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Top 5 Under the Radar Spots to Watch the Phils

That's the latest food/bar thing I wrote on

I tried to find sports in the non-downtown neighborhoods or places that never get talked about. Here's what I got:

1) Murph's (Fishtown) -- Fishtown has become the hipster neighborhood of Philly. But it's also still really townie, so there's a real gentrification segregation there. But Murph's is the one spot where that goes out the window. This is because it's all about the Phils/baseball all season long. If you love the Phils, you have a hoe there. A bunch of HDTV's, decent beer selection and one of the best baseball bars in the city, if not the country.

2) McMenamin's (Mt. Airy) -- McMen's is in Mt. Airy, which is located in NW Philly. Mt. Airy's the most inclusive/diverse neighborhood in Philly. It's a mixture of races, wealth, sexuality, etc. (It's only missing Republicans.) McMen's is one of the few bars in the area and caters to the neighborhood -- can really find all walks of life there. They have a bunch of TV's. Great beer selection more in line w/ something you'd find downtown. And some of the best pub grub in the city -- I had a hamburger there last weekend that was quite possibly the best I've ever had in my life.

3) McNally's (Chestnut Hill) -- This is a place that should be mandatory for every Philadelphian to visit at least once. It's in the far NW corner of the city in the well-to-do neighborhood of Chestnut Hill. It's the home of The Schmitter, a sandwich popular at the baseball stadium. The Schmitter's like 14 meets on one sandwich or something; it's the best, most unhealthiest food you could ever have. It's really cozy but pretty awesome.

4) Cavanaugh's (Center City/Rittenhouse) -- Slept on sports bar that's a lot better than the other big bars downtown. Decent beer selection, decent food and a few dozen televisions.

5) Flat Rock Saloon (Manayunk) -- Manayunk bars can be an absolute nightmare due to the large amount of college/22-year-olds who live in the area. But the Flat Rock caters to a different crowd. It's pretty big, they have a ton of TVs, a small food menu but a terrific beer menu. If memory serves correct, they had something like 40 selections available last time I went there. Old-school suspender wearing bartenders.

Oct 06, 2009
Greggulator in Pennsylvania

Quintessential or Fun/Funky Philly

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.

Oct 06, 2009
Greggulator in Pennsylvania

Out of the Way Philly Restaurants I Like

That park at 4th and Washington also is home to Taco Loco, which is a taco truck that my friends down there swear by.

I'll have to check this Islamic School out. I hadn't heard about that yet. I'm putting that on my list.

Oct 01, 2009
Greggulator in Philadelphia

Out of the Way Philly Restaurants I Like

I liked Le Mendingue's food enough but I'm not sure if I'd go back just for the food. The fish was good but bony. But it's definitely really cool to check out just to see what a restaurant catering to the African immigrant community is like. It's a completely different Philadelphia.

The elote on S. 9th Street is seriously one of the best things I've ever eaten in my life. So, so, so good.

The Hank Jim sandwich at the Henry James Saloon rules. It's definitely on par w/ The Schmitter, which is the legendary sandwich they sell at the ballpark that was actually created at McNally's in Chestnut Hill.

I don't consider it "out of the way" but maybe it is for people not familiar with NW Philly. McNally's NEVER makes any Top 50 bars list (that I can find) but it's awesome. Super old-fashioned with a really great gross bar food menu and great beer selection. Chestnut Hill-ians have been going there for decades. The staff knows the names of all the regulars. I really don't go there enough.

I also just hit up a deli at the Vietnamese Mall at 12th and Washington and had my first Vietnamese Hoagie. I don't want to write about it for the website because Vietnamese Hoagies are a bit played out in local foodie writing. But the sandwich was great. English speaking anywhere at that mall is also completely limited. I've been to some of the Pho places there, too, and they're terrific.

Thinking it over, S. Philly might be one of the best food neighborhoods in the country. The Mexican/Vietnamese places are within five blocks from each other and are 100% authentic and cater to those immigrant communities. Pat's/Geno's is right down the block; while us locals scoff at them, the cheesesteaks are pretty good and that corner is really ingrained into what Philly's all about. And then the stretch on E. Passyunk going South has a great mix of new restaurants and old school Italian joints. Marra's is my second favorite pizza joint after Tocanelli's.

I really blabbed on in this reply.

Oct 01, 2009
Greggulator in Philadelphia

Weekend dinner between Manayunk and Chestnut Hill for 9, including 2 children

If Andorra isn't too far out of the way (Ridge Ave. all the way down to the border w/ Plymouth Meeting), then you could check out either Maria's or Cassielli's. Both are old-school Italian places. Great food and atmosphere at both. I'm pretty sure they take reservations at both places -- I went to Maria's once for a work Christmas party that had over 20 people in attendance.

I'm not sure about a kid's menu, but these places are completely family friendly, so I'm sure they can make something nice for the young ones.

I'm not sure about the entree prices, but your $18 limit sounds just about right for each place.

Oct 01, 2009
Greggulator in Pennsylvania

Rembrandt's Restaurant in Philly for lunch 10/15 - Recommendations?

I really like Rembrandt's a lot. You really can't go wrong with too much there. But the crab cake sandwich -- big time yes.

If for some reason you can't get into Rembrandt's, there are a bunch of other places within walking distance that are great. The London Grill and The Belgian Cafe are two other favorites of mine.

Oct 01, 2009
Greggulator in Pennsylvania

Out of the Way Philly Restaurants I Like

Hey everyone. I write for a website called "" where I review some restaurants and the like. But I'm trying to find super out-of-the-way places with stuff that hasn't been covered to death.

Anyways, three places that I love:

1) Le Mendingue, SW Philly -- SW Philly is home to Philly's ridiculously large native African population. Most are originally from Liberia, but folks from Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria are also well represented. There are a few African-food places down in SW that are worth investigating. The one I hit up is named "Le Mendinque." The folks who own this place are originally from Sierra Leone but the food is really representative of various West African cuisines. I had this fish dish w/ plantains and a stew made of cassava leaves w/ various meats.

My favorite part about the place -- the people were absolutely shocked that a nerdy white guy was in the restaurant. It's super authentic and really cool.

It's on 66th and Woodland. Be careful -- this neighborhood is one of the worst in the city. But there's plenty of parking right on Woodland which is a really busy and well-lit street.

2) Henry James Saloon, Roxborough --

Roxborough's a neighborhood in the NW corner of Philly. It borders Manayunk, which has a booming and well-known restaurant/bar scene on Main St. I live in this section of the city and I speak from vast experience -- Main Street has some cool places, but after 9 p.m. it becomes really hard to deal with because of the college crowd. So I try and find some dives up in Roxborough, which is a middle-class neighborhood with no hipster appeal whatsoever.

My favorite local dive bar is the Henry James Saloon. It's really tiny and tucked away at the corner of Jamestown and Henry Avenue, within sight of Delassandro's. It's your standard townie Philly bar -- dark, a little dingy and filled with guys talking about local high school basketball rivalries. The beer selection isn't much. They have a few HDTV's for sports fans, with a big preference towards the Phillies and baseball. In fact, anytime Chase Utley hits a home run, everyone at the bar gets a free round.

They have a shockingly big menu, however. And my favorite thing on it is the "HankJim" which is a sandwich with chicken fingers, peperoni, provolone cheese and spinach. It's a great foodie food for those of us who like our meals to come without rare aioli.

3) Las Andreas Grocery -- S. 9th Street (between Washington and Federal) in S. Philly

The stretch of S. 9th between Washington and Pat's/Geno's is really awesome. It's really dark/bleak and sketch looking at first glance. But it's become the home of Philly's blossoming Mexican community. Most of the Mexican immigrants here are originally from Puebla, which is Mexico's food capital. So these guys know what they're doing.

There are a bunch of really awesome taquieras down there. I don't know any names off the top of my head, but whenever I'm down there I just pick a random one and go in. I've had some awesome chorizo and tacos al pastor. The menus are almost completely in Spanish and the staff don't speak much English at all, so communicating can be a bit of a problem but it's well worth it.

My favorite spot, though, is Las Andreas Grocery. It's this tiny grocery store right across the street from Connie's Ric Rac (rock club that's gaining notoriety). There's nothing much inside except for Mexican soft drinks and cereals, with a few lucha libre masks as well.

But outside, they have a little stall where one can get elote -- a Puebla street food where freshly grilled corn is put on a stick like a corn dog, dipped in mayo, smothered in a Mexican cheese (don't know which kind they use) and topped with whatever seasoning they also have.

It's an awesome snack food. It also costs a mere $2. You can only get it after 5 p.m., though.

Any other places I should check out?

Oct 01, 2009
Greggulator in Philadelphia