Thanks to the power of social media (Twitter), I learned what Bloghouse is today. According to the website:
BlogHouse is a four-day/three-night opportunity to live, work, and learn in a small group environment with both experienced and novice bloggers. Participants spend time learning from members of Navigate Media Group on a large variety of topics such as working with public relations and brands, website optimization, photography, video production, writing, WordPress tips, monetization, and much more. This is a low-stress, high-giving environment for a close mentoring experience.
Basically a blogger conference. Not sure how Bloghouse never made it on my radar before today. Perhaps because the event is geared towards travel bloggers? I’m a food blogger, after all, and we have our own conferences for that kind of thing. But still.
In any case, I’m happy that I learned about Bloghouse because as my fellow travel bloggers can appreciate, it’s giving me fodder to write an article chock full of original content – USEFUL, HELPFUL content – that might drive a few more eyeballs to my humble little blog here. Plus I also love to help travelers and first-timers to Philadelphia to explore the local food scene so they don’t have to hit up chain restaurants or the cliche spots. It will be impossible for you to take it all in during your stay, of course. Hopefully this little guide can be a start for you.
So welcome to Philadelphia… Bloghousers!? Can I call you that? Ahem.
Seriously, you guys are in for a real treat. Not only is Philadelphia incredibly historic (duh) but there’s TONS of great food here! From old favorites offering familiar comfort fare, to the latest, hippest spots to be seen — we got whatever you fancy. We have Iron Chefs (Jose Garces) and Top Chefs (Kevin Sbraga, Nicholas Elmi). I could go on and on, but I digress.
The tweet that started it all:
Like any out-of-towner would, Sherry Ott, of Ott’s World, was wondering where she could find a cheesesteak while in town. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that, I could afford a few cheesesteaks! Anyway, Sarah Hawkins Miduski tagged me on Sherry’s query.
At first, I recommended Sonny’s Steaks in Old City. Because honestly, Old City is the most touristy neighborhood in the city, and as travelers, I guessed you might want to visit the landmarks and whatnot while you’re in town. Sonny’s would be exceptionally easy to get to from 5th & Market. Yes, it’s a bit of a tourist trap, but convenient.
Please note: I refrain, where possible, from referring visitors to the usual suspects — I don’t think I have to say their names, do I?
Then it dawned on me that you guys are going to have a full day of blogger learning and networking at the host location Sonesta Philadelphia near the Rittenhouse Square area. While some may be more adventurous and want to travel to various neighborhoods in our fair city, I should probably point you to a few spots around the hotel. You’re in luck, because there are a TON of great food options just within a few blocks of the hotel!
For bloggers wanting a cheesesteak closer to the hotel, check out Cleavers at 108 S. 18th Street. It’s basically 1 block away. They have beef, chicken, and veggie steaks too.
If you’re craving something more on the gourmet side, don’t miss Di Bruno Bros, a true gourmet emporium, at 1730 Chestnut Street. Sort of like Eataly in NYC, but smaller. Lots of delicious sandwiches and other goodies to be found here. You’ll thank me!
Other quick-serve / fast casual spots in the neighborhood are HipCity Veg (vegan stuff) at 127 S. 18th Street, Hai Street Kitchen (can you say sushi burritos!?!) at 32 S. 18th Street, Luke’s Lobster (lobster rolls!) at 130 S. 17th Street, Shake Shake (burgers!) at 2000 Sansom Street, Dizengoff (hummus galore!) at 1625 Sansom Street, Wok Street (Southeast Asian Bowls) at 1518 Chestnut Street, or Federal Donuts (fried chicken & donuts realness!) at 1632 Sansom Street. (FedNuts! FedNuts!)
Want to sit down and get served? Try one of these slick spots: The Dandelion (British pub!) at 18th & Sansom, a.kitchen + bar (contemporary bistro) at 135 S. 18th Street, Square 1682 (sustainable New American; nice brunch spot!) at 121 S. 17th Street, Dan Dan (modern Taiwanese) at 126 S. 16th Street, Vernick Food & Drink (up$cale American) at 2031 Walnut Street, Monk’s Cafe (Belgian gastropub) at 264 S. 16th Street, Pizzeria Vetri (pizza!) at 1615 Chancellor Street, Bar Bombon (plant-based Puerto Rican) at 133 S. 18th Street, or walk a short distance to Urban Farmer (steakhouse) at 1850 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. (I will be revisiting this!)
Something sweet? You gotta try Capogiro Gelato at 117 S. 20th Street. ‘Nuff said.
Drinks only? Franklin Bar (classic cocktails with a twist) at 112 S. 18th Street.
If you still want to stay in Center City but still within reasonable walking distance of the hotel, hop over to the other side of Broad Street and consider these spots:
Bru Craft & Wurst (German bierhall) at 1316 Chestnut Street, Pennsylvania 6 (contemporary American bistro) at 114 S 12th Street, Vedge (all vegetable restaurant) at 1221 Locust Street, Bud & Marilyn’s (Retro American) at 1234 Locust Street, Sampan (Modern Asian) at 124 S. 13th Street, or McMillin’s Old Ale House (Philly’s oldest bar!) at 1310 Drury Lane — hard to find, but worth it!
Drinks only? Check out Charlie was a sinner (vegan drinks at that!) at 131 S. 13th Street, Fergie’s Pub (low brow pub!) at 1214 Sansom Street, Time (whiskey bar!) at 1315 Sansom Street, or Rosewood (craft cocktails) at 1302 Walnut Street.
If you’re looking for something specific (cuisine-wise), or you’re looking to explore other neighborhoods and go off the beaten path, just tweet at me or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let me know what you’re thinking or in the mood for and I will do my best to oblige!
Whatever you do, wherever you go — enjoy your stay in Philadelphia! If you hit up a spot not listed here, let me know – feel free to tag me! I’ll also try to add to this when I find time tomorrow.
FYI — I’ll be at Sonesta’s Art Bar tomorrow night. This was scheduled weeks ago – so a mere coincidence. 😄