‘We’re getting tired’: Long-time restaurateurs put The Gold Standard up for sale

July 16, 2015

goldstandardcafeAbout 35 years ago Roger Harman and a partner opened a small café in a former laundromat at 47th and Chester. They named it The Gold Standard. A few years later they renamed it The Palladium and moved it to Penn’s Arts, Research and Culture House (ARCH) on Locust Walk where it operated for 20 years.

Then, Harman teamed up with Vince Whittacre to open Abbraccio, an Italian restaurant at 47th and Warrington (where the Vietnam Café is now). That closed, but six years ago they were back in business at 48th and Baltimore with a name that saluted the old days, opening The Gold Standard Café, the ever-pleasant coffee shop/restaurant/outdoor bistro that quickly became an institution along that section of Baltimore Avenue.

Now it’s on the market.

“We’re getting tired,” said Harman.

He couldn’t provide too many details on the effort to sell the restaurant, but said that its future will be a lot more clear in a week or two. We’ll keep you posted.

Mike Lyons

23 Comments For This Post

  1. Matt Says:

    But just yesterday WPL/Gold Standard said they were hiring!

  2. Anon Says:

    For sale does not mean closing.

  3. anon2 Says:

    A change in ownership does not mean the end of an era. Depending on the new owners, it could be more of a changing of the guards – same basic place but with new energy and leadership.

  4. ANONYMOUS Says:

    Good riddance to tired, crappy food and service.

  5. Anon Says:

    You’re obviously entitled to your opinion, cool anonymous Internet Guy, but there is a line of people waiting to spend their money there every weekend, so I guess maybe they’re doing something right. I’m sure your non-existent cafe is serving much better food and providing much better service, though

  6. Lee Baldwin Says:

    What about the other Gold Standard that just opened in center city? Is that for sale too?

  7. AR Says:

    The Cafe they opened up on Fitzwater is now under new ownership (bought by a friend of the former owners), and is going under the new name The Little Cafe on Fitz. They new owner has made some nice changes!

  8. Internet Guy Says:

    Do you ask every critical reviewer “where is YOUR business?” on Yelp?

  9. Horatio Says:

    I remember hearing a rumour that Abbraccio, (which was terrible), would try to drum up their business by calling L&I on all other restaurants in the area. Solomon/ Dahlak was a particularly favorite target.

  10. ANONYMOUS Says:

    Anon: Perhaps you’re one of the owners? If you are, why don’t you get off line and supervise before another staple ends up on a diner’s plate?

  11. Anon Says:

    Fair enough, Internet Guy. My main point, though, is that people are lined up to eat there every Saturday and Sunday (and there are plenty of people eating there on weeknights as well). And it’s not like there aren’t dozens of other places people could go within a handful of blocks, so, clearly many others are satisfied with the food and service.

  12. Anon Says:

    ANONYMOUS: No, I’m not one of the owners, although I do think they are nice guys and wish them well. Someone finding a staple on a plate is pretty far down on the list of egregious things that have happened at a restaurant. If that’s what it takes to put you off to eating somewhere, I hope you like to cook because you’re going to have a hard time finding somewhere to eat.

  13. Going to Hell Says:

    Horatio: I can believe it — although not of the current owners.

  14. Creative Bookkeeping Says:

    Does anyone know if business owners can be held liable for infractions after they sell their business?

  15. Strongforu Says:

    Oh my. I saw Roger just today and had no idea they were looking to sell. I pray that the new owner(s) upgrade the menu and improve service to take this good local eatery to the next level.

  16. Anon Says:

    @Strongforu: I’m guessing you’re a Quaker because that’s some strong passive-aggressive game

  17. Ross Bender Says:

    Actually saw this coming some time ago. After Roger’s 75th birthday, I did an extensive interview with him and Vince about the fabulous history of the Gold Standard.

    More tales of the old Gold Standard (and Abbraccio) at:

  18. Doug Says:

    The employees there all state they haven’t been paid in about a month, yesterday the entire deli case was empty except for canned sodas, and today the cafe was locked up tight well after the scheduled opening time of 7am.

    Perhaps “getting tired” includes not paying employees (who are the main reason I’ve been going there for years) and closing with no notice to employees or loyal patrons?

    Shame on the owners for treating their employees this way.

  19. Truth Bender Says:

    Dang! I’m gonna miss hearing shouts of “maricon” coming out of the kitchen.

  20. Anon Says:

    I have no idea what’s going on, but will add that I know someone with whom the owners were close passed last night. Obviously wouldn’t explain not paying employees (if true), but could explain opening late this morning

  21. Jaime Says:

    calm down everyone the restaurant won’t close new owners

  22. Aimee Says:

    I also hope that they change the menu. I have tried their food multiple times and was disappointed each time. I would always say I must be missing something because I couldn’t believe the amount of people eating there on the weekends. I think it’s just because they are one of the few places to eat outside when the weather is nice. I do hope they always keep that doggie bowl of water outside, my pooch is thankful for it.

  23. nick I Says:

    i’m a regular customer, between the new owners and new kitchen staff, the quality of the food has greatly diminished and they don’t have even basic items, like turkey burgers. I’d rather see it close all together, than continue in the lack luster restaurant it’s heading towards. even the deserts are no longer home made.

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