I love Philadelphia, food, and showing people around town. That’s why I’ve assigned myself the unofficial title of WCUS food tour guide.
Last year’s food post is still full of delicious places to eat and drink coffee, but I’m excited to bring you this WordCamp US 2016 Add-on to my insider’s guide to Philly food.
The Full Philly Eating Experience
Do you want to experience all the quintessential Philly foods in 24 hours? If you’re in a position to throw dietary restrictions to the wind, follow this guide.
Mmmm, Scrapple. Don’t ask what’s in it.
NYC may have the best bagels, but we have the BEST soft pretzels. Center City Pretzels is open early every morning, and you can get a delicious hot pretzel right out of the oven.
Want to partake in classic Philly breakfast eats like Scrapple, Pork Roll or Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast? Visit one of Philly’s classic Diners such as Melrose Diner, Oregon Diner, Little Pete’s, Down Home Diner or South Street Diner.
Throughout Center City you’ll find unpretentious silver food trucks where for around 3 bucks you can get a Philly breakfast staple – “Egg ‘n’ Cheese on a long roll saltpepperketchup.” Order it just like that.
In Philly, a sandwich on a long roll called is a hoagie and it’s the perfect thing to eat for lunch. Some of the best places to get a hoagie are Sarcone’s Deli, Paesano’s Philly Style, Campo’s Deli, DiBruno Bros, and, last but not least, Wawa. Yes, Wawa. They’re a Philly area convenience store chain and their hoagies are not half bad.
Wapuu holding a Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet.
Looking for something sweet in the afternoon? Philly has a couple of delicious pastry shops in the Italian Market area, Termini Bros & Isgro’s, where you can get fresh cannolis and other Italian sweet treats.
In Olde City you will find Shane Confectionery, a candy shop restored to historical perfection by the Berley Brothers. It is a sweet Philly landmark you should not miss.
Or, if you’re in a hurry, pick up some Tastykakes from Wawa. My favorite is Butterscotch Krimpets.
If you’re lucky, George Washington will be your server at City Tavern.
For dinner you can head to any of these classic Philly Italian restaurants to have pasta with “gravy” and meatballs: Villa Di Roma, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant or Marra’s.
If you’re in the mood for pizza, Tacconelli’s Pizzeria is one of the most famous Pizzerias in Philly. It’s a bit far from Center City, and you have to reserve your dough ahead of time, but it’s what you have to do if you want some of Philly’s best pizza.
If you’re hungry for history, you can go to City Tavern where you will eat Colonial-era food and drinks in a replica of a 1700s tavern and be served by a fully costumed staff. It’s a little touristy, but fun to do at least once.
The Philly Taco
If it’s late, you’re hungry and want to eat something bad for you, head down to South Street. South Street is like the St. Marks Place of Philly. A little touristy, artsy, bridge & tunnel and punk rock at the same time.
Ishkabibbles is a takeout window located at 337 South Street where you get some of the best fries in Philly. I also recommend the hot “Veggie Hoagie” for junk food vegetarians – grilled veggies covered in tomato sauce & cheese.
Jim’s Steaks at 4th and South street is (IMHO) one of best cheesesteak places in the city and they are open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Lorenzo’s Pizza at 305 South Street has sloppy slices of pizza that are bigger than your head. They are open until 4 in the morning and a late night Philly food staple.
Finally, I bring you the phenomenon known as The Philly Taco. The Philly Taco is a Jim’s Steaks cheesesteak wrapped in a slice of Lorenzo’s pizza. It’s a real thing.
Vegetarian / Vegan Heaven
If the previous list left you feeling like you needed Lipitor just from reading it, I want you to know Philly has some of the BEST vegan and vegetarian restaurants ever.
WordPressers at Charlie Was a Sinner during WCUS 2015
Richard Landau & Kate Jacoby own a few amazing vegan restaurants in the city. VEDGE has been named one of the best gourmet vegan restaurants in the entire country. V Street is their vegan street food restaurant and Wiz Kid is vegan junk food at its finest.
Nicole Marquis is another Philly vegan restaurateur with a trio of outstanding restaurants. Charlie Was a Sinner is a speakeasy-style restaurant and bar with cocktails just as amazing as the food. Bar Bombón is a corner bar with Latin-themed food. And finally, HipCityVeg is vegan fast food joint with 2 locations in Philly.
In Chinatown you have a few vegetarian options, 2 Philly favorites are New Harmony and Veggie Lovers. They both have menus with familiar dishes like General Tso’s Chicken and Peking Duck, but all meatless.
If you’re on South Street and don’t want a cheesy slice of pizza, Blackbird Pizza has pizzas, sandwiches and desserts and they are all vegan.
Miss Rachel’s Pantry is a vegan catering company that does 6 course family-style dinners on Saturday nights for up to 12 people. If you want to join in, you will need to book dinner in advance.
There are so few vegan dessert options at regular restaurants that it’s a real treat when you’re vegan or dairy-free and can have any dessert you want! Dottie’s Donuts is an all vegan donut shop in West Philly. Sweet Freedom Bakery is not only vegan, but also allergy-friendly. Little Baby’s Ice Cream also has regular ice cream, but half of their flavors are dairy-free and all of their cookies are vegan. You know what that means? Delicious vegan ice cream cookie sandwiches!
Unfortunately, you can’t get good Water Ice in Philly in December, but there are still many places to go for delicious desserts.
Some of the WCUS organizer team at Franklin Fountain
Franklin Fountain is an amazing ice cream shop restored to early 20th Century accuracy. The ice cream, sundaes and sodas there are amazing. They usually have a few dairy-free flavors on the menu as well. Since credit cards didn’t exist in the 1920s they are cash only; make sure to bring some Hamiltons.
Little Baby’s Ice Cream is located in Fishtown, which is a little far from Center City, but a fun neighborhood to explore. In addition to offering delicious ice cream, Little Baby’s, partnering with the Workshop School, recently won a Geek Award for their project, Ice Cream in Space.
In Chinatown, there is a dessert, coffee and tea shop called A La Mousse where they have really cute and interesting desserts. For instance, they have a tasty parfait called “The Harvest” that looks like a potted plant.
Capogiro Gelato offers a wide range of decadent Gelato and Sorbetto. My favorite flavor there is Avocado (dairy-free). It’s sounds strange, but it’s creamy and delicious.
Federal Donuts is a Philly chain that serves 2 things – donuts and fried chicken. They have 2 kinds of donuts, fancy and hot. The fancy donuts live up to their name by coming in many fancy flavors. The hot donuts are made by their donut robot and are served sugar coated, fresh and hot.
I hope you enjoyed my supplement to last year’s food post. As always, if you’re looking for something specific, Tweet us your questions and we’ll be happy to answer.