Spence Cafe

About Us

A hundred years ago, if you were anyone important in West Chester, native or stranger, and you wanted a good, quick meal, you knew where to go.

A century ago, if you walked down Gay Street you certainly would catch the salty satisfying smell of cooked shellfish. From 1849 to 1910, the Spence family ran a succession of oyster houses and restaurants considered the best in town. The café, which apparently catered to the professional elite of West Chester, flourished until the time of World War I. Specializing in oysters, fried clams, snapper soup, and an excellent chowder, spiced with horseradish grown in the restaurant’s basement.

The first floor of the building had a dining room on the right-hand side, which was open to ladies. On the left was the saloon bar. The second floor housed two banquet halls and the third and fourth floors Spence’s family.