Where to Find the Healthiest Eats, Best Workouts, and Outdoor Fun in East Passyunk

Daniel Cordua, yoga teacher and owner of East Passyunk's Palo Santo Wellness Boutique, gives us a tour of all things healthy (and delicious) in his South Philly neighborhood.

Philly has an insanely wonderful fitness scene, but the truth is, many of us tend to stick to our own neighborhoods — we’ve all got our favorite corner coffee shops, yoga studios, running trails, and more. That’s why we’re asking local fitness pros to give us a tour of their neighborhoods — and to spill all their secrets on the hidden gems they can’t quit.

As a South Philly native, Daniel Cordua landed in East Passyunk three years ago when he opened the beloved Palo Santo Wellness Boutique on Passyunk Avenue — a spot he made his official home by moving into the apartment above the studio with his wife Rachel earlier this year. During the past three years, Cordua has honed in on delicious healthy meals in the area, along with the best places to work out (aside from his own studio, of course), and the best places to hang out in his neighborhood. Read on for Cordua’s go-to spots for a healthy life in the beautiful neighborhood of East Passyunk.

The Best Spots for Healthy Food in East Passyunk

Coffee shop: “The Tasty. We LOVE the Tasty. We stroll over as much as we can for vegan treats and GREAT coffee. Working to remove caffeine from our diet, we are currently on a half-caf and decaf oat milk latte kick, and their version is one of our favorites. Since I am mostly vegan, and a punk rocker for life, I really enjoy their cool, friendly yet edgy, open-minded small business vibe. It’s the best.”

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Healthy breakfast spot: “Plenty Cafe is literally right across the street from our home and business. In a pinch, it has all of our necessities for breakfast-y needs — coffee drinks, teas, and their oatmeal and avocado toast are both yummy healthy go-tos. Plus, we often use the cafe as a ‘second office’ for meetings and computer work. The staff there is always sweet and obliging.”

Healthy lunch spot: “My wife — a Southwest native — is a Mexican food junky and Cantina Los Caballitos is where we had our first date and literally half of a block from where we would end up opening our business together. No week is complete without a veggie lunch burrito or an afternoon taco —which I like to keep nice and simple with black beans, avocado and fresh jalapeño.”

Healthy date night spot: “Mr. Martino’s Trattoria is one of Philadelphia’s best-kept secrets. Run by a husband and wife and only open Friday through Sunday, stepping into Mr. Martino’s is like stepping into another world — perhaps, the Old World. The interior, which is hidden from view on the outside, is charming, romantic, and speak-easy-style mysterious. We usually opt for some roasted red peppers, the white bean soup, pasta fagioli with broccoli rabe and cavatelli with tomato pesto sauce. During date night, we usually save room for one of THE BEST desserts in the city, the chocolate budino at Brigantessa, which is the subtlest, richest Sicilian chocolate pudding custard topped with jeweled chocolate pearls, located just another block down on East Passyunk.”

Bar: “We love Gina, one of the owners of the Bottle Shop. She does yoga at our space and is an awesome part of our community. The Bottle Shop is an easy stroll from our apartment and provides a chill, down to earth setting. I don’t drink alcohol, but Bottle Shop gives me a variety of other tasty non-alcoholic drinks — like ginger beer and non-alcoholic beers and ciders — I can enjoy while my friends can sip a sour beer, a cider, or some wine.”

Healthy takeout: “Since we first made East Passyunk our business home, the tofu banh mi (French bread, roasted tofu, spiced mayo, cilantro, carrot, pickle, Sriracha and jalapeño) at Artisan Boulanger Patissier was one of our favorite filling, yet healthy, quick bites. Only problem is, when you are waiting to get your sandwich, you can’t help but be swayed by all the amazing croissants and bakery goods surrounding you. Healthy turns indulgent quick!”

Grocery store for healthy foods: “Green Aisle Grocery has some of the best local kombucha — like Inspired Brews — at the ready along with some other healthy gourmet snacks that make my mouth water just writing this write-up. I also stop by the weekly farmers’ market at the Square to shop for local produce.”

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The Best Workouts in East Passyunk

Gym: “My wife likes SWEAT Fitness because it has an array of fitness classes along with gym-style equipment and a cool view of East Passyunk Avenue. She can take a Zumba or barre class while I can do some cardio and lift weights, so we are both happy.”

Workout class: “I don’t take fitness classes much, but my heart rate has learned to love spinning, which I typically take at SWEAT. Being a yoga teacher, I notice that I need some kick-in-the-ass cardio in my life more than I realize! Spinning makes it fun, sometimes hilarious, and at times challenging.”

The Best Self-Care in East Passyunk

Salon: “When — ahem — I had more hair, Mockingbird Salon was, for years, my spot for gettin’ groomed up. I’ve been friends with one of the hairstylists, Nichol, and the owner Heidi, for many years. The informal conversation and relaxed vibe is always a treat.”

Place you go for self-care: “My wife and I are urban dwellers who’s bodies, minds, and spirits crave nature. When I can’t get out of the city, I do this to find calm and connection: Stroll by the East Passyunk Crossing Community Garden, walk past the Passyunk Garden by Capitolo Playground, and, if it’s colder outside, stop by our friends at Urban Jungle to take in many varieties of Mother Earth energy.”

The Best Outdoor Fun in East Passyunk

Nearby walking route: “I do a walking form of meditation everyday. One of my favorite spots to do this is all along 13th Street, which is surprisingly tree-lined for South Philly and, in spring and summer, there are flowers galore. Walking south 13th to Reed Street runs you right into our favorite lil’ dog park at Columbus Square, where we take our pup at least once a week and where I can stop by the Tasty for a coffee or snack.”

Park: “The South Philly Park life is where it’s at! Since we live in a third floor apartment and don’t have a yard, the squares, parks, and restaurants around the avenue with outdoors seating are our backyard. [We like] going to the farmers’ market or meeting a friend for some conversation at the Singing Fountain or getting some shade while eating takeout at the tree-covered triangle at East Passyunk Avenue and Mifflin Street.”

Annual festivals: “East Passyunk Avenue is a city-wide destination for festivals. We are blessed to have so many great events each and every year. It’s difficult to pick just one, but Flavors of the Avenue is a foodies dream come true, and The East Passyunk Car Show and Street Festival are both high up on the list.”

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