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What's In The East Passyunk & Pennsport Neighborhoods?
Restaurants, Shops, Bars & Cafes In & Around South Philly’s East Passyunk Avenue & Pennsport Neighborhoods
For years, insiders have flocked to South Philadelphia’s East Passyunk Avenue for its restaurants, particularly its red-gravy Italian spots. The neighborhood surrounding the avenue—a diagonal interruption to Philadelphia’s grid layout—has enjoyed revitalizations in recent years, creating a sort of renaissance for the thoroughfare itself. Visitors who stroll down Passyunk (pronounced pashunk by those in the know) find eclectic boutiques, coffee shops, vintage clothing stores, gastropubs, excellent Mexican and sushi fare, as well as the amazing Italian eateries that first made this street famous—not to mention the two across-the-street cheesesteak rivals, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. Generally, the area known as East Passyunk stretches from Washington Avenue in the north to McKean Street in the south, plus a few blocks east and west of the street.
Just a few steps east is Pennsport, a neighborhood bordered by the Delaware River to the east, 4th Street to the west, Washington Avenue to the north and Snyder Avenue to the south, though the borders are subject to debate. An area home to Mummers’ clubhouses (note: Be there on New Year’s Day) and historically blue-collar families, Pennsport is experiencing the beginnings of its own revitalization, thanks to a newly upgraded park, a farmers’ market and healthy lineup of new bars, coffee shops and restaurants. With young residents moving in every day, businesses that have been around for decades are getting well-deserved recognition and an expanding clientele.
EAST PASSYUNK AVENUE:
Those coming from Center City can walk (30 minutes from City Hall), take a cab or hop on the subway. For the underground option, people take the Broad Street (Orange) Line, which runs north and south along Broad Street, south to the Tasker/Morris or Snyder stations, depending on the destination. Bus devotees can take the Route 23 option, which rides south on 12th Street and crosses Passyunk Avenue.
Eat & Drink:
- Adobe Cafe – This Southwest-style, vegetarian-friendly abode features house-made sangria, generous happy hour specials and karaoke every Saturday night. Sports enthusiasts practically get a front-row seat to the game from any spot at the U-shaped bar. 1919 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 551-2243, adobecafephilly.com
- Birra – Somewhere between a gastropub and pizza parlor is Birra, serving an assortment of thin-crust pizza (including the head-turning mac-and-cheese pizza), paninis (try the grilled cheese) and antipasto, as well as an impressive list of craft beers. Plenty of sidewalk seating adds to the modest table count and provides a view of the avenue. 1700 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 324-3127, birraphilly.com
- Cantina Los Caballitos – Much like its younger sibling, Cantina Dos Segundos in Northern Liberties, the original Cantina cooks up modern twists on Mexican dishes, such as vegan fajitas and mahi mahi tacos—fare that washes down perfectly with a tequila flight or specialty margarita. In warmer months, the newly outfitted outdoor seating area draws a huge crowd. 1651 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 755-3550, cantinaloscaballitos.com
- Chiarella’s Ristorante – Situated steps from Passyunk Avenue’s Singing Fountain, this family-owned South Philly mainstay—with roots on a Jersey Shore boardwalk—specializes in classic Italian fare with wallet-friendly prices. Locals bring their own bottles and dine outside in the warmer months. 600 S. 11th Street, (215) 334-6404, chiarellasristorante.com
- The Dive – Cheap beer, DJ nights, dance parties and pool tables define this aptly named, three-story bar. Different draws on each floor—pool and video games on the third—occupy all types of patrons. Happy hour-goers dig into free pizza. 947 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 465-5505
- El Zarape – Hungry patrons can count on hearty portions of authentic Mexican cuisine from breakfast until dinner in a simple dining room with big, perfect-for-people-watching windows. Next door, the grocery store stocks pastries and staples. 1648 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 336-1293
- Fond – Diners relax and indulge in New American cuisine at this stalwart, focusing on inventive flavors and eye-catching presentation. Those who save room are rewarded with decadent desserts and French press coffee. 1537 S. 11th Street, (215) 551-5000, fondphilly.com
- Fountain Porter – The 20 craft brews on tap are best enjoyed at the wooden indoor picnic tables at this newly opened old-school South Philly corner bar, especially when paired with the simple meat and cheese plates on the concise menu. The beer list changes weekly, so patrons can count on reasons to come back often. 1601 S. 10th Street, fountainporter.com
- FrancoLuigi’s Pizzeria/High Note Café – People visit the High Note Café for a side of live opera or piano with their house-made gnocchi. Owner Franco Borda (a.k.a., “The Singing Chef”) will have it no other way. This family-owned Passyunk Square restaurant serves up authentic Italian cuisine in their musical dining room and crave-worthy pizzas and sandwiches from the attached FrancoLuigi’s Pizzeria. 1549 S. 13th Street, (215) 755-8903 (High Note), (215) 755-8900 (FrancoLuigi’s), francoluigis.com
- Fuel – West Coast influence shines through the menu at this health-conscious cafe, where all the fresh options—from smoothies to paninis—come in under 500 calories. Healthy brunchers indulge in protein-packed fare such as the frittata made with organic eggs. 1917 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-3835, fuelphilly.com
- Geno’s Steaks – Patrons line up around the block for Philly’s favorite sandwich at this neon-lit cheesesteak shop, which famously shares an intersection with rival Pat’s King of Steaks. At both 24/7 joints, locals know the ordering lingo, like how to specify the type of cheese (provolone, American or Whiz) and whether they’d like the iconic sandwich “wit” or without onions. 1219 S. 9th Street, (215) 389-0659, genosteaks.com
- Green Eggs Cafe – The Passyunk-area outpost of this Philly brunch spot serves up whopping portions of breakfast and lunch favorites to a full house every day of the week. Locals and newcomers love its eco-friendly sensibilities, locally grown produce (including herbs right from their roof) and menu for everyone (from staunch meat-eaters to vegans). 1306 Dickinson Street, (215) 226-3447, greeneggscafe.com
- Izumi – The owners of nearby restaurant Paradiso created South Philly’s answer to posh sushi spots. The richly appointed Japanese bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot looks out to the Singing Fountain, where diners can eat in the warm-weather months. Though the extensive menu pleases all sushi lovers, the inventive small-plate specialties like rock shrimp tempura draw adventurous diners. 1601 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-1222, izumiphilly.com
- Karina’s – This small, friendly BYOB offers its diners a home-style Italian menu, with a splash of Spanish and South American dishes thrown in for good measure. House-made breads and pastas soak up the savory sauces appearing in most dishes, from marinara and brown gravy to garlic wine and porcini mushroom sauces. 1520 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 218-0455
- Le Virtu – An impressive wine list complements the authentic Abruzzese cuisine prepared in an open kitchen. An intimate dining room and outdoor patio complete the warm and rustic atmosphere, and the seasonal menu melds local produce and meats with artisanal delicacies like honey and sheep’s milk cheeses imported from Italy’s Abruzzi region. 1927 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-5626, levirtu.com
- Lucky 13 Pub – The staff serves New American cuisine alongside local draught beers at this tiny, punk rock-themed bar, featuring a jam-packed jukebox, a DJ night and weekend brunch. Nachos, stuffed meatloaf, creative sandwiches and even vegan and vegetarian fare pack the menu. 1820 S. 13th Street, (215) 336-8467, lucky13pubphilly.com
- Marra’s Cucina Italiana – A South Philly mainstay, Marra’s has been cranking out Italian-American favorites like thin-crust brick-oven pizzas and homemade pastas for more than 80 years. Hungry diners can opt for the Sunset Menu, which includes a traditional main dish with soup or salad. The no-frills dining room adds to the old-school vibe. 1734 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 463-9249, marrasone.com
- Mr. Martino’s Trattoria – It’s open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, which only enhances the appeal of this cozy BYOB—a Passyunk mainstay. The homey atmosphere (more like someone’s home than a restaurant) and friendly staff (including Mr. Martino himself) almost outshine the delicious Italian food. Almost. 1646 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 755-0663
- Paradiso Restaurant & Wine Bar – Comfort and elegance blend seamlessly in this contemporary Italian spot, where a lively bar and an open kitchen provide the entertainment, and the rooftop garden provides (some of) the ingredients. Fluffy house-made gnocchi and other light Mediterranean dishes keep locals coming back for more. 1627 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-2066, paradisophilly.com
- Pat’s King of Steaks – At this iconic landmark, servin’ up authentic Philly cheesesteaks all day and night, patrons order their cheesesteaks at a window and chow down at the outdoor tables. Though the chopped cheesesteak sandwiches are the main draw, the menu at Pat’s also includes pulled pork, hot dogs and fish cakes. 1237 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-1546, patskingofsteaks.com
- Plenty – It’s “gourmet quick-serve” at this Passyunk Avenue newcomer. In the modern yet rustic dining room, deli cases display prepared fixins, ready for takeout or to enjoy at one of the few coveted tables. Simple organic and local ingredients steal the spotlight for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and those in the know stock up on high-quality olive oil and other pantry items for later. 1710 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 909-8033, plentyphiladelphia.com
- Pub On Passyunk East (P.O.P.E.) – Fourteen taps with a focus on microbrews and a jukebox stuffed with early rock—hardcore and everything else—make this cavern-like tavern a hipster haven. The inclusive bar menu, ranging from the P.O.P.E.’s namesake burger (topped with a juicy fried tomato) to vegetarian specialties like the seitan cheesesteak, complements the extensive 80-bottle beer list. 1501 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 755-5125, pubonpassyunkeast.com
- Ristorante Tre Scalini – This family-owned, bi-level BYOB serves authentic Italian dishes such as the traditional zuppa di pesce, as well as the exotic saffron gnocchi or wild boar. Warm, knowledgeable staff and valet parking on weekends enhance the dining experience. 1915 Passyunk Avenue, (215) 551-3870, trescaliniphiladelphia.com
- Royal Tavern – Offering a serious upgrade to classic pub food and drink, Royal Tavern pleases beer lovers, vegans and omnivores alike. A side of tater tots add a nostalgic touch to the ever-popular Angus burger, topped with bacon, caramelized onions and smoked gouda. 937 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 389-6694, royaltavern.com
- Salt & Pepper – For years, this BYOB was a well-kept secret of the neighborhood. When Salt and Pepper moved to Passyunk Avenue and added a full bar to complement its take on American fare, the neighbors couldn’t keep it to themselves anymore. 1623 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 238-1920, saltandpepperphilly.com
- Stateside – As the name suggests, this bar pours American-made craft beers, wines and spirits, with a focus on whiskeys and bourbons. The tempting dinner menu features mainly small plates that use locally sourced products. 1536 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 551-2500, statesidephilly.com
- Stogie Joe’s Tavern – A no-frills bar menu and “Sundays with Sinatra” define this South Philly joint. The garage door-enclosed dining area offers open-air seating in the warmer months and a fireplace when the weather gets cool. 1801 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 463-3030, stogiejoestavern.com
- Ulivo – This Italian BYOB changes it menu daily, but the satisfaction is constant. Guests enjoy the meat and fish dishes prepared with seasonal vegetables and handmade pasta. 521 Catherine Street (at Passyunk Avenue), (215) 351-1550, ulivophila.com
- Will BYOB – Chef/Owner Will Christopher Kearse wows his guests with modern, French-inspired dishes served in a small, beautifully appointed BYOB restaurant. Kearse’s meticulous and creative plate presentation looks almost too good to eat. Almost. 1911 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-7683, willbyob.com
Sweets & Treats:
- B2 – Like its nearby big sister Benna’s, this local coffee shop features fresh juices, loose teas, pastries and a simple sandwich selection, along with free Wi-Fi and monthly rotating work from local artists on the walls. Vegans delight in the soy soft serve. 1500 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-5520
- Belle Cakery – As the pastry chef at Fond, where she works with business partner and husband Lee Styer, Jessie Prawlucki grew a loyal following. When the duo opened Belle Cakery down the street, Prawlucki enjoyed more elbowroom to craft her delectable creations, and the neighborhood rejoiced. Locals pop into the shop on their weekend strolls to get her freshly baked seasonal goodies. 1437 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-2299, bellecakery.com
- Black N Brew – Smoothies, coffees and sweets complement a full, vegetarian-friendly breakfast and lunch menu at this cozy and family-friendly Passyunk staple, easily recognized by the mosaic art that covers the cafe. Happy hour means dollar cups of joe from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. 1523 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 639-6070, blackbrew.net
- Capogiro Gelato Artisans – The fourth location of this Philly-based gelateria empire combines Italian cafe classics—from the rich, inventive gelato made with locally grown ingredients to the expertly crafted espresso—with a charming, old-fashioned dining room. In warmer months, patrons take advantage of outdoor seating in the quiet and quaint backyard patio. 1625 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 462-3790, capogirogelato.com
- Chhaya – The locals wish they could keep this cafe a secret, but the waffles, brunch and daily baked treats make it too good—they have to brag about it. The organic, fair-trade, small-batch coffee alone makes it worth the trip, even from Center City. Chhaya regularly hosts art shows during the neighborhood’s Second Saturday celebrations. 1823 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 465-1000, chhayacafe.com
- Green Aisle Grocery – This tiny, foodie-filled market stocks its shelves with high-quality cooking must-haves, local produce and packaged signature eats from local restaurants and bakers. The shop’s own line of house-made products, including preserves, pickles and nut butters. 1618 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 465-1411, greenaislegrocery.com
- Termini Brothers Bakery – All eyes are on the classic Italian pastries such as cannoli and sfogliatelle at the flagship location of this family-owned pastry shop, founded in the 1920s. Like they have for generations, loyal customers stop in for treats, tasty samples and sweet, zero-calorie whiffs. 1523 S. 8th Street, (215) 334-1816, termini.com
- 1600 Below Vintage – Those in the know aren’t fooled by the large “Reliable Flooring” sign—this store is a vintage shopper’s dream. As the name suggests, the designer gems from the 1950s, 60s and 70s used to be stored in the basement, but the clothing, coats, furniture, shoes, accessories and knick-knacks have taken over the upstairs space too. 1600 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 974-8801
- Beautiful World Syndicate – Record collectors rejoice at this no-frills South Philly music hub, which peddles everything from punk to jazz. The selection changes constantly, so returning customers always find new musical treats. 1619 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 467-0401
- Bija – Yogis that want to look good both on and off the mat visit Bija, meaning “seed” in Sanskrit. The sustainable-focused, eco-friendly shop, nestled inside the South Philly branch of Wake Up Yoga Studio, sells many items made by local crafters, artists and vendors. 1839 E. Passyunk Avenue, bijashop.com/
- The Bottle Shop – Warning: Jaws drop instantly upon entering The Bottle Shop, where more than 600 American and imported craft beers line the coolers. Beer lovers can buy single bottles, mix and match a six pack to get 10% off and grab a brew-appropriate snack. As interesting as the selection, monthly events range from beer sampling to Quizzo and movie nights. 1837 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 551-5551, bottleshopbeer.com
- Chartreuse – It’s easy to spot this boutique. The brightly colored walls provide a lively backdrop for the beautiful floral arrangements and handcrafted vases, pots and candles. The talented staff here also provides wedding and event planning services. 1616 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 545-7711, chartreuseflorist.com
- Doggie Style – With 10 locations in the Philadelphia area, Doggie Style welcomes pet owners who love to pamper. In addition to carrying gourmet treats, natural foods and pet supplies, the shop offers grooming and training. Rescue dogs for adoption in the window woo passersby. 1700 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-5200, doggiestylepets.com
- Era Etomica – Patrons step back in time at this mid-century-modern-appointed vintage shop, stocked with an ever-changing selection of everything retro, from quality furniture and art to sought-after barware and coveted Pyrex sets. DIY events, like reupholstering workshops, and Mad Men-style cocktail parties happen frequently among the vintage wares.
1726 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 551-2345, era-atomica.com
- Metro Men’s Clothing – Even men who claim to hate shopping like this store. It could be that the owner is likely to offer visitors a beer when they walk in. Or it’s the high-end brands, including Ben Sherman, Fred Perry and Scotch & Soda. 1615 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 324-5172, metromensclothing.com
- Mia’s – This dress shop goes from formal to fancy, catering to women in need of black-tie attire or a knockout Saturday night statement. Hint: Big discounts on designer duds line the sale racks. 1748 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 465-2913
- Nice Things Handmade – It’s one part boutique, one part gallery, housing ceramics, jewelry, clothing, prints and accessories from artists both local and not. During art openings every second Saturday of the month, guests enjoy refreshments and meet some of the artists. 1731 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 455-0256
- Philadelphia Scooters – Even those not in the market love to test drive the modern two-wheel scooters at this South Philly shop, which also sells a nice selection of pre-owned scooters and accessories. Passionate and knowledgeable staff members have a knack for matching patrons with just the right ride. 1737 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 336-8255, philadelphiascooters.com
- South Philly Comics – Comic book enthusiasts celebrate this Passyunk outpost’s sweet new locale, filled with all of the weekly titles, graphic novels and collectible figures they’ve come to expect, just a few blocks up the avenue. The petite shop often hosts signings among the hundreds of neatly arranged books. 1840 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 318-7855
- Urban Jungle – Catering to a growing population of gardening homeowners, this rehabbed warehouse sells balcony-, roof deck- and window-friendly containers and plants and offers landscaping services to turn cement-covered city courtyards—and even their walls—into mini oases. 1526-1530 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 952-0811, urbanjunglephila.com
Lookin’ Good On The Avenue:
- Blush Beauty Bar – This boutique beauty shop offers makeup lessons, facials and manicures from an accommodating and professional staff. Special events such as pre-wedding gatherings and birthday parties can include everything from makeup to up-dos. 1714 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-2811, blushbeautybarandspa.com
- Fringe Salon – A welcoming spot for a trim, new color, up-do or keratin treatment, this funky salon hangs local art on the walls and houses the sweetest shop cat around. For regulars, upkeep like a bang trim between cuts is free, and Facebook fans are privy to exclusive weekly specials. 1728 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 339-1778, fringesalononline.com
- Minnie’s Secret – Guests here can enjoy a massage or relieve stress with acupuncture—or just peruse the selection of natural remedies and body products to help with everything from weight loss to a stuffy nose. 1507 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 952-0877
- Wake Up Yoga Studio – Clearing minds and strengthening bodies, the South Philly branch of this Vinyasa and Yin-style yoga spot offers uplifting classes for beginners and Yogis. Workshops like Yoga for Toddlers and a monthly women’s class engage enthusiasts of all ages. 1839 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 235-1228, wakeupyoga.com
People coming from East Passyunk need only to hop on the #29 bus, which runs east along Morris Street. Of course, visitors can also hop in a cab for a short ride or opt to walk to the area.
Eat & Drink:
- Benna’s – Now a Pennsport neighborhood staple, B2’s big sister fuels those on their morning commutes and regulars who sit and sip for hours. Bagels and light sandwiches make it a destination for a casual morning pick-me-up, and those who bring their own cup enjoy discounted coffee. 1236 S. 8th Street, (215) 334-1502
- Caffe Valentino – Smells of authentic Pugliese cuisine waft through this newly expanded BYOB. Even with the addition of a second floor, Caffe Valentino retains a warm, homey atmosphere, complementing comfort dishes such as risotto with sautéed mussels, shrimp and calamari in white wine sauce. Outdoor seating tempts passersby in warmer months, and each Tuesday, guests enjoy a wallet-friendly four-course dinner. Wharton & Moyamensing Streets, (215) 336-3033, caffevalentino.com
- Federal Donuts – People come here for one thing: deep-fried joy. It comes in the form of Korean-style chicken, with a variety of rubs and glazes, and donuts in changing flavors like cookies and cream, milk chocolate-peanut butter, French toast and blueberry muffin. Coffee rounds out the delicacies at this triple-threat. 1219 S. 2nd Street, federaldonuts.com
- Gooey Looie’s – Seriously stuffed hoagies and cheesesteaks await in an unassuming, no-frills shop within the gated Pennsport Mall. Gigantic creations with enough deli meat and cheese to cover many more normal-sized sandwiches have kept locals full and content for years. 231 McClellan Street, (215) 334-7668
- Grindcore House – This all-vegan, metal music-themed coffee house delivers fair-trade coffee and an extensive cafe menu in a laid-back setting with a tight community vibe. Friendly baristas who know customers by name, a case stocked with locally made treats and free Wi-Fi are icing on the (vegan) cake. 1515 S. 4th Street, (215) 839-3333, grindcorehouse.com
- The Industry Bar – With 12 taps, an adventurous menu and a 20% discount for restaurant industry workers, this Pennsport newbie has established itself as a neighborhood hotspot. Late on Saturday nights, the kitchen prepares a special “staff meal:” hearty, simple fare priced just right. 1401 E. Moyamensing Avenue, (215) 271-9500, theindustrybar.com
Parks & Recreation:
- Dickinson Square Park – Basketball courts, swing sets, a jungle gym and three acres of trees and green space define this neighborhood park. In the warmer months, residents come here for picnic lunches—easy, thanks to the availability of delicious food in the area—and a seasonal farmers’ market. Between Moyamensing Avenue & 4th Street and Tasker & Morris Streets, dickinsonsquare.org
- Jefferson Square Park – This classic 19th-century strolling park sat outside of Philadelphia’s boundaries when it was established. Because of its proximity to ports and saloons, it later would be used by the Union Army as an encampment site. Today, people enjoy the relaxing green space and fun events, such as movie screenings and concerts. Between 3rd & 4th Streets and Washington Avenue & Federal Street, www.jeffersonsquarepark.org/
- Rizzo Rink – Hockey is a way of life for the regulars at Rizzo Rink, but casual skaters are welcome to don their blades and round the ice for public hours, Wednesday through Sunday from November to March. 1001 S. Front Street, (215) 685-1593, rizzorink.com
- Sacks Playground – Just across 4th Street from Jefferson Square Park, Sacks Playground satisfies the neighborhood’s active crew with a pool, baseball fields, basketball courts. Between 4th & 5th Streets and Washington Avenue & Federal Street
- Mummer’s Museum – Philadelphia’s most iconic event takes place every New Year’s Day, but the sparkling, sequined fun comes to life all year long inside this building. Guests can strut from costume to costume throughout the museum, and pick up a keepsake of the folk parade at the gift shop. 1100 S. 2nd Street, (215) 336-3050, mummersmuseum.com
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Restaurants & Bars:
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