If Liberty Point is the largest outdoor restaurant in Philadelphia — if not the largest restaurant, period — how about some numbers:
Liberty Point at Independence Seaport Museum on Penn’s Landing, can accommodate 1,400 people in season over 25,000 square feet. By comparison, the city’s second-largest restaurant is the nearby Morgan’s Pier, a seasonal destination on the Delaware River also owned by Avram Hornik and FCM Hospitality, with a capacity of 500.
Hornik said Liberty Point is designed to be a sit-down dining experience with live music for families and tourists, while Morgan’s Pier typically draws a younger adult crowd seeking a backyard barbecue or beer garden.
Liberty Point has 150 employees, five bars, and seven event spaces ringing the museum’s exterior on three main levels. Entertainment includes live music Friday and Saturday, and DJs throughout the week. At the street level is a 75-seat indoor bar/dining room that will be open year-round.
Because of the museum’s location, Liberty Point offers river views from everywhere. Look north to see the Ben Franklin Bridge, east to see the New Jersey State Aquarium, southeast to see the USS New Jersey, and south to see the marina, the Dockside condo building, and traffic. Even the indoor dining room has river views, thanks to cleverly angled mirrors behind the bar.
Getting there is relatively easy for a destination on Penn’s Landing, which is hemmed in by I-95 and Columbus Boulevard. Liberty Point is at the base of the Walnut Street bridge that spans both roadways. Head to Front and Walnut Streets in Old City and walk over the bridge, or drive along Columbus Boulevard and park in the garage attached to the Hilton hotel next door.
Chef Qadir Jordan, a West Philadelphia-born 15-year veteran of such Philadelphia restaurants as Fork, White Dog Cafe, and Jose Garces’ restaurants, has set up a menu including loaded shrimp and grits “tots,” falafel bites, spicy Korean barbecue cauliflower, salads, raw-bar selections such as spicy tuna tartare served with togarashi chips, fried seafood baskets, and many sandwiches, like a beef burger, an Impossible burger, roast pork sandwich, and a crab cake topped with jerk aioli, grilled scallion and pineapple relish on a brioche roll.
Jordan and his crew work out of a kitchen created out of three repurposed shipping crates. Seven beers and one cider are on the tap list, which is rounded out by cocktails (mostly $10), two wines on tap, two frozen drinks, bottled wines and cans of beer.
Liberty Point, which opened May 3 after a year delay by the pandemic, is part of a deal between FCM and the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., the quasi-governmental agency that oversees Penn’s Landing on behalf of the city, and the museum, which was built for the 1976 Bicentennial.
After catering an event at the nearby USS Olympia, Hornik said he entered talks with the DRWC and museum to repurpose the little-used outer areas of the museum.
All of Penn’s Landing is being redeveloped under a $2.2 billion plan that includes 12 new towers of homes, shops, and offices on either side of a park being planned over the highway, between Chestnut and Walnut Streets.
Liberty Point’s hours are noon to 2 a.m. daily.