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Eat, drink and dance at The Porch’s 5-Year Anniversary Party this Wednesday

Posted on 27 September 2016

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Photo by Ryan Collerd, courtesy University City District.

It’s hard to believe it but The Porch at 30th Street Station is celebrating its 5th anniversary this week. It opened in the fall of 2011 and transformed a parking lot and a dangerous walkway outside of the nation’s second busiest train stations into a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly public space complete with tables and chairs, umbrellas, swings and greenery.

The Porch’s 5th Anniversary Party will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 28 (weather permitting) and will feature food, drinks, giveaways, and music. University City District (UCD), who operates and programs The Porch, is partnering with 33rd Street Hospitality and Jet Wine Bar to bring $5 food and drink specials in honor of the five years since The Porch debuted.

theporchpartySince its introduction in 2011, The Porch at 30th Street Station has been offering seasonal horticulture, special events, and lunch service from local food trucks. The Porch was Philadelphia’s first “lighter quicker cheaper” public space, and originally involved simple, cost-effective, and fully removable elements.

Five years later, The Porch has evolved into a more permanent mainstay, with elements contributed by Groundswell Design Group, Gehl Studio, and Visit Philly. The Porch has also cemented itself as a popular gathering space for commuters, local workers, and visitors to Philadelphia looking for a space to lounge and linger.  Continue Reading

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Ice Cave brings its cool desserts to Baltimore Ave

Posted on 08 September 2016

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Ice Cave owner Po Chang and dessert chef Jessica Wang (Photo by Rana Fayez/West Philly Local)

People of West Philadelphia, you no longer have to travel to Chinatown for Taiwanese shaved ice treats. Ice Cave has opened at 4507 Baltimore Ave next to Atiya Ola’s and The Nesting House.

This is only one of a number of new businesses opening up on Baltimore Ave this year. Flavors such as strawberry, matcha, coffee, peanut and mango are on the menu with toppings like mango, kiwi and berries. If shaved ice is not your thing the shop also sells some of its flavors in a popsicle format.

Owner Po Chang graduated from Drexel in 2012 but decided to stay in West Philadelphia after earning his degree in Public Health. His dessert chef, Jessica Wang, was trained in Taiwan for five years in the craft of shaved ice.

If you like cold treats for breakfast, you may be out of luck. The shop is open 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday. On Fridays it closes at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.

Not sure if you’re into it? Come out to the Dollar Stroll tonight to try it, the shop will be selling sample sizes for $1.

Rana Fayez

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2016’s only Dollar Stroll is this Thursday

Posted on 06 September 2016

VIXThe Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll is returning this week. The popular West Philly event, which is now held only once a year, will take place on Thursday (Sept. 8), 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. As always, this is a great chance for local businesses to showcase their signature products and for locals to enjoy $1 samples and deals. Well-known businesses, as well as newcomers will participate in the event (about 40 businesses overall).

Here’s what you should look for: $1 samples of everything from samosas to slices of pizza, cheesesteaks, ice cream and small pours of beer, but also highlights businesses offering pet supplies, children’s clothes and toys, handmade items, plants, and more. Vendors line the sidewalks and people are encouraged to walk up and down the avenue between 43rd and 52nd Streets sampling all sorts of food and drinks.

Baltimore Avenue Dollar StrollThe Dollar Stroll will also feature street performers and live music.

The goal of the Dollar Stroll is to celebrate established businesses on Baltimore Avenue while introducing visitors to new stores and restaurants, such as Black Hound Clay Studio, Amari’s restaurant, Vital Step Physical Therapy & Fitness, and more.

For the list of participating businesses and their $1 bargains, visit the event’s Facebook page.

The event is organized by the University City District (UCD) and Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA).

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Okawa opens in old Chili Szechuan location on Baltimore Ave

Posted on 01 September 2016

OkawaAlmost a year after Chili Szechuan closed its Baltimore Avenue location and left a hole in mid-priced-Chinese-food-loving hearts in Cedar Park, Okawa has heard your cries and has come to the rescue. The new restaurant opened last month at 4626 Baltimore Ave.

With prices closer to Lucky’s price range, Okawa offers American Chinese restaurant staples like the Philly cheesesteak egg roll, dumpling, spare ribs and sesame chicken. But the concept is Asian fusion, so the menu will include Japanese, Thai and Korean items as well. Shrimp shumai, pad thai, hibachi and tempura also make appearances on the menu.  Continue Reading

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New Greensgrow West location to open Friday, Aug. 12; Grand Opening next month

Posted on 11 August 2016

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Greensgrow’s new, larger and more permanent location at 5123 Baltimore Avenue is ready to welcome its first customers. The soft opening is this Friday, so stop by and check it out. Grand Opening is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8. The former temporary Greensgrow West location at 4912 Baltimore Ave. closed on August 7.

Greensgrow signed a long-term lease with the city for 5123-29 Baltimore Ave. in Spring 2015 and began developing the new lot late last year. Previously empty and overgrown with bamboo, the new site was reimagined by student architects from Drexel University who gathered input from local residents with an eye towards green building practices.

The site features a high tunnel, demonstration green roofs and rain gardens, repurposed shipping containers, and even a tiny house. An outdoor classroom is being built by students from the Workshop School for Greensgrow’s educational workshops and will be open for neighborhood schools and organizations to use. Several West Philadelphia partners and organizations such as Cedar Park Neighbors, the Baltimore Avenue Business Association and the Philadelphia Water Department, contributed critical support to getting the site cleared for reuse. The new fence was built with the support of an Indiegogo campaign started by a neighbor.  Continue Reading

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Reservations now open for University City Dining Days

Posted on 30 June 2016

University City Dining Days return on July 14 with an impressive list of participating restaurants, well-established and new. Just a reminder that the purpose of this popular annual event organized by the University City District is to encourage folks to visit their local eateries during one of the slowest summer months. This summer, a record thirty-four of University City’s most popular dining destinations – including seven restaurants participating for the first time – will offer a pre-fixe three-course dinner special for $15, $25 or $35 (drinks and tips are not included).

The restaurants are now taking reservations, including popular spots such as Distrito, Dock Street Brewery, Stephen Starr’s Pod, Han Dynasty, and more. Seven new restaurants have joined this year’s program: Jose Garces’ JG Domestic, new Baltimore Avenue eatery Renata’s Kitchen, Nicole Marquis’ HipCityVeg, new fast casual concept Herban Quality Eats, Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace, Japanese hand-drawn noodle spot Ochatto, and Indian restaurant Tandoor.

The event will run for 10 days: July 14 through July 24.

The full list of participating restaurants, prices, and contact information for each restaurant are available at: www.ucdiningdays.com (make you reservation directly at your restaurant of choice).

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