The morning air was noticeably chilly when David Braverman parked a school bus dubbed “Max” on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. He had no culinary training other than tidbits passed down from his father’s deli and snippets gleaned from the cookbooks he’d paged through, but he had an idea and three guiding principles — make everything from scratch, use only the best ingredients, and try everything. And so it was that on a fateful morning in March of 1978, armed with a few home-roasted meats, some fresh-baked blueberry muffins, and a pot of hot coffee, David slid open the window of trusty old Max, and greeted the first LeBus customer.
LeBus was an immediate hit. As the lines grew, so did the menu. The muffin options became legendary in their variety. Playful salads and soups made their debut. And, perhaps most importantly, it was a small propane oven outfitted at the back of Max that turned out the first LeBus breads.
The 80s came with many changes. David enrolled in culinary school for a formal chef’s education. Knowing that there is no teacher quite like experience, he travelled throughout the U.S., France, and Germany honing methods from some of the world’s greatest restaurants and bakeries that he discovered along the way. And in 1984, with the help of his culinary mentor, Esther Press-McManus, David opened his first brick-and-mortar establishment on the UPenn campus. LeBus on Main Street in Manayunk would soon follow. And eventually, LeBus expanded into the artisan bakery that became the grain-fueled empire we know today. In time, David chose to focus on his wholesale operations, and sold his restaurant concepts, but at the back of his mind, he knew that he would one day return to the restaurant game. Oh, and as for Max? David’s beloved bus was donated to a local soup kitchen, and spent his golden years providing food for the homeless.
Nearly fifteen years after leaving his restaurants behind, David saw his next opportunity at the corner of Ridge & Midvale Ave. in East Falls, mere blocks from his own home. David seized this stroke of luck, and assembled a team of the industry’s finest to reincarnate the LeBus that Philadelphians remember and love. With the help of JT Dunn, David has developed a menu featuring some LeBus classics, a stack of fun experiments that turned out utterly awesome, and the house-baked breads and pastries for which LeBus is known.
David and LeBus have come a long way since that first March morning, but his three guiding principles still ring true. Whether it’s our sustainably raised salmon, house-made sausage, or locally grown microgreens, David and LeBus are dedicated to bringing you creative cuisine based on only the best ingredients. Come have a visit at our cozy restaurant, sip a hand-crafted cocktail, dine on our American homestyle eats, and taste our sense of dedication in everything that we do. We’re so honored to welcome you to LeBus, and incredibly proud to serve the food and cocktails you’ll love as much as we do.