York City's old Philly Café building is no more

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Debris from the building that once housed the old Philly Cafe sits at the corner of Philadelphia and Hartley streets in York City Monday, June 28, 2021. The building was demolished over the weekend. Bill Kalina photo

The building that once housed the old Philly Café in York City was demolished over the weekend after sitting blighted for decades.

The building, located at 484-486 W. Philadelphia St., was in the York Historic District, an area on the National Register of Historic Places. The York City Council in April approved the demolition of the deteriorating property.

“The building is down, but we have a lot of cleaning up to do,” said Sarah Van Vleet, administrative coordinator of Royal Square Development & Construction, which owns the property.

More:Council vote: Historic York City building will be demolished

More:HARB approves demolition of old Philly Café in York City

The property is expected to be cleaned up by July 12, Van Vleet said. The company plans to turn the property into a green space that can be developed in the future.

There are currently no specific plans for development, she said.

Debris from the building that once housed the old Philly Cafe sits at the corner of Philadelphia and Hartley streets in York City Monday, June 28, 2021. The building was demolished over the weekend. Bill Kalina photo

Although dilapidated, the old Philly Café was once a popular destination that brought back memories for city residents.

Darlene Pace, of Glen Rock, recalled eating steamed crabs at the restaurant every Friday at 5 p.m. for three decades.

“We met with the same group of people and sat at the same seat,” Pace said. “We talk about it still. We just loved it.”

Fast forward years later, and the building continued to sit vacant and marked with a red "X," signifying that the York City Fire Department would not enter the premises if there was a fire.

Pace said she last saw the building while driving by before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"It was just too sad," she said, adding that she was OK with it being torn down because of how long it sat deteriorating. 

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.