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RESTAURANTS: Philadelphia’s City Tavern, Choice Of The Founding Fathers

What did our Founding Fathers eat to celebrate July 4, 1776?

Philadelphia’s City Tavern was “the” place where the signers of the Declaration of Independence would gather to dine. The tavern was constructed in 1773 and became the unofficial meeting place for the First Continental Congress, beginning in late summer 1774; they also celebrated the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1777, there.

Unfortunately, neither that bill of fare nor any bills of fare from 1776 were preserved in Tavern’s records. Didn’t the owner realize there was history in the making?



Philadelphia’s City Tavern: You can dine where the Founding Fathers ate.

The good news is that the tavern is still in business, looking as it looked back in 1776 (plus modern amenities such as electricity and plumbing). You’ll dine on reproduction china, flatware, pewter and glassware, starting with cornmeal-fried oysters, smoked salmon and trout, and salmagundi (an 18th century classic that preceded our “chef’s salad”—fresh garden greens, ham, smoked turkey, smoked chicken, salami, Cheddar cheese, hard-boiled egg, olives and dressing). Entrées include beef, chicken or lobster pot pie, braised rabbit, roast duckling, pork schnitzel, crab cakes, bratwurst, port chops and venison medallions. Even the bread basket delivers the culinary experience of the 18th century: Sally Lunn bread, Anadama loaves and sweet potato and pecan biscuits (Thomas Jefferson’s favorite). Enjoy the cuisine with period-style ales. Find out more at

  • Hungry for some delicious bread or biscuits? See our Bread Glossary. Happy Independence Day!

  • Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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