Vernick Coffee Bar
Chef Greg Vernick’s flagship Vernick Food & Drink is considered one of the top restaurants in the city, so his second venture, a coffee bar and cafe, in partnership with the Four Seasons Hotel inside the recently opened Comcast Technology Center, was a welcome addition. Start your day off with a selection of in-house baked goods or fuel your morning with made-to-order coffee and the warm seven-minute egg, which comes with English pea hummus, cherry tomato salad and a crispy pita.
BTW: Don’t miss pieces by contemporary artists Jenny Holzer and Conrad Shawcross as you take the escalators up to the cafe.
Vernick Coffee Bar, 1800 Arch St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
One of the first things you’ll notice about this sunlight-drenched cafe are the array of plants arranged around the dining room. A great option to break bread with the locals, Hungry Pigeon is known for its approachable comfort foods. A cafe by day and restaurant by night, it has an impressive selection of pastries with special selections available on weekends. The egg-and-cheese sandwich, served on a homemade English muffin, with a cup of coffee hits the spot.
BTW: After breakfast, explore the Fabric Row neighborhood. Fourth Street has a collection of historic fabric and vintage stores, boutiques and places to eat.
Hungry Pigeon, 743 S. Fourth St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19147
This food hall gives you the experience of local Philadelphia gems all under one roof. The historic Bourse building, opened in the late 1800s and housed a stock and commodities exchange. It was later updated for commercial retail use in the late ’70s. After being renovated once more in 2018, it became home to vendors representing a diverse selection of cuisines — encompassing fancy grilled-cheese sandwiches, Philippine comfort food at Lalo, specialty coffee at locally owned Menagerie and the local distillery Bluebird. It’s a good spot for lunch but also open until midnight on Friday and Saturdays.
BTW: The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are across the street from the Bourse.
The Bourse, 111 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
If you’ve heard of Zahav, you know getting in there isn’t easy. But luckily chef Michael Solomonov has a few fast-casual options dotted across the city. Named after one of Tel Aviv’s most popular streets, Dizengoff is modeled after the hummus stalls (hummusiyas) found around Israel. From the classic tahini hummus platter to seasonal specialties, the menu rotates. Pita is baked fresh, and hummus platters are made to order; each comes with a side of delicious pickles and chopped salad.
BTW: Get your order to go and head toward Rittenhouse Square Park for a meal with a side of people-watching.
Dizengoff, 1625 Sansom St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
Friday Saturday Sunday
The atmosphere and decor is breathtaking, yet this restaurant still feels super-welcoming and intimate. This is a treat-yourself kind of spot, and it’s totally worth it. Chef Chad Williams’s new American-style menu features a seasonal selection of housemade pastas, freshly shucked oysters, and entrees like dry-aged duck for two. If cocktails are your thing, then this is a must-visit for the unique and classic offerings from Paul MacDonald.
BTW: Get in early, around 5:30 p.m., for prime seats at the bar, and get to know the locals.
Friday Saturday Sunday, 261 S. 21st St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
Want dinner and cocktails with a view? Then head to the eighth floor of the Bok building in South Philadelphia for Irwin’s, an Instagram-worthy space featuring a mix of mid-century modern design, graffiti, exposed concrete and greenery. If the weather permits, take in an aerial panorama of the city on the terrace. Named after the architect of the historic Bok building, the Irwin’s menu features a Middle Eastern-inspired collection of small plates served from an open kitchen. Reservations are encouraged, unless you get there right when it opens, at 5 p.m., for one of the first-come-first-served seats at the bar.
BTW: After dinner, head up to the top floor and grab a nightcap at Bok Bar, which offers one of the best views of Philadelphia’s skyline.
Irwin’s, 800 Mifflin St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19148
It’s truly all fun and games at this bi-level dive bar-art gallery. The bar on the first floor greets you with bright walls, artist Adam Wallacavage’s signature octopus chandeliers, a counter strewn with lollipops and fun little toys. The top floor functions as an ever-changing and uncurated gallery, covered wall to wall in wheatpastes and graffiti from local and international street artists. Enjoy your drinks sitting in a vintage bumper car or while playing a game of pool. “TMoms” regularly hosts trivia nights, film screenings, readings, pop-up shops, arts and craft shows and live performances, so there’s never a dull moment. It’s also very vegan-friendly (sandwiches, cheesesteaks, burgers). The signature cocktails offer a twist on classics; try a Pickletini, hand-bottled Sazerac or Cosmo Cloud, which involves a traditional cosmo poured over cotton candy.
BTW: Grab a fun, adhesive souvenir from the second-floor sticky-art machine, loaded up with collections from sticker artists.
Tattooed Mom, 530 South St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19147
The Franklin Fountain
There’s always a line out the door at this ice cream parlor and soda fountain — for a good reason. Opened by brothers Eric and Ryan Berley in 2004 in a turn-of-the-century building, the shop is old-timey, down to the servers in whites and bow ties. They serve homemade sodas, sundaes and unique ice cream flavors and baked goods made from scratch. Ice creams feature premium seasonal ingredients, including milk sourced locally from Berks and Lancaster counties. The sugar and cake-waffle cones are made in-house and cooked on old-fashioned irons. Try a scoop of the signature Franklin Mint Chip: white peppermint swirled with green crème de menthe and dark bittersweet chocolate chunks. Or the Philadelphia Vanilla Bean, which was inspired by the shop’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin. Its blend of Mexican and Madagascar vanilla extracts give it a sweet, spicy and creamy flavor profile. Seasonal sorbets and nondairy ice creams are also available.
BTW: It is cash-only. Get your scoops to go in one of their signature cartons in the original patented design from 1894.
The Franklin Fountain, 116 Market St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19106