Last March, I published a love note from George Matysik and Doug Moak to Pete’s Clown House in the Frankford/Juniata section of Philly (I’m not choosing one, as tensions about neighborhood boundaries run way too high up there). Though George and Doug couldn’t make it that day, I asked around on Twitter and managed to round up three friends for a breakfast feast. And I do mean feast. We had four He-Man platters, which basically means we had everything, all for about six bucks each. To this day, Pete’s Clown House remains one of those gems that I take friends to who’ve had it with the lines at Sabrina’s or Honey’s.
To my surprise, after publishing the note, I got some emails from some of the descendants of the owners. As far as I can piece together, Sam McKay opened up a restaurant there called Chatterbox in the 50s. He and his family lived above the store (as people continue to do today). In the 60s, the store changed hands to Pete, his wife Helen, and their 3 daughters. Pete’s loyal customers knew his love for clowns, and gave him pictures to decorate with. Today, a neon clown sign hangs in the main dining area. Ronnie (a long time employee) took ownership of the restaurant after Pete, and the legacy lives on at 3878 Frankford Avenue. Read more