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Music and The High Note Café, South Philly

Updated on April 26, 2014
Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Music permeates Maren's soul, whether performing (voice, piano, drum, guitar, clarinet) or acting as a crazily enthusiastic audience member.

Jazz Greats at the High Note Cafe

Larry McKenna and friends performing at the High Note Cafe on April 17, 2013.
Larry McKenna and friends performing at the High Note Cafe on April 17, 2013. | Source

In South Philly

If you are near Philly (that’s Philadelphia talk for “Philadelphia”), you’ve probably heard traffic reports occasionally mention Tasker Street. It cuts across Broad Street in the southern part of the city. The earthy, music-loving, Italian food producing part of the city, that is. So, it should be no surprise that a scrumptious dinner and world-class entertainment join together at an establishment at the corner of 13th and Tasker Streets. This place is like co-joined twins. One side is FrancoLuigi’s Pizzeria, a take-out pizza, six-pack, and sandwich joint. The other half is the spectacular, elegant High Note Café.

Live Music

This endeavor of Chef Franco Borda’s must be a dream come true. Being a fine tenor, he understands good music performance. Being a chef, he appreciates hearty Italian cuisine. Put them under the same roof, and one has heaven on earth. This synergy occurs at the High Note.

Yes, the High Note combines fine dining and live music performance. In this intimate setting of about 6 tables on the street level and balcony seating in the back, every guest has a superb seat. The modest stage at the front is spotlit and hosts regional talent and world-class performers.

The live music program welcomes a variety of performers. Being the eclectic Renaissance man that he is, Chef Borda invites musicians from many genres. Wednesday and Thursday are the jazz nights. Recent perfomers are Larry McKenna, Lee Smith, Pete Souders, Mike Boone and Jim Holton. Move to Friday night dining for singers of Italian classics and opera. Then, on Saturdays and Sundays look forward to standards and ballads performed by pianists and singers. Complementing the banquet for your palate and the music for the soul, the walls of the High Note Café provide a feast for the eyes. It can take all night to digest all the opera and concert posters, autographed black-and-white glossies, and music memorabilia. This room is awash with the love of music.

Five-Star Ambience


Relaxed Elegance

The High Note Café decor conjures up relaxed elegance. Marbled-topped tables sit in spacious arrangement along the side walls. At the back, an upper dining area provides a little more intimacy. The website also describes outdoor dining when weather permits. The crystal sparkles and the servers are attentive, deferential, and –yes- perfect. Try the house Chianti; it is sublime.

The menu offers fifteen appetizers ranging among shellfish, meat, cheeses and vegetarian choices. I counted sixteen entrees plus a 5-course family style prie fixe package. Then, one can order over ten possible brick oven personal pizzas. For a finish, five desserts of Italian persuasion are available.

Reservations are recommended, but not always needed. Parking is on-street. See the website for a schedule of entertainers.

1549 South 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (At the corner of 13th and Tasker Streets)


High Note Cafe Location

FrancoLuigi's High Note Cafe:
1549 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, USA

get directions

Photos and text copyright 2013 Maren E. Morgan.


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