Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Nov 6 2017

Classic Holiday Eating, One Philadelphia Mom-And-Pop Shop At A Time

Lines Out The Door Are Part Of The Fun Among These Philly Holiday Food Makers

Philadelphia does festive food and drink right. The proof: Wintertime lines out the doors of the city’s beloved mom-and-pop purveyors. For decades, Philadelphia’s proudly diverse population has represented a variety of home-cooked holiday food traditions holidays: classic latkes, old-world confections, Italian pastry, Polish kielbasa and handmade tamales. Here’s a field guide to eating through the holiday season the authentic way:

Thanksgiving Turkey & Pies:

  • Cacia’s Bakery – Since the 1950s, this venerable deep South Philly bread maker has played a special role in local holiday dinners. Each Thanksgiving, the Cacia family offers their services—their massive, brick-lined bread oven, really—to anyone looking to have their birds roasted by the pros. Customers start lining up around 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning and pay $24 each to have their turkeys expertly tended. (They can do ham, pork and lamb too, and have five more locations in New Jersey.) 1526 W. Ritner Street, (215) 334-1340,
  • Linvilla Orchards – The charming, family-run Delaware County orchard, farm, market and play zone churns out thousands of Dutch apple crumb and apple caramel walnut pies. 137 Knowlton Road, Media, (610) 876-7116,
  • Magpie – This petite, rustic, year-round pie shop typically sells more than 500 of their signature creations every Thanksgiving. Popular picks include caramel apple, lemon gingersnap and classic pumpkin. 1622 South Street, (267) 519-2904,
  • Pie in the Sky – This annual fundraiser of the food-based non-profit MANNA sells 8,500-plus pies annually. Customers order in advance. Volunteers deliver the apple, pumpkin, pecan and sweet potato goods to spots all around town. (215) 496-2662,


  • Federal Donuts – James Beard Award winners Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook and team have perfected the art of the sufaniyot, the official miniature jelly doughnut of Hanukkah. Beginning December 4, their fried specialty will be available to order in boxes of 20. Pick-up begins at 9 a.m. during the eight-night holiday at two Federal Donuts locations. 1632 Sansom Street, (215) 665-1101; 701 N. 7th Street, (267) 928-3893,
  • Latkepalooza – The Gershman Y, home to yearlong celebrations of diverse contemporary Jewish arts and culture, puts on Philly’s best-ever potato party to honor Hanukkah. This winter marks the Y’s 15th annual Latkepalooza on December 10. The 300-person bash features creative variations on the humble potato pancake from restaurants Aldine, Estia, Jones, Kanella, Mission Taqueria, Sabrina’s, Six Points, Tria Taproom, Whetstone Tavern and more. 401 S. Broad Street, (215) 545-4400,
  • Latkes To Go – With eight nights to celebrate, the Festival of Lights can leave little time for potato-pancake making. That’s why so many celebrants head to Queen Village mainstay Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen (700 S. 4th Street, (215) 922-3274, and neighboring Main Line institutions Murray’s Delicatessen (285 Montgomery Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, (610) 664-6995, and Hymie’s Merion Delicatessen (342 Montgomery Avenue, Merion Station, (610) 668-3354,
  • Moo Shu Jew Show – On Christmas Eve, diners (with reservations) head to vast dim sum hall Ocean Harbor in Chinatown for The Gershman Y’s ninth annual, one-of-a-kind combination of Asian cuisine and Jewish-themed comedy to honor the tradition of eating Chinese for Christmas. This year’s show will feature comics Moody McCarthy, Marla Schultz and Brad Zimmerman. December 24. 1023 Race Street, (215) 545-4400,

South Philly Italian Christmas:

  • Di Bruno Bros. – This longtime cheese shop has five hopping locations throughout Philly and its suburbs, but Di Bruno’s most immersive holiday experience can be found at its original, narrow 9th Street Italian Market flagship. Beginning right after Thanksgiving and culminating in the days preceding Christmas Eve (when people begin lining up before sunrise), customers wait patiently to stock up on specialty products to precede, enhance or conclude a special meal—think olives, antipasti and cured meats, plus some of the nearly 400 international cheeses the venerable store offers. 930 S. 9th Street, (215) 922-2876,
  • Termini Bros. – This elegant, old-school bakery opens as early at 6 a.m. on the days close to Christmas to feed fans its famous sweets—cakes, cookies (the pignoli is a Sicilian holiday favorite), biscotti and, of course, cannoli. 1523 S. 8th Street, (215) 334-1816,
  • Isgro Pasticceria – Unbelievable but true: The week of Christmas, neighbors will actually voluntarily move their cars to make room for Gus Isgro’s devoted clientele. Opening at 6:30 a.m. each morning, the staff turns the queue into a party—employees, often dressed as elves, weave through the crowd, handing out cordials, pastries, coffee and hot chocolate as customers wait patiently for their torrone, ricotta cookies and more. 1009 Christian Street, (215) 923-3092,

Polish Christmas In Port Richmond:

  • Czerw’s Kielbasy – The northern River Wards have always featured a healthy population of Polish immigrants, concentrated mostly in the Port Richmond neighborhood. Here, several long-running businesses brace for huge hits around the holiday season. Smoking meat the old-world way since 1938, Czerw’s supplies families multiple variations on its classic kielbasa, plus hearty mainstays of the Polish table, like pierogi and golabki (stuffed cabbage)—the latter is made by the owner’s 87-year-old mother. 3370 Tilton Street, (215) 423-1707,
  • Swiacki Meats – The deal is similar at Swiacki, which is also renowned for its kielbasa and kabanosy (think a Polish Slim Jim). The Swiacki family also peddles Christmastime staples like chrusciki (“angel wings”), slivers of sweet dough fried to a crisp and doused in powdered sugar. 3623 Salmon Street, (215) 634-0820,
  • Stock’s Bakery – And for dessert? Stock’s absolutely unbeatable pound cake (or, get this: butter cake). Regulars know to expect serious lines at this Port Richmond institution. The good news is, they move fast. 2614 E. Lehigh Avenue, (215) 634-7344,

Mexican Christmas (Tamales):

  • Mole Poblano – Masa lovingly wrapped in cornhusks or banana leaves, tamales are a year-round favorite throughout Mexico, Central America and South America, but they tend to be bought and sold with increased fervor during the holiday season. In the 9th Street Italian Market, bright Mole Poblano does an incredible variation on tamales soaked in their titular sauce. 1144 S. 9th Street, (215) 465-1616,
  • Pura Vida – This Northern Liberties spot specializes in Guatemalan tamales de chipilín, made with the indigenous edible leaf that’s so important to Latin American cooking.527 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 922-6433
  • Tamalex – For Honduran-style tamales, fatter and heartier than their Mexican counterparts, Tamalex is worth the trip. 1163 S. 7th Street, (215) 465-1665,

German Christmas Candies:

  • Shane Confectionery – Candy makers Eric and Ryan Berley take painstaking care to transport guests from modern-day Old City to a turn-of-the-century candy store, creating the effect via original interior details and the staff’s period dress. But it’s the oh-so-sweet output of the shop—the oldest continuous business of its kind in the country—that really gets people revved up around the holidays. The Berleys’ most popular wintertime specialties include festive bon-bons, sugarplum truffles, ornate German springerle and gingerbread cookies, chocolate cornucopia and “clear toys,” gorgeous works of gem-hued translucent sugar shaped like various animals. They’re made using the original molds of the late, great Philly confectioner Harry Young, which the Berleys acquired and preserved to carry on this dying art. Oh, and there’s a hot chocolate cafe too. 110 Market Street, (215) 922-1048,

Russian Christmas:

  • In Northeast Philadelphia, home to a large population of Russian, Ukrainian and other Eastern European immigrants, families fill their holiday tables with a number of special dishes, from blinchiki (crepes) and pirozhki (meat or vegetable pies) to cold salad spreads and sweets like pyraniki, a wintry-spiced Christmas cookie. The region’s native-run groceries and stores accommodate pre-orders and special requests for these dishes and more during the holiday season, including Bell’s Market, 8330 Bustleton Avenue, (215) 342-6016,; Maxi Gastronome, 842 Red Lion Road, (215) 698-5828; and the multi-location NetCost Market, 2417 Welsh Road, (215) 795-3773, 11701 Bustleton Avenue, (267) 672-2500,

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

  • E-mail

Related Releases

Dec 6 2010

Last-Minute Gifts For Foodies

Philly Homegrown Gift Guide Satisfies Budgets & Tastes Of All Sorts

Holiday shoppers looking for stand-out gifts that recipients will devour (quite literally) can head to Philly Homegrown™’s for the region’s top 10 edible gifts—a list that includes everything from Herr’s Swiss chocolate-covered potato chips to Jose Garces’ gourmet coffee beans to a year’s worth of gelato from Capogiro. While perusing the guide, site visitors can also register for a chance to win a copy of Chef Steve Poses’ At Home: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking and Entertaining (one of the items included in the gift guide), along with a one-hour entertaining consultation with the chef. Contest ends on December

Feb 15 2018

Philadelphia’s Fabulous Brunch Scene, Neighborhood By Neighborhood

Philly’s Many Great Brunch Spots Offer Classic-To-Global Meals

Philadelphia’s brunch scene has always been strong, thanks to beloved line-out-the-door spots such as Sam’s Morning Glory Diner, Sabrina’s and Honey’s Sit ’N Eat. But more and more, Philly’s brunch options have gone truly global. On the a.m. rise right now: sweet bao and kimchi Bloody Mary’s (Bing Bing Dim Sum), bologna eggs Benedict and Dutch baby pancakes (The Dutch), huevos rancheros and scrapple-stuffed tortas (Mission Taqueria), lobster frittatas (Fork) and vegan Monte Cristos (The Tasty). Here’s a look at some of the region’s best brunch options:

Center City East, Old City & Washington

Jan 30 2018

“Greased Pole” Doughnuts And More Fun Philly Foods For Super Bowl LII

Philadelphia Chefs Come Up With Clever Fare As the Philadelphia Eagles Head To The Big Show

In Philadelphia, the excitement for the Eagles’ trip to Super Bowl LII isn’t just palpable: It’s edible. The ultimate football turn of events has inspired the city’s chefs, cooks and bartenders to come up with clever, quirky—delicious—Birds-inspired food and drink.

Among the ever-growing list of Eagles fan fare are vegan pastry inspired by Broad Street’s greased poles (Dottie’s Donuts), all-green Bloody Mary cocktails (Pub & Kitchen), broccolini cheesesteaks (Rooster Soup Co.) and underdog everything, including soft pretzels (Philly Pretzel Factory) and mac-and-cheese (Mac Mart). Here are the details:

  • Bleeding
Jan 23 2018

What's In The Neighborhood?


Beyond Philadelphia’s historic Friendship Arch at 10th and Arch Streets lives a thriving Asian neighborhood, settled in the mid-19th century by Cantonese immigrants. Stretching from Vine to Arch Streets between 9th and 12th Streets, Philly’s Chinatown is packed end-to-end with restaurants and stores that represent Hong Kong, Cantonese, Fujianese, Northern Sichuan and Taiwanese cultures, with a sprinkling of Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Burmese, Vietnamese and hipster thrown in for good measure. On any given day or night, Chinatown is active and authentic, popular for steaming platters of hand-stretched noodles, seasonal street festivals, a new food hall (

Jan 22 2018

Philadelphia Bakeries: More Delicious By The Dozen

A Guide To The Region’s Top Makers Of Bread, Buns, Cakes And Pastries

Philadelphia, a city of neighborhoods, is also a city of neighborhood bakeries. Cannoli from the 9th Street Italian Market’s Isgro’s and Termini Brothers, tomato pie from Manayunk’s Marchiano’s Bakery and pound cake from Port Richmond’s Stock’s Bakery are just some of the crumbs of Philly’s culinary makeup. Today, the city’s blocks also burst with modern French patisseries and boulangeries (J’aime French Bakery, Machine Shop), specialized bakeries (Dottie’s Donuts, ICI Macarons and Café and gluten- and allergen-free specialist Sweet Freedom Bakery) and artisans with modern ideas about heritage ingredients (High Street on Market, Lost Bread

Jan 3 2018

Taquerias And Taco Trucks Dot Philadelphia Neighborhoods

South Philly Leads The City’s Taco Craze

Philly’s turned into a bona fide taco town. Between the authentic, mom-and-pop taquerias of South Philly, tried-and-true tequila bars, roving food trucks and the newest crop of Mexican joints, there’s truly a taco for everyone and their hermano. Here’s where:

South Philly:

  • Blue Corn – Distinguished among its quick-serve counterparts on the 9th Street Italian Market, this family-owned and operated restaurant has genuine warmth and hospitality—not to mention a liquor license and incredible tacos made with a rotating lineup of specialty tortillas pressed on the premises. 940 S. 9th Street, (215) 925-1010, @bluecornrestaurant
  • El Compadre –
Nov 30 2017

The BYOB Restaurant: A Philly Phenomenon

Region Boasts 300-Plus Bring-Your-Own-Bottle Restaurants

Despite decades of popularity and expansion, one quintessential Philadelphia dining phenomenon continues to fly deliciously under the radar. It’s the BYOB, the bring-your-own-bottle restaurant—BYO, for short. Typically independently owned and operated, Philly’s BYOBs number into the three hundreds. Diners find them on dozens of corners in Center City, along avenues of renewed urban neighborhoods and tucked down rural roads. It’s a curious trend with an interesting backstory—and an even more interesting present.

Here’s a short explanation of how the BYOB scene came to be—and advice on navigating the landscape.

What Is A BYOB?:
A BYOB restaurant allows patrons to

Oct 13 2017

Food Tours & Classes: Delicious Ways To Discover Philadelphia

Culinary Tour Guides & Chef-Instructors Heighten Any Philly Visit

Eating out is one of the very best ways to get to know a place, and Philadelphia’s culinary tours and classes offer fast and delicious regional familiarity. After all, discovering a historic city famous for its food shed, farmers’ (and other) markets, spot-on neighborhood dining, celebrity chefs, distilling and brewing scenes and mom-and-pop eateries requires some guidance. Here are some tours, trails and classes that come highly—and appetizingly—recommended:

Food Tours:

  • Chew Philly Food Tours – These 2.5-hour walks through the culinary (and historical) highlights of the northwestern city neighborhoods of Manayunk and Chestnut Hill focus on eight mom-and-pop gems
Oct 11 2017

Cheesesteak 101: A Primer On The Who, What, Where & Whiz Of Philly Cheesesteaks


Here in Philly, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia. So what is an authentic cheesesteak and where did it come from? Here’s the lowdown on this region’s favorite sandwich.

What Is A Cheesesteak?:
A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed rib-eye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz®, but American and mild or sharp provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance