How to Satisfy Your Post-Concert Drunken Appetite.
It’s been more than three years since we last informed you about the best places to grab food late at night after concerts and after the bars have closed. Things have changed a bit. Places have come and gone.
So, we dispatched writer Brendan Menapace to find investigate the drunk food scene.
Philadelphia is huge. Like, really huge. So, when you’re stumbling out of a bar in a neighborhood you aren’t familiar with—or worse, you are visiting the city—how are you supposed to find that perfect meal to soak up the countless citywide specials you slammed?
Ask your friends? We tried that. We got a lot of answers like, “We got to this sub place after Matt’s party, and it was really good. I can’t remember the name or where it was.”
You could ask the Internet. We did that, too. What we got was essentially a map of the best Wawa’s in Greater Philadelphia, a few (not even subtle) sexual jokes and snark like, “You’re the journalist. Do your own damn research”
So, with what little information we could source from our friends and Internet groups, plus our own experiences of wandering through the night in search of a greasy bastion of hope, we’ve cobbled together some of the major spots to satisfy your drunken appetites in this big old city.
Without question, the highest number of recommendations were for the late night food trucks on Girard at Frankford Avenue. These were pure gold until the city shut them down last month. Located right across from Johnny Brenda’s, they were in the perfect location for anyone finishing a long night at any of the area’s numerous music venues.
While it kind of looks like a vacant lot, El Heffe is a great taco spot right in the middle of the action of Fishtown. With some off kilter options, like a variation of poutine, it’s hardly your run-of-the-mill taco spot. And they serve food until 3 am on the weekends.
The second-most recommended spot was Little Pete’s in Center City. The spot earns big points for its location. It also earns big points for its hours: it’s open for all 24 of them. No matter how bad your night out was, no matter how many girls shot you down at Smith’s in favor of the dudes who look like Leo in “Wolf of Wall Street,” and no matter how many times you got kicked in the head at the show at the Church, there’s nothing that a chicken parm sandwich at 4 a.m. can’t fix.
David’s Mai Lah Wah has gotten hype from the likes of Esquire. Located at 10th and Race streets, the Chinatown staple is a great place to get some late-night Chinese. My friend Danny’s experience might sum it up best:
“I like it because the server wouldn’t give us extra rice when we asked. He said, ‘No, too much.’ And he was right. We didn’t finish all of our awesome food. So that guy could have taken more money from us, but I guess he was thinking of all the starving kids we hear so much about. Also, open until 3 a.m.”
For those looking for something more ethnic (and aren’t afraid of food with a little kick), Spice End in Rittenhouse is known for Indian and Halal dishes. They are open until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
South Philly is a weird place. The neighborhoods are gentrifying but they haven’t really changed, either. It’s also full of all-night diners.
Broad Street Diner, located right next to the Ellsworth-Federal subway stop on South Broad Street is exactly what you’d expect. You get classic diner food at any hour in a ‘60s-looking place.
Similarly, the Melrose Diner, just west of the Snyder subway station, is also open all night and it’s located right by a strip club, which my friends swear they don’t frequent. (I’m sure they also read Playboy for the articles.) Also, Philly pop punkers The Wonder Years named a song after it.
Located right in the 9th Street Italian Market, Prima Pizza definitely wins the award for most misleading name. This “pizza” joint is really an authentic Mexican joint. While they do have some pizza (including Mexican-influenced pizzas), they’re known more for their tacos and burritos.
Finally, what we believe to be the granddaddy of all drunk foods is the Philly Taco. It involves a cheesesteak from Jim’s (which also involves waiting in a line that sometimes stretches around the block) and then crossing the street to Lorenzo’s and grabbing one of their giant slices of pizza. Now, wrap the cheesesteak in the pizza and try your best. If that doesn’t soak up some of that booze, we don’t know what will.