The Best Cafes (and Restaurants) to Bring Your Laptop and Eat an Actual Meal

The Cusco Sandwich at Plenty Cafe

The Cusco Sandwich at Plenty Cafe

Maybe you’re a freelancer with a few hours between meetings downtown and you want to keep up the productivity. Or there’s construction in your office building and you can’t get anything done with power tools grinding away upstairs. Or you work from home but you’ve reached the point at which you’ll freak out if you don’t leave the house today.

You need a spot to get work done — school, freelance, creative, or just catching up on email. You also need to eat, and as tasty as the croissants and cookies at most coffee shops are, they’re not exactly brain food.

We’ve rounded up some of Philly’s favorite spots to camp out for a few hours (or more), eat a real breakfast or lunch, crush your task list. For our purposes, we’ve stuck with Center City and adjacent neighborhoods; we also made free wi-fi for customers and an actual food menu (however brief) a requirement.

And for when the workday spans meals, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite trendy spots where you might spend a working lunch (and maybe happy hour afterwards) while chowing down on a more substantial, chef-driven menu.

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My Top 5: Kid-Friendly Spots for Healthy Eats in Philly

Frozen yogurt at Honeygrow | Photo via Facebook

Honeybar at Honeygrow | Photo via Facebook

My goal in life is to raise the kind of children who, at circa three years of age, tell flabbergasted adults that their favorite food is sushi in between bites of kale salad. This dream of having outrageously sophisticated, jaw-drop-inducing children probably won’t come true, though. Because let’s face it: No matter how hard you try to convince kids that raw fish is the bomb, in the end, most of them still crinkle their noses and ask for a slice of pizza instead. They’re a picky bunch, those kids.

Paige Wolf, Philly-based author of the new Spit That Out: The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt, admits that her kids, ages three and seven, aren’t exactly kale salad devotees. Or salad fans at all, actually. Which means she has to get a bit tricky when it comes to squeezing in healthy eats around town: Think thin-crust pizza topped with local organic veggies at Nomad Pizza and grass-fed burgers (which you can order in a collard wrap!) at Bareburger.

Below, Wolf clues us in on her top five kid-friendly eateries to find healthy (er, healthy-ish, at least) food for both kids and adults in Philly. (And psst: If you’re interested in loading up on more of Wolf’s healthy parenting tips, she’ll be hosting a book launch party at Midtown Village’s NEST tomorrow afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m.!)

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Philly Eateries Say DNC Is a Mixed Bag

East Passyunk Avenue Restaurant Week.

East Passyunk Avenue Restaurant Week.

The stretch of blocks on East Passyunk Avenue from Broad Street to Passyunk Square was mostly calm Tuesday evening, the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

Just before 9 o’clock, a fleet of the Philadelphia Police Department’s major incident response vehicles slowly meandered down Broad Street in what was largely a silent spectacle of flashing blue and red lights. They were tailing the protest throngs marching their way down to the Wells Fargo Center.

Couples and small groups of onlookers clustered on corners along Broad Street, watching the traffic amble along, but few wandered down Passyunk Avenue, where many businesses reported an average or slower-than-usual night.

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Iron Hill Brewery is About to Grow at Hyper Speed

Iron HillIron Hill Brewery‘s already lightning-fast expansion is about to hit another gear. The company announced on Friday that it struck a deal with investment firm A&M Capital Opportunities. Armed with fresh capital, Iron Hill is eyeing a massive expansion plan with locations across the Eastern seaboard.

Iron Hill currently has 11 locations with a 12th coming soon to Huntingdon Valley, Pa. President and CEO Kevin Finn said the company had its sights set on 20 locations by 2020 but now says “the goal is to accelerate that and do it more efficiently.” Read more »

A Day in the Life of Branding Guru Marc Brownstein

DITL marc Bownstein

A few of his favorite things. | Photography by Courtney Apple.

It takes a lot to be the President and CEO of one of the top branding agencies in the city, but Marc Brownstein makes it look easy. Running the show at Brownstein Group, Marc fields over 200 emails a day and 40 meetings per week and, somehow, still manages to clock in some major miles on the bike (110 weekly, to be exact). He juggles regular lunches with his father Berny, sits on multiple charity boards, and maintains great style all the while. Find out where he shops, what he drinks, and how in the world he gets so much energy to do it all.  Read more »

Urban Outfitters to Buy Vetri Restaurants

Urban Vetri

Two of Philadelphia’s best-known brands are set to become united. Urban Outfitters has agreed to buy the Vetri Family of restaurants. No sale price has been disclosed.

“Having known Marc for almost a decade and partnered with him through his charitable foundation, we are honored to have him, Jeff and the Vetri family join the URBN team,” said Richard A. Hayne, CEO of Urban Outfitters in a statement. “Spending on casual dining is expanding rapidly, and thus, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand the Pizzeria Vetri concept.” Read more »

Sued for Playing Whitney: Bar Owners Fighting Relentless Drive for Music Fees

Although it may surprise people outside the service industry, bars and restaurants must pay music licensing fees for the right to play music in their establishments. That’s live music, dinner music, DJs, jukeboxes. Everything. If you’re going to play Shake it Off at your bar, Taylor Swift (or whoever owns the publishing rights) wants a check.

While the process is legal, it has bar and restaurant owners upset — and a growing list of proprietors claim the “take-it-or-leave-it” fee structure lacks alternatives and transparency in how they’re billed. There are three main music licensing companies: Broadcast Music Inc., the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and SESAC Inc.) To some, the way they operate feels like a shakedown — especially since the companies send spies to the establishment to write down what songs they hear. Then comes a questionnaire asking about the establishment’s square footage, live-music schedule, jukebox situation and other things — outputting an amount they have to pay. But don’t try to argue. If you don’t comply, they’ll just use their big money to take you to court. Just ask Silk City in Northern Liberties. More on that in a minute. Read more »

Big Restaurant Chain Starts No-Tipping Policy

No more tipping at Joe's Crab Shack.

No more tipping at Joe’s Crab Shack.

When Fishtown restaurant Girard announced a no-tipping policy, it made national headlines — and started a conversation about whether a flat fee for servers could actually become the industry norm. It was even referenced on Saturday Night Live.

Now, a large, national chain has joined the no-tipping movement: Joe’s Crab Shack. Servers in 18 Joe’s restaurants will now earn wages starting at $14 per hour or higher, with better-performing servers earning more, according to the publication Restaurant Business. Read more »

A Breakdown of Where Philly’s $12 Million in Investment Cash is Going

Honeygrow | Photo via Facebook

Honeygrow | Photo via Facebook

Led by Honeygrow and ChargeItSpot, Philadelphia has gotten some serious venture capital funding in the second quarter of 2015. In fact, restaurant chain Honeygrow raised the most cash in the quarter — $5 million — which is part of a larger $25 million investment that will bring more locations and upgraded technology to the business. Will it be the next Shake Shack or Chipotle? It’s certainly part of a wave of Philly restaurants attempting to become the next great chain. (We examine the phenomenon here.)

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Brick and Mortar Opening

DSC_0919 copy

Last night Michael B. Welsh’s much anticipated Brick and Mortar (BAM) opened up at 12th and Pearl Streets in the Loft District of Philadelphia. The New American tavern seats up to 110 people and is located on the first floor of the Goldtex Building, which features large windows letting in a lot of light and banquet style tables as well as having a community table for large parties. Chef Brian Ricci’s menu will serve lunch and dinner, as well as late-night snacks, plus the best cocktails you could imagine.

Last night’s opening served as a fundraiser to support Friends of The Rail Park, attracting supporters including Inga Saffron, Connor Barwin, Sam Sherman and Paul Steinke, who enjoyed signature cocktails + hors d’oeuvres crafted by the BAM staff. Friends of The Rail Park had a lot to celebrate last night as the Philadelphia Art Commission had given final approval for the anticipated park’s design on Wednesday. During the event Philly’s favorite rapper, Chill Moody performed with Yufi Zewdu & DJ Ricochet.

Photos after the jump »

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