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Layover in Philadelphia

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Greetings -
We will be flying into Philly on a Friday night and our eventual destination is Downingtown. As it will be the height of rush hour when we leave the airport (which in Boston, anyway, is not a time you want to drive to the suburbs) I thought maybe we could have dinner closer to the city and then make our way to the 'burbs later that night. Knowing nothing about the area I have no idea if this is a good idea and if so, where to eat. Any suggestions?

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  1. Are you being picked up or renting a car?

    2 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      We are renting a car so we will have some flexibility that way.

      1. re: ccsweeney

        Well you have a choice to make, begin your trip to Downingtown, or venture into Philadelphia. Assuming you are going to go via 95 and Route 476 (Aka the Blue Route), you could begin by heading to Media pa, which is right off 476 and go to one of several restaurants. You will still have about an hours trip to Downingtown afterwards. The worst traffic will experience if you do not go into Philadelphia will be the merge between 95 and 476.

        Some choices include Azie or Margaret Kuo's both Asian/Asian fusion, and Towne House or Iron HIll for pub style food.

        Going this way you are leaning towards convenience, not as far out of your way as trying to go to Philadelphia at rush hour on a Friday, though if you had your heart set on a great meal, Philadelphia has many to offer.

        I am sure others on the board will offer some additional suggestions.

    2. There's not much near the airport for dinner. The only place that I can think of would be Scannicchio's, which is not far from the Broad Street exit of I-95 Southbound (about 15 mins from airport). It's a small Italian BYOB with good food. Not the best in the city, but definitely a nice dinner. You could eat there through rush hour and hop right back on the highway.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lawgirl3278

        Used to enjoy Scannicchios, but last two times we tried it, it was a bomb, so unless you know
        something recent, maybe that isn't a good choice.

      2. I think if I were going to Downingtown from the airport, I'd take 95 South to 322 West to 202 North to Boot Road. But that will put you in the middle of the worst traffic at that time, and there aren't many good restaurants along the way. However, the city is in the opposite direction, if you want to have dinner there you'd be adding a good 45-60 minutes of driving time. If you want to head to the city first, I'd recommend going somewhere in South Philly around Passyunk Square, it's not too hard to get there from the airport (take 291/Penrose Ave. over the Platt bridge, up Moyamensing, then north on Broad) and there are quite a few great restaurants there: Fond, South Philly Tap Room, and Le Virtu would be my recommendations.

        If you want to head straight to Downingtown, you could stop at the Booth's Corner Farmer's Market and get dinner at Cajun Kate's, but that is just a stall in an indoor market with 5 or 6 counter seats, and it gets crowded, so that may not be what you want. There's also the Blue Pear Bistro, the less-stodgy restaurant next to the Dilworthtown Inn. Either place won't take you more than 15 minutes out of your way.

        Also, if you're beer fans, the Victory brewery/brewpub is right in Downingtown. I haven't been there in years so I can't say how the food is these days, but their beers are great and they always have a few on draft in the brewpub that are only available at the brewpub.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          I was also going to suggest South Philly Tap Room, but I wasn't sure if I would just be sending them in the wrong direction. It's not hard to get to South Philly from the airport, since you can mostly avoid the highway, but then you have to get back to the highway for the rest of your trip.

          If this is your only chance to get to the City though, it might be worth it for the diversion.

          1. re: urbanfabric

            I just wanted to let you know that we ended up going to the Tap Room in South Philly and it was AWESOME. Thank you so much for your help. I feel like I should go help a lost soul on the Boston board to pay it forward.

            -----
            Tap Room
            10 Palmer Sq E, Princeton, NJ 08542

            1. re: ccsweeney

              Did you make it to Victory?

              1. re: cook262

                We ended up going to the Tap Room in South Philly, which was a good call. The food was SO GOOD and we missed rush hour entirely. Thank you for your help.

                -----
                Tap Room
                201 Bohemia Ave, Chesapeake City, MD 21915

              2. re: ccsweeney

                Excellent! Thanks for reporting back!

            2. re: Buckethead

              Victory is great. Beer never disappoints! Food, on the other hand, is just there to help absorb the beer IMHO. It's not awful but just not a destination for the food. Having said that, we were there just last Sat night (because we do love the beer), arriving about 5:15pm and there was already a 15 min wait for a table for 2 so others must like the food better than I.

              However, I wonder what kind of wait there might be on a Friday night. I'd definitely call before driving out there. I'm not sure but don't think they take reservations.

              Having said all this if you like craft beer, make sure you check out Victory while you are in Downingtown even if you don't make it on Friday night.

              1. re: cook262

                Agree on Victory's good beer but decidedly mediocre food...and atmosphere. We went there for the first time a few weeks ago. Arriving around 5:30 PM on a Saturday, we thought we'd have a relaxing early meal with an opportunity to savor several beers. Instead, it was a zoo in there--everyone and their brother had brought the kids to eat there after soccer practice, it seemed. We got one of the last available tables. And there was no relaxing possible: the cavernous interior seems designed to optimize the noise level. It is the exact opposite of cozy. Somehow I expected a craft brewery to have a more salubrious environment for grown-ups, but no.

              2. re: Buckethead

                Thank you for your ideas!

                1. re: ccsweeney

                  You also could always take the regional rail airport line into center city, it is a easy train ride and you will be in the middle of the city with plenty in walking distance.
                  Some that come to mind are Matyson, Dandelion, Tinto, A.kitchen, Village Whiskey, Parc, Monk's, Continental CC

                  1. re: bonappetite

                    I normally agree that getting the regional rail is a great way to get into the city, but if they are planning on renting a car at the airport, it would make no sense... they would waste over an hour if not more on the train,,,

              3. One alternative that might seem counter-intuitive...........Legal Seafood has a restaurant in the Philly Airport.........the entrees are not bad. My Wife drools over the lobster roll and it's one of the few places I can get fried clams with bellies.

                Of course, you can't go outta security and get your luggage first!...It's between B&C terminals