The original location of the Old Original Bookbinder's was in Philadelphia and opened around the end of the Civil War. It may have changed ownership and location since then, but a few things have stayed just the same all this time. Notably, the devotion to serious service, sizzling steaks, and straight-from-the-sea seafood is never-changing.
Being open for over 100 years means that Old Original Bookbinders ain't broke. It don't need fixing either, but it has gone through a few changes in all that time. The plating doesn't look like it's straight from another century, and the Diver scallops with sweet smoked chili puree are definitely modern. That said, history isn't a bad thing, and you should make a point to order an edible relic of the past. The signature dish here is the snapper soup - as in snapping turtle (!), and it's, "dark, thick, rich, and filled with flavor."
Another cool thing about Bookbinder's is its dedicated promotion of local Virginia booze. Every single beer served here is made in-state, and while Virginia's not much of a wine-producing region, one of the wines on this list is made at Thomas Jefferson's home of Monticello. Want to make an unconventional drink order? Well, back before Prohibition, the most American drink out there was cider, and the apple beverage is in the midst of a bit of a renaissance. Bookbinder's serves three, also made in-state, and we promise, they don't taste like something you drank once in a college dorm.
Cover Photo Credit: Kurman Communications