Located in Midtown Village, Libertine is Derek Davis’s newest contribution to the Philadelphia food scene and celebrates the history and future of our great city. Chic, sophisticated and playful, the indoor dining and bar area with seasonal outdoor seating running along the entire length of the property at Spruce and 13th Streets.
The contemporary American menu is planned seasonally around what is available and freshest at the markets and complimented by scratch specialty concoctions, 20 wines by the glass, and a significant handful of local craft beer.
“Good Eating, Drinking and Fine Hospitality” is served every night of the week and brunch on the weekends.
I’m about as “Philadelphia” as they come! I was born at Pennsylvania Hospital and have lived and worked in Philly for most of my life. It’s only fitting that now I find myself at this beautiful landmark building just blocks away from where I started. The “Parker Spruce Hotel” has a 100 year history and is as Philadelphia as I am. As a child my father would take me on Tuesday nights to the “Camac Health Club” [now known as the 12th St. Gym] and then for waffles and ice cream to the “Havey House.” Special occasions would be at “Mitchell’s Steak House” and H.A. Winston’s. We would ride the Broad Street Subway to see the Flyer’s, then known as “The Broad Street Bullies” at The Spectrum and The Phil’s at The Vet.
Sure we ate our share of cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and water ice [pronounced “wooder ice”] and spent summer weekends going “down the shore.” On the way home from the beach we would stop at our cousin’s house in Marlton, New Jersey and run through the orchards throwing peaches and apples at each other. The first things I ever learned in the kitchen were making chopped chicken livers with my grandmother and cleaning hard-shell crabs in the kitchen sink with my father. We grew up having smoked fish and hot bagels on Sunday morning. In in our house we woke up to the aroma of bacon- a special treat just a couple of times a year. The first family meal I prepared, at 9 years old, was broiled hot dogs with garlic salt and Accent sprinkled on them. I was amazed how with just a bit of seasoning and a lot of heat one could entirely change the flavor and texture of such a simple, common food. That was when I knew I was hooked on food.
I love all foods and cuisines, especially those I grew up with. We all have flavor memories that go back to our family tables and those memories are ones that have no competition. I always plan meals not around what I want to serve, but around what is available at the markets, freshest and most seasonal. Not meant to be insulting, but this trend of “Farm to Table” to me is just nonsense. It has always been like that for me! Of course one cooked what was local and most seasonal, and one should not be looking for a pat on the back for doing what is right! Right? Frankly I don’t even want to eat any other way and neither should you. As a chef I am tasked with creating the newest dishes and starting the trends. Even though nothing is new and everything has been done before, it is important to realize that these days food trends move so fast. 25 years ago it took approximately 12 years for a dish to move past inception and into the mainstream. Today, because of social media and everybody photographing their food, a dish only takes 8 years to make it into the mainstream. I remember a time when there was one place in Philadelphia to get sushi, the only lettuce available in the market was iceberg, and salmon was only available a few months of the year- and it was frozen. The only fresh herb available was parsley, and tomatoes came wrapped in cellophane packs of three! Wine lists had a few national brands, and you could buy a carafe of “house red or house white.”
I will continue to serve what is the most local, the freshest, the most seasonal and make it known as Philadelphia cuisine. I’ve got it bad for gastronomy, and I encourage you to share that with me. Libertine celebrates the history of our city and its future. It embodies the grittiness of its denizens and the pride I have in my town. More importantly Libertine is “Good eating, drinking and Fine Hospitality!” Join me for the celebration!
261 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107