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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

A comprehensive guide to Mexican South Philly

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, the Philadelphia Inquirer produced a very comprehensive guide to Mexican restaurants, bakeries, markets, and ice cream shops in South Philly.  Written by restaurant critic Craig LaBan, the piece features links to past reviews and beautiful photos by staff photographer Tim Tai.

We had hoped that some of these places would stay “our little secret” a bit longer.  So we’re totally fine if you just want to click through the gorgeous photos and leave the restaurants to us.  Then again, these small business owners work hard and deserve our support, so…buen provecho!

TIM TAI / Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Photographer

In addition to revealing secret spots to grab delicious food, there’s also a brief history about the growth of the Mexican-American community in Philadelphia from the late 1990s to today.  LaBan writes that South Philly’s close connections to Puebla started with one man:

“In the late 1990s, a Puebla man named Efren Pelléz was accidentally left behind in Philadelphia by his coyote smuggler on the way to New York City, walked into David Suro’s Center City restaurant Tequila’s (the only awning he could find with Spanish words) and asked: “How far is it to New York?”

“He was the first seed planted in Philadelphia,” says Suro, who said Pelléz settled and helped launch the Puebla pipeline here before he eventually returned to Mexico where he died. “30,000 people later …”

Read more here.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing :  Queen Village 

Tonight: Get your “Groove On!”

Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater presents “Groove On!” tonight at L’Etage, 624 South 6th Street. The fundraiser will feature daring displays of the other talents of the ensemble’s members which includes two South Philly residents.

Tongue & Groove is a Philly-based improvised theater group founded in 2006.  In their regular shows, the group anonymously collects thoughts from audience members which they then use to create improvised scenes and monologues.

Tonight’s show is more of a talent show-meets-fundraiser.

The Tongue & Groove troop. South Philadelphia resident Beth Dougherty is shown in the lower left corner of this photo.

Various cast members will showcase their skills which include cabaret singer, magician and drummer.  They’ll be joined by special guests to offer a fun-filled evening.

Ensemble member and East Passyunk Crossing resident, Beth Dougherty, noted that the group just received non-profit status through CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia.  The fundraiser will help the group meet their mission of helping people connect in a disconnected world. “A show like ours [in which] we create the content from suggestions we receive from the audience…connects everyone who is present…we help to bring people together…and everyone walks out feeling the same good feeling together,” Dougherty explained.

Dougherty, a founding member of the company, was invited to join by company director Bobbi Block. Off-stage, Dougherty has served on the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association board since 2008 and helped form its Education Committee. She loves the creative opportunity the ensemble affords her,  “I love my work and my community activism and involvement, but there is nothing like getting up on stage and creating a show from scratch like we do.”

While creating a show from scratch might seem stressful to some, Dougherty notes, “it’s really more fun than anything to get the suggestions and get out there and put it all together.  The challenge can be trying to be “funny” – sometimes if you aren’t getting as many laughs as you would like, there is the tendency to push something and try too hard to be funny, which almost always backfires.”  She enjoys the group’s camaraderie, “they are wonderful, funny, creative and inspiring, and I love to be around them!”

Check out the group’s talents tonight by purchasing tickets here.

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

Photo round-up: the “it was a jam-packed weekend” edition.

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

Weekend Events Primer

Soooo much to do!  You just might need to clone yourself to take-in all the events happening in South Philly this weekend.  We’ve compiled those we could find. See something we missed?  Know of an upcoming South Philly-based event?  Please email us:

Have a great weekend!

El Carnaval de Puebla en Filadelfia. Photo by Visit Philadelphia.

Friday, April 27th

Saturday, April 28th

  • 9am to 3pm (rain date: Sunday, April 29th). Lower Moyamensing Civic Association Spring Flea Market.  Over 60 vendors located along South Broad St. between Snyder Ave. & Jackson St.
  • 9:00am.  South Division Police Memorial Bike Ride, starting at 1900 Washington Ave. Join the Police District Advisory Councils (PDACs) of the South Division for this special 4-mile bike ride through South Philly. The ride honors officers felled in the line of duty in the 1st, 3rd, and 17th districts. Children under 13 who register will receive a t-shirt and do not have to ride the full distance.
  • 12pm to 4pm.  BOK Open Studios 1901 S 9th St.   One of two chances you’ll have this year to see what the creative tenants of BOK are up to!  In addition to open studios, you’ll find gallery exhibitions, special programming in the gyms and auditorium, fun for kids, and more.

Sunday, April 29th

  • 11am to 5pm.  Flavors on the Avenue, offering up a taste of restaurants on East Passyunk Ave. from Broad to Dickinson.  Read more here.
  • 8am to eveningEl Carnaval de Puebla is back in South Philly after a year off.  This celebration of Mexican culture marks the Mexican army’s victory over French forces in the Battle of the Puebla on May 5, 1862.  The event is more commonly known as “Cinco de Mayo.” Philadelphia’s event begins with a welcome celebration at 1417 Moore Street at 8 a.m. At noon, a parade kicks off from 16th and Washington Avenue, featuring hundreds of men and women dressed in bearded masks, capes and other decorations representing historic individuals from the battle. The parade ends with a festival at Sacks Playground (4th & Washington Avenue). Four live bands (including two from Mexico) will provide entertainment.  Check out Anna Merriman’s detailed piece over at Curbed Philly.
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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly :  Bella Vista 

Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia Annual Spring Fundraiser

The Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia, Inc. (V/WSSP) will honor the Network of Neighbors Responding to Violence at their Annual Spring Fundraiser & Award Ceremony. The event will take place at 6 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. tonight at the Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street.

V/WSSP offers direct assistance and support to crime victims, witnesses and their families in the three Police Districts of South Philadelphia (1st, 3rd, and 17th Districts). V/WSSP has provided outreach and services to over 65,000 community members since they were founded in 1989.

Alison Sprague, V/WSSP Executive Director, said “Violence has a long lasting impact not only on the person directly harmed, but also on their family members and communities. V/WSSP works to provide a safe and responsive place to meet victims’ needs.” V/WSSP also has an Immigrant Victim Access Collaborative with staff that speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai, Cantonese and French.

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

PSCA Art Auction – now featuring even more local artists

The Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA) will hold its 7th annual Art Auction from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight at Saint Maron’s Maronite Catholic Church, 10th and Ellsworth Street.  You’ll receive a discount if you purchase tickets in advance here before noon today.

The auction will feature sculpture, prints, photography and paintings from more than 40 South Philly artists. “The event showcases the really creative people, acclaimed creative people, who live right in our neighborhood,” said Sarah Anton, PSCA President.  Anton pointed out one difference with this year’s show, “There are even more local artists thanks to the efforts of David Guinn and Theresa Rose.”

Guinn and Rose both live in the neighborhood and participated in past auctions after seeing PSCA’s annual call for artists.  Rose, who co-chairs the event with Sanaz Hojreh, described an epiphany she and David had at last years’ auction, “We noticed that some artists who we knew lived in the area were missing from the event.”  After speaking with PSCA, “we began reaching out to artists down the street, in the neighborhood, and nearby. Some didn’t know about the auction but were happy to be part of it,” said Rose.

The event benefits PSCA’s on-going efforts and local elementary schools.  Artwork by students from the Andrew Jackson, Christopher Columbus Charter, Kirkbride, & Vare-Washington Schools will be for sale. The proceeds from sales of this art will directly benefit the schools.

Anton praised the generosity of the local artists and area businesses who make the event possible, “It’s a great evening and a wonderful way to help the civic association while celebrating our neighborhood and its creativity.”

Complimentary snacks and drinks will be included and music provided. In addition to the auction, there will be artwork for sale and raffles for local store and restaurant gift certificates and other items.

If you’re an artist in the area and would like to be part of next year’s show, contact

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