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In The News

July 25, 2022 — Congratulations to our friends at Rex at The RoyalThe Pathfinder Hemp and RootAtelier Bianca SposaEast Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement DistrictLatchkey, and SNACKTIME for snagging coveted spots in Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly 2022, as well as Assembly Rooftop Lounge and Forsythia for being honored in Philly’s Best of Style 2022!

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PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE’S BEST OF PHILLY 2022 

2022 New Use of Soft Pretzels — Soft Pretzel and Crab Fondue at Rex at The Royal 

“If you were born here, you’ve been weaned on soft pretzels since your first tooth. But have you had them as a vehicle for hunks of crabmeat swimming in a gooey cheese dip? Buttery soft pretzels — think less butter than an Auntie Anne’s but more than a Pretzel Factory — are dusted with Old Bay and sesame seeds. Use them to scoop up sauce made with Cooper, gruyère and provolone cheeses. It tastes like Whiz got a job, moved out of mom’s basement, and now vacations exclusively in the Swiss Alps.” 

1524 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146; rexphl.com 

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2022 Zero-Proof Spirit — The Pathfinder Hemp and Root

“This new Philly-born N/A spirit is made with fermented-then-distilled hemp (sans cannabinoids) and infused with botanicals. On its own, it kind of tastes like a can of root beer picked you a bouquet of flowers — which is to say, a little sweet, floral and surprising. Drink it like an amaro by itself, or mix about two ounces with lemon juice and seltzer for a very good N/A spritz. And if you’d rather have a bartender make a great cocktail for you, the Volstead in Manayunk is this year’s best zero-proof bar.” 

drinkthepathfinder.com/ 

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2022 Bridal Designer — Bianca de Pietro

“It took this formally trained designer six years — and yards of tulle — to hand-make her first bridal line, but it was worth every stitch. The 13-piece Euro-inspired collection offers gowns of silk duchesse satin, organza, chiffon and tulle. Every look is customizable: Removable skirts snap on and off, and there are detachable sleeves and trains and various colors. Beaded lace florets add a romantic air to skirts, and sweetheart backs bring an exquisite touch to your last look.” 

234 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106; atelier-bianca.com/ 

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EAST PASSYUNK IMPROVEMENT BUSINESS DISTRICT 

2022 Place to Show Off Philly’s Restaurant Scene — Gabriella’s Vietnam

“If you want to brag about what makes our city’s dining scene so juicy in a single restaurant experience, take an out-of-town pal to this family-run Vietnamese spot. What with drinking BYO chilled wine on the summer sidewalk, a calm but cool South Philly neighborhood scene, and some of the greatest vermicelli platters and sizzling catfish you’ll eat during your years on Planet Earth, Gabriella’s Vietnam makes us feel luckier to live in Philly every time we visit.”

1837 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148; gabriellasvietnam.com

2022 Birria — Juana Tamale

“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/

2022 New Brewery — Cartesian Brewing

“For years, we’d walk by this garage just south of Pat’s, press our faces to the windows, and look for signs of progress. Years of thirsty waiting finally paid off last fall when Cartesian rolled up its doors and started pouring pints of tart saisons and malty ambers. We’re partial to the Concrete Picnic, a spring ale that comes in at a this-beer-still-has-flavor-but-won’t-put-you-on-your-ass 5.8 percent ABV.”

1326 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147; cartesianbrewing.com

2022 Place for a “Just One More Margarita” Kind of Night — Cantina Los Caballitos

“A good summer evening involves sitting on an outdoor patio and exchanging jaw-dropping gossip over chicken enchiladas and maybe a little tequila. But when we’re at Cantina Los Caballitos and someone passes by with a refreshing passion fruit (or cucumber, or guava, or whatever) margarita in a gorgeous hand-blown glass, how could we possibly say no to another one? Or three?”

1651 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148; cantinaloscaballitos.com/

2022 Impromptu Zoo — ILLExotics

“You wouldn’t know it from looking at the outside, but East Passyunk’s ILLExotics is basically a free reptile and amphibian house. Gawk at tank after tank of chameleons, frogs, tortoises, and all kinds of exotic lizards. Chat up the store’s experts if you want to learn more about them, or just sit on the floor and get close enough to peer into their cold, creepy eyes.”

1704-06 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148; illexotics.com/

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2022 80’s and 90’s Vinyl Store — Latchkey

This quirky shop owned by a former DJ is all that and a bag of chips — the best place to relive your misspent youth or buy some gifts for the millennial in your life. Browse a curated selection of vinyl records (from Britney Spears to Das EFX) as well as items like custom bath bombs and turntables. In true ’90s fashion, there’s a listening station at the front, so you can try before you buy.” 

1502 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147; Shoplatchkey.com 

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2022 Band — SNACKTIME

“What started in the early days of the pandemic as a bunch of horn players and a drummer who would set up shop in Rittenhouse Square and South Philly to bring joy to the neighbors has become the coolest and hardest-to-book band in town. They just dropped their debut album, Sounds from the Street: Live, which is a must for your summer backyard playlist. Find them in September at the XPoNential Festival in Camden.” 

snacktimephilly.com 

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PHILLY’S BEST OF STYLE 2022

Best Outdoor Dining — Assembly Rooftop Lounge

“Bubbly cocktails and reservation-only lounge seating makes Assembly a top spot for summer happy hours.”

1840 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19103; assemblyrooftop.com

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Best Inspired Flavors — Forsythia

“Chef-owner Chef Christopher Kearse wows the Old City set with contemporary riffs on classic French recipes.”

233 Chestnut St, Philadelphia PA 19105; forsythiaphilly.com

-Hannah Church