Good Life: The Mix: The Sultan of South Street

Entrepreneur and West Philly native KeVen Parker (yes, the “v” is capital) is using his best assets — innate style, creative vision, endless energy — to turn the stretch of South Street between 13th and Broad into a mini lifestyle empire, bringing panache to a section of the city not exactly known for it. Here, a peek inside his ever-evolving world.

Ms. Tootsie’s Soul Food Cafe

Parker bought this restaurant in ’99 and turned it into the finger-licking-good soul-food spot that it is today. (Don’t miss the oven-roasted turkey wings.) His mother Joyce’s culinary creations — and her love for Tootsie Rolls — inspire the menu, and his refined eye gives it a calming modern aesthetic.


Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant, Bar and Lounge

Parker opened this full-service bar and restaurant — a project years in the making — in 2007, in the former location of Henri David’s infamous Halloween jewelry store. Working with architects on the four-story space, he combined salvaged church artifacts (a pulpit and votive station) with modern fixtures. We particularly love the oversize photos of local neo-soul singers, including Jill Scott, on the second floor. 1312 South Street, 215-985-9001.

The Suites at KDP Lifestyle

Last spring, Parker bought the apartment complex above the shelter store; he‘s turning it into a boutique inn opening this fall, where four mini-suites (complete with kitchens and private white Carrera marble baths) will offer visitors a stylish place to stay. Check in will be at the store below; prices to start at $250 a night. 1310 South Street, 215-772-1717.

KDP Lifestyle

While it’s worth it, wait times at the cafe can be long. Now, hungry diners can kill time shopping at this new home store, where Parker’s handpicked goods — sleek lamps designed by local artist Chiya Origins, reupholstered furniture by South Philly’s E. & E. Upholstery, and other worldly artifacts — are sold alongside Ms. Tootsie’s addictive tropical blend iced tea. 1310 South Street, 215-772-1717.

Find information on all of KeVen’s ventures at Kevenparker.net.

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