Philadelphia blues destination Warmdaddy’s has closed, wrapping a 25-year gig, first in Old City and then in Pennsport’s RiverView Plaza.
Reflecting the challenges of other live-music venues, brothers Robert Bynum and Benjamin Bynum Jr. sent an email citing the restrictions imposed on restaurants due to the coronavirus, as well as “uncertainties across the economy.” They added that they are looking for a new location. In a text message, Ben Bynum said they had “decisions to make before committing.”
The Bynums own the restaurants Relish in West Oak Lane, as well as South Kitchen and Green Soul in Spring Garden, all of which are operating.
The Bynums grew up in the club business, learning from their father, Benjamin, now 97, who founded the Cadillac Club at Broad Street and Erie Avenue in North Philadelphia, which hosted such stars as Gladys Knight & the Pips and Aretha Franklin.
The brothers opened Warmdaddy’s — named after Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson’s 1994 song “Warmdaddy in the Garden of Swing” — in June 1995 on Front Street near Market. It was a blues counterpoint to Zanzibar Blue, their groundbreaking jazz restaurant, which opened in 1990 on 11th Street between Spruce and Pine before moving to the Bellevue in 1996; it closed in 2007. The jazz room at South, now idle, had been an extension of Zanzibar Blue.
At Warmdaddy’s, they booked local and national acts such as Bluesman Willie, the Holmes Brothers, and Mose Allison before moving to South Philadelphia in 2006.