The first thing you notice about The Hadley restaurant is its vintage vibe. From the wood paneling that floats up the wall to meet tiered chandeliers to the heavy, cristal d’arques drink tumblers, every detail communicates mid-century design.
Located in the East tower at Park Towne Place apartments in the Museum District, The Hadley takes its mission seriously to reimagine 1959. Its inspiration? Park Towne Place itself, which opened in 1959 and is on the National Register of Historic Places for its International-style architecture.
The art is curated by InLiquid and features permanent and rotating pieces that connect The Hadley aesthetic to the existing collection.
I expected Don Draper to be sitting in the lounge drinking his signature maple old-fashioned.
Except that he wasn’t, and instead I drank one of The Hadley’s signature cocktails: The Suffering Bastard, a potent blend of vodka, whiskey, and bitters. Priced at $12, the Suffering Bastard is smooth with just a hint of sweetness. Draper would approve.
The bar will feature about 10 signature cocktails, wine, and local beer selections from Lancaster and Yards.
The Hadley is the latest offering by Joseph Smith, known for his NYC steakhouses. The restaurant is his first in Philly and a departure from the steakhouse model.
I asked Jonathan Langel, a partner with Joseph Smith in the venture, why they chose Philly. He said that Aimco, Park Towne’s management company, approached Smith’s team because Aimco sought a partner that could deliver more than a restaurant. The Hadley is part of a larger strategic vision for Park Towne that includes catering for its pool and resident events.
That sounds great, right? But if you aren’t a resident, is the experience worth it? Absolutely. Despite a few minor first night hiccups, the food was on par with any Starr outlet.
If the decor is vintage, the food is decidedly contemporary with vegan offerings like grilled vegetable tian sitting comfortably alongside more traditional offerings like filet mignon and crab cakes.
And before you ask, yes, brunch and lunch are planned offerings. Right now, they are open for dinner only but hope to expand quickly. If demand on opening night was any indication, brunch will be in our future soon.
As for the menu, I highly recommend the shrimp and crab stack. This contemporary reimagining of the 1950s staple shrimp cocktail appetizer features shrimp and crab layered with avocado, citrus, and balsamic aioli.
For a main, Langel suggests The Hadley Burger, which was their biggest seller opening night.
These days, I am eating primarily vegetarian, but decided to go with a meat option, so I chose the Miso Glazed Black Cod from their lovely sea fare menu. The cod sat on a bed of pickled vegetables including Japanese sweet potato and bok choy, topped with nori.
I was a bit surprised when the server Samantha asked how I wanted it cooked as I am used to restaurants cooking my seafood as they see fit. I chose medium rare, and it was perfect.
I wish I could say the same about the sautéed spinach side dish, which I found a bit bland. The spinach was well cooked and not gritty. The seasoning just seemed to be missing. I will say that the spinach dish was a nice portion meant to feed multiple people. Other sides include Lobster Mac and Cheese. You could probably order a side as a main if you wanted a small bite with a drink.
I ended the night with creme brûlée and coffee.
You can’t really go wrong with the creme brûlée. This dish was definitely meant for two people. The topping was exactly how I like it, but the custard did seem a little more spongy than I expected.
My total for the night was $100 with tip. I took half the main and side dish home. When I asked Langel about the average price point, he noted that the average spend on opening night was $50 per person. That’s closer to what I expected. If you ordered a flatbread (which looked fantastic) and a beer, you could spend about $25.
I look forward to seeing what The Hadley has in its plans. They are currently completing the outdoor lounge space which features another fireplace.
Helpful hint: The Hadley offers valet, but street parking around Park Towne is limited. I strongly suggest an Uber or Lyft, taxi, or bus.
The Hadley details
2201 Park Towne Place
Mon – Thu 4:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Fri – Sat 4:30 pm – 1:00 am
Sunday 4:30 pm – 10:30 pm