As the nation’s attention turns toward Philadelphia ahead of the 2016 Democratic Convention, we here at Plated thought it would be fitting to take a look at one of the city’s most prized attributes — the food scene — through the eyes of our local leaders.
Over the past couple of months, we reached out to many of our elected officials to participate in a video series highlighting their favorite places to eat, relax, and unwind. The final product is a collaborative effort offering some truly solid suggestions that both locals and delegates should keep in mind when it comes time to dine.
We caught up with Gov. Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilwoman Blondelle Reynolds Brown, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Councilman Derek Green, State Rep. Brian Sims, former Mayor Michael Nutter, and former governor, and head of the DNC host comittee, Ed Rendell.
Each one of them offered a different perspective on a good time.
Here are the highlights.
Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez says she is “really looking forward to playing host” and hopes that people “venture out and get a feel for the rich culture that exists in the neighborhoods.” She recommends Tierra Colombiana, a vibrant neighborhood favorite; and Isla Verde for a little nightlife, a taste of the islands, and one of the biggest pork chops you’ve ever eaten.
Ed Rendell suggests finding great food at a reasonable price. For real Philly Italian food, “if you like gnocchi, if you like ravioli, any sort of pasta, sausage and peppers,” he suggests Giorgio on Pine, a BYOB on Pine Street at Juniper. He’d also like you to try a soft pretzel, a Tastykake, and … some snapper soup?
Councilman Derek Green is proud of his Northwest roots, and although the DNC is downtown, he hopes for people to get a chance to have a flavor of Philadelphia. Relish in West Oak Lane “has a diversity of food, but it also has a soul food flavor,” he says. Over the years it’s become quite the magnet for politicians making their rounds on election day.
Gov. Tom Wolf spent a lot of time campaigning in Philadelphia ahead of last year’s win, and while he was here in the city, his favorite and possibly most convenient stop was the Simon’s Food Cart — a hot dog cart on the southeast corner of Sansom Street run by the Gerohimos family. “What do I put on my hot dog?” he called to the ladies, Eleni and Stella? “Mustard and sauerkraut!” they said.Mayor Jim Kenney says it’s important to try different neighborhoods out. For some “real South Philadelphia culture,” Kenney recommends you try the ribs at one of his favorite restaurants, the old-school Italian-American, Bomb Bomb Tavern.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is proud and excited to represent the city as one of six women in City Council. But most importantly, she’s “a single mother, walking on a tightrope backwards, with high heels on blindfolded, trying to get it right.” When it’s time for a break, downtown in the city, Estia is her choice for a taste — and a view of the Greek islands. Relish in Northwest Philadelphia is “like being home,” she said, if you love Southern fried food and jazz.
State Rep. Brian Sims represents Center City, and he’s “very fond of telling people we have the highest concentration of the best restaurants in all of Pennsylvania.” His favorite places are both located in the Gayborhood. In addition to the fantastic staff and great food, Franky Bradley’s offers a hip scene and possibly some drag queens. Over at Tredici Enoteca, it’s the environment and the bacon wrapped dates that keep him coming back.
Former Mayor Michael Nutter’s favorite places all have one common theme — the Bynum brothers. (And he wasn’t the only one.) “Philadelphia is one of the most incredible food towns in America, if not the world,” he said. “When you come to SOUTH or any of the Bynum brothers’ restaurants, you’re gonna get incredible food, and more often than not, some really awesome music as well.” Try the duck at SOUTH, and the fried chicken at Warmdaddy’s.
We also thought — hey, it might be fun to throw together a little shindig — just us WHYY staffers, members, noobs, and of course the politicians we voted for (and possibly didn’t vote for). So we did. Dishing DNC is just one week away on Tuesday, July 12. (Discounted tickets are available using the promo code: newsworks.)
Join us on Tuesday for Dishing DNC, where these and other local pols have graciously agreed to let us grill them about their favorite Philly foods. It’s a chance to connect on another level with the folks we choose to represent us. And maybe an opportunity to bend an ear and open up a conversation about greater topics. Hope to see you there!
Editor’s note: This article was amended to include additional establishments.