[CLOSED 2019] The Fisherman Phoenixville, PA – My Fave Restaurant In Town

January 2019. It is with wicked heavy heart that Mod Betty shares that The Fisherman closed suddenly the week of January 7, and will not reopen. 

The Fisherman Restaurant Phoenixville PA closed 2019

2017 update: Retro Roadmap video episode at The Fisherman!

Our original post from 2009 and updated:

When we first moved to our town we were smitten by the flashy exterior of a vintage diner only to be disappointed on more than one occasion by the food– reminding us that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Taking those words to heart, one day we thought we’d try an intriguing but somewhat plainer looking restaurant up the road, The Fisherman. And BOY were we in for a treat!

The Fisherman Restaurant

Now, I will say up front that not everyone who has visited it  “gets”  The Fisherman, but since you’re here reading Retro Roadmap, I think you will appreciate the charm of the place.

Opened 1960, The Fisherman was built by Walt and Charles Zaremba’s father – Walt and Charles run the restaurant now. He was the original Fisherman and would go to the Chesapeake and fish, bring his catch home to PA, clean it and serve it at the restaurant.

The Fisherman Restaurant

While fish and seafood still feature prominently on the menu, it also includes many standard diner food staples- my ultimate fave being the chicken croquettes (with a side of pickled beets, please). While not fancy we’ve always been pleased with what we ordered, and it is definitely much better than the food we had at the shiny diner. They are also famous for their pies, especially the strawberry, though I am usually too stuffed to get dessert.

Chicken Croquettes - The Fisherman Restaurant Phoenixville PA

Besides the comfort food, the best thing ever about The Fisherman is the décor. For the most part untouched since the place opened, it is a beautiful study in preserved materials, patterns and textures. This combination is kept tastefully in check by an overarching neutral palette, allowing everything to serenely co-exist and not clash.

Booth Service

A visual feast from the linoleum floor to the recessed ceiling with its leafy light fixtures, the place is well kept and well cared for.

Allow me to gush for a bit:

The Booths! Each one hand made by the original Fisherman, including the round one in the corner (my fave!) We are all lucky that they are custom sized and cannot be easily replaced by cheaper modern versions. The mocha colored vinyl is patterned with a jazzy intersection of swerving lines and abstract geometrics, busy without being overwhelming.

study in beige

The Counter! Vintage Formica with a sandy stone motif on a white background. Swively stools overlook a soda fountain.

Fisherman Counter

The Walls! Warm grey wooden paneling reminiscent of the weatherbeaten exterior of a beach house.  Hanging on the walls are various stuffed fish, most of which were caught by the original owner (ask to see the giant sailfish in the banquet room, that was a catch too!)

The cash register is solid silver chrome, as is the pie case. Trust me and don’t miss the signs on the restrooms. Oh and did I mention the cigarette machine that advertises brands that don’t even exist anymore?

king chesterfield

Can you see why we love it so?

You know you want to check out the place now, right? Here are a couple of insider tips for your visit:

First of all, it is a very quiet place, with soft music playing in the background, and frequented by older folks. Please don’t be boisterous or loud, it just ruins the whole vibe.

Please also let them know what a treasure they have on their hands, and that it is one of the reasons you came to visit. I’ve said it each time I’ve visited, but they could think I’m just an odd broad. So add your voice to the chorus of support for how cool the place looks, so they don’t think of “modernizing” the place. Horrors!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Add a Comment

  • aubsie2
    July 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Not everyone “gets it.” OH, i get it. Get it? 😉

  • bethalooo
    July 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I was only there once for breakfast, and I believe we sat in the round booth. Everytime I go by my mouth waters at the advertisement for strawberry pie though….mmmm. I will have to go there for dinner sometime!

  • bethalooo
    July 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Btw, love reading your takes on all the cool local stuff! I don’t eat red meat and I still appreciate the hell outta Jimmy John’s!

  • Loosey
    August 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Gravy should be the 5th food group!

    You’ve made this coquette crave a croquette!

  • Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap
    December 10, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Hello folks, I just got this nice email from Franck S, who visited The Fisherman after reading about it on Retro Roadmap- hooray! Thanks Franck, for letting us know about your good experience, and about Lou’s, too! Not to be confused with Lou’s Too in Trappe PA 😉

    “Hi Beth,

    I came across you piece on the Fisherman restaurant last week
    and my wife and I went there today. Great place!

    Got talking with the owner/chef. He said that he’s
    been working there since he was twelve, works seven days a week and
    he’s never really been anywhere outside of the Phoenixville area. I made a
    point to tell him that I had found out about the restaurant from your article.

    Have you ever been to Lou’s Luncheonette on west Main street in Norristown?
    It’s been there since the early 50’s and hasn’t changed much at all. It was just
    mentioned in the Inquirer in conjunction with “zeps” but I think they serve
    one of the best cheesesteaks around. A legend in the Norristown area. Worth
    stopping in.

    Thanks again for the tip.


    Franck S.”

  • Marifran Ritchie
    January 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

    How have I not been here before??? I AM GOING. Thanks for the tip.

    • RetroRoadmap
      January 22, 2014 at 10:17 am

      As a heads up, the place is cool, weird, quiet, and like you just stepped back in time! As I’ve said, some people dig that and some people don’t. It isn’t quite the same now that Laurie no longer is there, but Charlie is still keeping the place going. If I ever win the lottery I want to buy the place!

  • mcrchap
    January 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I haven’t been there in 40 years; it hasn’t changed at all.

Add a comment