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Author Archive | Cate Murray


Spring into Festival Season in South Philly

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By Catherine Murray

Windows and patios are open, spring buds are blooming brilliantly, and there’s a buzz in the air all around town. Spring is finally upon us and brings with it outdoor fun for all ages. Mark your calendars for the following spring festivals, kicking off with East Passyunk’s Flavors of the Ave.


Flavors on the Avenue
Sunday, April 28
East Passyunk Avenue from Broad Street to Dickinson

Courtesy C. Smyth/Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s tastiest food festival is back! Flavors on the Avenue returns with five blocks of street food, seasonal sips, craft beer, live music, sidewalk sales and free family fun – from Broad to Dickinson streets. Over two dozen award-winning restaurants and bars will bring their signature cuisine outside. Craft beer, wine and seasonal sips will be pouring to quench your thirst. Free to attend and open to all ages. Save the date, invite your friends!

Look for live music and entertainment throughout the festival, plus bring the kids for free family fun activities in kids zones up and down the street.  nice things…handmade presents nearly 80 of the region’s top makers and crafters with home décor, paintings, candles, jewelry, pottery, furniture, soaps, artisan foods, handmade pet treats, fashion – and everything in between.

East Passyunk’s spring festival showcases not only the best food the city has to offer – but shows off the hidden retail, family and fashion gems along the strip. While you sip and savor, look for shopping, sidewalk sales, special events, workshops and much more. Make sure to stop in and meet some of the Ave.’s boutique owners.

Check out the list of participating restaurants and other activities.


South Street Festival
Saturday, May 4
South Street between 2nd and 8th Streets, and the 2nd Street/Headhouse Plaza

Courtesy Brauhaus Schmitz

South Street will be filled with music, food, drinks, crafts, and vendors between 2nd Street and 8th Street, including the Brauhaus Schmitz Maifest celebration. 30+ restaurants and bars will serve food and drink outdoors. Music and entertainment will be featured on three stages throughout the festival. Children of all ages will enjoy free family fun in the Family Fun Zone. 100+ artists and retailers will cater to your shopping needs.

Brauhaus Schmitz’s 7th Annual German Maifest brings the sweet taste of Germany to the 700 block of the South Street. This festival-within-a-festival features authentic German food, liters of beer, flower crown making, schnaps-ski tent, traditional German-Hungarian dancers, and live music from the Heimatklänge band. Maifest is free and open to the public, but a limited number of VIP tickets are also available. More details here.

Other festivities include celebrations of National Comic Book Day, Kentucky Derby watch parties, and Cinco de Mayo drink specials. Stay tuned for more details in our upcoming events highlights.

South Street Spring Festival is free and open to the public. Food and drink are pay-as-you-go. 21 and up with identification to drink. Rain or shine.


Italian Market Festival
Saturday, May 18 – Sunday, May 19
South 9th Street between Wharton and Fitzwater Streets

Photo by L. Bercky, courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

The nation’s oldest outdoor continuous market hosts this annual family event, which is Philadelphia’s largest block party. The annual festival features live entertainment, artists, crafters, games –including a greased pole-climbing contest – and, of course, food!

Add this to the Italian Market’s dazzling array of homemade sausages, delicious cannoli, imported meats and cheeses, luscious cappuccino, butcher-cut beef and poultry, specialty cookware and fresh pastas – and its a recipe for success!


Odunde Festival
Sunday, June 9th
Heart of the festival is located at 23rd and South Street

Photo by A. Ricketts, Courtesy of Visit Philadelphia 

The Odunde Festival, held each June on Philadelphia’s South Street, is the largest African-American street festival in the nation. The festival covers 14 city blocks and features 100 art, craft and food vendors, as well as two stages of live entertainment by African, Caribbean and African-American performers.

According to Visitphilly.com, “The food is a huge attraction at Odunde, with a variety of vendors rarely seen at other regional festivals serving all sorts of African, Caribbean and Soul food. Guests should be sure to check out the awesome cuisine, including a variety of fried fish and chicken dishes, corn on the cob and much more.

In addition to local vendors, the festival’s authentic African marketplace promises shoppers items from countries in Africa, the Caribbean and South America.

As the festival’s website explains, the celebration originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa, “It is an occasion highlighted by a colorful procession from  23rd and South Streets to the Schuylkill River where an offering of  fruit and flowers is made to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river.”


Stay tuned for more information about all of these festivals – and other exciting South Philly events – in future posts!

 

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Spring Into Brunch

By Catherine Murray

With warm and sunny weather just around the corner, we want to share some of our favorite brunch spots in South Philly that are the perfect places to reemerge from your weekend hibernation. In no particular order, here’s where we are brunching these days.

 

 

                      
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What's Happening in:  Whitman 

Wander Inn to a new watering hole in Whitman

By Catherine Murray

On a cold and misty afternoon, I briskly walked through Mifflin Square park and admired the Buddhist temple in the distance and marveled at the diversity that makes up South Philly. The fabric of our neighborhoods is woven together by families and individuals who are both new to the city and who have called Philadelphia home for generations. Whitman embodies that spirit and has a sense of charm that is notable even on the dreariest of days. As I approached my destination, I passed under twinkle lights strung over Ritner Street and homes with roomy front porches on my way to a new place that brings back an old name.

Wander Inn / Twitter

Long time South Philadelphians will remember the former Wander Inn at 18th and Federal – the current site of the American Sardine Bar. That Wander Inn dates back to prohibition and was a bastion of jazz in its heyday, hosting legendary performers like Bessie Smith. Some say that the Wander Inn was one of the first successfully integrated bars in Philadelphia. It closed its doors in the early aughts.

Jon Klein, the owner of The Dive Bar and Watkins Drinkery, wanted to pay homage to the original Wander Inn with his latest establishment that opened in May 2018. The ‘new’ Wander Inn, located at 3rd and Porter, is quickly becoming a popular gathering spot in Whitman. During our conversation, Klein shared his passion for creating a cozy neighborhood bar that has something for everyone. Continue Reading →

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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:  East Passyunk Crossing 

New Coffee Shop Opening on East Passyunk

Just in time to keep us fueled-up during the darkest days of the year, a new coffee shop is opening its doors on the Avenue this morning. Jennifer Santore and her aunt, Valerie, will run Ground Up at 1926 East Passyunk Avenue. The site was most recently home to Vin Cafe.

Window signage before opening.

Jennifer grew up with family in the hospitality industry and attended culinary school with the goal of someday becoming a small business owner.  With deep roots in South Philly, she found there was no better place to open an establishment of her own than along the Avenue.

The interior. 

Ground Up will be open daily from 7 am – 3 pm serving coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, along with pastries and bagels from Rockland Bakery out of New York, where Jennifer’s uncle works.  With Jennifer’s background in cooking, she plans to expand the menu over time.

The coffee shop will seat about 24 and has window counter seats with charging stations so you don’t have to awkwardly crawl under a neighbor’s table to plug in your laptop. So swing by Ground Up this week on your way to work or while shopping along the Avenue and welcome Jennifer to the neighborhood.


Ground Up
1926 East Passyunk Avenue
Open Daily, 7 am – 3 pm

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