It was the most improbable
of beginnings. In a business known for its high failure rate,
Friday Saturday Sunday Restaurant was launched on a dare: Jay Gubin
dared Weaver Lilley and Arnie Roberts to open a restaurant with him
by each putting $2000.00 into a hat.
Jay Gubin, a brilliant concept person, was the perennial entrepreneur.
Arnie Roberts, a natural marketing whiz, was also one of
the best ad designers in the city. Weaver Lilley, a photographer with
a keen eye, was shooting some of the most exciting ads in town. What
did they know about restaurants? Not a great deal, but they were able
to open a restaurant that has one of the longest and most successful
track records in Philadelphia.
Of course, $6000 was not enough. It would require the additional help of
four more partners (making the total investment a very modest $14000). One of
those partners was the first Chef, Tommy Hunter. He eventually left FSS with
Jay to start the Restaurant School. Jeanine Autret was a journalist and contributor
to the Philadelphia Bulletin. Bud Bretschneider, a carpenter, was responsible
for the construction of the restaurant. Annie Perrier, was the wife of George
Perrier, chef and owner of Le Bec Fin. Although she had not worked in a restaurant,
she brought along a great deal of Georges help and her own terrific sense
Back in those days, a sense of humor was an important thing. The physical plant
was ancient. The refrigeration was supplied by a series of second hand apartment
refrigerators lined-up in a row. Desserts were being carried in from Jeanines
apartment kitchen up the street. Everybody was over educated. The dishwasher
had a PhD. The entire wait staff had college degrees. But except for Tom Hunter,
no one had been trained for what they were about to do. A crash course in the
running of a restaurant was about to begin.
It was very difficult but we had a lot of fun. Six
months after the restaurants opening, on a Saturday night, a line of waiting
customers could be seen stretching out the door, down the block and around the
corner of 21st and Spruce streets. Unfortunately, many of those people never
made it into Friday Saturday Sunday that night due to the slow turnover. However,
those that did returned home with fantastic reports of fabulous food, inexpensive
prices and a captivating atmosphere.
Now over 39 years
have passed and many of the faces have changed. However, the traditions
of quality food, fair prices and charming atmosphere are alive and
well at Friday Saturday Sunday and continue to drive this restaurants