FCM Hospitality is opening a sprawling 28,000-square-foot waterfront restaurant that looks to play off the burgeoning development slated to take place along the Delaware River in coming years.
The roughly $1 million eatery dubbed Liberty Point will be among Philadelphia’s largest restaurants and offer waterfront views, live entertainment, and casual cuisine with a seafood focus. The restaurant, boasting a 1,400-person capacity, is located at 211 S. Columbus Blvd. and will include multiple seating areas that are essentially wrapped around the Independence Seaport Museum building at Penn’s Landing.
Liberty Point, which aims to open in April, will include five bars, seven private event spaces, and an outdoor amphitheater for music performances. The restaurant is split between 3,000-square-feet of indoor space that can accommodate 75 people year-round and 25,000 square feet of outdoor space that will be open seasonally, said FCM Hospitality Owner Avram Hornik.
The concept’s name nods to Philadelphia’s founding role in American history as well as the historical importance of the city’s port. When sailors would come to shore for time away from their ships it was called “liberty,” Hornik noted.
The casual waterfront concept will offer a raw bar and serve dishes including sandwiches and fish and chips. Liberty Point is meant to offer a dining experience in between those offered by nearby concepts like FCM’s beer garden at Spruce Street Harbor Park and the fine dining offered at the Moshulu, Hornik said.
Liberty Point will employ about 150 workers, with the majority being seasonal. The restaurant has been in the works for about five years, Hornik said. It was initially meant to debut in spring 2021 but was delayed by Covid-19.
The city-owned land is leased to the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., which leased it to Independence Seaport Museum, of which FCM Hospitality is now a sub-tenant, he added.
Hornik said he sees Liberty Point as being part of the second stage of development along Philadelphia’s “underutilized” waterfront. The eatery will look to draw from traffic brought to the area by Durst Organization’s planned $2.2 billion multiyear redevelopment of the Delaware River waterfront as well as the Delaware River Waterfront Corp.’s master plan that includes a $225 million cap over a portion of I-95 that will connect Penn’s Landing to the rest of the city.
Hornik anticipates such projects will make the waterfront area around Liberty Point “more accessible” and entice more foot traffic to walk there after visiting Old City destinations like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
The kitchen and several of the bars at Liberty Point are composed of shipping containers that were retrofitted off-site and craned in. The indoor portion that will operate year-round includes xylophone doors and an eclectic assortment of mirrors on the walls that are meant to reflect waterfront views no matter where guests sit. That area was built as a theater for the bicentennial in 1976 and hasn’t had a modern use, Hornik said.
Other seaside elements of the concept include permanent catering facilities located above the outdoor amphitheater, a compass fixture on the floor of the main outdoor dining area, a boat that guests can eat in, and one bar made out of a converted boat.
A $500 micro-wedding package that can accommodate about 20 people and comes with everything included — even an officiant — will also be available.