September 27, 2012

Philly Neighborhoods: Where to Eat in South Street West

Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods that not only help define the people who live there, but also foster hyper-local passion for each area's contribution to our food culture. In a series of posts, we'll talk about what's new and where to eat/drink in different neighborhoods across the city.

Bar and a few tables inside Magpie
"South Street West," as you might expect, is the stretch of South Street that runs west from Broad, and it is really moving up in the ranks of local food communities.

Several spots opened there in the last few years, such as thai BYOB SawatdeeThe Quick Fixx for high quality takeout and Sweet Freedom gluten free desserts. They join the likes of Pumpkin, Bob and Barbara's and Jamaican Jerk Hut to make South Street West home to a variety of new drinking/dining experiences.

Two of the latest welcome additions to South Street West are Magpie and The Cambridge. The chalkboard menu at artisan pie boutique Magpie is limited to three savory non-dessert pies, three fruit pies and three custards. To set your expectations, only the custard pies were round. I envisioned little individual pies for everything but Magpie serves more lasagna-style rectangles.

Croque Monsier at Magpie
Pie Fries at Magpie
The Croque Monsieur pie is a dependable choice for lunch/brunch. You get a hearty slice of ham, egg and cheese inside traditional pie crust, plus some lightly pickled veggies on the side. Magpie's "pie fries" are sweet pieces of crust and a good small bite to accompany your coffee. The sweet pies all looked great. We only tried the Orange Blossom Peach Raspberry and it was delicious while not too sweet.

Price is the one thing to be wary of here. A savory "pie" slice for $8.50 is steep, especially for a coffee shop-style place when you could make the whole casserole at home for that. You're paying for the experience I guess. Sweet pie slices are a good size for your $5 investment and Pie Fries are just $3.50.

Shrimp Po Boy with avocado from The Cambridge
The Cambridge is a new gastro pub that, given the crowds it attracted right away, was much needed by the burgeoning residential areas within walking distance. The set up has something for everyone - sit down tables, a long bar and a cute courtyard out back - as does the menu.

So far we've been very impressed by the draft beer list, Porker Burger, House Roast Beef sandwich, Sansei Kris Asian Pulled Pork and Rock Shrimp Po Boy. Something needs to be done about the temperature inside before it's time to shut the front wall of windows, but we plan to return often for a casual beer and/or dinner.

Walking by the other day, it looks like a new location of Pure Fare opened on 16th and South as well. On the same block, we hear the distinctly named Indian Restaurant is pretty good. Jazzy, southern-inspired REX 1516 is getting glowing reviews, though we haven't been yet - have you?

For more on South Street West, here are our original reviews of Sawatdee and Pumpkin. Know of any other good places coming to South Street West? What do you think the neighborhood still needs?


Jill Weber said...

Thanks for highlighting our great neighborhood! As you note, it has a bit of everything. Please do come by Rex 1516 and (hopefully!) add another glowing review. We also invite you to try Jet Wine Bar - which opened at 1525 South St. in November of 2010 and has been serving excellent food and drinks since (IMHO...).

Jessica said...

As Jill said, Rex 1516 and Jet are two of the gems on South Street West. The food at Rex has never been anything less than phenomenal, the staff is amazing, the atmosphere is delightful. And Jet, one of the first places to help spurn the revolution of this great block, is so much more than a wine bar - great bites, lovely selection of wine.