Food & Drink

Beer, coffee, tasty treats, local art, memberships, gift cards…: Buy Local for the holidays

Posted on 20 December 2014

shoplocallog-300x300Less than a week to go until Christmas and Hanukkah has already started. So where to go for those local holiday gifts? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are some options from our Buy Local for the Holidays Guide:

• Local arts and crafts

The University City Arts League‘s Annual Holiday Crafts Show and Sale supports the work of area artists and crafts people. The show runs through Sunday, Dec. 21 and features hand-made, one-of-a-kind creations by 30 local artists. Open Friday 3 – 8 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday 12 – 6 p.m., 4226 Spruce St. Speaking of local artists, a great spot to find local gifts is VIX Emporium, where you can get everything from locally made West Philly t-shirts to handcrafted bags, jewelry and clothing.

• The gift of grub

CaferenatagiftcardsGift cards are always a safe bet. How about a festive brunch gift card? Check out Café Renata (4305 Locust St.). They have a bunch of new gift cards in stock and cookies and cakes for small holiday gatherings. Speaking of holiday get togethers, The Gold Standard Café (4800 Baltimore Ave.) is taking reservations for holiday festivities or just a great meal at 215-727-8247. Aksum Café (4630 Baltimore Ave.) is offering 15 percent off their unique Mediterranean fare for parties of 12 or more during the holidays. The offer is good on dinners Sunday through Thursday.

• Pets and pageturners

Don’t forget your pet (or pet owner) this holiday season. There’s a ton of ridiculously fun and useful stuff for dogs and cats down at Baltimore Pet Shoppe (4532 Baltimore Ave.) This is also a great place to go if the holiday stress has you down. Watch the cats up for adoption for a few minutes and you’ll be back to your old self. Another awesome way to unwind during the colder months is spend time with a great book, one of the all-time great gift ideas. Penn Book Center (130 S. 34th) is an independent locally owned and operated bookstore with great deals going on all kinds of books, from works by local authors and on local topics to cookbooks and everything in between. They currently have 2-for-1 deals and 20 percent off select gift books.

• Memberships

A fantastic way to support the local community is through memberships, which directly help support some of our favorite spots in West Philly. We highly recommend a membership to Bartram’s Garden, one of the true treasures of West Philadelphia. Another gift that keeps giving is a membership to Mariposa Food Co-op, which not only gets you discounts on fresh organic food and other items, but gives you a chance to have a say in how this vital community asset is operated.

Beer, coffee and tasty treats

beerThe holiday season is a time for food and drink. So if you are looking for anything from quality craft beer, to a delectable bag of coffee or a fine cheese, here are some suggestions. Local 44’s Bottle Shop (4333 Spruce St.) has one of the best bottle beer selections in the city. Great ideas for parties or stock stuffers. One of the most cosy coffee shops in West Philly, The Coffee Market (405 S. 45th) is a good spot to warm up during the winter and they also have a ton of different organic and fair trade roasts for sale by the bag. Gift cards are also available. Also, Milk and Honey Market (4435 Baltimore Ave.) is an all-around holiday haven, with loads of gift ideas for home brewers, hosts and hostesses and even kids. Want a little taste of summer during the holiday season? A gift card from Lil’ Pop Shop (265 S. 44th) might do the trick. The shop is open this winter and, in addition to the crazy good popsicles, is offering a selection of fresh-baked cookies and super-good hot chocolate.

Lastly, local merchants who make up the Baltimore Avenue Business Association would like to thank you for buying local and keeping your hard-earned money in the community. Happy Holidays everyone!

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Green Line Cafe to take over Lovers and Madmen Coffee at 40th and Ludlow

Posted on 17 December 2014


Lovers and Madmen Coffee at 28 S. 40th St.  (Facebook photo).

The Green Line Cafe announced today that it will soon be taking over Lovers and Madmen Coffee at the corner of 40th and Ludlow. The new shop is expected to be fully operational by January 15, 2015, according to an announcement on Green Line’s website.

Green Line will be rebranding the shop, which will offer a mix of fair trade coffee and teas along with their signature foods. “…We hope to continue the vision of a welcoming neighborhood coffee shop that Lover’s and Madmen established so nicely,” the announcement reads.

Lovers and Madmen Coffee has been in operation since early 2009 and was popular with students due to its proximity to Penn’s campus.

This will be Green Line’s fourth location in West Philadelphia, adding to the shops at 43rd and Baltimore, 45th and Locust, and 38th and Lancaster.

Green Line also announced today that they are closing their only Center City location at 15th and Moravian due to new plans for the building, which recently was sold. Currently, Green Line owners, Douglas Witmer and Daniel Thut, are exploring a potential new location in Center City.

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What’s open, what’s closed for Thanksgiving

Posted on 26 November 2014


Snow is falling in Philadelphia and we hope that everyone who is traveling today for Thanksgiving has a safe trip. Those who will be celebrating the holiday here will probably find the information below useful. Happy Thanksgiving!

City offices will be closed this Thursday and public schools will be closed Thursday and Friday. Libraries will close on Wednesday at 3 p.m. and will remain closed on Thursday. There will be no trash and recycling collection on Thursday. Post offices will also be closed and there will be no mail delivery on Thursday. And here’s information on Thanksgiving SEPTA service and hours for some local stores, cafes and restaurants. Please note that most restaurants will be closed on Thursday but will reopen on Friday (some will be serving special brunch on Friday!).

Thursday – Buses, trolleys, regional rail operate on Sunday schedule. Market-Frankford & Broad Street Line service will operate on a special schedule. All night train service will be available beginning Thursday at 12:01 a.m. Regular Owl Bus service will resume Friday at 12:01 a.m.

Friday – Many SEPTA Bus and Trolley Routes will operate on a modified weekday schedule. Specific route service information is available on printed timetables and at  Continue Reading

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Clark Park among three West Philly farmers’ markets open on Wednesday

Posted on 26 November 2014

clarkparkwinterfarmersmarketIf you want to get really fresh ingredients for that Thanksgiving feast, you should check out these pre-Thanksgiving farmers’ markets in West Philly. This will be the last weekday market of the season at Clark Park and 58th and Chester.

• Clark Park (43rd and Baltimore) – Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• 52nd and Haverford – Open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

• 58th and Chester – Open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on local farmers’ markets visit The Food Trust website.

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From Dunkin’ Donuts to Japanese fusion: New restaurant space opens at 40th and Sansom

Posted on 25 November 2014


Where an old, grand church building stood for 136 years until last December there is a glass box now. Well, at least it’s a useful box.

Many of our readers will be excited to know that the new retail space at the corner of 40th and Sansom was completed earlier this month and already started welcoming its first occupants. Dunkin’ DonutsZesto Pizza, and Jake’s Sandwich Board already opened their doors. Hai Street Kitchen, a Japanese burrito shop, is coming in early 2015, according to’s The Insider.

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Fresh Start Foods: Fresh food and job training in West Philly

Posted on 24 November 2014

images-2Fresh, healthy food is a luxury a lot of folks can’t afford, but the Powelton-based People’s Emergency Center and Drexel University have come up with a way to combine healthier food and economic opportunity with the recently launched Fresh Start Foods West Philadelphia.

The program provides unemployed young adults an opportunity to build skills through paid food service apprenticeships through Drexel’s Department of Culinary Arts and Food Science. The apprenticeships will include culinary preparation training, nutrition, meal planning and recipe development. The first cohort will begin in March.

Once fully operational, the program will be able to provide some 2,000 healthy meals each day to neighborhood school children. Organizers also plan to open a retail store next fall at 3945 Lancaster Ave.

Fresh Start Foods West Philadelphia has received more than $700,000 in federal and state grants.

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