Six Pop-Ups in Philly You Really Must Try This Summer
You don't have to know every pop-up in town, but you do have to know these.
There are a lot of pop-ups happening in Philly right now — folks who’ve been displaced from the restaurant industry over the last year, folks who are trying out a business of their own, folks who want their own creative outlet — people are starting these small businesses for all kinds of reasons. And it can be tough to keep track. Some places require preordering, some places don’t allow it. All the locations, ordering systems, and ever-changing lineups are difficult to keep straight. And while pop-ups tend to come and go, below we’re highlighting six of our favorites. These are places that are worth putting in your calendar and going out of your way to try. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
When Ange Branca closed Saté Kampar last year, we all mourned the loss of her perfect Malaysian BYOB. Luckily, she didn’t take much time off, instead turning her business acumen and taste for delicious food into Kampar Kitchen, a kind of pop-up host meant to nurture some of the city’s best up-and-coming chefs. Each night of the week, customers have the option of ordering a takeout meal from a different chef. The chefs shift occasionally, but the recent rotation includes Jacob Trinh’s Vietnamese-inspired food, Sri Lankan food from Melissa Fernando’s Sri’s Company pop-up, Haitian food from chef Chris Paul’s Lakay pop-up, and much more. Right now, they’re also running a fundraiser to benefit an organization helping with COVID relief in Malaysia. For $30, you’ll get a box of handheld treats from some of the city’s best restaurants, including Kalaya, Second Daughter Bakery, and more. Sign up for their newsletter through the website to stay up to date.
After almost a decade of cooking (mostly Italian food) in some of the best kitchens in Philadelphia and around the world, Amanda Shulman is testing the waters in Philadelphia for a more permanent project with Her Place, a part-restaurant, part-dinner party concept, run out of a restaurant space in Rittenhouse Square. Wednesday through Saturday nights, she, along with two lovely servers and a dishwasher, hosts two seatings of about 18 guests, serving a super-seasonal, delightfully local menu of inspired twists on classic dishes. Tickets are $65 a person for six or seven courses, served family-style to a backdrop of good music, friendly service, and some of the best Italian-ish food in the city. Tickets go on sale every Sunday at 6 p.m., and the pop-up should last through August, at which point we’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what Shulman does next.
Chance Anies has been cooking up his take on Filipino classics since 2019, when he started out doing the occasional pop-up from his street cart. Nowadays, it seems like he’s everywhere — find him popping up weekly at the Wissahickon Brewing Company, at Clark Park every Thursday evening, and several times a month at Herman’s Coffee Bar. The menu is concise, but with something for everyone: his vegan Laing, a coconut-braised kale with ginger and tons of garlic, is just as delicious as the bistek chistek, a Filipino-inflected cheesesteak with soy-marinated beef, fried onions and house made cheese wiz.
Super Curry Fun Club
On the first Tuesday of every month, Neighborhood Ramen owners Lindsay Steigerwald and Jesse Pryor transform their ramen shop into a Japanese curry and katsu pop-up serving seasonally inspired takes on classic Japanese dishes. Recent specials include a summer curry with zucchini and corn, a beef curry-topped hot dog, a ham and cheese katsu sandwich, and potato gyoza. It’s always delicious, always fun, and it always sells out, so place your order as soon as you can.
Amaryllis Rivera-Nassar shows up regularly all over the city, selling her Puerto Rican pastelillo’s, a stuffed and fried dough pocket that she fills with beef, chicken, and pork, among other items. She started out in 2018, and has now scaled enough to increase her menu options to include finish-at-home pastelillos that come frozen, ready to stock your freezer for a rainy day. Find her at Riverwards Produce, Herman’s Coffee Bar, Mina’s World, and more spots throughout the city.
Nardone Pasta Co.
James Nardone started his pasta pop-up in late 2020 and has been rolling some of the city’s best handmade pasta ever since. What started as takeout-only affairs all over the city have now transitioned into dine-in events, like an all-you-can-eat pasta party at Ortlieb’s, or a fancy-vibes Italian dinner at the Maas building. They’re slowly adding more non-pasta based items, but their hand rolled and stuffed pastas remain a favorite.