Ever since its first location opened in 1994, very rarely is there a quiet moment at J.D. McGillicuddy's. Crowds watching the Phillies cheer and groan in unison, and members of bachelorette parties dance around groups of old friends meeting for a drink. The only time the noise dips is when the staff brings out plates of the house's flavorful pub food. Wings, burgers, pizzas, and nachos fill the menu, with East Coast twists such as Old Bay seasoning and jumbo lump crabmeat. Each spacious location has also been known to host special events, from DJ-spun theme nights and pub crawls to Easter breakfasts.
Malucci's Brick Oven Pizza has three locations, and the chefs at each bake their namesake food to the proper melty, crispy state alongside other Italian dishes. They cover their specialty pizzas in toppings such as buffalo chicken cheesesteak, broccoli ranch, or taco: a loaded concoction of steak, blue cheese, cheddar, and hot sauce. Malucci's staff also toasts calzones and sandwiches such as a sub with sweet sausage, grilled broccoli rabe, and provolone. The cooks cover their chicken wings with hot honey, garlic, or Caribbean jerk sauces, ensuring that their wings are never as bland as a report on the optimal width of parking lot paint lines.
Tony Altomare’s Italian eatery crafts Neapolitan-style pizzas with freshly made dough and homemade sauces, gaining accolades such as the title of best pizza from the Philly Hot List in 2010. Diners can peruse the menu and sink teeth into one of the pre-designed pies, such as the mozzarella-, basil-, and tomato-sauce-adorned margherita pizza ($13.99 for a large), or the romano pizza splattered with pepperoni, sausage, philly steak, and bacon ($15.99 for a large). The grilled eggplant and verdant fillings of the veggie delight wrap ($6.59) offer a tastier alternative to nibbling on various houseplants; a buffalo chicken stromboli ($7.59–$15.59) or one of the homemade hoagies ($6.29–$6.59) reenergize patrons who have spent long hours writing a book in binary code. Tony’s menu varies with each location, so check each restaurant’s website for a complete listing of its belly-tickling fare selection.
At the recently opened Falafel House, chefs use fresh ingredients and original recipes to handcraft a menu of Lebanese-style cuisine. They transform chickpeas into daily batches of hummus and employ halal meats in signature dishes such as charbroiled-lamb shish kebab or the kafta kabob sandwich with minced sirloin, onions, and parsley. In addition to welcoming diners at their cheerful yellow-and-green storefront, the crew adds Middle Eastern flavor to family gatherings with catering services and Village People routines sung in Arabic.
Shere-E-Punjab owner and chef Zail Singh Shergill has more than two decades of cooking experience packed into his apron. Even with all that wisdom, he still counts on those around him—family, especially—to keep the restaurant’s spread fresh and exciting. Zail’s son and Shere-E-Punjab co-founder, Pushpinder Singh, consistently concocts recipes for new dishes—an ongoing effort reflected in the lengthy and varied menu, which includes fresh naan, chicken tikka masala, and barbecue lamb kabobs cooked in the clay tandoor ovens. The restaurant also carries a selection of Indian beers, wines, and cocktails.
"There are no strangers here—just friends you have yet to meet,” so reads the motto painted on the parchment-colored walls of Maggie O'Neill's foyer. The pub aims to live up to this neighborly ethos by offering up an inviting hangout space with three stories. In the top-floor bar area, you can sip on a draft beer, play shuffleboard, or catch a basketball game on TV. The downstairs dining area has table draped in linens, and you can head here to enjoy beer-battered fish and chips and golden-brown shepherd’s pie.
Maggie O’Neill’s décor is an homage to Ireland: there’s a hand-painted Guinness ad on the building's exterior, and the bartop is made of dark varnished wood. Along the walls inside, you might notice the Poet's Corner, which is dedicated to famous Irish authors. It has impassioned musings on art from James Joyce, witty nuggets of wisdom from Jonathan Swift, and Brendan Behan’s rhymed shopping lists.
Since its humble south Philadelphia beginnings in the 1990s, PrimoHoagies has quickly expanded throughout the region and garnered several awards on the strength of its cold-cut sandwiches, made with Thumann's brand of gourmet meats and cheeses. The shop's robust menu features dozens of specialty hoagies, many of which were created in-house rather than underwater, as is the industry norm. Sharp Italian hoagies teem with prosciutto and genoa salami, and pork Diablo hoagies marry Thumann's homestyle roasted pork with a blend of piquant spices.