Philly’s hottest new eatery is on a mission to change how students enjoy beers, brunch and conversations — with tip included.
William Street Common is nestled in the corner of 39th and Chestnut streets, occupying the former space of Drinker’s West. According to owner Avram Hornik, 39th Street was formerly known as William Street, which was the inspiration for the new restaurant’s name.
Hornik is the mastermind of William Street Common, and he also owns Drinker’s, Morgan’s Pier and Union Transfer. In addition to a menu featuring comfort foods, William Street Common features a three-drink brunch menu on the weekends for less than $23. With a service charge added to all items, there’s no need to calculate or leave tips.
“We want you to just concentrate on enjoying yourself, and not [on] if the server is being taken care of. This is a prototype, this is like a hypothesis — we’re giving it a shot, and we could be wrong,” Hornik said.
The restaurant’s brunch special features bottomless coffee and donuts, three drinks and an entree for $22.33. All cocktails, beer and wine are sold at a flat rate of $5. Snacks on the menu include pork belly fries and snack bacon, and sandwiches range from eggplant parm to barbecue short rib.
Hornik said that one of his favorite dishes served at William Street Common is the Albany Style Pierogies, which has origins from his time working with the New York State Assembly of Albany. He said that two of his good friends, one Polish and the other Korean, would get care packages from their mothers. When Hornik visited, he would always be served kimchi and pierogies.
“For me, you can’t have kimchi without pierogies, and pierogies without kimchi,” he said.
Hornik said that because the rent in West Philadelphia is a quarter of the rent in Center City, “we can afford to give you space, and not expect you to spend as much money.” Anyone who plans on spending four hours eating, writing a paper or playing vintage arcade games is welcome to do so, Hornik said. William Street Common promotes social conversation — a conversation, he said, that doesn’t have any ulterior motive.
“For a conversation to be social, there can’t be any ulterior motive. So if you’re a salesperson, it can’t be a social conversation. If someone wants something from you, then it’s not a social conversation,” Hornik said.
Although William Street Common is Hornik’s newest project, he said that he wants customers to feel comfortable and familiar in the space.
“The goal is to open and [to have] people walk in. And they’re supposed to say, ‘Oh yeah, I was here two years ago.’ Like, it’s supposed to feel like it’s always been there,” Hornik said.
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