It's summer in Philadelphia—the very height of history in America's birthplace. Like any city, our City of Brotherly Love boasts elegant restaurants and sumptuous meals to match the pomp of its opulent July and August fireworks displays, but for visitors searching out traditional fair-weather fare such as hot dogs and burgers, here's a guide to that good stuff, prepped with Philly flair.
The Porch at 30th Street Station
West Philadelphia's University City District, an area united by the grandly expanded campuses of the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, has grown in leaps and bounds, and with that, so has its culinary options. The most fun destination for outdoor food, drink and live music is The Porch, which surrounds Philly's architectural marvel, 30th Street Station. Greenery and beer gardens are highlighted; even more so is the food: giant burgers, rotisserie grilled chicken, juicy porchetta (hand-rolled pork) and lamb shoulder, all from a new food truck, Rotisserie at the Porch, run by Chef Michael Schulson. Then visit the beverage trailer, which features local craft beer (lots of Yards) and cocktails every Wednesday through Saturday from 4 to 9 pm.
At 30th and Market streets, Philadelphia, 215.243.0555
Independence Beer Garden
Schulson strikes again, this time in the heart of Old City's Independence District with a mossy, grassy, wood-beam German bier garten sandwiched between the National Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell. To go with its craft brews—even one created solely for IBG and Schulson with Pennsylvania's Yards Brewery—there is a solid, old-fashioned, outdoor food program of deep-fried chicken in a bucket (or fish 'n' chips, or ribs) served with coleslaw and smoked baked beans. Fried cheese curds made with cheddar and mozzarella, specialty hot dogs, lamb and pita sanwiches and hamburgers round out the sinfully deliciousl offerings. Work it all off playing ping pong and shuffleboard late into the evening.
100 S. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, 215.922.7100
Franklin Square isn't a restaurant, it's one of five green public squares created by Benjamin Franklin during his time in Philadelphia. But here's the thing: This large leafy garden outside of Philly's Northern Liberties 'hood features a merry-go-round, miniature putt-putt golf and Stephen Starr's SquareBurger, where hungry crowds can get hamburgers, giant hot dogs, frozen custard, French fries and the signature Cake Shake, blended with TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpets.
200 Sixth St., Philadelphia, 215.629.4026