Produced by Monica Rogozinski
In 2013 East Passyunk Avenue was named top 10 foodie street in America. In the recent years that stretch of the Avenue, a former Lenni Lenape trail that slices diagonally northeast across the city’s grid, has housed eight three-bell restaurants, a number of James Beard Award nominees and finalists, a top-chef, amongst other many accolades. What was once known by it’s cheese steak corner and classic Italian Dining, is now a nationally recognized group of restaurants that expands Philadelphian’s dining experience, bringing new cuisines, sophisticated wine programs, innovative cocktails, and an array of craft beers that, all together, offer endless experiences within a 10-block stretch.
Friday Arts meets with food critic, South Philly native, and Passyunk Avenue’s business owner Adam Erace, at the 83 year old Marra’s Cucina Italiana. He talks about the evolution of the food scene in the area, the old and the new, and introduces each of the brilliant chefs that opened their kitchens and homes to help tell us the story of their successes, which in turn, makes up the success of East Passyunk.
The director of East Passyunk Ave Business Improvement District, Renee Gilinger, now immortalized on the Abruzzo themed mural arts painting on the garden wall of the famous Le Virtu, talks about her efforts to help business owners settle and thrive on the Avenue. The camaraderie between the chefs who themselves are moving to the area with their families, and bringing other chefs to take part of this movement. Renee started The Passeggiata, an event she imported from Italy, and translated to East Passyunk. Every Wednesday at the La Passeggiata, the day starts at the Singing Fountain Farmers Market and moves into the evening creating an atmosphere that attracts people of all ages and from all over the city to a pleasant summer stroll, surrounded by great food, drinks, local artists and unique stores.
Exploring E. Passyunk Ave. with Adam Erace
Food critic Adam Erace discusses the best part of living near East Passyunk Ave — the food! He shares some of the areas popular hot spots, while recounting his own story as a South Philly native.