Lee's Hoagie House traces its origins back to 1953, when a small storefront at 19th Street and Cheltenham Avenue in Mount Airy, Philadelphia, began to lure in a dedicated clientele with its addictively delicious hoagies and cheesesteaks. Over the years, the popular sandwich shop has blossomed into a Philadelphia-area institution, spreading out to 17 locations throughout the region, all turning out tasty sandwiches with roast beef, turkey, chicken, and Italian meats, as well as veggies, fresh cheese, and the restaurant's secret oil recipe. Far more than a mere walk-in sandwich joint, Lee's can cater social gatherings and lunch meetings with delectable sandwich plates or fuel parties with spicy chicken wings and fresh salads.
At Malucci's Brick Oven Pizza 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.
Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
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.
Stretched amidst pillows, berber rugs, and the glow of brass lamps, diners at Little Marakesh must balance their attention between feeding their own stomachs and watching those of the performers. Belly dancers twirl past tabletops on Friday and Saturday night, feeding the warm, ethereal ambiance of the Moroccan hideaway. Surrounded by red and gold decor, the diners dig into house specialties such as the Atlas Bastille—shredded chicken with herbs, spiced eggs, and almonds stuffed in a sugar-speckled filo-dough pastry. They can order dishes à la carte or as part of a prix fixe feast, which includes salad, chicken tagine, and couscous.
According to Philadelphia magazine, native Moroccan Terry Manfa founded the restaurant out of nostalgia for his country. Commissioning a team of chefs to craft authentic shish kebabs, grape leaves, and hummus was only one part of relieving his homesickness—he eventually added a hookah menu and a bazaar, where patrons can browse handmade pottery, bags, and other goods from Moroccan artisans. The captivating belly-dance shows and communal atmosphere lend themselves to dinner gatherings, whether groups are celebrating a birthday or showing coworkers how to dress on casual-midriff Fridays.
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.