Before I tell you the bad news, I have to admit that I have not dined with or eaten within the Colonial wallpaper and rocking chair setting of the Revolutionary War-themed City Tavern since early 2000. Even then, I was probably in no mood to eat with any Benjamin Franklin impersonators. But, let me make this clear – corny as chef-owner Walter Staib’s restaurant in Old City may have been: A) The man could bake and stuff pot pies like my mother. B) Nobody in this city could work grilled venison like Staib.
No more though: as of this morning, Staib was closing City Tavern’s homespun memorabilia-lined dining rooms and was preparing to close out his catering contract with the federal government. That’s right. Staib and his management company took over City Tavern in the 90s, as part of the Independence National Historical Park and The National Park Service, which owns the 1770s-built property.
For those who think Staib is going anywhere fast, think again. He’s an Emmy Award winning chef, producer and PBS host whose A Taste of History program has, on occasion, turned into an evening celebrating the food and history of our founding fathers.
So you get harpists and dulcimer players dressed in colonial gear and several Revolutionary War impersonators. Ugh. But there’s always enough culinary information and recipes culled from Staib’s television program of the same name to make the night into a party, and, you have Staib cater the affair and bring mulled wine… All the more better.