This & That: Closed in Rittenhouse Square: 1 Saxbys, 1 Diner, a shoe store and …

Be Patient, Be Kind, Be Safe. We’ll come back strong.

Join nearly 40ks others and follow my blog, subscribe upper left hand corner. It’ll go directly to your email every time I publish. Yesterday I took one of my walks around town which I often have done before Covid19 to see how things have changed. These days it can be heartbreaking as Covid19 has stolen so much from us. I did see parts of the City slowly coming back to life, mostly in the business district on Market Street with people in skirts and suits and ties making their way in the blistering heat. Then I walked over to the shopping district on Chestnut and Walnut Streets and was overwhelmed with sadness, but hope. I’ve walked these streets the past few weeks, and although many are still boarded up, several are no longer boarded, and some are open and waiting for you.

Many restaurants were busy in Rittenhouse Row like Parc, Rouge, Devon, Joe’s Pizza, Pietro’s, a.kitchen, Tria.

An eatery I was so surprised closed was Saxbys 20th and Walnut location, the original Saxbys coffee shop. This was I believe their first location. I spent many of years there when I first started doing PhillyChitChat as a business. I wrote them and this is what they said:
For 10 years our Saxbys at 20th & Walnut served the Rittenhouse community under our mission to Make Life Better.  Unfortunately, as our lease reached its expiration date we were unable to come to a mutually beneficial agreement on renewal terms for a new lease leading to our decision to not reopen our Saxbys Rittenhouse cafe.  

The sign on the 18th & Chestnut St door says ‘ we’re closed we miss you already.”

We’re so grateful for the neighbors and relationships we met and nurtured at 20th & Walnut – it’s not goodbye, but see you around –  any Saxbys guest can still visit one of our 4 Saxbys within a ½ mile from our Rittenhouse location when we reopen our other cafes. 

Sadly the pandemic has closed the just opened Chestnut Diner at 1614 Chestnut St., next to Dig (the healthy eatery) and Uniqlo (the clothing store which is open). Most people didn’t even know it was there, and for the few who did the reviews weren’t always stellar.

On Walnut Street: Lucky Brand at 1634 Walnut Street has closed as has nearby Cole Haan shoes at 1600 Walnut Street. (I wish the landlords of the closed business’ would remove the boards as the stores are empty. If they’re windowless I’m sure you have insurance to get them fix.)

But brisk business was happening nearby on Rittenhouse Row as Gap, Urban Outfitters, Free People, Vince, Rag & Bone, Govberg Jewelers and Theory were open for business and with air conditioning on full blast. I wanted to linger by Urban Outfitters as they had their doors open.

Stuart Weitzman, 1711 Walnut currently closed (getting mixed answers on this but you can see his blue awning in this shot in the center) but definitely closed is the shoe stores Dr. Martens , and Vans across the street as is nearby clothing store Intermix (they tried hard to stay open they told me). Good news, Bluemercury 1707 Walnut Street (above) opened as soon as it could and has had steady business as has clothing store Scotch & Soda a few doors down. Don’t let the boards scare you, behind them were stores which closed before the Pandemic: Timberland, Zaras, and Talbot’s.

Open on Chestnut Street is the men’s shoe store Blue Sole Shoes, at 1805 Chestnut, Shops of Liberty Place 17th and Chestnut (the Observation Tower is open as well), and a few blocks away Macy’s across from City Hall.

Hats in the Belfry is open but it looks like they’re having a store closing sale at 1824 Chestnut Street .

Next to Hats is Boyd’s and across the street is Joan Shepp’s, both are closed but I hear will open with fall fashion season merchandise by September.

Finally, the Apple Store is open on Walnut Street, but by appointment only. I like how they have a fan by the door keeping the customers cool while they wait. I tried to get a shot of the inside, it was packed. So make that appointment as it’s the hottest store in town. Sorry for the bad news, but I do want you to see that there are stores open, even though we have lost a few friends. See you on Social Media where I post daily two or three times a day. Monday I photographed folks in Center City enduring the heat for CBSPhilly.