Commissary Restaurant To Close

Posted: October 11, 1991

After 15 years of serving an estimated five million hungry Philadelphians, the Commissary will close Oct. 25.

The upscale cafeteria at 1710 Sansom St. was something of a sensation when Steve Poses opened it in 1976, and it prospered for many years. "But times change," Poses said yesterday. "We have to change with them."

Poses will move his catering operation into the space now occupied by the Commissary, with a "tasting office and library" facing Sansom Street. Poses said his extensive collection of "cookery bookery" will be accessible to the public by appointment.

The Commissary Market, a retail store next to the Commissary, will remain open, and Poses will create a 60-seat cafe at the rear of the market to continue what he calls "the Commissary tradition."

Poses was an important part of what has come to be called the ''Philadelphia restaurant renaissance. His first restaurant was Frog, which opened in 1973 and closed in 1987; it was originally intended to be a coffeehouse serving light food. It was received so enthusiastically, however, that it evolved into a major Center City restaurant.

At the closing of Frog, Poses said, "We couldn't sustain being new."

He has since opened the 16th Street Bar & Grill, City Bites and two Eden restaurants, one in Center City and the other on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The one in Center City has since closed, as has City Bites.

Poses sold both Eden restaurants because, he said, they needed "a full- time entrepreneur."

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