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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Michael’s Place: from Citywide to “Scotch Friday”

by Sequoia Medley for the Passyunk Post

Michael’s Place is a shot-and-beer corner bar where you can literally see the layers of history — from the weathered wooden bar with its brass rail to the decades of photos on the wall. It’s also the kind of bar that’s slowly disappearing. There’s a cigarette machine on one wall, and a single pool table that’s free on Tuesdays. The doors open at 7am and there’s no food menu. But it’s not stuck in the past.

Michael’s Place draws a healthy crowd of all drinking ages — from daily regulars who know about the secret specials to hipsters interested in the cheapest citywide left in Philly. The bar bridges the contradictions of the changing neighborhood around it and serves as a place where everyone is welcome . If you come in often enough, everyone will learn your name.

The bar (complete with hipster) as captured by Google in 2017.

Speaking of names – the bar’s name is a bit of a misnomer – it’s actually co-owned by Michael Bordoni and Perry Cavalieri who “go way back.” Back in the day, their fathers co-owned J&D Billiards Parlor, a second-story pool hall on Passyunk and Moore. That bar was located above a florist and beneath a boxing gym where the renown Joey Giradello trained. A 1963 Sports Illustrated article with photos and a description of the pool hall is framed on the wall near the pool table.

Michael bought the existing bar on the corner of 12th and Mifflin “maybe 20 years ago” and fixed it up. Perry came in about five years later. Dates and timelines don’t matter so much when you’re talking about families that have spent generations in East Passyunk.

The bar has local brews on tap, and the aforementioned $4 citywide, which you can customize with different pours for the same price. Prices are approachable, and the atmosphere encourages lingering and chatting with your neighbor. The bar gives back to the community around them. There’s a canned food drive before Thanksgiving, a toy drive at Christmas, and the owners likes to helpthe neighborhood that supports them.

Although the offerings here aren’t the high-end flights or rarefied bottles available on nearby East Passyunk Avenue, you can still get a good pour of a solid 12-year, or an easy-drinking blended scotch. Perry’s recommendation: “If you’re a Dewar’s drinker, switch up to J&B – it’s smoother and less sweet.” He’s a Glenlivet man, personally, and the bar also has Chivas.

Perry likes to start the weekend with a scotch on Friday when his wife gets home from work, “in the tradition of other famous drinkers, like Rat Packers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.” He posted his toasts to “Scotch Friday” on Facebook. Soon, neighbors started greeting him with “Scotch Friday!” when they saw him on the street. Others began tagging him on social media as they raised their own glass.

So start your weekend off right – join Perry, Michael, and the other Michael’s Place devotees for Scotch Friday. You don’t need to be a spirits snob to take part — just show up and ask the bartender for their recommendation.

Weekends are usually quieter at the bar and Friday evenings tend to be slower than a Monday. 

Michael’s Place
1142 Mifflin Street
Monday – Saturday 7 am – 2 am;
Sunday 10 am – 2 am

Check them out on Facebook.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing :  Passyunk Square 

Publisher’s Picks: East Passyunk Avenue Edition

Ten post-holiday treats – to give yourself!

On a cold, sunny January day, Passyunk Post publisher Joseph F. Marino and East Passyunk BID Executive Director Adam Leiter took a walk along East Passyunk Avenue to explore the shops now that the holiday rush has passed. “Having spent the past month buying gifts for family and friends, it’s the perfect time of year to buy a pick-me-up to speed along the gloomy winter days,” noted Marino.

Here are ten items that caught Marino’s eye, from the economical to the sublime, in no particular order.


1) This Wooden Wallet Card Holder, outfitted with an industrial strength band, is compact, strong, and holds your cards and cash securely. A perfect grab-and-run gift and an interesting alternative to a bulky wallet. Shoppers shouldn’t neglect the striking artisan watches for which their store is named, either. 

Analog Watch Company
1737 E. Passyunk Ave.
(484) 808-5831
Tuesday – Saturday 9am-5pm       


2) Beyond the sentiment, these Love and Home pillows make a bold statement in any room. They add a pop of color in contemporary and chic way. They’re also soft and comfortable – perfect when you’re settling down for a long (or short) winter’s nap.

Gypsy Rose
1514 East Passyunk Ave.
(267) 767-6475
Hours by appointment.


3) “Orange is my favorite color and these Zyl Frames by Philly Eyeworks jumped out at me as the sun set,” says Marino. “They can be filled as prescription eyeglasses or as sunwear.” Innervision also offers limited-edition cleaning cloths designed by Philadelphia artists. 

Innervision
1815 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 575-5188
Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm

 

 


4) Paddywax Library Candles include different candle scents based on classic authors like Tolstoy and Dickens. The Oscar Wilde candle is cedar, thyme and basil. Perfect to light on cold winter nights as you pull a book off your shelf (or out of your electronic device). 

Occasionette
1825 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 465-1704
Monday – Friday  11am-8pm;
Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 10am-6pm

 

 


5) Board and dice games, coupled with cocoa or coffee, are the perfect combination for snow-day fun! Tildie’s specializes in games that are educational, fun, and build community. Ticket to Ride is a favorite, as is the dice game Tenzi

Tildie’s Toy Box
1829 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 334-9831
Monday – Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-5pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


6) “I won’t buy anything that isn’t 100% cotton,” says Marino, “and this Cobalt Age of Wisdom Ready-to-Wear Cotton Quarter-Zip Sweater with leather accents fits my style and frame. Anything goes under it, and because it’s brown and blue it complements everything. The quality fabric won’t wear or fade prematurely.”

A Man’s Image
1841 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 755-7100
9:30am daily. Check website for closing times.

 

 

 


7) Felt Creations based on the Little Mermaid or Noah’s ark are colorful, whimsical and a perfect way to accent a gray or otherwise dark bookshelf or settee with color. Sustainable, socially responsible and non-toxic. 

The Nesting House
1605 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 755-1575
Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm; Sunday 10am-5pm

 

 

 


8) Grab-and-Go Bouquets will brighten up any home during the moribund days of January. Handcrafted bouquets of seasonal flowers are a reasonably-priced way to pick oneself up. These are a wonderful thing to give somebody else for any reason or no reason at all. Marino quips: “It’s like a non-edible tiramisu – that’s colloquial Italian for a pick-me-up.”

Creations by Coppola at Floral + Fauna
1724 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 399-9754
Sunday – Thursday 10am-7pm;
Friday – Saturday 10am-9pm

 


9) This Shacket hides a multitude of holiday sins with a clean, linear look. A chic upturned collar gives a retro accent to a contemporary piece. It’s perfect for an early spring or late autumn day and wipes clean.

Metro Men’s Clothing
1600 E Passyunk Ave.
(267) 324-5172
Monday – Saturday 11:30am-8pm;
Sunday 11:30am-5pm.

 

 

 

 


10) The herbal Kosha Salt Scrub activates, stimulates and brings vitality to the skin, promotes healthy blood flow, and increases circulation. Rachel, the proprietor of Palo Santo, makes them herself. Not just for pre- and post-yoga replenishment – they’re unusual and perfect for someone who has everything. 

Palo Santo Wellness Boutique
1707 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 952-0360
Open daily until 9pm

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News Roundup

Happy New Year! We’re back from a holiday break with a few news stories you should check out if you haven’t already.

Riverview Plaza and Theater are in store for some major changes, as reported by Jacob Aldeman at Philly.com. Some highlights:

  • The theater is set to undergo a $12 million makeover that will include a “4D” experience.
  • 7 to 10 year project, divided into three phases.
  • First two phases will include 260 apartments and 125,000 square feet of retail.
  • Plaza will be rebuilt with buildings lining the sidewalk along Columbus Blvd.
  • Parking will be located within and behind the buildings.
  • First-floor retail including restaurants.
  • Luxury apartments with waterfront views located above the retail.
  • Potential re-use of the historic Engine 46 firehouse at 2nd & Reed Streets.

Changes to recycling rules are in our future. In the meantime, the recycling South Philadelphians put out each week is likely going to the incinerator. That’s according to this report by KYW News which notes: “the city is sending recycling only from parts of the city where there’s little contamination of recyclables, largely the Northeast and Northwest.” The changes are due to an upheaval in the global recycling market. Whatever you do, don’t stop recycling! You can be fined for non-compliance.

The owners of East Passyunk’s newly-opened bookstore, A Novel Idea on Passyunk, were interviewed by Philly Mag’s Clair Sasko. Christina Rosso-Schneider and Alexander Schneider hosted a soft-opening for their shop in December. According to Christina, plans for the new year include “…a book club, classes through Blue Stoop, and an open mic, and I want to start a writing group. We also want to do events with other local businesses, like with yoga studios or a wine and cheese tasting with a local wine bar.” Check out the shop during their new hours.

 

 

 

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

Last-Minute Food Gift Guide

By Catherine Murray

‘Tis the season for merriment and last minute shopping! To make your holiday gift giving extra tasty — and very South Philly, swing by one of these beloved establishments.  


Artisan Boulanger Patissier

Courtesy Artisan Boulanger Patissier/Facebook

Want to impress your family visiting from out of town? Pick up chocolate croissants or raspberry mousse from this long treasured South Philly bakery. The artful and decadent treats made here will make your celebrations a little sweeter.

Address: 1218 Mifflin Street

Hours: Open daily 7 am – 5 pm and Sunday 8 am – 4 pm. Closed Mondays.

Price: Varies upon item


Brewery ARS

Courtesy Brewery ARS/ Facebook

If you haven’t been to ARS yet, now is the perfect time to go. These South Philly brothers brew some seriously good stuff. To celebrate their second anniversary, ARS just released bottles of its bourbon aged imperial stout – the perfect stocking stuffer for the beer lover in your life. While supplies last, ARS also has cans available of mouth-pleasing salty caramel stout. Want even more beer? Grab a  growler of one of their eight delicious beers on tap.

Address: 1927-1929 W. Passyunk Ave.

Hours: Wednesday & Thursday 5 – 10 pm ,
Friday 12 – 11 pm, Saturday 12 – 11 pm, Sunday 1 – 8 pm, Closed Mondays & Tuesdays

Price: Growlers range from $16 – $20 and $7 – $12 for the glass, Bottles go for $22 while supply lasts

 


Essen

Courtesy Essen/Facebook

Hanukkah has passed (and we’re sorry we didn’t post this guide in time for it!) but thankfully the treats at Essen, a Jewish bakery on the East Passyunk Avenue, are available all year round. Grab a babka – coffee cake layered with chocolate and pastry – to take to your soon-to-be-delighted host. You’ll definitely get invited back next year.

Address: 1437 E. Passyunk Ave.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 8 am – 5 pm, Sunday 8 am – 3 pm, Closed Mondays

Price: Chocolate Babka, $13, other loaves and treats vary


Photo by Coleman Yunger

Hale and True Cider Co.

Husband and wife duo Kerry and Risa McKenzie opened Hale and True this spring, and the accolades keep rolling in. The hard cider made on-site is so flavorful and crisp that it will ruin all other ciders for you. Choose one of the five distinct flavors on tap for a growler. To make the holidays more festive, Hale and True is offering 15% off growlers and fills on Sunday, December 23rd and Sunday, December 30th. The Season, an off-dry cider fermented with cranberries and a hint of maple syrup, is the perfect addition to any winter gathering. (Disclaimer: the author works at Hale + True but still stands by this recommendation wholeheartedly!)

Address: 613 S. 7th Street

Hours: Wednesday & Thursdays, 5 – 11 pm, Friday 5 – 12 pm, Sat, 12 pm – 12 am, Sunday, 12 pm – 10 pm, Closed Monday & Tuesday

Price: $22 for 64 oz. growler fill, $10 for the glass 


Occasionette

Courtesy Occasionette/Facebook

A delightful staple on the Avenue for unique, thoughtful, and gorgeous presents for everyone in the family. To make your celebrations feel a bit Old World, pick up a jar of mulling spices. Sipping mulled wine by your fire or Christmas tree will feel just right.

Address: 1825 E. Passyunk Ave.

Hours: Open daily 11 am – 8 pm, Sundays 11 am – 6 pm

Price: $8 – $12 depending on size


Courtesy Primal Supply/Facebook

Primal Supply Meats

For the meat lover in your life, shop online or swing by Primal Supply Meats, one of the newer darlings on the Avenue. Purchase a one-time Butcher’s Club Package of meats and sausages, a butchery class, or a gift certificate. Primal Meats sources from local farmers who are raising their animals humanely and managing their land sustainably.

Address: 1538 E. Passyunk Ave.

Hours: Open weekdays 12 – 8 pm and weekends 10 am – 6 pm, Closed Tuesdays

Price: Small butchers package $44, Butchery Class, $125


South Philly Food Co-op

Courtesy South Philly Food Co-op/Facebook

The community-owned grocery store at 2031 S. Juniper is getting closer and closer to opening its doors. The co-op will be a community gathering point, offer tastings and food education, and will carry a wide selection of local, natural, and organic foods and household items. It’s going to be the real deal. A co-op doesn’t have big corporate backing – it literally takes years of hard work of dedicated volunteers and community members working together to make this happen. Give the gift of member-ownership this holiday season to the South Philly (or Center City!) friend or foodie in your life.

Address: 2031 S. Juniper Street (opening in 2019)

Price: $200 for equity ownership, can be paid in installments

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Ippolito’s Seafood: they’ve gone south for the winter

Need seven fishes? They’ve got that and much more at Ippolito’s wholesale cousin — Giuseppe’s Market at Samuels and Son

Every Christmas Eve, Lydia Sarson of Warnock Street maintains a family tradition. “I make fish stew from fresh red snapper while my husband makes clams. The stew is good. The clams are the best you’ll ever eat.” She buys locally whenever she can. “Ippolitos,” she says in a word.

Lydia Sarson makes her fish stew

Sarson’s story is like that of many families who live in South Philadelphia, but in July Ippolito’s Seafood – the venerable seafood purveyor at 13th and Dickinson – closed for renovations. Owners expected a late-2018 re-opening. When construction continued through the fall, customers and neighbors questioned the fate of the hundred-year-old family-owned business.

Bill Bradford, marketing and communications manager at Ippolito’s, reports the retailer is fine – it will return in 2019. In the meantime, customers who depend on Ippolito’s for their holiday table have an exceptional alternative in Giuseppe’s Market at Samuels and Son Seafood, 3400 S. Lawrence Street.

“Giuseppe’s has all the customer favorites from Ippolito’s, but on a bigger scale,” says Bradford. “And, we have a huge parking lot.”

Bill Bradford holds tube squid at Giuseppe’s Market. 

For those unfamiliar with the Philadelphia store, it began in 1919 when Giuseppe Ippolito started a pushcart seafood sales business with his father-in-law. By 1934, Ippolito was the sole proprietor. He replaced his pushcarts with horse-drawn wagons. In 1945, he opened Ippolito’s – a business that expanded through the ‘50s and ‘60s under the helm of his daughter and her son, Rose and Samuel D’Angelo. In 1989, the family opened Samuels and Son and entered the wholesale and commercial market. They now have 400 employees and handle 400 million pounds of seafood yearly. Continue Reading →

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Upgrade in store for East Passyunk Community Center outdoor space

By Sequoia Medley
An eager crowd gathered at the East Passyunk Community Center (EPCC) on Tuesday, December 11th for the unveiling of designs for the center’s outdoor spaces. The renderings were well-received as an exciting reimagining of the sole public green space serving the surrounding neighborhood. The presentation, by a team of design professionals assembled by the Community Design Collaborative (CDC), was the culmination of several public visioning sessions and meetings with those who use the space.

Leah Rominger, Community Design Collaborative volunteer, presents her group’s research findings.

The year-long planning process was spearheaded by the EPCC Advisory Council. The Council works with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to organize special events, promote the Center, and plan and raise funds for site improvements.
EPCC, 1025 Mifflin Street, provides space for athletic, dance, art, and music programs. The building’s meeting spaces host civic meetings, Girl Scouts, the local chapter of the Special Olympics, Vikings New Year’s’ Brigade, a seniors group, as well as cultural, heritage, and history events.

Existing view from 11th and Mifflin looking northeast.

The green space outside the building is a different story. The corner site is one of the only Parks & Rec facilities parks located between Broad Street and 6th Street from Marconi Plaza to Columbus Square. Sadly, it is largely paved with concrete except for an area of threadbare grass. Several trees provide shade, although an arborist reported that most were near the end of their lifespan. The site has no permanent play equipment, but children make use of the sculptural bronze-and-concrete sundial located on the site’s southwest corner.
Since the Advisory Council was formed in 2015 they have made improvements to the site including removing overgrown landscaping and adding a bocce court on the site of an outdoor smoking area used by the building’s former tenants.
Attempting to provide something for everyone, the plans call for a radical redesign that creates a welcoming multipurpose arena designed to serve the diverse needs of neighbors of all ages and interests.

More space for play, less paving.

Leah Rominger and Missy Van Sleet, two of the seven-person volunteer team assembled by the CDC for this project, summarized the previous community input before unveiling the design renderings intended to be presented to future landscape architects and contractors.

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