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Celebrities and Presidents


The American Civil War was just ending when Samuel and Sarah Bookbinder opened a small restaurant at the dockside of the Delaware River in Philadelphia, cradle of American independence. All the ingredients needed for a great restaurant were literally at their doorstep. Philadelphia was already historically rich and filled with tradition: William Penn's Slate Roof House stood just around the corner; Carpenter's Hall, site of the first Continental Congress, and Independence Hall - home of the Liberty Bell - were minutes away. Nearby were many historical inns such as the Tun Tavern, home of the U.S. Marines; and the shop of the famous gunsmith, Krider, was right next door to the restaurant. Philadelphia was a thriving port city and the Chesapeake was one of the world's great fisheries. Fresh produce arrived daily from the fields surrounding Philadelphia. 


It was in this setting that Sarah Bookbinder would ring the bell at noontime announcing the principal meal of the day to dockworkers along the Delaware, sea captains and sailors, merchants and farmers, and employees of the Dock Street food market. With its reputation for the choicest produce, meats, and straight from the sea freshness, a new Philadelphia tradition soon began: seafood at Bookbinder's.



The thriving little restaurant passed to the Bookbinder children and stayed in the family until the Depression era, when it almost went under. But in 1935, it was take­n over by John Taxin, a dynamic man, whose energy, personal magnetism, and business savvy, built the enormous success that Old Original Bookbinder's is today. 


The Taxin family remains keenly aware of the glorious tradition that has been built here and continues to be dedicated to excellence and the same formula that made the restaurant great in Samuel Bookbinder's day: the choicest seafood, and the finest quality meat, fruits and vegetables available. 


Bookbinder’s lives on in Richmond’s Tobacco Row in the beautiful American Cigar Building, circa 1901. The Taxin family continues to own and operate it and is there daily to greet every guest. We look forward to seeing you!

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