When attending a WordCamp from out of town, there is always the dilemma of what to do with yourself after the sessions are over and before the after party starts.
I’ve put together an insider’s guide on where to grab dinner on Saturday, or in general.
If you want to stay nearby
- William Street Common – Gastropub – 3900 Chestnut Street (39th and Chestnut) If you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) you can go right to the after party venue and get dinner there. Or just hang out, have drinks and be first in line for appetizers. It’s a 20 minute walk from U of the Sciences to William Street Common. You can also take the #11 or #36 trolley (AKA The Green Line) to 36th and Chestnut, and walk the remaining 3 blocks.
- Hip City Veg – Vegan – 214 South 40th Street Hip City is vegetarian Heaven! They serve 100% plant-based fast food. It is a locally-owned chain with just 2 locations, and luckily, one is close to the after party. It is so good!
- Local 44 – Beer and Food – 4333 Spruce Street (Corner of 44th + Spruce) This one is recommended by my friend who lives in the area. She says they have many vegan and vegetarian options.
- Han Dynasty – Trendy Schezuan Chinese – 3711 Market Street It’s kinda loud and crowded, but people love Han Dynasty. The dishes are heat-rated by number.
- Pod – Swanky Asian Fusion – 3636 Sansom Street Pod is local restaurateur, Stephen Starr’s, super mod Asian restaurant where you can get fancy cocktails and conveyor belt sushi. I wouldn’t give their food the highest rating in the world, but the place itself is pretty cool.
- White Dog Cafe – Localvore American – 3420 Sansom Street Judy Wicks (the person who essentially started the sustainable business movement in Philadelphia) opened this restaurant in 1983. It one of the first sustainable restaurants and forever changed the course of history for triple bottom line businesses in Philly. The food is really good, too.
- Baltimore Avenue If you stroll West on Baltimore Ave. from the University of the Sciences you will find urban anarchist hippy co-housing and lots of great places to eat. Check out this article from Philly Eater complete with a handy map – Restaurant Rows: The Best of Baltimore Avenue. Just a note, going down Baltimore Ave. will take you further away from the after-party.
- Easy and Familiar Chain Restaurants In the area surrounding Hip City (214 South 40th Street) you’ll find familiar chain restaurants like Chipotle, Qdoba, Ben & Jerry’s etc. mixed in with some local places. If you walk around you’ll find something decent. My favorite is Ramen Bar at 4040 Locust Street.
If you want to venture into Center City
If you want to stray across the Schuylkill River into Center City, you can hop on a Subway-Surface trolley (the Green Line) or catch a cab. You’ll be late getting back to the After Party, but it wont be too bad if you stay within Center City proper.
- V Street – Vegetarian – 126 South 19th Street Vegan tapas! It’s a great place, but small and they do not take reservations so you’ll probably have a wait.
- Village Whisky – Burger bar – 118 South 20th Street Gourmet bar food and lots of cocktails from local restauranteur, Jose Garces.
- Oyster House – Seafood/Raw bar – 1516 Sansom Street Arguably the best raw bar in Philly.
- Barbuzzo – Mediterranean – 110 South 13th Street Really delicious, fresh Mediterranean-inspired food. If you want in you’ll need a reservation, because it’s always packed, but you can sometimes grab a spot at the bar. If you can’t get in, there are a ton of other great restaurants on 13th street.
- Charlie Was a Sinner – Vegan – 131 South 13th Street Charlie Was a Sinner is an amazing vegan cocktail bar owned by the same woman who owns Hip City Veg. If you want to start drinking fancy cocktails early and eat fantastic vegan food go here.
- Cheu Noodle Bar – Ramen – 255 South 10th Street If you’re my friend on Swarm, you know I check in here all the time. Cheu Noodle is my favorite place to eat in Philly. I’ve eaten a lot of ramen and hands-down this is the best in Philly (my fav is the Miso Ramen). They don’t take reservations and you may have a wait, but it’s worth it.
- Little Nonna’s – Italian – 1234 Locust Street Delicious Italian Restaurant in the Gayborhood owned by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, the same couple that owns Barbuzzo and a bunch of other restaurants in the area.
If you don’t care if you’re really late to the after-party
Philly is delicious and if you don’t mind being really late to the after party you can make the journey to these further away neighborhoods. You can also check out these places if you’re in town before or after WordCamp.
- Lee How Fook – Chinese – 219 North 11th Street I’ve been going to Lee How Fook with my family since the 80s, and I would dare say it is the best Chinese food in Philly. Get the salt baked squid, the Peking Duck or a vegetarian Buddha Roll.
- Vietnam Restaurant – Vietnamese – 221 North 11th Street Right next door to Lee How Fook is Vietnam Restaurant (not Vietnam Palace across the street). The food is delicious and if you want to get your drink on you can get a Flaming Volcano – it’s like an alcohol trough with real flames in the middle.
- Dim Sum Garden – Dim Sum – 1020 Race Street Two words: soup dumplings.
- Nan Zhou Hand-Drawn Noodle House – Chinese Noodles – 1022 Race Street Noodles are hand-pulled in-house and added to soups and other dishes.
- Ray’s Cafe & Tea House – Taiwanese – 141 North 9th Street In addition to an amazing selection of coffee and tea, Ray’s also has really great food. Note, they’re only open until 8:30.
You can walk around the Piazza or Liberties Walk and find a zillion places to eat. The area gets a little overrun with Yo Bros/Woo Girls at night, but late afternoon/early evening isn’t too bad. Here are some of my fav NoLibs places to eat.
- D’mitris – Greek – 944 North 2nd Street D’mitris is one of my favorite restaurants in Philly. Get the grilled octopus or the fried calamari.
- Cantina Dos Segundos – Mexican – 931 North 2nd Street The NoLib’s branch of Cantina featuring Mexican inspired food and drinks.
- Standard Tap – Gastropub – 901 North 2nd Street Good beer and good food.
Fishtown is the hipster outpost of Philly (and the location of YIKES headquarters). It’s far from West Philly but full of great places to eat.
- Pizza Brain – Pizza – 2313 Frankford Ave Pizza Brain not only has decent pizza, it is also the World’s first Pizza Museum! After you’re done your slice you can go to Little Baby’s Ice Cream next door.
- Cedar Point Kitchen – Localvore American – 2370 East Norris Street Really good classic food and a great selection of beer.
- Loco Pez – Mexican – 2401 East Norris Street – Delicious drinks and tacos.
- Stock – Hipster Pho – 308 East Girard Ave. Tasty Pho and Banh Mi
- Kensington Quarters – Localvore Hipster Restaurant/Butcher Shop – 1310 Frankford Ave. I’ve never eaten at the restaurant, but I’ve bought meat from the butcher and they are super nice & knowledgeable and everything I’ve gotten from them has been delicious.
- Frankford Ave. There are too many places to eat on and around Frankford Ave. to list them all. This article lists most of them – An Eating and Drinking Tour Through Fishtown
East Passyunk Ave
East Passyunk Ave. is wall-to-wall restaurants and local shops. Here are a few.
- Bing Bing Dim Dum – Hipster Dim Sum – 1648 East Passyunk Ave. This place is pretty new and the Cheu Noodle Guys’ 2nd restaurant. Super fun and tasty dim sum and drinks.
- Cantina los Caballitos – Mexican – 1651 East Passyunk Ave Really good Mexican inspired food and drinks.
- Izumi – Japanese – 1601 East Passyunk Avenue Pretty good sushi.
- Stateside – Gastropub – 1536 East Passyunk Ave Anthony Bourdain shot some scenes from Stateside for his Philly episode of The Layover.
If you want to schmooze at a fancy restaurant
Want to take folks out to dinner and impress them? Try one of these places – and get a reservation ahead of time!
- Vedge – Upscale Vegan – 1221 Locust Street Vedge has repeatedly been named the best gourmet vegan restaurant in the US. Chef Rich Landeau also won an episode of Chopped.
- Morimoto – Japanese – 723 Chestnut Street Japanese food is my favorite cuisine and some of the best food I have ever eaten has been at Morimoto. Get the tuna tartare, you’ll be dreaming about it for weeks afterward.
- Zahav – Israeli – 237 St James Place Amazing food made up of small plates.
- Talula’s Garden – Farm-to-Table – 210 West Washington Square Fresh, delicious and a really beautiful space. Talula’s always makes the top restaurant lists in Philly.
If you just want a cheesesteak
A cheesesteak in Philly is like a latte in Seattle – almost anywhere you go is going to be pretty decent. But if you want a good, authentic Philly cheesesteak you’ll have to travel a little.
Disclaimer: Cheesesteak reviews are of my opinion and do not represent the views of all WordCamp Philly organizers 🙂
- Jim’s – 4th and South Street Forget Pat’s & Geno’s I think Jim’s steaks are better. There is often a line around the block and South Street at night is a hot drunk mess, but if you want a good cheesesteak go to Jim’s.
- Tony Luke’s – 39 East Oregon Ave Tony Luke’s is the real deal/deep South Philly cheesesteak experience. You’ll have to journey to middleish-of-nowhere South Philly, but if it’s late at night you could go to next door to Southbowl’s late-night happy hour (10pm-12am, Sunday-Thursday) after you’re done your cheesesteak.
- Joe’s – 1 West Girard Ave. (Frankford & Girard) Since Joe’s opened up just down the street from our office, I’ve been there way too many times. The best part is vegetarians/vegans/omnivores can all enjoy food there. You can get a vegan cheesesteak, or a real steak sandwich with vegan cheese or vegan steak with real cheese – any combination you want and it’s all delicious.
- Pat’s/Geno’s – 1237 E. Passyunk Avenue (the intersection of 9th Street, Wharton Street and Passyunk Avenue) If you see Philly cheesesteaks on national TV it’s usually Pat’s and Geno’s – 2 cheesesteak joints right across the street from each other open late into the night. If you want to experience the late-night spectacle that is Pat’s and Geno’s go ahead, but it’s a little touristy and not the greatest cheesesteaks ever. If you do go, go to Pat’s which is the one not lit up like Times Square.
If you just need decent coffee
Coffee people, you know what I’m sayin’ — you don’t just need coffee you need GOOD coffee. My wife and I are coffee people and we know all the great coffee shops.
- Hub Bub Coffee – 3736 Spruce Street I can’t vouch for this one, but they serve Stumptown and Reanimator so I imagine it should be decent. It’s also the one on the list closest to WordCamp.
- Elixr – 207 South Sydenham Street This one is close to the official WordCamp Philly hotel.
- Bodhi – 263 S. 10th Street
- Rival Bros. – 2400 Lombard Street
- Ray’s Cafe & Tea House – 141 North 9th Street You wont get hipster pour-overs here, but Ray’s was doing Jamaican Blue Mountain siphon coffee and cold-brew iced coffee way before it was cool. The coffee here is simply delicious and the presentation is super cute.
- Ultimo Coffee – 2 locations: 1900 S 15th Street and 2149 Catharine Street
Queen Village/South Street
- Shot Tower Coffee – 542 Christian Street. My local coffee spot.
- Ox – 616 South 3rd Street
- Bodhi – 410 South 2nd Street – If you go here on a Sunday you can enjoy the Headhouse Farmers Market across the street.
- Menagerie Coffee – 18 South 3rd Street
- One Shot – 217 West George Street Mia’s and my favorite place near the office.
- Reanimator – 1523 E. Susquehanna Ave.
- La Colombe Headquarters – 1335 Frankford Ave – I’m not a huge fan of La Colombe coffee (sorry), but their flagship shop in Fishtown is amazing and the coffee is extra good there.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg – Philly is such a great eating city. If there is anything specific you’re looking for, just track me down and I’ll help you find it.