Sunday, February 14, 2016

What's inside that Oyster House?

Workers are finishing up at the former Sansom Street Oyster House.

What's inside that Oyster House?


The frenzied final days of construction and staff training are underway at the Oyster House, the seafooder formerly known as the Sansom Street Oyster House at 1516 Sansom St. (SSOH, under different ownership, closed last year.)

Since I first tipped the info on this project back on Jan. 8, the facade has been shrouded in plywood.

Opening is scheduled for dinner Thursday 6/4, with lunch to follow in about two weeks. I'll have the full story in "Table Talk" on Thursday, but for now, here are some high points:

  • Owner is Sam Mink, working with his father, David, who opened Sansom Street Oyster House in 1976. This is a generational thing: David Mink's father, Sam, got into the seafood biz in 1947 when he bought Kelly's on Mole Street, which was closed in 1969 to make way for the Centre Square project. (Fellow Philly history buffs: That block of Mole came in off of Market Street between 15th and 16th. It is now beneath Centre Square II, the tower closest to 16th.) Kelly's then briefly moved into 1620 Ludlow St., now beneath One Liberty Place.
  • Brett Webber Architects gutted the interior, and about the only original stuff is some wainscoting. Milk-glass cocktail rail (saved from Kelly's) will be installed in the front windows.The look is wide open, vaguely industrial (thanks to exposed steel), with a white-subway-tiled-backed drinking bar and oyster bar toward the front. The white bar and oyster bar tops are made from marble landscaping salvaged from Independence Mall. Whitewashed brick walls are adorned with 200 pieces from the Mink family's collection of oyster plates. Tables were made from 19th-century oak salvaged from the roof of the Academy of Music.
  • No sidewalk plans. Windows will not fling open.
  • Moderate prices.

 A working menu (no prices yet) follows.


(Projected opening date has been corrected.)

Staff Writer
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein Staff Writer
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