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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, patskingofsteaks.com
9th Street & Passyunk Avenue
(215) 389-0659, genosteaks.com
600 Wendover Street
(215) 482-5407, dalessandros.com
John’s Roast Pork
14 E. Snyder Avenue
(215) 463-1951, johnsroastpork.com
1510 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell
(610) 277-1717, pudgescheesesteaks.com
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, continentalmartinibar.com
The Continental Mid-town
18th & Chestnut Streets
(215) 567-1800, continentalmidtown.com
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
1 Logan Square
(215) 963-1500, fourseasons.com
214 Market Street
(215) 923-1000, camposdeli.com
Lee’s Hoagie House
734 S. 9th Street, (215) 922-1717
2100 S. Eagle Road, Newtown, (215) 860-9500
39 E. Oregon Avenue
(215) 551-5725, tonylukes.com
Federal Pretzel Baking Company
638 Federal Street
Philadelphia Soft Pretzels Inc.
4315 N. 3rd Street
Philadelphia Soft Pretzel Factory
Tasty Baking Company
The Navy Yard
3 Crescent Drive, Suite 200
(800) 33-TASTY, tastykake.com
John’s Water Ice
701 Christian Street
(215) 925-6955, johnswaterice.com
Rose’s Real Italian Water Ice
4240 Pechin Street
Yardley Ice House
77 S. Main Street, Yardley
(215) 321-9788, yardleyicehouse.com
675 Mill Road, Telford
(215) 256-8867, godshalls.com
701 Ashland Avenue, A-4, Bridgeville, DE
(610) 532-9973, habbersettscrapple.com
2700 Clemens Road, Hatfield
(215) 368-2500, hatfieldqualitymeats.com
Goldenberg Peanut Chews
Reading Terminal Market
12th & Arch Streets,
(215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org
214 Market Street
(215) 923-1000, phillyhoagie.com
A Little Bit of Philly
(800) 959-1128, littlebitofphilly.com
Pennsylvania General Store
12th & Arch Streets
(800) 545-4891, pageneralstore.com
Taste of Philadelphia
(800) 8-HOAGIE, tasteofphiladelphia.com
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 visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com, 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.
- Donna Schorr, (215) 599-0782
Philly Eats (& Drinks) With A View
With the opening of the brand-new Assembly Rooftop Lounge at the Logan Hotel and the expected opening of SkyGarten atop one of Center City’s tallest buildings, Philadelphia’s skyward hospitality has reached new heights. While sleek Assembly offers soaring, stunning views eight stories across the Ben Franklin Parkway, SkyGarten promises German and craft beer 51 stories up. Assembly and SkyGarten join a growing roster of the region’s restaurants and bars that deliver up-in-the-atmospheric drama along with delicious eats and drinks. Here are some of Philly’s best places to scope the view:
- Lined with windows, the dramatic dining room
40+ Of Philadelphia's Best Vantage Points
Filled with sensational skyline views, beautiful vistas and stunning street scenes, Philadelphia is easy on the eyes—and the lenses. Photographers and videographers covering Philadelphia for a quick news story, a full-length feature or just because have no shortage of vantage points to choose from in this city between two rivers—the Delaware on the east and the Schuylkill on the west. Here are more than 40 VISIT PHILADELPHIA-approved vantage points and insider tips for capturing just the right angle at each of them.
*Also good for man-on-the-street interviews
In Center City:
- One Liberty Observation Deck: New attraction, 883 feet
Philadelphia's Top Restaurants And Bars For DNC Media
When it comes to dining and drinking, Philly has almost too many choices, especially when you’re on DNC time. Here are a few restaurants and bars recommended for members of the press who don’t have time to read reviews—or have dinner out, for that matter. The list below is organized by neighborhood and consists of spots that are open before and after convention events at the Wells Fargo Center. Many are good for groups.
Note: Hours subject to change; bar hours may extend during the DNC.
RITTENHOUSE SQUARE (Center City, West of Broad Street)
- a.kitchen – Simple, modern
Southern, Soul & Caribbean Food Satisfy Philly Diners
Nothing’s more satisfying than a plate of down-home eats, and thankfully, Philly’s dining scene is rich in catfish, jerk chicken and macaroni and cheese. Whether it’s a gourmet spin on turkey wings, a zesty bowl of jambalaya or a slice of sweet-potato pie, hearty goodness abounds at the region’s soul, southern, Cajun, Cuban and Caribbean eateries. Caribbean Cuisine Week (April 13-15, 2016) celebrates island flavors while raising funds for 700 high school athletes from Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago participating in the Penn Relays.
Here’s a look of some of the mouthwatering delights sure to...
Experience A Taste Of That Famous Philly Flavor
Philadelphia’s flavor is a dynamic mix of traditional ethnic recipes and new culinary inventions, well-known treats and obscure dishes, and these specialties can be found everywhere from the corner store to the fanciest kitchens of haute restaurants. 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 United States. Philadelphians are loyal to their edible heritage, and here...
Media Guide: DNC Destination Resource
For a PDF version of this DNC Destination Media Guide, click here.
WELCOME TO PHILADELPHIA!
Dear Media Friend,
Welcome to the birthplace of America!
We know you have many stories to file, and we hope this guide will help you cover and enjoy the destination itself. In this small but information-packed piece, we give you the scoop on:
- Our city’s layout and how to get around
- Must-dos for first-timers—and everyone
- Sensational backdrops for your live shots
- Ideas for where to take that morning run
Perhaps most importantly, we provide you with a list of people to contact if you...
A Tale Of Two Host Cities: Philadelphia And Cleveland Put On 2016 Political Conventions
While presidential candidates are going head-to-head in heated discourse, the great American cities of Philadelphia and Cleveland are pushing political banter aside to ready themselves for the national spotlight as they host the Democratic National Convention (July 25-28) and Republican National Convention (July 18-21), respectively. Cleveland’s last political convention was the 1936 RNC; that same year, Philadelphia welcomed the DNC. The cities will be part of history again in 2016.
Both destinations have a loyal fan base; residents love their respective city’s arts and culture, history, music and food, and visitors clamor over much of the same. Here’s a look...
Backgrounder: What's The Deal In Philly?
Philadelphia hosts the 2016 Democratic National Convention, July 25-28—and this city has stories to tell. VISIT PHILADELPHIA, the region’s official destination marketing organization, can provide interview subjects for morning shows, ties to other states, interesting convention stories, tours around town and other colorful locals who can speak about the below scenes in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia provides a poignant backdrop for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. It is the birthplace of the United States and the country’s first and only World Heritage City.
Our Founding Fathers met, discussed, debated and formed a new country in Philadelphia. The two most important...
It's Always Sunny-Side Up In Philadelphia
Weekends were made for brunching—chatting with friends, digging into a stack of syrupy pancakes, lingering over a cup of a coffee and/or a Bloody Mary. No one knows this better than Philadelphians, who have a wide array of fantastic brunch options to choose from every Saturday and Sunday. Whether the craving is for a prix-fixe menu offering foie gras and lobster (Lacroix), an Aussie-inspired brekkie platter (Ants Pants Café) or fresh granola and locally grown berries (Talula’s Daily), Philadelphia foodies have plenty of go-to spots for a late-morning or early-afternoon meal. Here’s a look at some of the region’s best...
Philly's Lesbian Nightlife Heats Up With Hot Clubs, Cool Parties & Special Events
Philly may be best known as the City of Brotherly Love, but sisters from Center City to New Hope have plenty of reasons to celebrate the LGBT-friendly nightlife scene. Women’s parties and exclusive nightclubs have put Philly on the map for lesbian life after dark. Here’s a look at where the girls party and play:
Gay & Lesbian Bars:
- Woody’s – The guys may crowd Woody’s, one of the most popular gay nightclubs in the city, but women also feel right at home late night and during happy hour. The bar and restaurant boasts 28 beers on tap, as