Something Might Be Happening With the Frankford Chocolate Factory

The Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets | Image via Google Earth

The Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia | Image via Google Earth

Oh, snap. The Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue – between 21st and 22nd Streets if you’re unfamiliar with the site (map) – has been purchased. According to Jacob Adelman at the Inquirer, a mixed-use project is rumored to be in the works.

Although there’s no official word yet on whether or not the the 240,682-square-foot building, which is well over a century old and not historically designated, will be demolished or reused, it goes without saying that a residential/commercial development at the site would do more than a little to boost the evolving industrial corridor it sits on. Writes Adelman:

The Frankford Chocolate property’s redevelopment would provide a conduit for revitalization from the increasingly affluent Graduate Hospital area into the Point Breeze neighborhood to its south, said [CBRE executive Robert] Fahey, whose company represented a court-appointed receiver charged with selling the site.

“It’s going to have a pretty big impact on the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s just been a major blight, this dilapidated, boarded-up hulk of a building surrounded by gentrification.”

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Taproom on 19th Hosting a Block Party and Barbecue

Anniversary Burger at Taproom on 19th

What’s an anniversary without a special burger? Second Anniversary Burger at Taproom on 19th

Two years ago, owners Michael Strauss and Pete Fry took over Taproom on 19th at 19th and Ritner in deep South Philadelphia. Since then they’ve built a faithful local following. This Saturday, November 7th, from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. they’re hosting a second anniversary block party with Pigheaded BBQ, which is an award-winning Kansas City Barbecue Society Competition barbecue team based in Middletown, Delaware.

The Taproom’s chef Chris Speero will also be showcasing his anniversary burger, quarter pound of LaFrieda brisket burger, shaved steak, pork roll, tomato, fried onions, special sauce, cheese and all served on a pretzel bun.

There will also be a live performance by the Gin Canaries and a special cocktail designed by from Hop Sing Laundromat. The South Philly Flip is maple bourbon, Cynar, egg and nutmeg.

The event is pay-as-you-go and a large tent will cover Ritner Street in front of the bar.

More on the food and beer »

Trinity Tuesday: 2BR in Queen Village Includes Superb Shoe Room

TREND images via

TREND images via

Alright, we’re gonna give it to you straight: it could do with an update or two. But like the listing points out, it’s a “diamond in the rough waiting to be polished.” Plus, all that being said, it does have several things going for it and as to its literal surrounds, its anything but rough.

Parked on a leafy block in Queen Village, the home is an expanded trinity, so the living room and kitchen are actually on the same floor. (Contrary to other trinities where the kitchen is on the lower level, which can get pretty old.) The latter has newer appliances and access to a rear patio that’s roomy enough for summer grilling and hosting guests.

Bedroom-wise, you’re in for a treat…especially if you love shoes.

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South Philly’s Ristorante Pesto Wins Rachael Ray’s Pasta Showdown

Giovanni and Maria Varallo of Ristorante Pesto on the Rachael Ray Show

Giovanni and Maria Varallo of Ristorante Pesto on the Rachael Ray Show

Giovanni Varallo and his daughter Maria of South Philly’s Ristorante Pesto competed this morning on the Rachael Ray Show for Rae’s Little Italy Showdown title for best pasta. The restaurateurs put their signature cavatelli topped with lobster, crab, and shrimp against teams from New York and San Francisco.
And the winner is »

Spotted in the Italian Market: 9th and Washington Project Inches Forward

Zoom in just a tad and you’ll recognize the spot: The Anastasi Seafood restaurant, nestled between 9th and Darien Streets, looks out to whirring Washington Avenue, all the while the plot of land to its rear and its adjacent parking lot sit quietly amid the hustle and bustle.

It’s a familiar scene, right? Well, get ready for that to potentially change if the site owners’ plans go accordingly, which so far seems to be the case.


Here is a look at the conceptual designs.

As we told you this past AugustMidwood Investment & Development is looking to build a 5-story mixed-use building at the 32,000-square-foot site. The new building, designed by Morris Adjmi, would come with 70 market-rate apartments, two levels of underground parking, plus an estimated 18,000 square feet in retail space slated to house local retailers, as opposed to a big chain. (It’s “the anti-Cheescake [Factory] project,” Midwood President John Usdan told the crowd that month to ease their worries (one of the company’s past projects was the new Cheesecake Factory at 15th and Walnut).

Now, PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey has announced the most recent news regarding the project:

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Broad and Washington, Neighborhood Unity Discussed in Hawthorne

Northwest lot of Broad and Washington | Image via Google Street View

Northeast lot of Broad and Washington | Image via Google Street View

Entering the Hawthorne Cultural Center at 12th and Carpenter on Tuesday night made the newly arrived autumn coolness feel good, as opposed to a dread-ridden prelude to my least favorite season.

The entrance hall, laden in artwork and faux fall leaves, was occupied by chatting adults and ridiculously adorable children laughing and screaming and running around until being ordered to sit tight. I waited for 7:00. Word on the street was the monthly Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition (HEC) general meeting would be announcing an update on the dual-tower, mixed-use development proposed by Bart Blatstein for the northeast corner of Broad and Washington.

As it turned out, this was not the case, but it did provide some interesting insight into how the residents feel about the changes within their community.

Upon being allowed into the meeting room (Maria, the HEC board’s Sergeant-at-Arms asked to get me in, bless her heart), attendees were told there had been a misunderstanding, with several online publications reporting an unspecific Broad and Washington update was on the agenda. (Whoops.)

Really, the “update” was to say HEC had received an email of apology from the office of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson because one of its representatives had presented a manner deemed discourteous by neighbors at a previous neighborhood meeting. The rep had been there to discuss a bill that would affect the 4.5-acre vacant lot Blatstein owns and wants to develop.

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Could This Be the Dark Knight of Philadelphia Houses?

TREND images via

Is the Bruce Wayne of houses in Passyunk Square?

To be clear, the comparison between this 7th and Wharton home and Bruce Wayne/Batman applies solely to the home’s exterior. From the front, the Scott Larkin-redesigned residence appears as your average South Philly row house. But past the airy interior rooms and out the glass garage door exposure is something none of us expected: a sleek, black façade that might just beat out that Dark Knight-esque Wawa in Princeton.

It’s a close call, but this Loft District home warrants some consideration for the title, too. What do you think?

The property is a winner regardless, though. Exposed brick and frosted glass doors are throughout, with American walnut, steel stairs and built-in wall pockets laying claim to space as well. The master suite, located on the third level, vaunts desk space, a walk-in closet with washer & dryer hook up, plus, a mini fridge pocket. “Originally selected in part for its southern exposure,” adds the listing, “the home takes advantage of the sun’s natural path.”

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SS United States Conservancy Exploring Sale of Ship for Scrap

SS United States

The SS United States, docked in South Philadelphia in September 2015. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

“The Conservancy has never been closer to saving the SS United States, nor so close to losing her.”

That is the message from the SS United States Conservancy today, as it announced it has partnered with a broker to explore the sale of the ship to a “responsible, U.S.-based metals recycler.”

Sound familiar? It should. In 2010, the ship was about to be sold for scrap when Gerry Lenfest donated millions to help the Conservancy buy the ship from Norwegian Cruise Line. In November 2013, the Conservancy warned that if plans did not come together quickly, the ship could be sold for scrap.

Last summer, the Conservancy again warned of the scrap heap as others floated plans to save the ship and move it to Brooklyn (or Chester). The Conservancy made a final push to save the ship, which was extended when it entered into a preliminary agreement for redevelopment in December.

Today, announced with a New York Times story, comes this “Last S.O.S.” (per a cheeky NYT headline). The Conservancy is exploring a sale for scrap, with a strong deadline of October 31st. “We will have no choice but to negotiate the sale of the ship to a responsible recycler,” the Conservancy said in a statement. Susan Gibbs, the Conservancy’s director, is the granddaughter of ship architect William Francis Gibbs. Read more »

Hey, Philly: Pier 68 Park Is Now Open

Images courtesy of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Images courtesy of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

It’s official: Pier 68 is now open!

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place Wednesday, October 1st, Mayor Michael Nutter cut the symbolic cord of a newly transformed pier that had at one time functioned as the site of raw sugar warehouse. According to a press release from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, the public Pier 68 park allows fishing – with a proper state fishing license, of course – and features an aquatic cut in the pier that gives you a cool view of the water and plant life living underneath.

Situated at the end of Pier 70 Blvd (the exact address is 1751 S. Columbus Blvd.), the Pier 68 park includes a tree canopy, angled lawn, solar light poles, and wave-shaped benches whose design was inspired by the mustaches worn by Philadelphia sailors from the 19th century. Salvaged granite benches from Penn’s Landing are also here and come capped with cumaru slat seats that have specially bored holes to be used as fishing pole anchors.

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