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Perch Pub or other casual near Doubletree?

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Hi, the husband is in the city for work and staying at the Doubletree on S. Broad St. He suggested I bring the kids in and spend the night there to take them to the Franklin Institute and anything else they want to do. He has corporate obligations Wed. evening, so I was looking for a moderately priced, casual restaurant near the hotel for just the 3 of us.

How about Perch Pub? Kids are 10 and 12. We don't need a kids menu, but they also won't want to have to change their clothes or be in a quiet place with long waits for food with fancy sauces. We go to pubs frequently at home, as pub food almost always satisfies them and the atmosphere is appropriately casual and noisy. And mom can get a decent beer.

So, thoughts on this place (it is practically across the street from the hotel, as far as I can tell) or other ideas?

Thanks.

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  1. If you want something kid oriented, you are within easy walking distance to Max Brenner on Walnut. Of course you would have to like chocolate....

    http://www.maxbrenner.com/

    1. The food at Perch Pub is pretty mediocre or worse. It's a good place for beers and whiskey but that isn't too relevant when it comes to kids. It's not terrible but I wouldn't make it a first choice.

      There are a lot of restaurants on 13th St, very close to the hotel. A couple ideas:
      Zavino for pizza. The pastas are also good and they have wine and beer. No reservations and tiny, so try to get there on the early side. Shouldnt be too bad on a Wednesday in the summer.

      El Vez, Mexican. I dont love the food but it's a fun atmosphere, you and the kids will like it. There's a bike hanging from the ceiling, a photo booth, etc. Capogiro across the street has great gelato for dessert.

      One thing to watch out for is that Wednesday evenings are "Center City Sips," a city-wide happy hour promotion, and the bar at places like El Vez can be a little crazy. Once you get seated it should be fine. I don't think Zavino or Max Brenner attract a happy hour crowd like that.

      2 Replies
      1. re: barryg

        I like the El Vez/Capogiro combination. As barryg said, the food isn't stellar but it's good and the atmosphere is good for kids. Another place near there that is pretty good is Time (gastropub), I haven't been in a while but I've been there a few times and the food is good and so is the draft list.

        1. re: barryg

          Just to clarify the good recs for the OP: Capogiro is also across the street from Zavino (i.e. they're all at the same intersection) so both fit with the gelato desert.

        2. Never been to the Perch but the reviews I have seen are good enough. Perhaps you could consider Monk's Cafe at S. 16th and Spruce. It is a neighborhood cafe with a reasonable burger and fresh cut fries or other more upscale selections. The atmosphere is casual and friendly serving beers from around the world including 25 Belgian beers on tap.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bacchus101

            I love the suggestion of Monks, but what always keeps me from going there more often is how crowded it always seems unless you go in the middle of the afternoon. The crowds there keep me from going there but once a year, because I don't want to wait standing for a table sometimes in excess of an hour.

            Zavino is great, Love the pizza and the salads there and they do not take reservations so its first come first served.

            I am wondering about any other places just off of Broad, maybe Giorgios on Pine (BYO) or perhaps Time which is around the corner from Zavino.

          2. I am also worried about crowds at Monks, just from things I've heard. Husband is in town regularly for work, and they have been there. I'm sure it's reputation as a great pub is for good reason, but it seems it has become so famous that lots of people go just for the "experience." That would be fine for me and Mr. CentralPA on a late night of fun, but not sure I want to deal with that with the kids.

            Max Brenner is one I will put on the list for all four of us Thurs. evening before we leave town. We don't do much in the way of sweets and I think my kids would be so overwhelmed by that chocolate menu that I will need the back up of another adult!

            Center City Sips is something to think about, especially if it makes El Vez too crazy. ... I think I'm leaning toward Zavino's right now. Will it be a long wait on a week night since they don't take reservations? If we make an effort to be back from Franklin Institute by 6, would it be easier to get a table?

            CW, I'll look at the other places you mentioned. Really just looking for casual, decent food, and family friendly.

            5 Replies
            1. re: centralpadiner

              It's hard to know with Zavino, since it is very small. I have been there and just walked in, and also had long waits. I agree that it is a great choice with kids, and with Capogiro across the street (my kids are also 10 & 12 and love both places).

              If you end up wanting something even faster and easier, there are a bunch of good burger joints in the area. There is a place called 500 Degrees at 15th and Sansom, and a Five Guys at 15th and Chestnut. I know it is basically fast food, but it's good, and sometimes with tired kids, that's what you need.

              1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                500 Degrees looks like it might be a perfect place for lunch on our way to the Franklin Institute after we arrive in town!

                I'm thinking that I may want a place that I can relax a bit after what will likely be a fairly long day. LOL! Maybe I should just order room service and a good movie for the kids on pay-per-view and call it a night while we wait for dad to be done at his business dinner!

                1. re: centralpadiner

                  One other consideration would be to go to a place that is closer to the Franklin Institute before you return to the hotel. Dandelion Pub would be a good place, that has burgers fish and chips and you can relax with an adult beverage.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    Our son is 8yo and we go to Philly two or three times a year. If you want to work you way back from the Franklin Institute, we have had decent meals at Continental Mid-Town, Parc, and Dandelion for lunch. That operation seems to know how to turn the tables so you won't be sitting any longer than you want to.

                    Parc is right on Rittenhouse Square and there is outside seating.

                    We are walkers and stumbled upon Tria (Washington) and had a nice lunch and wine at an outside table - http://www.triacafe.com/

                    1. re: cleobeach

                      I like the Zavino and Capogiro plan. Do make sure to go to Reading Terminal Market http://www.readingterminalmarket.org too. It's a short walk from your hotel. Great for lunch or breakfast...

            2. What about Le Pain Quotidien on Walnut and 15th?
              Garces Trading Company at 11th & Locust?
              Or Luke's Lobsters if you want to do movie night in the hotel room.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bumble

                Garces Trading Co. sounds like a good bet. Maybe I should just play it by ear depending on how we feel Wed. after the F.I.?

                1. re: centralpadiner

                  Garces is just so-so if you ask me...

              2. We got home late last night, so I wanted to update.

                Mr. CentralPA blew off his business dinner on Wed. night deciding he'd rather eat with his family. So, we all agreed Monk's was the place for us. Thankfully, we got there just before 7 and were able to get seated right away. We all enjoyed our meal. My husband and I shared the leek tart- which was very good. A Belgian classic we've had many times, theirs was quite nice. Three of us got mussels (each choosing a different sauce) and one got the frog legs and a salad. My husband and I enjoyed a few good beers. The Vicaris Tripel-Geuze was our favorite.

                I had the Ghent mussels and they were perfect, just what I was looking for. But I think the highlight of my evening might have actually been the blackberry-lemon tart. I wonderfully refreshing desert for a Summer evening. Rustic but tasty.

                Oh yeah, earlier that day, the kids and I had lunch at 500 Degree. The burgers were great, and the fries (I had sweet potato, kid had regular) were actually spectacular. Seriously, possibly the best sweet potato fries I have ever had - and I love sweet potatoes, so order them every chance I get. I found the ordering a little confusing, but I think that is typical for a first timer at that type of place. My kids both got shakes. The same girl taking orders was making the shakes, and it was a little frustrating that it took longer to get the shake then the burger. In fact, by daughter's was forgotten and when she finally got it, she was done eating and it had an unpleasant grittiness (she ordered chocolate) - so maybe it wasn't mixed long enough? Either way, it was right at lunch time and the line was long, making it hard for the young lady to get the shakes going. Be aware if you choose to order a shake. My son got a vanilla, and he liked it very much. I didn't get a taste, but my daughter did and said it was very good, much better than her chocolate.

                Day two we had lunch at RTM, because I needed a DiNic's fix and I got it. My son had very good looking slices from By George! I was tempted to take a taste, but stuffed from my roast pork. My daughter almost went for the alligator gumbo that Beck's let her taste, but she ended up with her old standby of taco with a side of beans that she got from 12th St. Cantina. Honestly, it didn't look like anything special to me, but she was happy.

                Unfortunately, Max Brenner was a big disappointment. We had a 6:15 reservation and an 8:15 train home. Perhaps that was our first mistake, but both my husband and a cousin that came in from West Chester to hang out with us, felt it should be plenty of time. My husband got done with his meetings early, so we decided to meet up at the restaurant as soon as we could. Just before 6, we entered and the place was nearly empty. Despite that, they made us wait for our table the 15 minutes. That was the first frustration.

                From the minute we sat down, the service was on the slow side. The server just seemed really . . . too relaxed? Not sure. Took a while to get our drinks. Took a while to take our order. The food was just OK, all around. Even the kids thought so. At 7:15, I had a daughter begging for a chocolatey dessert and we ordered 3 desserts AND let our server know we needed to get on an 8:15 train. At 7:30 we still didn't have our desserts. We told the server we'd like to cancel our dessert order because if they aren't ready, by the time we ate and paid, we would be running late. The biggest issue of the whole night was that she completely ignored that and said, "I'm checking on them now, I'll be right back." So, when she came back to tell us they would be ready soon, we had to tell her 2 more times that we really needed to get going and would she please cancel our dessert order and bring us our check. So, she went to the manager. To their credit, the manager not only removed our dessert order, but comped us our appetizers. So, they did try to make us happy. However, honestly this place is just a gimmick and the food isn't worth a recommendation, IMO.

                We practically ran back to the hotel, which had been holding our bags all day, and got a cab to 30th St. Station. We got there at 8:05. Truly, if we had taken the 10 minutes to scarf down dessert, we would not only have missed our train, I doubt we'd have enjoyed the waffles, sundae, and chocolate burger, anyway.

                Overall, we had a nice time. It reminded me that we should take the kids into Philly more often.

                8 Replies
                1. re: centralpadiner

                  Thanks for the great and detailed write up. I am so sorry that Max Brenner fell short from a service stand point. The biggest problem I have always heard about them has been the wait of for tables. Now it seems service is an issue as well. Your comment about gimmick seems totally on point.

                  Glad to hear that Monks is still on its game for food. When they are on, it is a fantastic place.

                  Look forward to hearing about your next foray into Philly!

                  1. re: centralpadiner

                    Thanks for the update. We will be in Philly for 3 nights next month. How was the Franklin institute? I haven't been there since I was a child. My son wants to do the whole independence hall area and the institute but because of commitments, we can't squeeze both in this trip.

                    1. re: cleobeach

                      How old is your son?

                      My 10 y.o. daughter is a science nut, and absolutely insisted on going back there. But my son, 12, enjoyed it too. So did I. There are some things that are very basic and only appeal to young kids, and other things that if you read and take a little extra time at the exhibit an older child and even an adult will definitely learn something.

                      I would say that I wouldn't take a child younger than 10 to the Constitution Center. My 10 y.o. only got so much out of it. She enjoyed the special exhibit about the U.S. in turmoil in 1968 more then the regular stuff about the constitution. The opening film is a winner, though.

                      You can do Independence Hall and not visit the Constitution Center and the tour is not very long. We didn't do it this trip (and so my daughter never has) because I didn't want to tie us down with a pre-set tour time. She wanted to see the Liberty Bell, but the lines were outrageous. Do that early.

                      1. re: centralpadiner

                        Our son is 7yo. We did the Liberty Bell last year and yes, the lines were brutal but he insisted on wanting to see it and he did like it.

                        The Whitaker center in harrisburg doesn't keep his attention so that is why I was iffy on committing to a day at the Franklin institute. But it sounds like it might be worthwhile.

                    2. re: centralpadiner

                      Yes, thanks for the review. You had noted that Max Brenner, besides being a disappointment, was just a gimmick. Thanks for the alert on the food and service: what was the gimmick? Just curious as I have never been there.

                      1. re: Bacchus101

                        It is very focused on over the top chocolate desserts and chocolate based cocktails. When you walk in, it is designed to look more like you have walked into a candy shop/old fashioned soda fountain.

                        They use odd serving pieces. My daughter's "make your own hot chocolate" came is the same dish they sell the "chocolate shot" to adults. A small metal cup over a tea light where she mixes in her own chocolate shavings... the portion was VERY small. My cousin and I both got the baja fish tacos and the crema was served in a miniature beaker with a narrow neck -- that the crema wouldn't even poor out of. They sprinkle cocoa on your fries, but my husband said he couldn't even taste it.

                        Overall, everyone felt most of the food was bland. Our appetizers were the best thing. The wings with an almost mole style wing sauce were, by far, the most memorable item we had. The food wasn't bad as in inedible by any means, but when a 12 y.o. boy in the midst of an "inch-a-month growth spurt" who eats anything and everything in front of him, picks at a cheeseburger and complains it was "not really that great" you know there's a problem.

                        1. re: centralpadiner

                          Man I miss Naked Chocolate...

                          1. re: centralpadiner

                            Ouch. "Not really that great" coming from a 12-year-old boy is quite damning. Thanks for this detailed write-up which I will use as a reminder to NOT recommend this place for kids!