August 23, 2018

Graduate Hospital Neighborhood Guide

The Gastropubs, Cafes, Parks & Restaurants Of A Fast-Changing Philadelphia Neighborhood

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Walkers, runners and bikers use the ramp from the South Street Bridge to get to the over-the-water Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. Photo by M. Edlow for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Dozens of owner-operated shops and restaurants (such as Ants Pants Cafe, shown here) line the streets throughout the Graduate Hospital area. Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia
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Customers enjoy the burgers, steaks, pies and huge slices of pizza at Lazaro’s Pizzeria & Grill at 17th and South Streets. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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A stretch of Lombard Street in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood features quiet tree-lined blocks aligned with charming row homes. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The menu at Honey's Sit 'N Eat features home-style comfort food made with fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Graduate Hospital goes by many names (Center City South, South of South, G-Ho), which is fitting for a neighborhood that draws its personality from the people inside it: born-and-raised neighbors, young transplants, hip urban professionals, craft beer crowds and more. In recent years, the area stretching from Lombard Street to Washington Avenue and from Broad Street to Grays Ferry Avenue has accumulated a healthy dose of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and markets that reflect the area’s residential and cool vibe.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) has picked this ’hood for its summer-through-fall PHS Pop Up Garden five years in a row. The seasonal South Street destination draws neighbors, people from across the city and out-of-towners with its beautiful landscaping, flowing craft beers and the fun, laid-back vibe that perfectly matches Graduate Hospital.

A casual menu, good drink selection and easy-going atmosphere make The Cambridge a popular spot for a relaxed meal or nighttime hangout.   — Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Restaurants & Bars:

  • Bob & Barbara’s Lounge – The Citywide Special—a shot of Jim Beam and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $4 ($3 during happy hour)—may have originated at this beloved dive, but it’s only a part of what makes the place so fun. Thursdays bring the drag show, Friday and Saturday nights are all about no-cover live jazz, and Sunday karaoke ends the weekend. 1509 South Street, (215) 545-4511, bobandbarbaras.com
  • The Cambridge This gastropub showcases an impressive menu, from the ale-battered fish and chips to the 24-hour-brined, hand-ground Porker Burger. Craft beers on tap and original cocktails mean there’s something to quench everyone’s thirst. 1508 South Street, (267) 455-0647, cambridgeonsouth.com
  • Chick’s – Spanning two properties, this 4,000-square-foot restaurant features a dining room and 24-tap bar on one side and a take-out pizza shop on the other. The vibe—garage meets gastropub—fits seamlessly into the neighborhood. 1805 Washington Avenue, (215) 546-2233, chicksphilly.com
  • Devil’s Pocket Food & Spirits – The brunch and dinner menus include well-loved staples, such as cheeseburgers and mac and cheese. Rotating craft beer selections in can and draft form go with every meal. 2425 Grays Ferry Avenue, (215) 735-2202
  • Doobies – Many Philly bars have great beer selections, but Doobies sets itself apart with its killer jukebox, vegan-friendly fare and board games. Dogs love the outdoor seating and complimentary treats. 2201 Lombard Street, (215) 546-0316
  • Founding Fathers – This grown-up sports bar with 13 flat-screen TVs offers daily specials that complement a menu of appetizers, sandwiches and wings. With 20 beers on draft and a wide selection of bottles, the craft beer lineup stars some of Philly’s most loved local breweries, such as Yards and Victory. 1612 South Street, (267) 519-0253, foundingfathersbar.com
  • Grace Tavern – Beer lovers rave about this haunt, founded by the minds behind brew haven Monk’s Café. Patrons who don’t sample the varied food selection—fresh oyster po’ boy, sausage sandwiches and blackened green beans—are missing out. 2229 Grays Ferry Avenue
    (23rd & South Streets), (215) 893-9580, gracetavern.com
  • Jet Wine Bar – Jet aims to please both wine connoisseurs and novices by pairing vino from around the world with a revolving menu of globally influenced snacks, cheeses and charcuterie.  Non-oenophiles can choose from specialty cocktails and beers, while on Tuesdays (also known as Flight Night), the wine-curious can sample flights of wine for just $12. 1525 South Street, (215) 735-1116, jetwinebar.com
  • Los Camaradas – The friendly Mexican restaurant/bar enjoys a loyal following with fantastic tacos (tip: get the veggie), a substantial selection of tequilas and mezcals and a neighborly atmosphere. From the outdoor tables, people take in the sights and sounds of Julian Abele Park while sipping margaritas. 918 S. 22nd Street, (215) 309-3727, loscamaradas.com
  • Lou Bird’s – This neighborhood restaurant gets its name from its owners’ daughter, and gets a loyal following by serving approachable, seasonal dishes such as Bolognese with heirloom tomatoes and chicken Milanesa with corn crab salad. 500 S. 20th Street, (267) 804-7977, loubirds.net
  • My Thai – This lovingly decorated eatery has everything people expect of a Thai restaurant: big portions, budget-friendly prices, neighborly service and very spicy dishes. 2200 South Street, (215) 985-1878
  • Pub & Kitchen – Dishing out restaurant-quality fare, Pub & Kitchen has established itself as a must-visit for gastropub enthusiasts thanks to a raved-about burger and a must-try brunch. A short but discerning draft list and sports-tuned TVs draw a loyal bar crowd. 1946 Lombard Street, (215) 545-0350, thepubandkitchen.com
  • Rex 1516 Grilled pimento cheese, crawfish potpie, fried chicken—Southern cuisine inspires Rex 1516. Open daily for dinner and weekends for brunch (shrimp and grits, bananas foster French toast), the 35-seater welcomes the hungry crowd, along with those craving a craft beer, cocktail or whiskey. 1516 South Street, (267) 319-1366, rex1516.com
  • The Sidecar Bar & Grille – The bartenders at this two-floor gastropub pour from a large, constantly evolving beer list. On the weekends, brunch means twists on classics, like chicken-fried chicken and Bloody Marys starting at 9 a.m., during warm weather, the outdoor tables are coveted. 2201 Christian Street, (215) 732-3429, thesidecarbar.com
  • SouthGate Philly This corner bar elevates its menu by serving Korean-American food (read: Korean fried chicken and a bulgogi burger) alongside its craft beer and whiskey selections. 1801 Lombard Street, (215) 560-8443, southgatephilly.com
  • Ten Stone – Resembling an English pub, this bar and restaurant serves an array of drink-friendly dishes—hot crab dip and cheesesteak spring rolls—that pairs perfectly with an often-changing list of craft drafts and bottles. After eating, diners can stick around to watch a game or play pool or darts. 2063 South Street, (215) 735-9939, tenstone.com
  • Tio Flores – From the food and beverage peeps behind Hawthornes Biercafe and The Cambridge, Tio Flores sates Mexican cravings with three flavors of guacamole and a slew of taco options. Flavorful margaritas, an impressive beer list and a weekday happy hour keep the seats filled at this colorful South Street spot. 1600 South Street, (267) 687-2220, tioflores.com

Café Ynez, on the border of Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze, serves a Mexico City-inspired menu all-day.   — Photo courtesy of Café Ynez

BYOBs:

  • Balkan Express Restaurant – This family-run bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot serves up Balkan fare that’s both wallet-friendly and healthy. Many dishes, including the salads and stews, use ingredients from the restaurant’s own garden, including the acclaimed stuffed cabbage rolls. Note: Balkan Express is open Thursday through Saturday for dinner. 2237 Grays Ferry Avenue, (215) 545-1255, balkanexpressrestaurant.com
  • Bistro La Baia – The familial service and the lobster ravioli are just two of the many reasons this cozy Italian BYOB has been a neighborhood mainstay for 20 years. 1700 Lombard Street, (215) 546-0496, bistrolabaia.com
  • Bistro SouthEast The husband-and-wife team here want to share their memories of southeast Asia through meals that combine traditional and new dishes. The BYOB tempts diners with pho, chicken wings spiced with curry or Thai chili sauce, plentiful seafood platters—and a family-friendly atmosphere. 1824 South Street, (267) 758-2838, bistrosoutheast.com
  • Cafe Ynez This spot from the owners of Jet Wine Bar transports the flavors of Mexico City—think pulled pork cemitas and chicken tinga—to Graduate Hospital. For the thirsty, horchata and Mexican-style coffees hit the non-alcoholic spot, while a rotating selection of drink mixers in carafes is available for those who BYOB. 2025 Washington Avenue, (215) 278-7579, cafeynez.com
  • Entrée – This BYOB offers an a la carte menu of American fare with a nod to the seasons—think seared scallops with sweet corn hash—plus $40 and $50 three-course prix-fixe options that include a choice of starter, entree and dessert (Nutella cannoli, anyone?). Those in the cocktail mood can add the spirit of their choice to the refreshing mixes. 1608 South Street, (215) 790-0330, entreebyob.com
  • Honey’s Sit N Eat This South Street corner draws a large, hungry crowd waiting for weekend brunch. Honey’s diner-esque menu sports items such as country-fried steak and gravy, and challah French toast sandwiching Lancaster County double-smoked ham and Swiss cheese and topped with two sunny eggs (also known as the “Honey Cristo”). 2101 South Street, (215) 732-5130, honeyssitneat.com
  • Jamaican Jerk Hut – Serving spicy jerk chicken in generous portions since 1994, this tiny Caribbean BYOB has become a classic Philly establishment. Twenty years later, the launch of the seasonal PHS Pop Up Garden next door has introduced the island dishes to the beer garden masses—and a whole new generation. 1436 South Street, (215) 545-8644
  • Kei Sushi – The co-owners of this Japanese restaurant put the concept of family into everything they do—a big reason why they moved their small, close-knit staff to this friendly neighborhood. Kei’s menu features a wide assortment of appetizers, basic and specialty rolls and tempuras and teriyakis. 1711 South Street, (215) 309-2925, keisushiphilly.net
  • Indian Restaurant – At this BYOB restaurant, the staff is attentive, the menu is fresh, healthy and vegetarian-friendly, and the portions are perfect for leftovers. 1634 South Street, (215) 964-9451, indianrestaurantpa.com
  • Mattei Family Pizza (closed for renovations until fall 2018) – Father and son Angelo and Mariano Mattei specialize in pizza with crispy crusts and thin centers—their native Molise style—including an amazing fontina, pear and sage pie. The BYOB also offers calzones, wings, arrosticini and live music, courtesy of Mariano, who is also a musician and producer. 1260 Point Breeze Avenue, (215) 336-1010, matteifamilypizza.com
  • Miles Table Michael Lynch, a graduate of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College and a neighborhood resident, named his casual eatery after his son. For breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, simple and flavorful dishes (omelets with home fries and toast, avocado BLT and burgers of the beef, turkey and falafel variety) use local ingredients. 1620 South Street, (267) 318-7337, milestable.com
  • On Point Bistro – Chef-owner and Garces alum Juan Lopez Fernandez offers casual, inventive American fare for brunch Tuesday through Sunday—cheesesteak omelets, challah French toast, and a sweet potato waffle with fried chicken, poached eggs and maple syrup dubbed “The Clucker,” at this chill BYOB. Dinner (Thursday through Saturday only) runs the global gamut: lamb burgers with feta labne, short rib pappardelle and fish tacos. 1200 Point Breeze Avenue, (267) 639-3318, onpointbistro.com
  • Pumpkin – Local and seasonal ingredients play a major role in Pumpkin’s cuisine, so it’s no surprise that the menu of this small, relaxed New American establishment changes constantly—all without compromising value. 1713 South Street, (215) 545-4448, pumpkinphilly.com
  • Sawatdee – The neon green interior may be the first thing people notice about this cozy Thai BYOB, but it’s the menu of gaeng Thai (Thai curries), vibrant appetizers and flavorful noodle dishes that keeps locals coming back. 534 S. 15th Street, (215) 790-1299, phillysawatdee.com
  • Tico’s Tacos Tex Mex – With heaping portions and a wide assortment of tacos and burritos (including tofu options), this BYOB prides itself on serving only fresh, homemade dishes at wallet-friendly prices. 1627 South Street, (215) 546-2122
  • So Crêpe Inspired by the crêperies of France (the owners’ native country), this petite cafe serves authentic sweet and savory crêpes—many of which can be made to be gluten-free—and pours local La Colombe coffee. 1506 South Street, (267) 761-9310, socrepe.com
  • Thai Square Restaurant – The Thailand-native owner ensures that the dishes here are true to their roots. Neighbors dine on nam tok salad, laab kai, crispy duckling with red curry and drunken noodles indoors and out. 2521 Christian Street, (215) 454-6683, thaisquarephilly.com

Strictly Food:

  • The Baker’s Jar – Featuring baked goods such as tres leches, banana cake and mud cups (chocolate pudding and gummy worms mixed with chocolate cake), this sweet shop serves each treat in its own mason jar. 625 S. 16th Street, (267) 519-0609, bakersjarphilly.com
  • Govinda’s Vegetarian – For a different take on Philly’s signature food, patrons order Govinda’s raved-about vegetarian chicken cheesesteak, complete with soy chicken and grilled peppers. Those looking for something sweet and vegan-friendly choose from the rotating selection of vegan donuts, ice creams and cakes. 1408 South Street, (215) 545-5452, govindasphilly.com
  • The Igloo – People come to this self-serve, soft-serve store for some seriously interesting (and even some healthy) takes on cold treats. On the menu: custard, frozen yogurt, gelato and water ice as a base for imported-from-Italy toppings, plus sweet specialties like gelato pops (made fresh daily), espresso and salted caramel shakes and soft-serve affogatos. 2223 Grays Ferry Avenue, (267) 858-4290, igloodesserts.com
  • Lazaro’s Pizzeria & Grill – Dishing out monstrous single slices and pizza pies that range from 14 to 26 inches, Lazaro’s does thin-crust pizza right; same goes for the impressive, two-foot cheesesteaks. 1743 South Street, (215) 545-2775, lazarospizzagrill.com
  • Magpie – Specializing in seasonal sweet and savory pies, Magpie changes its menu multiple times throughout the year—ensuring only the freshest fruits and vegetables are used. Best known for its decadent dessert pies (get the butterscotch bourbon), the artisan spot also does savory potpies right—and even offers pie-making classes. 1622 South Street, (267) 519-2904, iluvmagpie.com
  • The Quick Fixx – This delivery joint dishes out chef-inspired cuisine at takeout prices. Bargain hunters indulge in the 10 Spot Lunch—meals that cost a grand total of $10 (cash). Favorites include the gnocchi lasagna and the flatbread pizzas. 1511 South Street, (267) 273-1066, thequickfixx.com

Ultimo Coffee in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood is known for the Counter Culture Coffee brand it serves up, along with occasional guest coffees.   — Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Cafes & Markets:

  • Ants Pants Cafe – This Australian-inspired cafe dishes out sumptuous brunch and lunch options every day, which means there’s always time to enjoy the collection of Aussie drinks and sweet potato fries. Regulars covet the almost-secret back patio on those lovely 70-degree days.
    2212 South Street, (215) 875-8002, antspantscafe.com
  • Café Lutecia – Neighbors and visitors choose this quaint, French-inspired nook for its substantial soup-and-sandwich combo, pleasant staff, sizable cups of coffee and coveted sidewalk tables. 2301 Lombard Street, (215) 790-9557
  • Fitzwater Street Philly Bagels – Fifth-generation bagel maker Aaron Wagner recently added a Graduate Hospital location to his family’s doughy empire. Bagels are sold individually, by the dozen and as specialty sandwiches, along with hot and cold-brew coffee. 2001 Fitzwater Street, (267) 534-5995, fitzwaterstreetphillybagels.com
  • Green Aisle Grocery – People shopping for the essentials (bread and milk) or looking for something a little more luxurious (Mast Bros. chocolate bars, Dizengoff hummus, Stumptown Coffee), own-make preserves, find what they crave at this boutique grocery. 2241 Grays Ferry Avenue, (267) 687-2398, greenaislegrocery.com
  • La.Va Café – This comfortable venue serves Israeli-style treats along with pastries and coffees. Regulars rely on the La Colombe coffee and the burekas, which look a lot like the Amish soft pretzels Philadelphians know so well. 2100 South Street, (215) 545-1508, lava-cafe.com
  • Little Spoon Café Little Spoon caters to breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack patrons, as well as a loyal and sizable brunch crowd. Blueberry lemon oatmeal, breakfast burritos and an extensive coffee list make it the perfect spot to stop. In-the-know neighbors ask for a relaxing patio seat. 1500 South Street, (267) 587-6559, littlespooncafe.com
  • Nam Son Bakery Fans of Vietnamese cuisine come to this unassuming take-out spot for what many loyal customers claim to be one the best banh mi productions in town—perfect for a modern urban picnic. The secret: house-made bread. 1601 Washington Avenue, (215) 545-3888
  • Rival Bros. Coffee Bar – With drip coffee, a Chemex bar and a variety of espresso drinks, this sleek cafe brews quality coffee with beans from its Frankford roastery. For something to soak up all that quality caffeine, visitors opt for fresh pastries and breads from local bakeries Machine Shop Boulangerie and High Street on Market. 2400 Lombard Street, rivalbros.com
  • Ultimo – True coffee drinkers know there’s coffee, and then there’s coffee. Ultimo specializes in the latter: mostly house-roasted blends, hand pours and espresso drinks prepared in the highest quality machines with milk from nearby Lancaster County. 2149 Catharine Street,
    (215) 545-3565, ultimocoffee.com

Shops:

  • Loop – This one-stop shop for all-things yarn began as an online store before establishing a beloved brick-and-mortar shop. Knitting neophytes and experienced crafters alike can sign up for one of the many group knitting, crocheting or weaving classes. 1914 South Street, (215) 893-9939, loopyarn.com
  • M Concept Shop This bright, modern space houses a curated offering of clothing, jewelry and accessories from more than 35 Philly-based independent labels, including those of the founder. Selected gifts, home products and a small selection of vintage designer items complete the shopping experience. 1540 South Street, (215) 839-9154, mconceptshop.com
  • Workshop Underground Ruben Luna, former head of product design and merchandising at Metropolitan Museum of Art, presides over this shop’s thoughtful collection of jewelry, accessories, art and home décor. Prices range from $10 to tens of thousands of dollars.
    1544 South Street, (215) 987-3534, workshopunderground.com

Parks & Public Spaces:

  • Catharine Park This pocket park has a small playground for the little ones and benches too. It also serves as a reminder of what neighbors can do when they band together: They raised funds to build the park in a formerly run-down space. 22nd & Catharine Streets, southofsouth.org
  • Grays Ferry Triangles Plaza – Local businesses—Grace Tavern, The Igloo—surround this pedestrian plaza, which attracts neighbors looking for a spot to read, chat or enjoy the fresh air. The space hosts a variety of events throughout the summer, including a bi-weekly concert series with bands and food trucks. 23rd & South Streets, southofsouth.org
  • Julian Abele Park Named for an architect of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the park welcomes picnickers, dog walkers and people who just want to hang out. The Music and Mist Concert series entertains on summer Fridays. 22nd & Carpenter Streets, (215) 683-3679, julianabelepark.org
  • Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk This 2,000-foot-long, over-the-water boardwalk extends the Schuylkill River Trail from Locust Street to the South Street Bridge. Overlooks and benches offer spots to relax and take in the city view, and solar-powered overhead lights mean pedestrians, runners and bikers can use the boardwalk all times of day. Entry points are located along the South Street Bridge and at 25th and Locust streets. schuylkillbanks.org

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