Blackbird Pizzeria is forced to close temporarily as landmark building needs repairs

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Blackbird Pizzeria’s location at 507 S. Sixth St.

Blackbird Pizzeria, the vegan destination, has been forced to close its location on Sixth Street near South for an unspecified time as its building awaits the repair of structural issues, owner Mark Mebus said.

The building has a storied spot in Philadelphia restaurant lore. It was home from 1896 to 1992 to Levis Hot Dogs, known not only for its franks but its fishcake sandwiches and Champ cherry soda. The A.L. Levis name remains at the top of the facade, near the roof line.

Mebus said his landlord and the contractor he hired to fix the building have been waiting for a permit from the city’s Department of Licenses & Inspections. City records show that the building has been judged unsafe.

“In that time frame, the building has gotten worse, and now they have to brace the side of the building,” Mebus told me. “The problem for Blackbird is that they have to build a support wall inside the kitchen, so we won’t be able to prepare food until this whole thing is over.”

Mebus said he had been told that all of the work could be done just from the exterior. But Thursday, he said, he found out that the work would affect operations.

There’s no timetable for the closing.

Building owner Brian Barrabee did not immediately return a call for comment.

On a brighter note for Mebus, last year he opened a Blackbird location at 614 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties.

Camera icon CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
Levis Hot Dogs at 507 S. Sixth St. in an undated photo from city archives,