Philly—home of the cheesesteak—has got it all when concerning delicious lunchtime fare. Here are the best places you should absolutely consider as a new lunchtime spot within the city!
1. Tattooed Moms
Tattooed Moms is an unquestionable favorite—and must—if you happen to find yourself hungry around South Street. Once seated within the graffiti-stricken bar, a unique array of bar-food options present themselves upon a laminated menu of hot pink. A personal favorite and necessary addition to any other food option on the menu are the famous “cheesy tots”. Brought to you piled warm and crispy in a basket, with delicious cheese whiz poured atop each tot, these will always require a fork and a friend. Tattooed Moms offers unique specials depending on the day of the week including: “Meatless Mondays”,which gives customers half-off the veggie menu, “Taco Tuesday”, “Burger Wednesday” with $4 hamburgers, as well as vegan burgers, and “Pierogi Thursday”, with 50 cent pierogi’s! However, Tattooed Moms is far more than just a bar with great food, offering art shows, drag shows, poetry performances, and more! If you have not had the chance to visit yet, it is definitely a stop you’ll want to consider and make a priority!
2. Reading Terminal Market
You have not lunched to your full lunching potential if you’ve never visited Philly’s historic Reading Terminal Market. Around since 1893, Reading Terminal is jam-packed with various shops and eateries, awaiting the inevitable crowds of locals and tourists every day of the week except Sunday. Arriving at the Market is an event all of its own—standing shoulder to shoulder with curious and hungry customers and families, you’ll have to perfect the art of moving briskly as you choose your lunch among the hundreds of options available. A personal favorite of mine is Keven Parker’s Soul Food Cafe, offering the best baked mac n’ cheese in Philly. A widely-popular favorite among children and locals is the famous Bassetts Ice Cream—America’s oldest ice cream company, as well as the very first merchant to sign a lease at the Reading Terminal Market in 1892. If you do choose to visit the historic Bassetts, then I would like to forewarn you that there will be a line, and it will be long but worth it. The Market also offers local produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, and baked goods; specifically, the baked goods marked a milestone when concerning my snacking career, where I had the luxury of trying a homemade chocolate-covered potato chip for the first time. So, come alone or with a friend, you’ll both be sure to find something new to rave about.
3. Jimmy G’s Steaks
Now we move along toward more authentic Philadelphia cuisine, cheesesteaks. Philly is riddled with cheesesteak joints, with new ones seeming to routinely pop up right around the next corner. You’ve heard of Geno’s, and you’ve probably heard of Pat’s, but in all honesty Jimmy G’s blows both of those guys out of the water. Located on N. Broad Street, Jimmy G’s sits quietly on a corner, free of all of the commotion that consistently accompanies the overrated. Like a normal cheesesteak spot, you have the option of whiz, American, Provolone and the likes, as well as countless toppings for customizing. Jimmy G’s is not only fresh—with bread that is remarkably tender with each bite, and meats prepared fresh in house, as opposed to packaged—but they are quick, churning out sandwich after sandwich at breakneck speed. The cool thing about Jimmy G’s is that once you have ordered you then have the unique opportunity of drooling while peering through a large glass window into the kitchen as the chefs sizzle and fire up those delicious steaks.
4. Sushi Planet
I’m not sure whether Sushi Planet is an actual hidden-gem or if I always just happen to pop in when its dead, either way Sushi Planet is a quiet little establishment offering delicious sushi and appetizers. Located on South 3rd Street, Sushi Planet hides behind big stores and tattoo shops, but once you find it you’ll be glad you did. Upon entering, you will be seated immediately and offered water and a menu even quicker; with an impressive selection of soups, salads, sushi appetizers, as well as kitchen appetizers, it wouldn’t be surprising if the necessity to order a main entree for your lunch slips your mind. Once time for the main course, the selection of rolls is vast and surprisingly cheap; with large varieties of vegetarian rolls, as well as hand and special rolls, finding the right one for you is effortless. Sushi Planet also has a wide variety of sides and noodles if you don’t consider yourself much of a sushi-eater, and truthfully, a very filling meal can be had by simply picking out offerings from their expansive appetizers menu and pairing it with a soup or salad.
5. Chickie’s & Pete’s
If you have ever found yourself at any Philly sporting event, then you undoubtedly have come across a Chickie’s & Pete’s somewhere within a stadium. Chickie’s & Pete’s is somewhat of a Philadelphian sports-fan staple—their addicting crab fries a comfort, soaking up all of the beer and alcohol consumed during drunken cheering and parading. Offering typical bar foods like burgers, fries, wings and soups, Chickie’s & Pete’s appeals to locals of all ages. What makes Chickie’s & Pete’s so special every visit is that highly-praised cheese of theirs. Who knows what’s in it? Maybe we’ll never know, but that won’t stop anyone from slathering it on everything, bending fries backwards to scoop the last remnants of it. With multiple locations throughout the Philadelphia area, you won’t HAVE to attend a sporting event to have the opportunity in getting your hands on their delicious offerings. So, if you are a local or someone visiting the area, do not miss out on your chance at trying one of Philly’s most beloved spots.