How Philly’s coolest hometown hero just got cooler, in four steps: 1) Directed the riveting Summer of Soul. 2) Won an Oscar for it. 3) Gave an unruffled (heartfelt, human) acceptance speech mere moments after Will Smith’s slap heard ’round the world. 4) Admitted he missed the whole shebang because he’d been meditating. At the Oscars. Questo forever!
Once you eat Jennifer Zavala’s crisp-edged, dripping birria tacos, you’ll think of them weekly. These beefy pockets don’t come cheap — an order of three costs $21 — but knowing the staff is being well-paid for its labor, plus the exceptional quality of the food, should be enough to keep you coming back time after time. 1941 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148, juana-tamale.square.site.
After winning first place — and a $500,000 investment — at the Richard King Mellon Foundation’s pitch competition in January, co-founders Courtney Bragg and Allister Chang’s Philly-based for-profit, which provides health-care information, prescription-cost help, and state insurance enrollment aid to laundromat customers waiting out their dryers and spin cycles, announced plans to expand to Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. fabrichealth.org.
Heading into this year’s Boston Marathon, Roecker had 11 other marathons under her belt — an accomplishment on its own. This year, though, she decided to run for more than just herself. To raise money to support the mental health of those in her profession, the Penn outpatient surgical nurse ran all 26.2 miles in her scrubs. Donations poured in to the tune of $52,400 — 2,000 bucks a mile.
The only thing that can make us feel better after paying to fill up our tank at this Phillips 66 station? The divine $2.80 pupusas and $12 (for four!) taco platters the women behind the grill are slinging. Naturally, you’ll want to wash that all down with a glass bottle of Mexican Coke. Next time you’re on your way down the Shore, this is more than worth the quick-ish detour. 12 White Horse Pike, Clementon, NJ 08021, .
Thanks to a brand-new $2 million restaurant, bar and concert-venue development at the Cape May ferry terminal (where you can hop a boat to Lewes, Delaware), New Jersey’s southernmost shore has had some much-needed new life breathed in. At Ferry Park, get cocktails at Boat Drinks, brews and casual fare at Exit Zero, and steaks and seafood (and peerless views) at the Lookout. When it’s time for bed or just relaxing by the pool or sea, stay at La Mer Beachfront Resort for the most fashionable oceanfront suites in town. Before you head back home, kick it old-school at the Lobster House’s locals-heavy breakfast counter — if you can get a stool.
Eight-buck wood-fired margherita pizzas, $7 spritzes, $5 arancini plates, a white marble bar, and a room that looks like a mustachioed bartender and a millennial plant collector chic-ified a grandmother’s house: What more could you possibly require from a Tuesday? 112 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, prunellaphl.com.
Whether your offspring aspire to be the next Top Chef or can’t even make a PB&J, they’ll have fun learning their way around the kitchen at Hudson Table. From parent-and-kiddo classes to after-school workshops (think: holiday treats and Disney-inspired menus) to week-long summer camps structured like a mini culinary school, your kids will pick up some cooking skills (including — gulp — knife work) and confidence. Heck, maybe they’ll cook you dinner for once. 1001 North 2nd Street, unit 1, Philadelphia, PA 19123, hudsontable.com/philadelphia/kids-classes.
Thirteen years after she lost her first Grammy nomination to Adele, the R&B singer, who lives just outside the city these days, finally scored two earlier this year for her groundbreaking album Heaux Tales. Well-deserved and long overdue. See her on day one of Made In America in September. jazminesullivanmusic.com.
Along with Jeff Goldblum’s filmography and the bathroom jokes in Ulysses, this apricot-adorned spot fits into the highbrow/lowbrow category that makes daily existence more enjoyable. Mish Mish doesn’t take itself too seriously — the wine list has tasting notes like “red silk pajamas” and “gabagoolian” — yet the hospitality is as finely tuned as at any upscale spot. So if you ever need to create the illusion that you’re chill and have great taste, book a table, order some grilled octopus with muhammara, then sit by the Singing Fountain and discuss your hopes and fears and the Jawn Morgan billboards on I-95. 1046 Tasker Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148, mishmishphilly.com.
Are you sick of dating apps? Do you long to meet a man under the train tracks whom you can sporadically smooch for two months before eventually deleting his phone number? Look no further than El Bar in Fishtown, a place where the pool table is always occupied, two Citywides cost $10, and the pinball machine is Shrek-themed. El Bar simultaneously attracts a crowd of people who have probably been divorced twice and swear the place is “the last real bar in the neighborhood, sweetie” and 20-somethings who watch Curb Your Enthusiasm and seem fine. Enjoy. 1356 North Front Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122, instagram.com/theelbarphilly.
Outside magazine crowned this Bala Cynwyd guy the “World’s Fastest 70-Year-Old” for running a 2:54 marathon in 2018. Last year, at 73, he combusted the 50K record for runners his age, shaving off 19 minutes. Dykes, whose pace and stamina are such that researchers have subjected him to batteries of investigative tests, calls himself the “Ultrageezer.” “Don’t be afraid of getting old,” he counseled after his 3:56:43 50K. His secret? “I never stretch.”
Càphê Roasters has everything you’d expect from a great coffee shop: caffeine, sun-soaked couches, strong wi-fi. But they also serve some of the best Vietnamese food in town, like fried chicken bánh mì and roasted tomato egg sandwiches. Not to mention coffee from barista and roaster Thu Pham that ranges from Viet drinks topped with sweet whipped egg custard to lattes inspired by Asian cereals. 3400 J Street, G1, Philadelphia, PA 19134, capheroasters.com.
Fast-casual joints are about as riveting as a half-flaccid traffic cone reserving a parking spot. But this Nigerian restaurant in Northern Liberties operates in its own lane, serving a menu of grilled and yaji-rubbed proteins heavy on peanuts, paprika and scorching cayenne. Customize a bowl for takeout (or sit inside with your laptop and some generously provided wi-fi) for what’s by far the best lunch you’ll eat all week. 400 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19123, suyasuya.co.
For the past year, chef Jose Garces has enlisted the likes of Poi Dog’s Kiki Aranita, Little Fish’s Alex Yoon, and Juana Tamale’s Jennifer Zavala to showcase their skills through a series of six-week residencies. The additional perk? The Garces Foundation is matching the first $5,000 raised by diners to support the guest-chefs’ current and future restaurant projects. 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, philadelphia.volverrestaurant.com.