The afternoon wore on and Snockey's, the century-old South Philly oyster house, began running out of things - crab cakes, littleneck clams, time.
One customer, Arlene Campbell, was told by co-owner Ken Snock that her takeout order was the last one Snockey's would ever serve. She walked out with boxes filled with shrimp, clams, and salmon for her family.
It was standing-room-only around the small bar, and behind it staff bustled, shucking the last oysters and serving the last beers and Bloody Marys to the last rush of customers who would ever walk through Snockey's doors.
Snockey's closed Sunday. But first, old friends and longtime customers packed the place. They wanted one last chance to take in the atmosphere, and the shellfish, of a restaurant that many said had been part of their lives since childhood.
Salvatore Belluso, a former South Philadelphia resident, drove up from North East, Md., on Sunday just to be here for Snockey's last day. He stopped just long enough to pick up his son, Shawn, in Northern Liberties.
"I said 'Get in the car,' " Belluso recounted. " 'Snockey's is closing.' "
Joe Bond, 39, of Atlanta, was in town visiting his girlfriend Kathleen McAdams, 34, and the couple captured two of the scarce bar seats to order a feast of shellfish.
Bond recalled coming to Snockey's as a kid with his father after Phillies games. McAdams said she's remained a Snockey's regular. She lives a few blocks away from the restaurant at Second Street and Washington Avenue, and frequently walks there to meet girlfriends.
"It's the seafood but it's also the neighborhood atmosphere," she said.
Guests talked about Snockey's as a relic of another time. The floors are tiled white, the walls are painted white, crowded with photos showing off the place's history, including pictures of Frank Snock, who opened it in 1912.
"It's an old-world oyster house and there just aren't any of them left," said Phil McKeaney, of Pennsauken.
Frank Snock kept the business in the family and years ago it passed down to his grandsons Ken, 65, and Skip, 67.
In recent years, the work had been outpacing the revenue, they said. They first contemplated closing around its centennial anniversary. There is no final plan for the building, which includes two apartments, but the brothers have said there is a viable offer on the table.
With the restaurant's demise finally a reality, each reacted differently. Ken was boisterous, wearing a white skipper's hat and shouting "permission to come aboard!" to customers as they arrived.
"I'm up for this," he said cheerfully when asked how he felt about the closing.
He hesitated to say more, then finally admitted, "It's like the guy getting paroled after 40 years doing solitary confinement."
The latest generation of the family worked Sunday behind the bar and serving tables, preparing hulking Long Island Salts, round-shelled Cape May Salts, and deep bowls of steamed clams.
"I've worked here since I was 10," said Jason Mitchell, 33, a nephew of the co-owners who has a full-time job as a civil engineer and writes poetry. "I started as a bus boy. This has been in my life since I was born."
Skip Snock arrived later in the afternoon and was immediately inundated with questions from the staff, many of whom are his family.
"It's hard to think because every single second someone's asking me for something," he said as a niece pulled him away.
He finally found a few minutes to reflect on the closing.
"My parents lived a long time in here," he said, adding that he was glad they didn't live to see the place close.
Beneath the celebratory atmosphere Sunday, there was sadness too.
"Employees who worked yesterday, they all went out crying," he said. "My daughters, they can't even think about it without starting to cry."