The way we eat in Philadelphia has changed dramatically over the past few months (for starters, there’s a lot more of it being done in our beds). And with all of the constant shifts, restaurants have had to get creative. While many spots scrambled to adjust to takeout life, others have used this as an opportunity to launch small scale pop-ups they might not have had time for in the past. From lobster roll shacks to a celebration of Christmas In July, here are 11 pop-ups you should know about.
the pop-up spots
Tinsel is a pop-up you might already be familiar with. It appears in Midtown Village every December with twinkling lights, elves, and spiked eggnog. This summer, though, Tinsel is taking over the space outside Finn McCool’s and doing Christmas in July. There are decorated palm trees, a Christmas music soundtrack, and lots of Grinch-themed boozy ice pops. To make a reservation, call Finn’s at 215-923-3090.
Four Spring Arts breweries (Love City, Triple Bottom, Yards, and Roy Pitz) have joined forces to create a mega beer garden in the big parking lot next to Love City. In addition to beers from all four breweries, they’re also serving a small menu of mostly pizzas - as well as wings and soft pretzels. The maximum party size at one of their socially-distanced picnic tables is six people, and they’re operating on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tria Taproom on Walnut has opened a pop-up called Joyride Beef & Ale with a full menu of things like wings, french dip sandwiches, and burgers. You can either order online beforehand or walk up to the counter and order in-person.
Parks On Tap, a pop-up beer garden that usually travels to a new park around Philly every two weeks, has two “permanent” summer homes this year. The first is outside Fairmount Horticulture Center Arboretum, and the newest one is at Fairmount Water Works on the Schuylkill. They serve tons of different local beers, as well as a menu of bar food like pulled pork sandwiches and soft pretzels.
Since losing their East Passyunk location back in May, Sate Kampar has been working out of several kitchens around the city. Their next stop is The Goat, a Rittenhouse bar that opened just a couple of months before the shutdowns began. For the next couple of months, Sate Kampar’s Malaysian food will be available at The Goat’s outdoor cafe, alongside cocktails and burgers served by The Goat.
Since South Philly Barbacoa is only open two days a week, they’ve decided to start lending out their kitchen the other five nights to their chef friends - many of whom are using the platform to raise awareness and money for immigration reform. At the beginning of the summer, chef Omar Tate used the space for his pop-up Honeysuckle, and this past week chef Harold Villarosa launched his pop-up Unkle Harold. They currently have a roster scheduled into August, and you can follow their Instagram for any future updates.
Bok Bar, which spans the length of an abandoned school in South Philly, is booking reservation-only events nightly that range from live music to glass-blowing demonstrations to pop-up dinners. Somehow, they’ve taken what’s been an extremely hard time for bars and made it into their most creative and interesting summer yet. They’re open Wednesday through Sunday, and kids are allowed as well this year.
Kensington bakery Lost Bread Co. has set up a weekly pop-up that is raising money for out-of-work Latinx chefs who are unable to collect unemployment due to their immigration status. The pop-up, which they’re calling Proyecto Tamal, welcomes a different chef each week to make a series of tamales, which are sold separately from Lost Bread Co. items. Every chef that’s featured gets to take home 100% of the proceeds, and tamales are available for pickup every Sunday at three different locations throughout the city.
Mexican spot Mission Taqueria has set up a beach-themed pop-up out in front of their Midtown Village location that they’re calling Sansom Street Surf Club. It’s serving tacos, esquites, and lots of frozen drinks - and the space even extends into the parking garage next door in case of rain.