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But the lobster grilled cheese, meatball sandwich, friendly bartenders, and good beer tell me this is a sleeper gem. Recent meals have shown some more moderately priced overtures that should have stronger appeal to the neighborhood, including one of Philly's best burgers and a stellar fried chicken Tuesday deal.
Modo Mio Peter Mc Andrews' raucous Italian BYO is known for tasting-menu values.
But the -per-person weekly event known as Sugo Sunday is one of my favorites, a homespun abbondanza of Italian American classics that hardly spares a crowd-favorite dish, from antipasto platters and crusty house-made bread to the platters of huge meatballs and sausage stewed in red gravy, ricotta-laced lasagna, gnocchi, and piles of garlicky chicken beneath juice-soaked roasted pork.
The Pickled Heron The classically inspired French cooking at this polished townhouse BYOB from chefs Daniela D'Ambrosio and Todd Braley has always seemed a bit expensive and old-school for Frankford Avenue's bargain-minded crowd.
But the still-unreleased spirits aging here - a single-malt whiskey and a birch-infused mead liquor (From the Woods) - are impressive.
Kraftwork Few of Fishtown's pubs are as handsome as this corner bar fitted with hop-leaf-carved saw blades, tiger-maple tables, and a tool motif ode to industrial days past.
Philly Style Bagels Bagel lovers of Philly have rejoiced since this longtime pop-up finally landed a brick-and-mortar store on Palmer Park.
The hand-rolled bagels, which ferment for 38 hours before a boil in Yards IPA, bake to a tawny, chewy crisp that is hands-down my vote for top bagel in town.
It continues to thrive as the Philadelphia Brewing Co., which produces Walt Wit, Kenzinger, and Rowhouse Red, and is also a fun destination for Saturday tours. Part of the Philly’s rising new guard of brewers, Saint Benjamin presents beers that have slowly become a fixture on local taps, with intriguing takes on kölsch (tinted with coffee), stout (with peat smoke) and saison (infused with lavender).
Plans to open a spacious tap room with communal tables and a full kitchen this year should make the brewery a destination, too.
Photos by David Maialetti / Staff Photographer Just as Paul Kimport and William Reed launched Northern Liberties with Standard Tap, their revamp of this former boxer's bar at Frankford and Girard was the spark for Fishtown's revival.