10 small businesses Philadelphians want you to know about

A customer picks up jugs of coffee at Flow State Coffeebar in Fishtown. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A customer picks up jugs of coffee at Flow State Coffeebar in Fishtown. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

We rely on small businesses for far more than goods and services. They are sources of comfort and community – anchors during the most triumphant and mundane moments in our lives. From celebratory meals to routine coffees and breakfast sandwiches, they help us and our city tick.

As many Philadelphia-area small businesses struggle to navigate the pandemic, we set out to highlight a few of them. We asked you which businesses you can’t live without. From cafes to pet stores, your responses were robust, but we know they barely scratch the surface. Help us expand this list and tell us: Which Philly small business is your MVP? 

Weavers Way Co-op
Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, Ambler
“Great staff. Fantastic products. Excellent community outreach.” — Peter Roman

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Philly’s Platinum Grill
7719 Crittenden St, 19118
“It’s a neighborhood restaurant and meeting place where everybody knows your name like Cheers on TV.” — Earl Harvey

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ERA Bar 
2743 Poplar St, 19130
“It is a neighborhood dive that has amazing Ethiopian food and an extremely homey vibe. The wood paneling on the walls makes you feel like you’re in an old friend’s basement and you can just relax and watch the game. The waiter remembers us and our order and there are many regulars.” – Nick Lombardi

Fu-Wah Mini Market
810 S. 47th St, 19143
“It’s just the best and most reliable place for me to source Asian ingredients. Their grilled pork banh mi is also my #1 go-to meal in the city – cheap, fresh, and absolutely delicious. I used to get them at least once a week before quarantine began.” – Elizabeth Teng

Ants Pants Cafe
2212 South St, 19146
“A small cafe/restaurant. Long, narrow. Kitchen in full view. Food aroma fills the air. Waitstaff and cook staff young and friendly. Customers are a mix of longtime residents, passersby and young med students. Large menu – well beyond usual luncheonette fare.” – Burke Stinson

Sulimay’s Restaurant
632 E. Girard Ave, 19125
“Besides the fact that it’s a legacy in Fishtown, the food is great and the owner, Chad, is dedicated to keeping things old school – regardless of all the gentrification in the hood. Even more so – while the business is shut down to the public, he’s been using his own money to cook and provide meals to countless needy families. Every. Day.” – Susan Murphy

Flow State CoffeeBar
2413 Frankford Ave, 19125
“Flow state is a coffee shop and co-working space with delicious house-made gelato, pastries, sandwiches, and more. But more importantly, they care about the neighbors and the community.
They were taking donations for a local immigrant nonprofit before COVID-19. They ran a trash day program where you could bring in some street trash and get a free coffee. They always have pamphlets and resources for LGBTQ [people], women, and other vulnerable populations.”

Fishtown Animal Hospital
233 E. Girard Ave., 19125
“Providing great care even in this crazy times” – Liz Zubert


El Sabor De Maria
5132 N. 5th St., 19120
“Their flavor, welcoming space, friendly owners and service [makes them special]” – Blanca Pacheco


BarLy Chinatown
101 N. 11th St., 19107
“It’s a family-run business. Owner Buu Ly has been a member of the Chinatown community for over 30+ years. BarLy is always willing to support local nonprofits and fundraisers. First meeting with my future now husband was at BarLy.” – Betsy Lee

We want to expand this list. Help by letting us know which businesses you and your family can’t live without here.

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