In the fall of 2017, the original Bridget Foy’s caught ablaze overnight, and by the time the sun came up, the restaurant no longer stood. The eatery opened by John Foy four decades ago was first known as East Philly Café and then was renamed in 1982 when his daughter, Bridget, was born. Now, Bridget Foy is helping to reopen her namesake three years after the original went up in flames.
“We are so thankful for all the of amazing support over the last three years and we are so excited to bring life back to our corner of South Street,” said Bridget Foy in a statement. “We have missed everyone so much and we can’t wait to play host again. The neighborhood has a lot of exciting changes coming — including the work on Headhouse Square — and we see so much hope, energy and potential around us even during the pandemic. Losing the original Bridget Foy’s really helped us realize how beloved and missed we were — and we can’t wait to show our appreciation and see everyone again — we have so much to catch up on.”
The new Bridget Foy’s officially opened this past weekend in Head House Square, just in time for the city’s 50% capacity. But getting to the new milestone in the original location took time through a pandemic, shutdowns and even a snowstorm before completely launching.
Foy said, “While the building, the menu and many other things have changed, our focus is still the same. Bridget Foy’s is Philadelphia and South Street’s original corner bar and kitchen where neighbors, friends and visitors can come together for great food and service since 1978.”
According to a release, for the new Foy’s, parents John and Bernadette will officially pass the torch to Bridget to take over all operations of the beloved family business as it starts a new chapter. However, they will still be involved and guests will still find them sharing stories and saying hello in the dining room and bar. For Cry Baby Pasta, which opened in early 2019, while Bridget will still be involved, her husband, Paul, will take on leading the family’s second award-winning restaurant, located just blocks away.
The new Bridget Foy’s holds the same neighborhood type of aesthetic the original eatery took on, but with an updated look and menu. Upon opening, the site can seat patrons in the new dining room, by the bar and outdoors with heated options available along South Street. Even without COVID restrictions, the space feels intimate and private, especially in the winter months with atmospheric lighting and a warm, welcoming environment. Those who were regulars at the original site might realize that the dining room and the bar area switched to help make that more private vibe possible. The release states that when life returns to a more normal time, and bar service is allowed again, the bar and patio are designed to work together and compliment each other for a bustling happy hour and brunch scene. For diners, the new positioning of the dining room also means perfect views from your table of the under-construction new Plaza at Head House Square.
Sticking with the theme of keeping things in the family, patrons can see the original’s owners mark on the walls—and quite literally. Bernadette and Paul created all the original artwork, as much of the artwork at the original Bridget Foy’s was by Bernadette. She recreated some pieces and took inspiration from others and both Rodriguez and Bernadette Foy also designed the art inside Cry Baby Pasta.
To make this new spin on an old favorite possible architecturally and atmospherically, when considering the designs, the Foys turned to Head House Square neighboring business, Ambit Architecture and Rich Villa. Villa was a fan and patron at Bridget Foy’s and he is located down the street in South Street Headhouse District. For the process, when asked who made the decisions and how was it working with family on this very emotional project, Foy said in the release, “The entire family — including my Mom and Dad and Paul — we all together designed the new Bridget Foy’s. It was a challenging process and it was great to all support each other. Being family, sometimes we all didn’t see eye to eye and we all had to compromise, but I would say all and all it came out great and brought us even closer together during such a hard time for our family.”
As for the menu, diners can also expect two more familiar faces behind the line. Executive Chef Gilberg (Cry Baby Pasta, Koo Zee Doo) will lead the kitchen team with his updated versions of Foy classics plus new comfort food and elevated bar fare alongside his wife and chef Carla Goncalves, who is also known for her talent at Cry Baby Pasta. Goncalves will be making from scratch all the pastries, and additionally, diners can also look for Cry Baby Pasta’s homemade fresh pasta to be served in several dishes.
According to the release, for the new menu, Foy wanted to bring back the big classics and stand-outs from the original menu with other selections of American comfort and elevated pub food. There’s something for everyone and for every taste with so many “familiar dishes and flavors for classic Foy lovers.” Foy noted her personal favorite dish as well: “The new burger is definitely one of my favorites. It features a new meat blend ground in-house featuring brisket, chuck and dry aged.”
Other menu items include crab hush puppies, French onion dip made with Raclette cheese, short rib and black bean chili, shells and cheese, grape pie, banana pudding and much more. At the bar, Paul Rodriguez leads the program with help from top mixologist Guy Smith, and together they created the cocktail menu. The release states that Philadelphians can check out 14 selections on tap including eight beers, two red wines, two white wines, one sparkling and one draft cocktail. For wine, look for wines by the bottle and glass, with a focus on diverse, approachable and affordable selections.
Overall, the opening of the new Bridget Foy’s has created 16 jobs and plans to double that number as time goes on. Down the road Philadelphians can also look for expanded hours and days of operation, happy hour, catering, expanded menus for food, drink and beer, additional sidewalk seating and seating on 2nd Street side of building, bar seating, special events, and special occasion group dining.
“On behalf of the entire Foy family, we are so thankful and honored to have the support of the community,” Foy said in a statement. “From the minute the fire tore through our beloved restaurant, we have gotten nothing but amazing support and love from our patrons, friends, neighbors and people all over the region. Almost every day since the fire people have sent their well wishes, or asked when we would be reopened. We want to thank those that supported the fire fundraiser and our employees – and also thank you again to the firefighters who put their lives at risk. We are fortunate to bring back some of our talented staff who were still available all these years later. Look for some familiar faces.”
For more information about the new Bridget Foy’s, 200 South St., visit bridgetfoys.com