Word of Mouth Philadelphia: Food + Drink

From beer-boiled bagels to spit-fired meats, our picks for great feeds in the City of Brotherly Love

by Mark Likosky

Philadelphia seems to get a bad rap from many people who visit the city for work and get stuck in Center City with no idea where to go for lunch. The reality is Philly—as one of the largest cities in the US—is brimming with great places to eat, if you know where to look. From burgers to brisket and matzo soup, here are some of the best places to fill up while exploring the City of Brotherly Love.


Hunger Burger

With their “Buy One, Feed One” initiative, proceeds from every 100% Angus Beef burger bought at Hunger Burger in the massive Reading Terminal Market goes to a child in need. Husband and wife chef duo George and Kim Mikel chose organizations No Kid Hungry and King’s Castle who can help feed a child for as little as 50 cents a day. And, if burgers aren’t your thing, the lobster mac-n-cheese here is one of the best dishes to be found in the whole market.


P.S. & Co

Chef Andrea Kyan (who started out in sweets but decided to go savory) believes “whole foods are the most accessible and significant way to effect one’s health, happiness and environment.” Her vision translates especially during P.S. & Co‘s quaint Friday-only BYOB prix fixe dinners in the back of this beautifully designed space by David Fierabend, of Groundswell Design. Breakfast, lunch, juices and meal plans are also available.



Tucked in a few blocks from the main street, Reanimator is worth a visit while exploring the charming little streets and row houses of Fishtown. Roasters Mark Capriotti and Mark Corpus opened this location (the first of several) in a former flower shop which maintains a simple and classy design.


Cheu Noodle Bar

Forget about what your notion of what a bowl of noodles is supposed to be, Cheu Noodle Bar doesn’t endeavor to be traditional. Order a Six Point Bengali Tiger, any one of the addictive buns and chef Ben Puchowitz’s exciting (and delicious) brisket and matzo bowl. You’ll probably want to come back to Philly for this place alone.


Stripp’d Juice

When you need some energy to wander Philly’s streets or a little detox, visit Khoran Horn’s Stripp’d Juice. Juices are prepared fresh daily at the HQ of chef Alex Garfinkel’s new Fishtown event space, AG Catering, and are as healthy as they are tasty.


Sinful Feasts

New farm-to-table 20-person dinner series Sinful Feasts is run by the aforementioned Alex Garfinkel, and is for lovers of fine food and a little history. Hosted in stunning historical locations (in conjunction with Philadelphia Landmarks), each dinner is four courses and boasts quality, seasonal ingredients prepared meticulously. The first dinner at the Powell House featured cocktails Art in the Age spirits rather refreshingly mixed with Stripp’d Juice—future collaborations promise to be just as exciting.


Philly Style Bagels

Duo Collin Shapiro and Jonathon Zilber got into bagel-making by “curing meat and fish, making sourdough-based breads and brewing beer.” While Montreal-style bagels are boiled in honey water and New York-style in malt water, these bagels are boiled in Yards IPA. While their upcoming Fishtown location is in the works, Philly Style Bagels currently operates a Sunday morning pop-up out of Pizzeria Beddia.


Lo Spiedo

Down in the Southern-most point of Philadelphia, former Osteria sous chef Scott Calhoun is perfecting the art of spit-fired meats at Lo Spiedo. The name translates to “The Spit” and is located in the Navy Yard (where about 12,000 people work daily) and just blocks away from all the major sports arenas. Head to this newest of Vetri family-owned spots for a craft beer on draft, artfully created cocktails, a mandatory order of their already renowned fried chicken, and whatever else they decide to throw on an open fire.

Images by Mark Likosky