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Philadelphia Specialty Food Shops Needed

Philadelphia food fans. For a work related project a group of us need to visit specialty food sstores, shops etc to sample and taste the latest trends in food flavors. We are mainly interested in "sweet" places but are also interested in some savory. An example might be a bread bakery shop that might have both sweet and savory products. Not interested in butchers.

Earlier this year we completed a trend trek of Soho, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Lower NYC and just last week we did Mid Town NYC. Both treks turned up a tremendous amount of ideas, trends and concepts. Now we want to do Philly!

Here is a list of the type of places we are looking for:
Specialty Bakeries
Specialty Gelato, Ice Cream
Bread Shops
Gourmet Shops or Markets
Specialty Coffee or Tea shops (no Starbucks or Cosi)
Chocolatiers or Specialty Chocolate Shops
Interesting Candy or Nut Stores
Specialty Juice or Smoothie Stores
Specialty Cupcake Shops
Specialty Doughnut Shops
Anything I may have missed

I have already have on the list Capogiro, Reading Terminal Market, Dibruno"s, Metropolitan Bakery. I know there are many others, please help with the list.
Looking to stay in Center City but we are willing to travel from the Delaware to the Schuylkill, basically anywhere in Center City.

Thanks in advance for your help

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  1. Off the top of my head, Franklin Fountain, Naked Chocolate, T-bar and Nuts to You.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LisaPA

      Thanks Cookie and Lisa, have marked down your suggestions.
      Keep them coming!

    2. Try Artisan Boulangerie Patissier on 12th and Morris Sts for great croissants of all types. In additon to plain, they have cheese, almond, chocolate, chocolate-almond, and all types with fresh fruit.

      For doughnuts, while I wouldn't call them "specialty", go to Frangelli's Bakery on 9th and Ritner Sts.

      1. famous 4th street cookies, either at 4th and Bainbridge, or I'm pretty sure they sell the same ones in Reading Terminal Market, which you've already got on your list.

        If there's a canoli category - Termini's (RTM as well as S. Philly)!

        1. Gourmet Shops or Markets:
          Italian Market (no brainer) (9th between Christian and Washington roughly)
          Market at East Falls (3747 RIDGE AVE)
          Marke and Shops at Comcast Center (17th and JFK)

          1. Thanks for all the replys so far, I have them all marked to try. We have time blocked out from 9:00 to 5:00 with a short lunch.
            Need a LOT more places to try.

            In NYC just between 71st and 79th, we hit 27 different places. If anyone is interested in their nown trek, I can send you the list.

            I'm hoping we can hit at least 30-35 in all of Center City.

            3 Replies
              1. re: Philly Ray

                Believe it or not we usually grab something savory (protein) for lunch to break the high carb cycle of the sweets.
                Also when we taste each item we taste a very small amount in order to get through the day :)

                An example would be last week at Grom Gelato on 2165 Broadway in NYC we ordered 4 cups of the more unusual flavors or flavor combinations. 8 of us each had a small teaspoon of each, evaluated and written down. The rest was thrown out. If you control yourself this way you can hit 25 - 30 places in a day. If not you have to roll home :)

                There has to be way more places in Philly. I even thought of one while typing, La Colombe Specialty Coffee.

                1. re: tom246

                  Hope you tried the licorice at Grom .
                  Look forward to your opinion on Capogiro, when l returned to Philadelphia from three years in Manhattan, immediately tried Capogiro, eight flavors, found for my taste, Grom was far more interesting, and far less rich. If you like banana ice cream, though try the Bassett`s in the Reading terminal, request a real plate and real spoon, they will be glad to give it to you.

            1. Isgro's bakery
              Philadelphia Soft Pretzel Company
              Mayflower Bakery
              Atisan Boulanger Patisserie
              Miel Patisserie
              Bonte Waffles
              Scoop Deville and Maron Chocolate
              Franklin Fountain
              Shane Candies
              KC's Pastries
              Lore's Chocolates

              1. John & Kira's chocolates - http://www.johnandkiras.com/
                Challahman a/k/a Michael Dolich at the Four Worlds Bakery - for a variety of breads - http://fourworldsbakery.vpweb.com/
                Miel - for breads, pastries and chocolates
                Steep - for teas
                (I'm sure I'll think of others . . .)

                2 Replies
                1. re: amy626

                  The problem with John and Kira's is that they are mail order only. I don't believe you can just go to their shop and buy it there.

                  1. re: Philly Ray

                    They are at the headhouse farmer's market on Sundays now. And Fair food farms carries some items

                2. Try some of our non-chain water ice places too (in other words, avoid Rita's).

                  John's on 7th and Christian
                  Pop's on 13th and Oregon
                  Italiano's on 12th and Shunk

                  If you make it down that far, you can also go to 12th and Oregon to Cosmi's Bakery for pastries and Carangi's Bakery for bread, pizza, stromboli, etc.

                  1. I just re-read the orginal post. If this is work related, what do you do and how can I get a job there??

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      Thanks all, there are some great places to try. I work for a major Flavor Company and 2-3 times a year we visit a major city and observe some of the local flavor trends in a wide variety of foods.

                      Example, we knew about and were way ahead of everyone on Lemon Basil flavored products. Saw the combination used in various specialty oils and we used the concept in baked good, confections, chewing gum and even flavored water. Very refreshing combination and not the plain ols orange, lemon, raspberry etc.

                      If you have a degree in Food Science, like tasting food and beverage, give me a call ;))

                      1. re: tom246

                        I don't have a degree, but I have YEARS of field experience. Does that qualify?

                        1. re: tom246

                          First let me say: Termini's on South 8th St for Cannoli and other amazing treats. This place is old school, though.

                          If you are looking for flavor trends, make sure you hit Capogrio, they have a lot of crazy flavors, and you can get multiple flavors together in a cup. Ask the counter people for flavor combo ideas--you will hear some interesting things for sure. You can try samples of everything in the case, so don't be shy.

                          It sounds like you are doing mainly sweets, but for lunch you might want to try a Philly Roast Pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. This is a a traditional South Philly flavor combination that is becoming more popular and showing up on restaurant menus around town. The obvious recommendation is DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market.

                      2. Hey, Tom, I'm not sure if these places qualify, but they sure are interesting experiences: Dad's Stuffings on Ritner Street in South Philly: mind-boggling little grocery crammed with homemade foods, most notably pasta in every size/shape, stuffed chicken breast or pork, bracciole, etc. Dad's Stuffings is take-out only. Excellent food. #2: Jimmy John's in West Chester is one of the most fascinating/weird places I've ever visited. It's a living encyclopia of hotdogs, in particular, and memorabilia from the 40's/50's. #3: More Than Just Ice Cream on Locust Street in Philly -- incredible desserts like you can't find elsewhere.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Enjoy Good Food

                          Enjoy, thanks. Will certainly check out Dad's and More Than Just Ice Cream. I actually have been to MTJIC but forgot all about it. Thanks for reminding me.

                          1. re: tom246

                            If you're going to Dad's, try Potitos's Bakery, right across the street. They have tremendous layer cakes and underrated cannolis.

                        2. DiBrunos on Chestnut next to Scoop de ville
                          Brown Betty
                          Darlings http://www.darlingscheesecake.com/
                          Pink Rose on Bainbridge
                          Go to Matyson for a quick lunch and taste all their desserts, amazing

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: joluvscards

                            Barry, Jolu, thanks for the suggestions. When we complete this trek, I promise to post the composite notes of all the people involved.

                          2. Consider Fork Etc on Market Street and Talula's Table in Kennett Square

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Bigley9

                              Bigley9, how does Fork fit into any of the categories in my original post. I've been there many times but a "specialty" shop, market or store?

                              Also I am sure that Talula's Table is unique, Brian Sikora and Aimee Oxley worked wonders at Django, but is Kennett Square in Center City. We don't mind hopping around Center City but don't want to start visiting neighboring counties.

                              1. re: tom246

                                Fork Etc is an offshoot of the restaurant itself. See link for more details...


                                1. re: tom246

                                  Sorry, blew the CC thing with Talula's. and Philly Ray clarified the Fork etc piece.

                              2. Patisserie's - isgro's, termini's, pink rose, potito's, stock's (for some of the besy buttercake and poundcake ever. good donuts too)
                                Specialty Bakeries - brown betty's (not a fan though), flying monkey, metropolitan bakery, famous 4th street cookies (reading terminal or the restaurant at 4th and bainbridge)
                                Specialty Gelato, Ice Cream - more than just ice cream, capogiro, franklin fountain, anthony's coffee shop on 9th street, bassett's in reading terminal (really, spend a whole day there :) ), phileo and that new frozen yogurt joint....
                                Bread Shops - sarcone's, ianelli's, cacia's, celebre's, faragalli's, metropolitan bakery, le bus
                                Gourmet Shops or Markets - claudio's, dibruno's, talluto's, almanac market, the palm, 9th street market, reading terminal market
                                Specialty Coffee or Tea shops (no Starbucks or Cosi) - chapter house, the bean exchange, the bean, 10th street pour house, higher grounds, the random tea room in northern liberties, old city coffee, mug shots, LaVa
                                Chocolatiers or Specialty Chocolate Shops - miel, naked chocolate cafe, mueller's (in reading terminal), not the food court in strawbridge's anymore....:(
                                Interesting Candy or Nut Stores - nuts to you, mueller's
                                Specialty Juice or Smoothie Stores - this is not my specialty. :) i know the places in center city that have these products are typically open during the week.
                                Specialty Cupcake Shops - brown betty, naked chocolate cafe (not my specialty again)
                                Specialty Doughnut Shops - stock's i suppose, try searching the boards for good eastern european donuts in port richmond area.
                                Anything I may have missed - fisher's pretzels in reading terminal, melrose diner's chocolate cake, stock's pies too (and melrose's pies for that matter), the amish bake stands in reading terminal (pies, cakes, breads, everything awesome, but they are only there wednesday through saturday), i would hit up some asian sweet shops in chinatown too (bubble tea shops too, philly has quite a few), if you go on a saturday go to the fitler square farmer's market and get some cider donuts too. YUM!

                                and i'm done. :D

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mazza3

                                  Mazza3, all I can say is YOU ROCK!!! Thanks for all your suggestions.

                                  1. re: tom246

                                    you're lucky i came into work early today and had some time to kill. :) i love list questions.....

                                2. Ok so I'll fill in a couple of blanks that aren't on the list although I think almost everything got well covered. I say Swiss House is good for a couple of their individual desserts like tarts and stuff

                                  ALSO, Tartes which is a standalone shop on i believe arch and 3rd is amazing, (although not open everyday)... if it's not open when you're there, monk's carries all her pastries on their dessert tray.

                                  you said only to the schuylkill, but I really recommend Four Worlds Bakery for bread, babka, and the best croissants I've had in Philly... so, Kaffa Crossing in West Philly is where they operate out of. That being said, a good selection of his stuff can be found at the Reading Terminal's White Dog Fair Food Stand, which is interesting as well for its variety of local baked goodies, cheeses, and produce.

                                  Also it doesn't seem quite so popular on this board, but I really like the Walnut Street Bridge Cafe, which has a lovely atmosphere, great employees (albeit slow at times) and freshly baked goods as well.

                                  also a great coffee place on 12th is brew haha... also nearby is last drop which i know nothing about aside from that it exists

                                  Good luck!
                                  P.S. I want your job

                                  1. I hope this isn't too late, but for specialty coffee or tea shops, try the Rim Cafe at 9th & Federal. Since you've gotten so many suggestions for the Italian Market, it would be a great place to check out. Rene (the owner) has just gotten red tea espresso and has basically developed another entire menu for this new tea.

                                    Here is their Yelp page: http://www.yelp.com/biz/rim-cafe-phil...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: drunkenatheist

                                      Padovana, drunken, not too late at all and thanks very much for your suggestions. We plan these events well in advance. The one to Philly will be in September but all the planning needs to take place now.

                                      I wish I could say that these outings were the only thing I do but most days in the office and labs are much more routine. Still lots of tasting but not quite as exciting.

                                      1. re: tom246

                                        I've thought of another coffee place, Accademia del Caffe. Got bad reviews by the Inquirer because it wasn't well-branded like Starbucks, but um, the guy is from Trieste Italy and is a serious Italy right next to City Hall vibe going on.