Bluezette was a southern-themed restaurant and bar that was located at 246 Market Street in Philadelphia in an area known as Old Town. It was in operation from 2000 to 2006. Located in a building with distinctive architecture, the restaurant boasted an ambitious and unique menu that helped bring renown to the owner, Delilah Winder.
Prior to becoming Bluezette, the address had been home to Lena's. Though the owners of Lena's had spent considerable money fixing up the building, the bar ultimately shut its doors in 2000. Eight months later, Bluezette opened up in the same space. Owner Delilah Winder previously owned a popular food stand at Philadelphia's famed Reading Terminal Market and, partly based on the success of that, decided to open a full service restaurant and bar in Old Town.
Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the building that housed Bluezette was the facade. The metal grid of bars on the front of the building resembled scaffolding, which might have caused some to mistake the building for being under construction. The look of stainless steel and sharp angles continued inside the building. A small bar and cafe area was located on the first floor. The second floor had a larger dining area and a larger bar. The second floor bar contained several tables and chairs as well as a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking Market Street. The utilitarian look of the bar stools with seats that resembled metal tractor seats was as distinctive as was the stainless steel fixtures in the restrooms. The restaurant was lit by frosted light bulbs that hung from the ceiling with angel wings that disguised the wires.
The full service bar had draft beer at reasonable prices with steeper prices for hard liquor. A better-dressed crowd was attracted to the bar, which was known for being a networking scene for young professionals. In an article on the Philly website, "Philadelphia Inquirer" restaurant critic Craig LaBan describes the menu's offerings as "upscale soul food with a Latin-island twist." The high-concept of the restaurant's menu aimed to trace the historic journey of African Americans from Africa through the Caribbean and to the American South with dishes such as African curried goat, Caribbean conch fritters and New Orleans-style fried green tomatoes served with shrimp remoulade. However, the traditional Southern favorites like fried chicken, fried catfish and macaroni and cheese were considered some of the best dishes.
Bluezette was started by Delilah Winder. Though a cook herself, having run her own one-woman food stand, she hired chef Joseph Hunt to head up the kitchen at Bluezette. Not long after opening Bluezette, Winder achieved national fame when she appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to prepare her famous macaroni and cheese. Before starting her Reading Terminal Market food stand, she was a business analyst. She presently operates six Delilah's Southern Cuisine stands. In 2009, she made the City of Philadelphia's list of delinquent business owners, and according to the "Philadelphia Inquirer" was said to owe the city $1,577,478.03, stemming from taxes related to Bluezette.
- Phillytown; Bluezette
- Delilah Winder
- Philly; A Respect for Southern Tradition Helps This Stylish Bistro on South Street Stand Out; Craig LaBan; October 21, 2001
- Philly; The Concept Is Intriguing, The Menu Is Promising Delilah Winder's Bluezette Competes For The Fine-Dining Crowd; Craig LaBan; December 10, 2000
- Philly; Chef Makes City Tax-Deadbeat List; Michael Klein; December 21, 2009
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