Fare Thee Well, Letto Deli Building

The former home of the Letto Deli, at 208 S. 13th St., has had a trying past few years. For quite some time, it looked like Jose Garces would be taking over the space to open a German sausage and beer hall called Froman's Wursthaus. We even shared the good news in February of 2012 that the West West Civic Association would not oppose the application for takeout in the space. But by the time that summer rolled around, Garces sold the building and the Wursthaus was dead. Since then, we've occasionally heard rumors about someone taking over the space, but they've all fizzled out.

Looking down 13th St., there's the Letto building

The latest rumor to come down the pike comes from Michael Klein, who says that Sylva Senat, Tashan's opening chef, has signed a lease for the space. Guess a signed lease qualifies as a little more than a rumor, eh? What we find most interesting about this story is that the new restaurant won't apparently be opening in the space we see today.

Closer look

Plans are seemingly afoot to demolish the current building and replace it with something new. We definitely have mixed emotions about this plan. On the one hand, a one-story building in the heart of Center City is insane. The Gramercy building next door, which was renovated a couple of years ago, stands six stories tall. Other surrounding buildings are even taller. We would hope that Senet's new restaurant will live on the ground floor of a new building with a bunch of apartments above, which would seem to promise more of a return for the building's owners than a mere restaurant space.

On the other hand, the building that's there now is like nothing else in the city, and its demolition would clearly make 13th Street a little more boring. But like it or not, it looks like that's what's gonna happen. While the restaurant and construction plans are surely still coming together, it seems extremely likely that this building is approaching its final days. So if you're in the area, stop for a second, gawk at the throwback structure, and daydream about simpler times. We'll be there in spirit.