Crêpe Town's 25 crepes fall into four categories: breakfast, vegetarian and low-calorie, classics, and crepes of the world. Specimens from this last group represent the culinary flair of Mexico (chicken and taco sauce), Sweden (salmon and cheese), and Hawaii (ham and pineapple). The eatery serves scrambled egg crepes and other breakfast offerings all day, and it serves dessert crepes such as chocolate ice cream and marshmallow even if the phase of the moon indicates that man should hibernate. Each crepe is made to order and available in white and whole-wheat varieties.
Owner and culinary mastermind of French Quarter Bistro, Mark Van Horn’s prerequisites for a good meal are simple: authenticity, home cooking, and a liberal dash of soul. This dedication to comfort cooking has earned the French Quarter Bistro a host of dedicated regulars as well as the Philly Hot List's award for Best Soul Food in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In the bustling kitchen, chefs whip up creole and Cajun eats using unique ingredients such as house roasted peppers, alligator sausage, and fried pickles. Along with their flavorful dishes, French Quarter Bistro also serves up a variety of entertainment throughout the week, including open mic nights with local singers and poets tired of the wrestling portion of poetry slams.
The chefs at Crepe N Grill serve both sweet and savory crepes, thin pancakes crowned with fresh ingredients such as honey-cinnamon apples or braised pork. Freshly blended fruit smoothies, lattes, and cappuccinos from the espresso bar pair up with crisp salads, soups, and paninis.
There are only 16 tables inside Sola, but the intimate dining room is an echo chamber for camaraderie. Guests ferry their own libations to dinner under a BYOB policy, which encourages relaxed, familial meals lined with conversation. The menu refrains from overwhelming guests with too many choices or tablecloth-size pages—instead, it details a concise array of meat and seafood entrees. From the brown-butter skate wing to the roasted duck, these French-influenced dishes arrive stylishly poised on white tableware, framed against a backdrop of drizzled sauces and artfully arranged sides. Frozen white-chocolate hazelnut mousse and pumpkin cheesecake, flanked by a pear-cinnamon sorbet, draw evenings to a close.
Executive Chef Stephan Stryjewski composes these seasonally shifting spreads with help from local farms. He also receives organic ingredients, such as goat cheese and honey, from neighborhood producers, and orders his resulting creations into special prix fixe courses. Sola invests in the community through charities as well; every Sunday, it contributes 5% of its earnings to an organization of the month. Examples of past beneficiaries include The Wounded Warrior Fund and Melmark.
Sam's Morning Glory Diner marries the aura of a small '50s eatery with the relatively modern trend of sourcing food from local purveyors. Chefs troll the Italian Market and Reading Terminal for the fruits, meats, and cheeses that go into gargantuan frittatas and berry biscuits. The time-tested breakfast sandwich is revamped on fresh focaccia bread, and seitan, a tender wheat-based protein, sneaks its way into faux-chicken cheesesteaks without anyone being the wiser. Flowers overflow from outside windowsills, and stainless-steel mugs keep coffee warm alongside sandwiches packed with prosciutto, roasted peppers, and pesto, like an incompetent lawyer’s briefcase.
Cute, brightly lit and run by a local husband-and-wife team, Epicure Café at East Falls answers East Falls residents’ need for a casual, low-key spot to grab a coffee or a bite. Open for breakfast and lunch every day and into the evenings on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday, Epicure serves up everything from a simple bagel and lox to omelets, salads, chili and paninis. When it comes to burgers, patrons can opt for a traditional sirloin version, a turkey one (topped with spinach, tomatoes and cranberry-horseradish dressing) or the Woodstock burger, a veggie patty created by co-owner Arlene Leschak with mushrooms, barley, oats and sunflower seeds.