Penn Welcomes A Bigger and Better Baby Blues BBQ to the Community

Media Relations Contact: 
Jennifer Rizzi, Communications Director
Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services

Where do meat, smoke, and fire collide along with savory sides for the ultimate BBQ experience?  University City staple Baby Blues BBQ is joining the Shop Penn community as it moves to its new location at 3432 Sansom Street, announced Penn’s Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services. Baby Blues, originally founded in California, has been situated on the city’s iconic Sansom Row - a few doors down from the new spot - for the past decade, co-owned and operated by Johnny Fischer, Chris McHugh, and Penn alumnus, John Rubin.  

Baby Blues has four locations throughout the country, with the Sansom Street location as its only one on the East Coast. Menu items highlight family-inspired recipes for ribs of all kinds—Baby Back, Memphis-style and Beef—plus burgers, wings, pulled pork, po’boys, shrimp, chicken and catfish. Also available, a slew of traditional sides, including coleslaw, cornbread, hush puppies, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and grilled corn on cob with chipotle butter.  In addition, the bar serves up many local beers on tap and hand-crafted cocktails to compliment the home-style cooking. 

Since opening at its original Sansom Street location years ago, Baby Blues has been active with the nearby university communities, as well as with the West Philadelphia neighborhood and city as a whole.  They have regularly hosted student groups, teams, and other organizations as a hot spot for planned and impromptu small gatherings.  The restaurant has also made giving back a focus.  In recent years, Baby Blues has smoked 100s of turkeys for shelters during Thanksgiving and has closed the restaurant on occasion to host meals and game-day viewing parties for the homeless.

“We are very excited to welcome Baby Blues to the Shop Penn family of stores and restaurants,” said Ed Datz, Penn’s Executive Director of Real Estate. “They have been a popular establishment in the community for years and the new expanded BBQ joint will be a fantastic addition to the vibrant mix of shopping and dining that we are committed to providing in our portfolio.  We are pleased that they have decided to join us to continue their journey here in Philadelphia.”

The new location at 3432 Sansom Street will provide Baby Blues with approximately double the space  (7500 sf) to accommodate more than 200 people and allow for several new additions, including a significantly expanded bar and private party spaces equipped with large screen televisions. The new location also includes a larger kitchen which will allow the restaurant to expand its menu, starting with a brand new weekend brunch.

“After 10 years on Sansom Street, we are excited for the next ten years and our new partnership with the University of Pennsylvania,” said co-owner Johnny Fischer.

Fischer’s family grew up in the restaurant business with his grandfather as co-founder of Gino’s Burgers and Chicken, a popular regional chain in Maryland and the Philly suburbs during the 1960s and ‘70s.  Their BBQ joints have been spotlighted on The Travel Channel and Food Network, and have won best of BBQ awards on both coasts.  This legacy of good food, drink, and hospitality will continue in a new gathering spot in the Shop Penn retail district.  The new location is currently undergoing renovations, with the interior design provided by Emmy-nominated designer Kim Leolei, working hand in hand with Bridget Siegfried of local Bee Design, creating an atmospheric, down-home vibe for a fun southern BBQ experience.   While renovations are ongoing, the restaurant will be providing takeout and delivery service beginning this month.

Watch for updates on the new restaurant opening in 2021, and learn more about their catering, roaming food truck, and menu offerings by visiting and following @BabyBluesPhilly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

MSC Retail represented the University of Pennsylvania in the transaction.

About SHOP PENN Retail District
Penn’s retail district offers an inspired, contemporary shopping and dining experience, open to all. Spanning ten city blocks from 30th to 40th Streets and across Spruce, Walnut, and Chestnut Streets, the district features more than 75 curated shopping and dining outlets immersed in the region’s most beautiful and historic university campus. The diverse collection of retail offerings—including national brands and independent shops—provides the highest quality options at every price point for the Penn community, surrounding neighborhoods, and beyond. Visit the SHOP PENN website for a full listing of retailers.