Thirty years after leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl, Dick Vermeil remains a Philadelphia Icon. He brought energy and enthusiasm to a team that had been a loser for almost 20 years. Vermeil’s can do attitude was a major part of his success. Unfortunately this did not come close to a dynasty. The Eagles and Vermeil were burned at mid season the following year. That four game losing streak brought the Eagles from 9-2 to 9-6. A 38 to 0 victory at Veterans Stadium over the St. Louis Cardinals in the final game gave hope that the team would return to form. It didn’t. Philadelphia, at the Vet, lost to the New York Giants 27 to 21 in the Wild Card Game. This was their second home loss to the Giants within a month. The Eagles would do likewise to the New York Giants in 2008.
As I look back at that 10-6 team, three of those six losses should have been victories-17 to 14 vs Dallas at the Vet and road loses, 13 to 10 to Miami and 15 to 13 to Washington. A Philadelphia team, without the burnout, would have been 13-3. Nevertheless Philadelphia did steadily improve with Dick Vermeil until 1980, which I will talk about later.
One of the big things in Philadelphia was Steak House Restaurants, which were unique to the city. Arthur’s at 15th and Walnut was to me the best. Mitchell’s and Frankie Bradley’s were like two Siamese twins on Juniper Street between Walnut and Locust. Finally, the Scott Moss at 18th and JFK Boulevard. This last fixture was in its day slightly off the beaten track. No so today with the tremendous building in Penn Center. Now all steak style places are national chains.
The other places long gone-Littons at 22nd and Spring Garden and other in a junky section off of I-95; Horn and Hardat’s Automated Cafeteria; and Dewey’s, which was good for coffee and juice only. It seems to me there were White Tower Restaurants but I am not certain.
Ortlieb’s Beer was a long time brewery in Philadelphia until Schmidt’s bought it out in 1978. It was slightly sweet but an overall good taste. This was strictly a beer for local distributors and neighborhood taverns. Ortlieb’s did only bill board advertising staying away from radio and television. With one exception it was never in the Center City. The Adelphia Hotel at 13th and Chestnut carried it at its bar and restaurant, dubbed the Adelphia Tavern. I went there often until it closed in 1974. More on the Adelphia later.
Another product of the seventies was Champale. Advertised as the working man’s champagne, it was only slightly more expensive than beer. I serrved to guests long ago and one asked me “Do you mind if I throw this out?” I liked it but know of only two place that had serving it over the bar. The Plaza Hotel in Harrisburg-this was a flophouse that was once great. Long since demolished. The Broadvine in Philadelphia-northwest corner of Broad and Vine, as you might expect.