Philadelphia

Philly Chefs Recommend Their Favorite Local Grocery Stores

Avoid the lines and shop local.

Courtesy of Steve Legato
Courtesy of Steve Legato
Courtesy of Steve Legato

As Philadelphia restaurants continue to embrace locally sourced menus, their chefs can teach us a thing or two about how important it is to grocery shop within the community. Whether they’re hunting down rare ingredients or connecting with regional farmers, these chefs have been supporting small businesses long before coronavirus made it an imperative. 

Aimee Olexy, owner of Talula’s Garden and The Love, is dedicated to building community through food with a seasonal, local approach, and you can frequently find her shopping at the Headhouse Farmers’ Market and Essene Market and Cafe. “I have always been a massive farmers’ market proponent,” she says. “It’s a collection of some of the greatest foodstuffs in Philadelphia.” Her own gourmet specialty shop, Talula’s Table, continues to serve pre-packaged dinners, house-baked bread, and artisanal cheese during the shutdown. 

For Matt Rodrigue, head chef at Marc Vetri’s newly opened Fiorella, the quick pivot to takeout has been a challenge. “Our life was cut short as a restaurant,” he says, “We were open only four weeks, and we had a lot of momentum going.” But he finds solace in sourcing local ingredients from spots like Iovine Brothers Produce, Green Meadow Farm, and Hung Vuong Supermarket. Olexy and Rodrigue shared more about their favorite grocery spots in the city, covering everything from authentic Italian markets to health food stores and everything in between.

Iovine Brothers Produce
Iovine Brothers Produce
Iovine Brothers Produce

Iovine Brothers Produce 

Reading Terminal Market 
Located within Reading Terminal Market, this family-operated produce market sells cold-pressed juices, healthy snacks, and hard-to-find fruit and vegetables. “It’s the place to go for mushrooms you can’t get from Whole Foods or Acme — trumpet, maitake — moderately priced mushrooms that are really delicious and hard to find in other places,” says Rodrigue. While the shop is currently open Mon-Sat from 8-5pm, you can get online delivery via Mercato, or set up a time for curbside pickup

Green Meadow Farm

Lancaster County
Another way to get farm-fresh produce is by ordering farmer’s boxes online. Green Meadow Farm, located near the town of Gap, Pennsylvania, is putting together a weekly farm share that can be ordered via email or phone and picked up at various restaurants in Philly, like Sidecar Bar & Grille. “It’s ramp season, so part of your farm box might have ramps in it, which is pretty neat,” Rodrigue says. “People can usually only get those if they go to a restaurant.”

The Food Trust
The Food Trust
The Food Trust

Headhouse Farmers’ Market

Headhouse Square 
Olexy makes an excursion to the Headhouse Farmers’ Market every Sunday to work her Talula’s Table stand and do some personal shopping. Once a beautifully frenzied environment, the market is now safely sectioned off, with an early opening for elderly shoppers. “To think that you can get some seasonal veggies and a couple pounds of scallops during this crazy time, it’s kind of like a beacon of light,” she adds. Some of her favorite producers include Shore Catch for fresh seafood, Birchrun Hills for blue cheese, and Morganics for oatmeal.

Claudio Specialty Foods 

South Philly
If you’re looking for all things Italian, and you want to try something other than Di Bruno Brothers, Claudio Specialty Foods is the place to go. “Before Fiorella opened, I went there all the time, but I also made sure to do business with them as a restaurant,” Rodrigue says. The store is packed with great olive oils and vinegars, as well as secret ingredient sauces, like the fish-based Colatura, which according to Rodrigue, is starting to gain popularity. “The owner, Sal, is awesome. He runs the store with his sons — I think one of them is also named Sal,” he says. “He has a little bit of that so-called South Philly in him, but at the same time he’s extremely warm and very knowledgeable.” Claudio’s is currently up and running, open every day of the week. 

The Love.
The Love.
The Love.

Essene Market and Cafe 

Queen Village 
Olexy describes Essene as an “old-school, hippie” natural food store, perfect for special grains and lentils. “It’s vegetarian, but even if you’re not vegetarian, it’s a great place to go to for nice pasta or couscous,” she says. You can also find a deli filled with seasonal fare as well as a dairy-free bakery. Essene is open everyday from 8am-9pm. 

Hung Vuong Supermarket 

Bella Vista
This Vietnamese market is your go-to for miso, seaweed, live seafood, and fresh produce. Just be prepared to spend at least an hour getting distracted by its massive aisles. Make sure to check out the roasted meats counter, rare Vietnamese snacks, and great pricing on produce. Just know beforehand that this place is best described as a plaza. “The outside belies how huge it is in there,” says Rodrigue. Hung Vuong is open everyday from 8am-9:30pm. 

Primal Supply Meats
Primal Supply Meats
Primal Supply Meats

Primal Supply Meats Butcher Shop

East Passyunk, Brewerytown
As one of the most well-known butchers in Philadelphia, the woman-owned Primal Supply houses pasture-raised meats from regional farmers. “The butchers there are really knowledgeable,” Rodrigue says. “If there’s a cut that they might not have, they can produce it for you if you give them an hour or two.” While the shops in East Passyunk and Brewerytown are closed for walk-in retail, they are open for web order pickups and are offering contactless home delivery. 

Isgro Pastries

Bella Vista
“I live right near Isgro,” Rodrigue says. “Every morning, I get to wake up to the smell of pastry.” A South Philly staple that’s been open for more than 100 years, Isgro Pastries is known for its traditional towering cakes and ricotta cannoli. While the physical bakery is closed, you can order delivery through Caviar, Uber Eats, and Mercato. Be sure to pick up an at-home cannoli kit, which comes with six shells, ricotta filling, chocolate chips, and a pastry bag to fill.Sign up here for our daily Philly email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Jessica Sulima is an editorial assistant at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicasulima

Philadelphia

Museum Exhibits in Philly to Check Out Before They Disappear

Get in some culture (and selfies) at the best art exhibits in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

From the historical to the artistic, Philadelphia is jam packed with museums. Art aficionados of all ages can get lost inside the likes of tourist-friendly museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of the American Revolution or feast their eyes on unique exhibitions at institutions like the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Museum for Art In Wood.

Between big-ticket exhibitions honouring the House of Mouse to collections showcasing the legacy of a prominent Black family in early America, there’s plenty of material to dig into. After you’ve planned a date night and rounded up friends to explore the city, here are the most exciting museum exhibits in Philly right now-before they’re gone for good.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Franklin Institute

Exhibition: Disney 100: The Exhibition
Mickey Mouse, you look good for your age. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Disney is a retrospective exhibition, which got its world premiere right here in Philly. Between rarely-seen artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and interactive installations where you can listen to hit Disney songs, the exhibit is a Disney lover’s wish-upon-a-star-come-true.
Dates: Until August 27, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Monday through Sunday. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS

Academy of Natural Sciences

Exhibition: Conversations With Birds
No, not an allusion to the Eagles, this exhibition is dedicated to actual birds, their migration patterns, and humans’ relationship with avian creatures. Expect avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers along with an interactive exhibit showing five migratory birds that pass through the Philadelphia region on their seasonal passage between North and South America.
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

The Barnes Foundation

Exhibition: Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember
The work of two contemporary South African artists-Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye-are shown side by side, offering a cross-generational dialogue. Both artists utilize video installations, photographs, sculptural installations, and textiles “to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities.”
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Exhibition: The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
Exploring the rapid change of societal issues in America since 2020-antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights-Jonathan Horowitz designed installations inspired by recent occurrences. His works explore specific events like the infamous far-right rally from white supremacists in Charlottesville as well as recent themes in American history, like attacks on those within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dates: Until July 4, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Friday through Sunday. Admission is available online and at the door.

Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol

The Museum for Art In Wood

Exhibition: The Mashrabiya Project
The newly renamed Museum for Art in Wood (formerly The Center for Art In Wood) celebrates the rebrand with a brand new project. Focusing on mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic architectural design, The Mashrabiya Project is a first of its kind effort in the U.S. to examine this aesthetic. As a part of the larger mission, a new exhibition Seeing Through Space features newly-commissioned, never-before-seen works by six female-identifying artists.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are not required.

Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Exhibition: Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange
Combining painting and sculpture, Henry Taylor utilized recycled objects in this exhibition, the product of an 18-month residency. The entire second floor of the museum houses the large scale assemblages, tapestries, and textiles. Think: 30-foot billowing canvases and towering totems created from compressed blocks of paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available but advanced registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition: Judith Joy Ross
More than 200 photographs from renowned portrait photographer Judith Joy Ross will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chronicling her career from the 1980s to today. Her black-and-white portraits are intimate reflections of everyday Americans, and this show features work from all her major projects, plus, never-before-seen images.
Dates: April 24 to August 6, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

American Swedish Historical Museum

Exhibition: Radically Marimekko
Famous for their bright and bold fabrics, Finnish textiles, clothing, and home furnishings, the company Marimekko is showcased at this special exhibit. Drawing attention to Finnish design, the collection traces the brand’s path from industrial art house to fashion icon.
Dates: March 30 to September 24, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and African American Museum in Philadelphia

Exhibition: Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America
A collaboration between the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PAFA, Rising Sun showcases new work from 20 artists examining the question of Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? With pieces shown in both museums, visitors can reflect on, challenge, and expand their view of democracy through art.
Dates: March 23 to October 8, 2023
How to visit: The African American Museum in Philadelphia is open Thursday through Sunday; admission is available online and at the door. PAFA is open Thursday through Sunday; admission can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Exhibition: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
James Forten may not be a familiar name within early American history, but this new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution is looking to change that. Telling the story of Forten and his family through 100 historical artifacts, Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement.
Dates: Until November 26, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open daily. Admission is available online and at the door.

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center

Exhibition: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote
That lofty document known as the Constitution and its values, interpretations, and amendments are explored in great detail at the National Constitution Center, naturally. This semi-permanent exhibit examines the 19th Amendment-the one which granted women the right to vote-and the road to its ratification. Out of the near 100 artifacts, expect to see a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
Dates: Semi-permanent, no end date announced
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

M├╝tter Museum

Exhibition: Spit Spreads Death
Eerily topical, the M├╝tter’s latest special exhibit, Spit Spreads Death, an exhibit about the 1918 flu pandemic, opened in the fall of 2019, less than six months before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibit traces the disease’s spread throughout Philadelphia neighbourhoods a century ago and how the pandemic impacted the city with artifacts like photos, newspaper clippings, and more.
Dates: Now through 2024
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Monday. Advanced tickets are required.

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Allie Volpe┬áis a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter:┬á@allieevolpe.

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