Category Archives: center city

Sit, Ubu, Sit.

There are several things I love in this world that fall into the “food and drink” category: Guacamole, fish and chips, Walt Wit, pancakes, Sailor Jerry Rum, and mint chocolate chip ice cream, among others.

But, at the very tippy top of my list are two things: Sweet potato fries and Strongbow Cider.

Growing up, my father had a distaste for cooked orange food (don’t ask), so sweet potatoes were never on the menu. I didn’t even really see a sweet potato until college, when my roommate (who was very Pennsylvania Dutch) introduced me to them, along with other delicacies like shoofly pie and pirogies, but that’s for another post. When I moved to Pennsylvania a few years ago, the concept of “sweet potato fries” was still fairly foreign, but after I had my first taste at some hole in the wall diner in Allentown, I was hooked.

Philly doesn’t share the love of the sweet potato fry that the Lehigh Valley does, but you can still find some good ones around here. Most notably, at the Good Dog Bar (224 S 15th Street).

I fell in love with Good Dog when I was working at a place I hated in Center City. I would go there during my lunch break and order the Grilled 3 Cheese Sandwich, made with slices of fontina, asiago, and gruyere, sliced apples and bacon served on brioche. And, of course, served with a generous nest of both regular and sweet potato fries.

The Grilled Cheese is my Good Dog staple, but they offer some other amazing dishes, including a quiche of the day, baked mac and cheese, duck pot pie, mussels, and a Rice Krispy Treat sampler for dessert. It’s not the cheapest pub food, but it’s damn tasty.

Their beer menu seems to have changed recently, but the tap and bottle selection is up to par. Everything from PBR to Chimay is available at reasonable prices, no more or less than you’ll pay anywhere else in the city

Oh, you didn’t think I had forgotten about my other list-topper, did you? Good Dog is one of the few places in the city I’ve found that serves Strongbow Cider in cans, the way it needs to be properly enjoyed.

You can find Strongbow on tap in some of the Irish Pubs around town, and even in bottle cases at some of the beer distributors. But Strongbow really is best served in cans.

If you’ve never had Strongbow, don’t be fooled by the “cider” label. This is no Woodchuck. It’s dry, it’s refreshing, it’s 5.0% ABV. It’s an excellent alternative to beer without making you feel like a 19 year old girl at her first frat party.

The long and short of it is that Good Dog would be a place I would frequent even if it didn’t serve two of my all time favorite ingestibles. The staff is friendly and attentive, the atmosphere is dive-y without the irony, and the upstairs has a pool table, darts and a ms. pac-man machine. It seems to get a bit crowded on the weekend nights, but what bar in center city doesn’t?

My vote is to go there on a lunch break (even if you don’t hate your job), or an early happy hour. My personal preference is to sit at the bar on a lazy Saturday afternoon, with a Strongbow in one hand, a sweet potato fry in the other, and a half naked Michael Phelps on the TV. But that’s just me



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The Devil and Thomas Mütter

Happy Monday, web-o-verse. I’ve decided that Mondays around here will be restaurant/bar reviews as we tend to go out on the weekends and do things like eat and drink. Imagine that.

I’ll get to the restaurant review in a minute, but first I need to share a little geekitude.

If you haven’t yet been to Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum (19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA), then you are truly missing out on one of the best museums Philly has to offer. The collection boasts everything from a plaster cast of the torso of world-famous Siamese Twins, Chang & Eng to a case with drawers full of over 2,000 objects extracted from people’s throats. My favorite part is the wall of skulls. Beneath each skull is an index card with the country of origin, the subject’s name, and a little bit about them and how they died.

The descriptions read something like this: “Suicide by cutting her own throat due to disappointments in life”. It’s not for the weak of stomach, but those looking for a more historic version of the Bodies exhibits are in for a good time.

Ok, on to the restaurant. Because who doesn’t go on the prowl for a good burger after spending a few hours staring at jars of human organs? Since Phrigid was out of town this weekend, my restauranting/museuming partner was my friend Zach. We walked out of the museum with no real purpose in terms of what we wanted to eat, just that it should be filling and involve good beer. Which is pretty much how I go about my daily life.

We stumbled upon the Devil’s Alley Bar and Grill (1907 Chesnut Street). They had both upstairs and downstairs seating, we chose to go sit by the upstairs bar. It was fairly busy for a Sunday afternoon, but not so much as to feel crowded. The beer selection included Legacy Euphoria, Magic Hat #9, Yard’s Tavern Spruce and Victory Hop Devil on tap, and Unibrou Ephemere, Legacy Hedonism, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Lucifer and Chimay in bottles. Zach got a Euphoria, I got an Ephemere.

The food is fairly standard American, with the “Devil Burger” (topped with onion rings and fries) being the headliner. Other menu standouts were a Grilled Cheese with apples and bacon, a Grilled PB&J, and a healthy selection of BBQ ribs. Zach ordered a Turkey Cubano, and I went with a Turkey Burger with guacamole.

The Cubano arrived with a side of homemade waffle potato chips (gaufrettes), sliced and with accompanying red sauce. Zach seemed to enjoy it. I tried a chip and sort of wished that my burger came with a side of them as well. If you go, don’t assume that your burger or sandwich will come with a side of some sort unless stated on the menu, my burger came with nothing of the sort. The turkey burger was definitely good and they didn’t skimp on the guacamole. I sort of wish there was a little more of a kick to it, but I’ll survive.

The bar itself is open and welcoming, and the staff seemed friendly. We never wanted for service, although we did have to hunt down napkins at one point. The downstairs dining room looks entirely date-worthy, with small tables, booths and candles. The upstairs bar has open windows and two, large HD TVs. As Zach put it, “There’s something about watching baseball, or any sporting event, on a really large, widescreen TV that’s just…..beautiful” I think he may have teared up a little, too.

Overall, it’s a spot I’ll probably go to again if I’m in the neighborhood, but not one I’m going to go out of my way for. I am interested to try those ribs, though, maybe I’m missing out on the raison d’etre of the place.


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