Diners at the renovated Hard Rock Cafe in Center City can now get more of a taste of Philadelphia music history with their meals.
In the new Philadelphia Room, patrons might sit beneath a shredded leather outfit worn by Philadelphia native Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the late TLC singer-songwriter, or handwritten lyrics to "I Hate Myself for Loving You" by Joan Jett, who grew up in Wynnewood. Plaques describe each item and the artist's connection to the Philadelphia area.
"Philadelphia is such a rock-and-roll town," Hard Rock historian Jeff Nolan said during a morning tour. "It has such a musical legacy."
The main dining area has been renovated as well, with a larger stage for performances and new memorabilia. The walls display a cape a fan gave to Elvis Presley during a 1977 Philadelphia show at the Spectrum, a vibrant red, orange and black pinstriped suit that belonged to Elton John, and a five-string bass that Mumford & Sons band member Ted Dwane played for years.
The expanded venue means Hard Rock no longer has to shut down normal operations during a private event or show on the main dining room stage, general manager Mike Chrupcala said.
Chrupcala said the bigger stage will host more than 150 shows next year. Now, the Philly Hard Rock typically hosts just four to six shows a month.
"We want to bring music back to Center City," he said.
The changes have been under way for months, with diners using the Philadelphia Room since September while the main dining room was being renovated. That room finally reopened late last month.
Some finishing touches are also being added. A new interactive touch-screen panel lets people magnify photos and videos to get up-close looks at items in the Hard Rock collection ranging from Elvis' shotgun to John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to "Imagine."
The menu hasn't changed, but Hard Rock will start serving breakfast to the public - previously only available by reservation - in January, said Dawn Bundik, the sales and marketing manager.