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Oct 4, 2009 01:58 PM

Quintessential or Fun/Funky Philly

Arriving at airport Tue-Oct-13 5pm. Looking for quintessential or fun/funky Philly dining experience. Inexpensive to moderate price. Favor interesting, charming, or old neighborhood establishments that aren't too hard to find (though we have GPS). Anything from diner to upscale casual but we will be dressed in jeans so no dressy places, please. Suggestions for what to order cheerfully accepted. Looking for foods that are unique or signature to Philly. We will be driving to Oxford, PA/Maryland border after dinner so prefer on that side of town rather than all the way on the other side. This is our one crack at a good Philly meal experience on this trip so really want something memorable and truly Philly. Thank you in advance.

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  1. Unfortunately, you will have to backtrack no matter what as there is nothing within the immediately vicinity of the airport and everything of note is 5-10 miles from the airport in the wrong direction.

    Closer to the airport, you might consider Nick's Roast Beef, which is an old neighborhood bar that specializes in hot roast beef sandwiches. You want the 20th St location, there is another one downtown but it's not affiliated with the original operators and most definitely does not have the neighborhood charm.

    There's a couple old fashioned diners in South Philly, too; namely the Oregon Diner and Melrose Diner. Both nail the old-school diner atmosphere/service and the food is solid but not really anything special IMO. Their best days are probably behind them, but if you want to eat scrapple (local favorite) or a tuna melt and called "hon," these will do the trick.

    If you want a cheesesteak or roast pork sandwich, go to Tony Luke's which is conveniently right off I-95. They have great cheesesteaks, but they are also known for their Roast Pork Italian (roasted pork, sharp provolone and sauteed broccoli rabe on an Italian roll). Many locals, myself included, prefer roast pork sandwiches to cheesesteaks.

    1. I would suggest a short drive to Passyunk Ave in South Phila. There you can go to Marra's or Tre Scalini for old school Italian, Paradiso or Le Virtue for new school, or Mr Martinos for something in between. Or get Mexican at a taqueria or at Cantina Los Caballitos for hip mex
      lots more!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bigley9

        Le Virtu and Mr. Martino's are both closed on Tuesdays.

        Philly did invent the gastropub, and there's a great one in South Philly (which I agree is your best bet, it's an easy drive from the airport, maybe 10-15 minutes one way), the South Philly Tap Room at 15th and Mifflin.

        1. re: Buckethead

          Thanks Bucket! I failed to note the Tuesday in the OP, and I was hoping someone would chime in with more of the many options in that area!

          1. re: Bigley9

            Terrific suggestions, folks. Keep 'em comin'!

            Looks like Philly cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches are big hits there. And I know the area is rich in Italian culture. The gastropub sounds terrific, too.

            Anything special we should order at any of the Italian restaurants that are classic Philly fare?

      2. I'm not sure "charming" is the right word but one of the quintessential Philly places is Chickie's and Pete's. There's one on Broad and Tasker that's not too far from 95.

        Chickie's is a ridiculously giant sports bar. Their most famous food are Crab Fries which are also sold at the baseball stadium. They also have crabs and other things like that which are really good and completely messy. They have sinks in the middle of the restaurant to wash up.

        Their personal pizza's are also pretty good.

        You could wear a tank top with a curse word and jean shorts exposing a thong at Chickie's and no one would bat an eye.

        This is seriously Philly. Also, if the Phils are playing that night, you're in for a completely ridiculous and once-in-a-lifetime experience.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Greggulator

          The Chickies and Pete's in South Philly is just off of Broad and Packer, not Broad and Tasker.

          The bar off of Broad and Tasker is The Dolphin Tavern which is quintessential Philly for a whole 'nother reason. ;))

            1. re: tuxedo

              The Dolphin Tavern is an old school Philly bar that only serves two types of bottled beer and has "strippers" on the weekends. Why the quotes around "strippers"? Sometimes they will use black electricians tape as pasties.

              Take that for whatever you will.

              1. re: Philly Ray

                thanks for satisfying this curious cat

                1. re: tuxedo

                  I cannot believe the Dolphin just got mentioned on chowhound.

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