Quirky, Cultural Cuisines
by Caitlin Keough and Maggie Clampet-Lundquis
Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. Notes consider place via the street, sound, food, trees, and other portals.
In partnership with educator Joshua Block, students from Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy are creating and publishing their Philadelphia Field Notes. Caitlin Keough and Maggie Clampet-Lundquis share their love for the many restaurants in University City.
It is common knowledge that one of the best parts of the city of Philadelphia is the wide array of cultures that call this place home. The city is often referred to as a melting pot and simply walking down a random street and making observations of your surroundings proves that. One city block is full of more cultures and quirks than you might initially think.
An easy indicator of the cultural representation in one area of the city is the restaurants. As we walked through University City we took note of all of the kinds of restaurants we passed by. What makes University City special are the quirky shops, and the different cultural cuisines. About a year ago a small shop opened up on 44th street called: Lil’ Pop Shop. The Lil’ Pop Shop has become a popular spot because of its unusual array of popsicles: avocado, green tea, rosemary-grapefruit, and raspberry-lemonade. The environment at the Pop Shop is light and fun, with multi-colored tables and chairs and popsicle decorations on the wall.
Another new and well-known restaurant is Renata's Kitchen, featuring classic Mediterranean food. Renata’s Kitchen is owned by Yasser and Kate. Renata’s Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch & dinner, but is best known for their brunch. Walking into Renata’s feel like you’re walking into your mom’s kitchen. What makes their brunch so special is many of the items on the brunch menu are Mediterranean breakfast dishes.
Having so many different cultural cuisines in my neighborhood—Thai, Laotian, Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Indian, and Vietnamese to name a few—is a blessing. Without restaurants like these, our taste buds wouldn’t be able to experience such amazing flavors and we wouldn't know how much we enjoyed all theses types of food.
Twice a year University City holds an event called The Dollar Stroll. I look forward to The Dollar Stroll every year. During The Dollar Stroll, restaurants like Aksum, Milk and Honey, Renata’s Kitchen, and other local food trucks in the neighborhood set tables outside and sell dishes for a dollar. The whole neighborhood is out and about walking, talking, enjoying the company of their friends and family, and appreciating the city’s food, culture, and quirks. We think everyone should come down to University City and experience all the different dining options it has to offer.