No grill? No problem. Celebrate the 4th with some Philly burgers and a little fun at these 5 happenin’ spots this week…
July 4th weekend is upon us, and you can almost smell the most heavenly and unmistakable fragrance of summer: barbecue. But not everyone has access to a grill, or necessarily feels like grilling and entertaining. So if you’ve got no barbecue plans this week but are looking to get out and indulge in the very best of the American summer classic — I’m talking about expertly charred, juicy burgers with that perfect blend of meat and toppings and, oh yes, the bun — here are a few spots worth checking out.
Big things are happening this week at the Navy Yard, where Marc Vetri’s Lo Spiedo is thriving in its first full summer season. Tuesday at 11:45 a.m., the Navy Yard will unveil its new 4.5-acre space, Central Green, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, live music, giveaways, outdoor games and more.
Just a couple of the cool features include a hammock grove and table tennis courts. While you’re checking out the new green space, pop into Lo Spiedo and treat yourself to the delectable dry-aged brisket cheeseburger on a Martin’s seeded bun and topped with Benton’s bacon ($1). If you can get there during happy hour, the brisket cheeseburger is $10 compared to $14 regularly. This Thursday, check out Lo Spiedo’s “Raise a toast to a hero pre-fourth of July event benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project,” with Artisan Cellars and Goose Island taking over the bar and chefs Scott Calhoun and Ned Maddock making some fun food specials to get you ready for the holiday weekend.
DELAWARE RIVER WATERFRONT
From Festival Pier to Spruce Street Harbor Park to Tall Ships, there’s always something going on along the Delaware River waterfront during summer months. And that applies year-round at FringeArts, Philly’s home for groundbreaking performing arts and also now a food destination thanks to its popular onsite restaurant, La Peg, an indoor-outdoor French brasserie located on Columbus Boulevard across from the Race Street Pier. Executive chef Peter Woolsey has crafted one of the city’s more imaginative burgers with the Fringe burger, which features bacon and caramelized onion marmalade, red wine reduction, pickles, corn shoots and a smear of delice de Bourgogne on a brioche bun, all for $9.
The indoor dining room has 45-foot tall ceilings with large windows overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, while the huge outdoor patio offers a European-style beer garden atmosphere and, of course, a great spot to watch the fireworks on the waterfront.
Down along ever-buzzing East Passyunk Ave., we already gave you the scoop about the quick rise of P’unk Burger. Now, the recently reopened Triangle Tavern has entered the scene at the intersection of Passyunk, 10th and Reed and just introduced weekend lunch hours with brunch options. Among the selections generating buzz on the new menu is the Triangle burger. Fans of the Royal Tavern’s staple angus burger (bacon, caramelized onions, smoked gouda, pickled long hots, chile mayonnaise) will experience a similar offering at the Triangle Tavern, which is run by the same owners, Stephen Simons and David Frank.
Be sure to wash down your burger with a goblet ($6-7) or pitcher ($24-29) of adult water ice available in six flavors of shaved ice. Simons and Frank also own the nearby Cantina Los Caballitos on Passyunk, the neighborhood’s premier al fresco spot that introduced the arrival of the Cantina Burger via its social media channels just a couple of weeks ago. The Cantina Burger features 8 ounces of angus with watercress, avocado, tomato, pepper jack cheese and cotija sweet potato fries. Or if you crave something a little simpler, the $5 cheeseburger around the corner at Fountain Porter remains a neighborhood can’t-miss.
Looking for something to do before and after scarfing down your burger? Passyunk Passeggiata takes place along the strip every Wednesday during summer with live music, the Singing Fountain Farmers’ Market from 3-7pm, extended boutique hours and happy hour specials at neighborhood bars and restaurants until 8 p.m. Or if you’re in town this Friday, head over to Dolphin Tavern for a nightcap to catch Cut Copy DJs and dance off those calories.
The popular modern bowling alley, North Bowl, has been a go-to spot in Northern Liberties for the better part of the past decade. A few months ago, the social scene on Oregon Avenue got a boost with the arrival of South Bowl across from Tony Luke’s. South Bowl is almost double the size of its northern branch, with 26 lanes compared to 17 and, of course, all kinds of games plus drink and food options. Among those options are not just the famed tots and pizzas but also a very solid burger starting at $9 with lettuce, tomato and pickle. Choose from 9 different cheeses ($.50 each) including Gruyere, Fontina and Vegan Cheese; as well as 9 different toppings among the likes of sautéed peppers, fried egg, even Taylor pork roll (hello brunch!).
Head on up to South Bowl’s roof deck to catch a view of the Philly skyline, and perhaps some fireworks. Down the street, the Phillies host the Milwaukee Brewers this week at Citizens Bank Park, where two fireworks shows are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday night.
Franklin Square, one of Philadelphia’s original public squares, has plenty of family-friendly events lined up for this week, starting with a free outside screening of Disney’s Big Hero 6 on Monday, June 29, as part of the Wawa Welcome America Philly @ The Movies series. Between noon and 3 p.m. this Friday through Sunday (July 3-5), commemorate America’s 239th birthday just steps from Independence Mall with rounds of Philly Mini Golf, rides around the Parx Liberty Carousel, and the return of the Lightning Bolt Express Train. Of course, you and the kiddies will need to fuel up at some point, so pop into SquareBurger, operated by one of the city’s renowned restaurateurs, Stephen Starr. Open seasonally in Franklin Square from spring time through October, SquareBurger offers no-frills patties grilled on the flattop. Its signature burger comes with American cheese, pickle, onion, ketchup and mustard at $4.95 for a single or $6.95 for a double. Wash it down with the Cake Shake ($5.50), made with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet®, creamy vanilla ice cream, and a slight swirl of butterscotch.