Restaurant notes: Old City blues

Kevin Meeker is one of the oldtimers in Old City. Twenty-eight years ago, he and his wife, Janet, opened Philadelphia Fish & Company, which in 2009 they reconfigured as Q BBQ & Tequila as they took on a partner, Tom Stewart.

But although the lease is due to expire in August, Meeker told me that his days at 207 Chestnut St. are numbered.

He acknowledges that he is behind on his rent, and a check of Common Pleas Court records confirms that the landlord has filed a judgment.

Business has been off, Meeker says. He says his landlord's attorney won't negotiate on the rent. "He just says, 'No,' " Meeker says. "They'd rather have an empty building."

Meeker says he controls the liquor license, probably the most valuable asset. The lawyer did not return my call.

Meeker says he's not happy with what he sees happening in Old City, particularly related to fights late at night on weekends. "It's not racial," he says. "Just a bad element. I don't know if they're too young or what, but it's turning into what happened on South Street [in the 1990s]. There's not enough police."

Old City isn't totally out of line. Meeker is an investor in The Plough & the Stars, a pub about 100 yards from Q at the corner of Second and Chestnut Streets.

Business is good at Plough, he says, adding: "Maybe I'm just getting too old for this." He also owns Cork in Westmont.