Abe Levis fled Lithuania when he was 14 years old to avoid compulsory service in the czar's army. He found sanctuary in America, where he was able to enjoy a normal childhood before meeting his wife and opening a restaurant. In addition to serving sandwiches, fish cakes, and hot dogs, Abe made his own sodas with a marble soda fountain that he purchased in 1895. On summer nights, the restaurant's roof served as a movie screen for the silent films that people watched in the old days, before actors learned to talk. A century later, Levis Hot Dogs still stands in the same location that was once a haven for empty bellies during the Depression era and a sight for sore eyes returning home from fighting in World War II.
The smell of chocolate-chip cookies baking in the oven has a tendency to unleash waves of childhood memories, especially when those cookies are iconic Nestlé Toll House creations. At Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip, passionate bakers coax out these memories by using Nestlé products to create decadent desserts that taste just as satisfying as they did years ago.
Even though YoFresh Yogurt Cafe’s flavors rotate on the regular, every swirl of their frozen yogurt comes jam-packed with body-boosting benefits. Each cup carries a bounty of probiotics, eschewing fat, artificial sweeteners, and other unnatural products such as the tears of a frankenstein monster. What’s left is a kosher treat available in nonfat or no-sugar-added flavors such as mint, green apple sorbet, cinnamon roll, and banana. Starting from that dulcet base, gustatory adventurers can pile their dessert with toppings such as fruit, candy, and cereal. For an alternative summertime snack, guests can opt for a fresh-fruit protein smoothie.
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.
J. Liddon Pennock Jr. treated Meadowbrook Farms as his passion project, honing his talent for garden design on the land's 25 acres for over 60 years. After his retirement, he created its now-flourishing retail arm to share his experiment with the wider world. Today, visitors traverse grounds and gardens dotted with ornate arrangements that fuse symmetry, color, and complex species. The Circle Garden’s water lilies burst open with vibrant pink energy, and at the dipping pool, pear cactus and coleus share ground with Japanese maple and their freshly blooming stacks of pancakes. The house also holds horticultural delights, with the Glass Room’s verdant wreaths tempting visitors during appointment-only tours. At the retail shop, guests stock up on a carefully chosen selection of statuary, pots, fountains, and garden ornaments inspired by Pennock’s work, as well as scented candles and soaps. Live plants from the indoor greenhouse or outdoor sales area help make home gardens more like Meadowbrook, with houseplants, annuals, and perennials that are occasionally whisked off for display in the Philadelphia International Flower Show.
Elcy’s Café percolates perk with a menu laden with barista-blended beverages and homemade fare. Come in early for an herb garden egglette scrambled with tomato, spinach, basil, mushroom, and goat cheese ($7.50). Or, open your face to the open-faced Marezy bagel, kept modest with a dressing of tomato and melted american cheese ($4). Come lunchtime, treat teeth to a triumvirate of chicken, tuna, and roasted veggie salads, served atop a medley of greens ($8.95), or pillage the palate with a Viking sandwich, which arrives on a garlicy longship stuffed with pesto chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, and provolone ($7.25). Soup selections change daily depending on the chef’s preferences and the international tureen market, with selections ranging from cheddar tomato basil to turkey corn chowder, while soup slurpfests can find a sweet end with fresh baked brownies and cookies.