The Moshulu, the one-of-a-kind restaurant presented on the world's oldest and largest four-masted sailing ship, is over 100 years old. As memories are created for restaurant-goers from the Philadelphia waterfront where she is now docked, there is an intriguing history of this legendary sailing ship's first century of adventure that includes moving cargo through ports of call on five continents, surviving world wars and a fire to playing roles on the silver screen and in books. The yearlong reflection of the Moshulu's first century began in the spring while looking forward to years of history still to come.
Since the Moshulu's re-opening in May 2003, the food and service have won rave reviews from both patrons and critics. Craig LaBan of the Philadelphia Inquirer in his recent review wrote the kind of praise restaurateurs dream about … The Moshulu "is a rare harmony of first-class food and service with stunning views and ambience." And, when writing about the chef, he said, "If you've never heard of executive chef/partner Ralph Fernandez, it's about time you did!"
The combined talent of Fernandez, Chef de Cuisine Kevin O'Kane and Sous Chef Adam DeLosso is very exciting and apparent with their innovative menus. Perhaps, another great compliment to this culinary team is that the region's finest chefs are coming themselves to enjoy the food and the entire experience. Moshulu owner, Marty Grims, said, "It is amazing that this glorious ship has had such an adventurous career, and it is the honor of all of us who work here daily to share her 100th birthday with our guests, especially those who are marking their own special celebrations."
Launched under the name Kurt in Glasgow, Scotland on April 20, 1904, the ship spent her first 40 years carrying cargo around the world. The 394' four-masted barque journeyed around Cape Horn 54 times. She was confiscated by the United States government during World War I, when First Lady Mrs. Woodrow Wilson renamed the vessel Moshulu, which means "fearless," to honor the Native American Seneca tribe. In 1939, the Moshulu won the last great grain race from Australia to Europe. The great travel and adventure writer Eric Newby was an 18-year old crewmember on the 1939 epic journey and immortalized it in his classic, "The Last Grain Race". Newby wrote further about his adventures onboard the ship in "Learning the Ropes: An Apprentice on the Last of the Windjammers". The Moshulu was confiscated by the Germans during World War II, eventually lost her rigging and served as a floating warehouse. Decades later, the Moshulu transitioned from a functional existence to a more aesthetic life. The ship appeared in two Academy Award-winning Best Pictures, "The Godfather II" and "Rocky."
Finally converted into a restaurant, the Moshulu opened on Penn's Landing in Philadelphia in 1975, welcoming guests until fire forced her closure nearly 15 years later. The ship has had a multi-million dollar restoration and has been moved to her current location on Penn's Landing, where she re-opened in May 2003 under the ownership of Martin Grims. Today, the Moshulu is the largest ship of its type still afloat.
Photo enhanced and tweaked using Photoshop CS.