel of a typical sports bar — many of which have that down and dirty look that owners feel their patrons prefer.
It’s bright and airy — by design.
“We’ve got 1,600 square feet, 100 seats and a dozen outside,” Brouwer says. “And we got 13 flat screens, — we can do eight different feeds simultaneously.”
F&F opened last December, so it doesn’t have the history of attracting fans of non-Eagles teams, but when Browns and Steelers fans wander in they will be pleasantly surprised.
“Also, we have the sound up during games,” Brouwer says as he points to the sound panels that muffle the sound enough that neighbors won’t complain.
Founding Fathers has a great Happy Hour:
4-6:30 with half-price appetizers, dollar off draft/well drinks, and $6 house wine. And the late night, 11 pm-midnight Happy Hour offers half-price apps..
And the action starts at noon every Saturday and Sunday.