The Pen & Pencil Club, one of the oldest press clubs in the country, has landed a new chef and a new menu just in time to commemorate its 130th anniversary. The Club has been open daily with almost no interruption (save for the almost two years that we’ve spent battling COVID-19) since 1892, and now the historic Club located at 1522 Latimer Street in Philadelphia is ready to hit its stride.
Raphael Tiberino, the newly installed General Manager, has a vision for how he sees the Club progressing, including art shows, member-hosted events, live entertainment, and dining.
“As the general manager of the historic Pen & Pencil Club, I have been committed to keeping the Club's sense of history and legacy, and bringing a new artistic aesthetic that embodies the Tiberino brand,” said Raphael. “This new chapter is still in its early stages, and to this new stage, I have brought a person I have always respected both personally and professionally in Nantambu Chavis. I have always enjoyed the food and ideas that this gentleman has created as a culinary artist and I am looking forward to seeing how this combination of new offerings will strengthen the Club.”
Nantambu Chavis has come aboard as the Culinary Director, bringing an exciting new menu with him. Mr. Chavis started in foodservice in 1990, working for Stephen Starr, Aramark, Di Bruno Bros., and Schulson Collective over the years before eventually becoming an advisory food and beverage consultant. The new menu features standouts such as Six Spice-Rubbed Chicken ($16); Blackened Salmon ($17); Inkwell Chili ($12); and the Inkwell Burger ($17); as well as Soup de la Semaine (MP); Mixed Green Salad ($8.50); Caesar Salad ($8); Bruschetta Trio ($3.75 - $9.75); and Empanadas ($6.50 - $8).
“The opportunity to move The Pen & Pencil Club into a new era and help build a new perception of the dining experience was the impetus for partnering with the historic club,” said Chavis. “I am truly inspired to navigate this beloved institution’s food service program.”
Long-time board member Bobbi I. Booker stepped up as President of the organization in 2019. Her arrival coincided with the death of previous General Manager Dan Kenney, followed by the COVID-19 crisis, which caused a lengthy period of ceased operations. Over the past six months, the membership at the P&P has nearly doubled, providing the Club with much-needed revenue to take these next steps. After receiving early feedback on the new menu, the Club has steadily become busier on days when food service is available.
I am truly grateful for the act of charity displayed during the height of the pandemic when a nearly century-old endowment provided the influx of funds required to give us strength to face this next anniversary milestone,” said Booker. “There is much work to be done, and with this revamped dinner menu, the Club is reestablishing its rich tradition of offering extraordinary food and fantastic cocktails.”
To become a Pen & Pencil Club member one must be sponsored by a current active member in good standing — "Those who choose journalism above all other callings,” as its 1892 charter described it — and require Board approval.
Membership fees are $40 (Associate) and $60 (Active) annually, with sustaining members paying an additional $60.
Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and beyond. Food news: email@example.com. Travel tips: firstname.lastname@example.org.