Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Jun 13 2010

Experience A Taste Of That Famous Philly Flavor

A Guide To The Philadelphia Region’s Legendary Foods

Philadelphia’s flavor is a dynamic mix of traditional ethnic recipes and new culinary inventions, well-known treats and obscure dishes. Among the region’s signature foods are national favorites like Italian water ice, Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels and the ever-popular cheesesteak. Other local favorites include pork roll and scrapple, which are available here in the region and through services like Taste of Philadelphia, one of many companies that will ship Philly goodies throughout the U.S. Philadelphians are loyal to their edible heritage, and the following are just a few examples of foods that have left a lasting mark on the local palate:

  • Everyone agrees that the cheesesteak, invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930, requires thinly sliced beef and a crusty roll, but the choice between provolone, American and Cheez Whiz is a matter of great debate, as is the best place to eat the famed sandwich. The age-old feud between Pat’s King of Steaks and its neighbor Geno’s, which sits just across the street, regularly draws visitors to 9th and Passyunk for taste-offs. Dalessandro’s, John’s Roast Pork, Pudge’s, Tony Luke’s and Jim’s Steaks have equal numbers of devoted fans, and the latter will ship steaks out of town. The cutting edge of steak belongs to high-end restaurants like the Continental (a Portobello cheesesteak at lunch includes peppers and provolone) and the Four Seasons’ Swann Lounge, with its cheesesteak spring roll available at the bar.
  • Contrary to popular belief, “hoagie” is not just a euphemism for a submarine sandwich. The creation of Italian immigrants in South Philadelphia, a hoagie is a sizeable roll stuffed with vegetables, ham, salami, mozzarella, provolone cheese, oil and oregano. The bread component is critical: Amoroso’s and Sarcone’s bakeries are the most common purveyors of rolls, and Sarcone’s even sells its own hoagies in a Bella Vista storefront. The biggest of local sandwich chains, Lee’s Hoagie House, has built a small empire with its special house-spiced oil and 24-hour hoagie shipping service. Hoagies can also be made with tuna, turkey and other meats, and still more creative combinations are available at Campo’s Deli and Tony Luke’s.
  • Introduced to the region by German (“Pennsylvania Dutch”) settlers in the 18th century, pretzels—dough twisted into three loops, then baked, salted and served hard—quickly became a favorite local snack. Now, of course, there’s the famous Philly soft pretzel, purchased from a street vendor or from a bakery storefront such as Philadelphia Soft Pretzel Factory. No matter what form the pretzel takes—braided, sticks, nuggets and bagels—every soft pretzel must be accompanied by mustard.
  • Visitors would be hard-pressed to find a Philadelphian who didn’t have fond memories of Butterscotch Krimpets or chocolate cupcakes with rich striped icing: Tastykakes have been the Philadelphia snack of choice for nearly a century. Founded by a baker and an egg salesman in 1914, the Tasty Baking Company later revolutionized the snack-cake industry with its individually wrapped fruit pies. The company’s new location, opened in 2010 at The Navy Yard, spans 25 acres and offers visitor tours. Tastykakes can be ordered directly from the bakery or found in any local food store.
  • Its name is oxymoronic, but Italian water ice is a perfectly logical solution to a hot Philadelphia summer day. Otherwise known as Italian ice, the combination of fruit or syrup and shaved ice is a refreshing treat. John’s Water Ice and Rose’s Real Italian Water Ice are age-old favorites, but the Yardley Ice House recently took the “Best of Philly” award from Philadelphia magazine for its astounding variety of flavors.
  • A mixture of pork, spices and cornmeal, scrapple is a fried breakfast meat introduced by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Today, scrapple can be found in luxury hotels, greasy spoon diners and every local breakfast joint in between. Some of the most famous purveyors are Godshall’s, Habbersett and Hatfield.
  • The quintessential Philly confection, Goldenberg Peanut Chews are dense bars of nuts and sweet syrup enrobed in chocolate. First issued in 1890 by a Romanian immigrant named David Goldenberg, this chocolate treat has become a mainstay of regional trick-or-treat bags.
  • Popularized in the region during the 19th century, pork roll, also known as Taylor ham, is sausage-like breakfast meat that is usually served on a roll with eggs and cheese. This Philly favorite rivals scrapple as the breakfast meat of choice for locals.
  • For one-stop shopping, visitors can find all of Philly’s finest foods at the historic Reading Terminal Market, where vendors sell the freshest meats, seafood, poultry, cheeses, vegetables, chocolates, Amish specialties and, of course, cheesesteaks.
  • Those who can’t get to Philadelphia to experience the eats for themselves can have the city’s specialties shipped right to their door. Campo’s Deli sends cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels, Tastykakes, Herr’s Potato Chips, Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews and other Philly foods throughout the U.S. and to select international destinations. Soft pretzels, old-school sodas and Cosmi’s pound cakes are the specialty shipping items of choice at A Little Bit of Philly. The Pennsylvania General Store in the Reading Terminal Market packages Tastykakes, Melrose Diner butter cookies, Asher’s chocolate-covered pretzels, Anastasio Italian Market Reserve Coffee, Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews and lots of other regionally made goodies into specialty gift baskets. Since 1978, Taste of Philadelphia has been delivering hoagies, cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, Amoroso rolls, Taylor Pork Roll and Habbersett scrapple to Philly-philes across the U.S. and Canada.


Pat’s King of Steaks
9th Street & Passyunk Avenue
(215) 468-1546,

9th Street & Passyunk Avenue
(215) 389-0659,

600 Wendover Street
(215) 482-5407,

John’s Roast Pork
14 E. Snyder Avenue
(215) 463-1951,

1510 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell
(610) 277-1717,

Jim’s Steaks
469 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, (610) 544-8400
Bustleton & Cottman Avenues, (215) 333-JIMS
431 N. 62nd Street, (215) 747-6617
4th & South Streets, (215) 928-1911

The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar
2nd & Market Streets
(215) 923-6069,

The Continental Mid-town
18th & Chestnut Streets
(215) 567-1800,

Swann Lounge
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
1 Logan Square
(215) 963-1500,

214 Market Street
(215) 923-1000,

Lee’s Hoagie House
17 locations

Sarcone’s Deli
734 S. 9th Street, (215) 922-1717
2100 S. Eagle Road, Newtown, (215) 860-9500

Tony Luke’s
39 E. Oregon Avenue
(215) 551-5725,

Federal Pretzel Baking Company
638 Federal Street
(215) 467-0505

Philadelphia Soft Pretzels Inc.
4315 N. 3rd Street
(215) 324-4315

Philadelphia Soft Pretzel Factory

Tasty Baking Company
The Navy Yard
3 Crescent Drive, Suite 200
(800) 33-TASTY,

John’s Water Ice
701 Christian Street
(215) 925-6955,

Rose’s Real Italian Water Ice
4240 Pechin Street
(267) 972-1902

Yardley Ice House
77 S. Main Street, Yardley
(215) 321-9788,

675 Mill Road, Telford
(215) 256-8867,

701 Ashland Avenue, A-4, Bridgeville, DE
(610) 532-9973,

2700 Clemens Road, Hatfield
(215) 368-2500,

Goldenberg Peanut Chews

Reading Terminal Market
12th & Arch Streets,
(215) 922-2317,

Campo’s Deli
214 Market Street
(215) 923-1000,

A Little Bit of Philly
(800) 959-1128,

Pennsylvania General Store
12th & Arch Streets
(800) 545-4891,

Taste of Philadelphia
(800) 8-HOAGIE,

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit or, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

  • E-mail

Related Releases

Oct 25 2016

What's in the Rittenhouse Square Neighborhood?

Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, Outdoors & Arts In Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square Neighborhood

Long considered one of the toniest neighborhoods in the city, Rittenhouse Square isn’t just an enviable address. It’s a lifestyle. Home to a number of hotels along with dozens of restaurants and shops, Rittenhouse serves as a point of pride for locals and a favorite among out-of-towners.

Along Rittenhouse’s busy sidewalks—many with seating for alfresco dining and drinking in the warm months—residents and visitors find high-end stores; locally owned boutiques; small galleries; bargain stores; theaters and entertainment; cafes; beer, wine and cocktail bars; and restaurants of all kinds, from petite BYOBs to crowd-pleasing chains. The neighborhood buzzes with activity all

Oct 20 2016

Rocky: Forty & Fabulous

Rocky’s 40th Anniversary Is The Perfect Time To Visit Iconic Philly Sites

Forty years ago next month, the world witnessed the set-in-Philly birth of the ultimate, all-American underdog flick. On November 21, 1976, Rocky brought to life the glorious grit of Philadelphia’s favorite fictional son. But Rocky Balboa won more than the hearts of filmgoers: Sylvester Stallone’s creation earned 10 Academy Award nominations—and ultimately won three, including Best Film and Best Director—led to six sequels, grossed more than $1 billion dollars and showed off a tough-love side of Philly whose legend has persisted to this day. Sure, the city’s skyline, cultural scene, restaurants and reputation have dramatically evolved since Rocky’s debut—but Philadelphia

Oct 14 2016

Philadelphia's LGBT Nightlife Scene Buzzes Evening Through Late-Night At Center City Bars, Restaurants & Nightclubs

A Guide To Where To Eat, Drink & Party In Philadelphia’s Gayborhood & Beyond

LGBT revelers of every stripe meet their nightlife matches among the buzz-worthy bars, restaurants and nightclubs in and beyond Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. After dark, partying patrons enjoy laid-back vibes and stiff cocktails at watering holes Knock and U Bar, at the well-rounded club scenes of Woody’s and Voyeur and at bar-nightclub hybrids—venues with bars on the first floors and dancing on the second—Franky Bradley’s and Tavern on Camac. Then, there’s the late-night food scene, featuring stylish go-tos like Bud & Marilyn’s and Zavino along the restaurant row that is 13th Street, plus quick noshes in the wee hours.

Oct 13 2016

When It Comes To Vegan Dining, The Home Of The Cheesesteak Proudly Vedges Out

Philadelphia Offers An Array Of Vegan Fine Dining, Bar Eats, Fast Food & Café Fare

It’s a curious thing that a city so renowned for its cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches could also foster one of the nation’s most robust vegan food scenes. Upscale diners can find delight in the shared plates at Vedge or the coursed and the home-style elegance of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, while those seeking a quick bite can swing by Blackbird Pizza for fare that is more traditionally Philadelphian. Factor in some coffee shops, bars and even a diner, and vegan eaters will see—and taste—that the city’s offerings have something for every palate, day or night.

Here’s a look at some

Oct 10 2016

Culinary Experiences Offer Mouthwatering Reasons To Visit Philadelphia

Food-Focused Tours, Festivals & Classes Tempt Taste Buds In Philadelphia And The Countryside®

When foodies hit the road, they take their passion for farmers markets, culinary tours and tasting experiences with them. Tasting its flavors is one of the best ways to get to know a region, and Philadelphia offers a cornucopia of edible adventures. Visitors can choose from food truck festivals, a weekend celebrating everyone’s favorite fungus, cooking classes and all sorts of wine and beer celebrations. Here’s a look at some of the region’s culinary happenings:

2017 Foodie Festivities:

  • Philadelphians dine at the best for less with Center City District Restaurant Week and University City Dining Days. During the former,
Oct 6 2016

An Essential Guide To Philadelphia For LGBT Visitors

Must-Dos Include Historic Sites, Popular Neighborhoods, Top Restaurants & Buzzed-About Bars

Philadelphia, the United States’ birthplace, is proud of the roles it has played—and plays still—in the founding, furtherance and celebration of the LGBT civil rights movement. The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection hosted the country’s first major demonstration for LGBT rights, the Annual Reminders, in 1965. Today, visitors to Philly can easily explore sites where LGBT history was made and where queer life continues to thrive.

To see and do it all, visitors need to spend at least a couple of nights, and that’s made easy with the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package®, offering free parking

Oct 5 2016

Cheesesteak 101: A Primer On The Who, What, Where And Whiz Of South 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 provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance of flavors, textures

Sep 23 2016

Fall For Philly Restaurants

Autumn’s New Eats Include A Modern Spin On Filipino Fare, Philly Fried Chicken, Hawaiian Poke & Much More

It’s official: Two of Philly’s recent openings—Wm. Mulherin’s Sons and South Philly Barbacoa—made Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants list, marking 2016 as a banner year for the local restaurant scene. There’s more yet to come this fall, with a thrilling lineup of globally inspired newcomers, including Philly’s first poke shop (Poke Bowl), a boldly imaginative taqueria (Mission), Filipino fine dining (Perla) and Latin American street food (La Mula Terca). Here are just a few highlights for the season’s must-try list:

Center City East:

  • Taking up residence in a cozy
Sep 13 2016

Philly Pizza Pleases Every Palate

The Region’s Pizzerias Have Never Been So Bountiful Or So Diverse

Philadelphia’s gained some serious pizza cred in recent years. Not only is this city home to a pizza museum and restaurant (Pizza Brain), an artisan pizza truck (Pitruco) and, according to Bon Appétit, America’s very best pizza (Pizzeria Beddia), but it’s also a proving ground for the idea that this traditional food can be reinvented in infinite ways. Whether it’s a straightforward but studious Neapolitan round, a floppy tri-corner slice with cheese to spare or a newfangled pie laden with unexpected but carefully sourced ingredients, there is absolutely a pizza for every eater’s predilection. Here’s

Sep 8 2016

Go Beyond The Gayborhood To Explore Philadelphia's Other Options For Nightlife, The Arts & Drag Shows

A Guide To LGBT-Centric Events & Venues All Over Philadelphia

It’s no secret that Philadelphia is one of the LGBT-friendliest cities in the country, but Philly pride extends past the rainbow flag-adorned Gayborhood. Neighborhoods throughout the city offer endless options for queer folks looking for a gay old time. Groups QOTA (Queers on the Avenue) and OUT in Fishtown welcome partygoers south and north of Center City, respectively, for monthly happy hours, food and fun. LGBT-owned hangouts Menagerie Coffee and The Victoria Freehouse satisfy cravings for caffeine, cocktails and culture in Historic Philadelphia. South Street’s iconic dive bar Bob and Barbara’s Lounge hosts the city’s longest-running drag show.

Here’s a