After dodging the wrecking ball for several years, the quintessential Center City diner Little Pete's has a deadline to leave its home of more than 38 years to make way for a hotel.
Owner Pete Koutroubas said today that developers had recently served him with nine months' notice, meaning that the restaurant's last day at 17th and Chancellor Streets would be Aug. 31.
But the diner, where the rich and the poor rub elbows 24 hours a day, could close sooner.
Koutroubas said he would be amenable to leaving before the summer "if they give us money." He said the leases of other tenants in the building will expire in May. A representative for Chancellor Hotel Associates, developers of the Hyatt Centric, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Koutroubas has been scouting Center City for a new location to supplement the other Little Pete's location, in Fairmount.
Koutroubas said he was balking at paying what he called "sky-high" Center City rents. He said that when Little Pete's opened in 1978 in a former Dewey's, the rent for its 1,200 square feet was $800 a month. Now, he said, it is $10,000.