I’ve shot this sign a million times, and I’ll probably shoot it a million more, but the day I shot this was just a perfect day. So here it is once again – the fabulous sign outside of the Boot and Saddle Bar!
I last posted about this about two years ago, and one of the wonderful things about the internet is that this stuff bops endlessly around cyberspace and there’s always somebody discovering a post anew. Back in November, I got a wonderful comment from somebody who worked at the Boot and Saddle in the early days. Linda Juilianna Ruilova wrote:
OMG! The Boot & Saddle. I can tell you a lot about the Boot. It was the greatest place ever. Owned by Pete DelBorrello. I rented one of his apts over his laundromat. He had just bought that place and had a little bar in it. As I got to know him he asked me to work for him and I said okay what the heck. Then I met Jeannie his daughter and we ran it together. I saw it go from a dive to a great place. His brother Al put in a 40 ft circular bar and they served shots and beer from kegs that were hooked up from the basement. There used to be a Marine Armory across the street so we had a lot of Marines in there and a few neighborhood morning lushes. I remember the day the sign was delivered and put up. It was the most beautiful sign I ever saw. Then we decided to have Country Music because that was Pete’s favorite music. We started to get bands on the weekend. Gradually the sign brought in customer after customer. It really grew and people loved it. Jeannie and I had a great following. Then Pete decided to have go-go dancers at lunchtime and that brought in more people. He had two stands on top of the bar at each end and the dancers would dance there. The backroom was a sawdust floor with tables and used to be packed on weekends with country music and dancing. God I loved that bar. It was responsible for me finding my husband in a round about way and I moved to Oklahoma City. I can tell you story after story about the Boot. It is very dear to my heart. I loved Pete and Elsa Delborrello they were like parents to me as I was supporting myself and alone in the world.That 40 ft circular bar was amazing and a long walk back and forth there were bar stools all the way around and sawdust on the floor. Eventually Pete let me put in food and a steamtable and then he let me put mixed drinks for the ladies and it was absolutely great. He loved that bar. He also owned laundromats,“check cashing place-bakeries and god knows what else. The Delborrello’s of South Philly were very well respected by everyone. He had wonderful kids. New years day was a blast! It used to be so packed and people in and out for the Mummers Parade you couldn’t pour a drink fast enough. I still kind of stay in touch with the family. Jeannie is my daughters godmother. Sorry to go on and on but I just can’t say enough about that wonderful family and the man who brought Country Music to South Philly. Anything you want to know just ask me. Pete was the kindest and most respectable I have ever met in my life. If I had the energy and the money I would buy it and start it up again because I know it would work. Country music is big today and everyone loves it. It would do South Philly good.
Long Live The Boot. Linda Okie
Linda, thank you so much for writing this. The big boot was always some big, silly sign I would pass on South Broad Street. Thanks for painting a picture of the place and a time period.
If you have any pictures of the interior from that time, I’m sure a lot of folks in Philly would love to see them!